Moving is tough for my inner pack rat - Jason Smith

I've mentioned in previous columns that my wife and I are preparing to move to Henry County. We're both excited about the concept of starting our life in McDonough, and being a part of this community.

However, before we can get to that point this weekend, we have to conquer the beast known as "packing."

Within the last few weeks, we've both been going through our belongings, in an attempt to avoid taking too much stuff with us.

The task of whittling down our collective mess, got into high gear when we were at our storage facility in Covington on Sunday afternoon. My wife's first task was to go through the boxes that had been packed and stored after our last move. She wanted to find out what items had gotten packed together by well-meaning friends who, although trying to help, made our current move more difficult, because we couldn't find anything.

As box after box was opened, we quickly discovered two things: where certain valued items had disappeared to, and just how much unnecessary things we owned.

I think it's my mother's fault, or perhaps my grandmother's. Both of them, being a bit on the sentimental side, trained me not to get rid of anything.

I recall, as a child, being in my grandmother's kitchen, and finding a medicine bottle. The container was empty. It was also from 1954.

That wouldn't be so bad, I guess, if not for the fact that my grandparents didn't move into that particular house until 1963.

I suppose my grandmother's "pack rat" nature is better understood when one knows the environment in which she adopted her practice of keeping everything. She was born in 1913, and was a teenager when the Great Depression hit the United States. As she didn't come from a wealthy family, my grandmother learned at an early age to find a use for everything that came in her path.

My mother, on the other hand, will readily admit that she is overly sentimental, and that she has collected more useless junk than she knows what to do with.

While I would love to take the high road, and say that my inner pack rat can be likened to that of my grandmother, I don't want to be accused of lying in print.

When my wife and I were going through various boxes in that storage unit, I found things I had long kept in my possession for reasons I'd forgotten years ago. There were clothes I knew no longer fit, books I would never read, and gifts I didn't remember receiving. To those items, I bid a fond farewell, by way of the large trash can we had brought with us for the occasion.

There were also the legitimately sentimental items I knew I couldn't part with. These included old letters from friends, stuffed animals I received as a baby and an inordinately large number of newspapers from my work in college. I had no intention of throwing those away, and my wife understands that where I go, they go. My wife has similar issues with things she owns, so it works out for us.

With all that said, I know I can't take everything with me to our new apartment next week. For one thing, we just won't have the room. More importantly, I want to make sure that, in our new home, we have room for memories of our own.

Don't get me wrong. We have no desire to fill the apartment with things we don't need. But, I want to continue building a life with her, and create a home that is uniquely ours. That way, when we have pack-rat children of our own, they'll have items that have meaning for them, things they can't bear to part with, either.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161, or via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.