Part 2 – Where is it all going?
M is looking worried. He keeps putting his head in his hands and muttering, “Where’s it all going to go?” Like many hard-working husbands, whose wives hold the fort in their absence, M has never moved house before. He’s had a change of address, he’s signed legal documents, he’s made enormous financial commitments and he’s gone to sleep in a different house from the one in which he woke, but he has never actually moved house. He has never booked the removals company, packed valuables, informed utilities, dismantled light fittings, organised cleaning, unhooked curtains, redirected the post or cancelled the milk.
So every day is full of questions. How do we give everyone our new, but temporary address? Should we keep financial records going back to 1982? Where are we going to store everything that is currently in the attic if we no longer have an attic?
I don’t have the answer to every question but even though our last move was 21 years ago, I’ve organised three previous house moves, effectively as a single parent, whilst arranging school runs and farewell parties, so I think I know what I’m doing. But still the questions go on and the other day I finally realised why. M has more possessions than I do and he doesn’t know where they are going to go if the new house doesn’t have a wall of cupboards and shelves, or three huge walk-in attics, or large rooms to house his music collection, his books, his artwork and his collection of things that ‘might be useful’.
Aah, it’s the ‘things that might be useful’ that are the problem. I have had a collection too, but only a small one, consisting largely of wrapping paper, ribbons and interesting fabrics. And they are no more. They’ve all been recycled or dumped. I also have an extensive collection of shoes, but I’ve taken out the ones that are too scuffed or simply too out of date and they’ve gone as well. I’ve sorted through my wardrobe and my chest of drawers and managed to send bagfuls of clothes to the charity shops. But my task has been easy because I don’t have ‘spare’ VHS machines, speakers, hi fis and TVs. Nor have I kept notebooks recording the whole of my working life or files on every piece of work I’ve ever done.
No wonder M has been anxious. But when I woke on Monday morning I had solved the problem. Self storage. It’s cheap, it’s accessible, it’s nearby and it’s immediately available. So when M frowned again over his morning cup of tea and expressed concern about ‘everything in the attic’ I said that I don’t have anything in the attic, it must all be his and he can have his own storage unit. We went to see the nearest company, walked the corridors of heavy green doors, each with a strong padlock and he smiled. We looked at a unit the size of a large garage which M favoured. Then I decided that one the size of a small garage would be plenty big enough. M hesitated but then agreed.
And now he’s happy. Every day he drives to his own personal storage space with crates he’s packed himself, knowing that if he suddenly needs anything vital it can easily be retrieved. We may also use it for small pieces of furniture that we may eventually want in our next home, but on the whole the storage unit is M’s domain.
We’ve agreed that even once we’ve moved to another house he should still have a storage unit. He can graduate from a small garage, to a small shed, to a wardrobe, right down to a little cubby hole containing three VHS machines. And maybe I’ll have one too, just for the high heeled shoes I’ll no longer wear when I am a tottery old lady.