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De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Boxed In
For the past few years, I've spent far too much of my time moving things in and out of boxes and moving those boxes in and around the house, garage and storage space. Sometimes I think that I'm nearing the end of this reorganization process, only to experience another setback.

Painting different rooms in the house has demanded that I clear off bookshelves and box up their contents. Even after the painting is done, though, I struggle to get the books unpacked. I can't remember exactly how they were crammed onto the shelves. Or I get carried away with the impulse to improve the room by leaving the bookshelves more roomy.

The latest delays have been occasioned by the work I had to do in my home office in order to make room for Comcast to come in and upgrade our service. Having taken a bookshelf out of the room and removed some other items, I started to think that it wouldn't make sense to put everything back just yet. Why not do what I'd been contemplating for a long while, tearing out the rugs and reordering the room's contents?

Problem is, I have neither the time nor the space to make this happen right now. Between the stress and strain of trying to move my parents out to Tucson and the professional responsibilities of this "overload" semester, I am lucky if I find time to read a few pages before bed. Dramatic home improvements are just not in the cards.

Still, it pains me to think that I might have made progress on my office for nought. So the bookshelf sits in the hallway outside while I fantasize about ways of making the office less cluttered and more functional. But I haven't been able to pull the trigger on any of the major changes I've contemplated.

Today, a large set of boxes with my parents' possessions arrived. They sit in the front of the house, reminding me of all the boxes for which I have yet to find a stable location. Part of me wants to rip them open and redistribute their contents into the smaller, sturdier file safe boxes I favor. I realize, though, that this effort would be unlikely to pay off. After all, my parents will be wanting to have them opened soon anyway.

That said, I wish there were some place I could conveniently tuck them away. Seeing them piled up by the front door somehow brings my existential condition home in a way that my own boxes do not. I need to be unpacking, in both the literal and figurative sense of that word. But I seem to spend the majority of my time doing everything in my power to not have to unpack anything. It's like I'm working at a port moving shipping containers around. The only certainty is that, whatever is in those boxes, the number of containers never decreases.

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5 comments or Leave a comment
From: e4q Date: October 2nd, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
very psychologicals.

i have had similar feelings. my dad keeps bringing books i took to his house back in drips and drabs, i find them unbearable objects. ever since the kitchen renovation and electrics overhaul last year a lot of my things have been in boxes. then i had the bedroom painted, now i seem to have just become someone who has boxes with stuff in.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 2nd, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
In my case, it feels like a reluctance to commit, as though I'm afraid that unpacking will potentially leave me exposed. Plus, I kind of like what happens when I do finally unpack a particular box, that sense of rediscovering what had been temporarily lost to me. I can see that these attitudes might seem messed up to others, but that doesn't stop me from assuming them.
From: e4q Date: October 2nd, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
when i get around to it, reopening a box is intriguing to me, too!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 2nd, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Lately I've been opening boxes, going through their contents, and then repacking them.
From: e4q Date: October 2nd, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

i do that, too.
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