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The awful stress of downsizing while moving house

Judging by the booming housing market at the moment, there must be quite a lot of packing and moving going on across Australia and, as a consequence, rising stress levels.

I say this as someone who is currently going through the process and I am now up to the stage where about two-thirds of the household contents have been packed up and sent into storage and I have lost most of my mind.

I entered the project with an upbeat attitude but that shifted swiftly when I realised just what it takes to empty a family home after 21 years. How sweet that when your sons finally move out after 25 years, they just leave all their unwanted detritus in the cupboards. So you spend hours sorting through WWE wrestling dolls, discarded college blazers, zebra print trackies and dirty sneakers.

At one point I was sitting on the floor, surrounded by teetering boxes when one son walked through, neatly picked up a monitor and a football and made a speedy getaway without glancing back. I began fuming.

If it was just left to me, I’d just have lovely things, lipsticks and antique mirrors, and pretty coffee cups, maybe a phalaenopsis orchid.

But throw in a husband and sons and some pesky practicality and you get fourteen boxes of inexplicable cords, wires, plugs and power boards. My husband also has a huge, huge CD collection, I’m talking thousands. After multiple tense discussions about the instant access to all music in the Digital Age, he was absolutely adamant that he couldn’t live without them, so I do hope they continue live a productive life in that rented storage unit in far off Greenacre.

As we are downsizing, I was forced to send my collection of fashion and art books into storage, at least temporarily, as I think a home without books is not a home. As I packed box after box, wondering if all the effort was worth it, I was reminded of Fran Lebowitz who says she can never move from her New York apartment given she owns over 10,000 books. That’s quite a lot of Smartboxes Fran, that’s for sure.

Fran Lebowitz’s library of 10,000 books makes moving a no-no. Photo: Getty

The next part of the move, when the house will be open for inspection is also proving to be tricky to navigate, especially if you intend to stay put.

First the stylist arrives and informs you that minimalism is all the rage and will you be able to live for one month, maybe sleeping on the floor, with one interesting chair, an indoor plant and a stack of designer fashion books.

Ironically, the preferred book is by Tom Ford, which I actually own, which will sit on the designer coffee table, that I actually don’t.

When I asked if I could keep the very presentable vintage cabinet in the kitchen that contained the pots and pans, I got a stern no, so I certainly won’t be doing anything human, such as cooking, during the coming weeks.

My house is edited and largely empty and I will probably never think about those possessions in the storage unit ever again. My sons can clear it out.



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