"Leaving an apartment. Vacating the scene. Decamping. Clearing up. Clearing out.
Making an inventory tidying up sorting out going through
Eliminating. throwing away palming off on
- Georges Perec, 'Moving Out'
Casser maison. Breaking the house. Trust the French to have a phrase for it. The stomach-churning, sleep-depriving anxiety that comes with pulling up stumps, packing up the house, and moving.
In our case, it is hopefully nothing more than a few streets away, as we've no desire to move anywhere - we love this place but our landlord needs to sell. Still, less than a year in, boxing up the books and rationalising the kids' proliferation of drawings is less than joyful.
This is my ninth move since I left my childhood home, and I've finally learnt a thing or two. This time, the assortment of fragile objects are out the door first. The ceramic pots collected from op shops across the country. Interesting bits of driftwood, shells and stones from holidays. My childhood jewellery box and Australiana elf ornament.
In previous moves I've left packing these objects to almost last, reasoning that they'd get broken if packed too early. I also suspect some sort of denial was at work - the sense that the move wouldn't really be happening until these things were boxed up and hidden from sight. This time, they're first out the door, off to the safety of my mother's house.
It's somewhat strange to be without these familiar touchstones. I realise how much I use them everyday: the vases for handpicked flowers, the ornaments for holding everyday jewellery and pins, the arrangements made with sticks and stones. I had assumed they were much more of a passive backdrop to life, rather than everyday presences.
"Cleaning checking trying out changing fitting signing waiting imagining inventing investing deciding...entering breathing hard
- Georges Perec, 'Moving in'