Progress via taskmaster bearing candy

By Mir
June 9, 2007

I can now say I’ve started packing. Hi! I’ve started packing!

Dude. Should you ever need to pack up a whole house in a couple of weeks, you should totally lure Chris to your house. She is brutal but effective. Had my children been home this weekend I feel certain that she may have talked me into giving them to Goodwill. She takes no prisoners, and she is vehemently opposed to packing anything extraneous.

Which—according to her—pretty much covers everything I own.

But it’s hard to argue with someone who volunteered to come help you wade through and box up all your crap, you know?

We started with my two (large) hall closets. I had gone through these closets and weeded out a fair number of things just a few months ago, so I felt confident that I was in good shape. Yes I did.


This perplexed me, for I only have a normal number of sheets sets. That would be… two percale sets and two flannels sets per bed. And maybe a few extras. And once Chris got done laughing at me she began emptying those closets like a woman possessed. “YOU DO NOT NEED ALL OF THIS. START SORTING,” she ordered. She put piles of things all over my bedroom and commanded me to designate items for packing, Goodwill, and trash. I really thought she was being silly; I mean, I probably needed most of it.

But as she continued pulling stuff out of the closet I began to see the error of my ways. As my bed disappeared under piles I conceded that she might have a point. When odd items started surfacing Chris cackled with glee; her point was proven. Okay, fine. I maybe did not need all of those sheets. Or, um, those other things. I would say that perhaps an entire closet’s worth of items were cleared out and disposed of.

I was trying to sort through things carefully, you know, but man, Chris just threw things into trash bags like it was a race. I totally cannot find my three-handled moss-covered family credenza now. (To get revenge, I managed to knock her into a box and make her beg for mercy and promise to stop trashing my belongings.)

Once we finished with that, we decided that we needed to go drop some stuff off at the kids’ consignment store. Which is near the liquor store. Our trip to the liquor store involved a small misunderstanding wherein we both bought alcohol and brought home some boxes, but I think upset the clerk. Oh well.

Back home again, I made a lovely gluten-free, dairy-free, poisoning-Chris-free dinner, which we enjoyed with lemon drops from a bottle (in plastic glasses) (premixed! just $8!) (FANCY!), and then I cleaned up the kitchen while Chris called home. Afterwards, it was back to packing.

Here is my family room as it looked right after dinner. And here it is after Chris The Packing Machine was through with it. Chris says I didn’t need to label the boxes, because I should just remember that that all the kids’ books are in booze boxes. However, I could barely remember what I’d packed 2 minutes after I taped the box up, so I opted to label them anyway.

Perhaps this was because of our packing materials, though. I can’t be sure. I’m sorry, who are you again?

We have succesfully packed… ummm… about 1/20th of my house. But we’re a little tipsy and busy eating candy (apparently, once you discover you have celiac disease, you don’t leave the house without a purseful of candy), and just about out of boxes, so it may be all we can do tonight.

Tomorrow we shall get some more boxes and then Chris will make me throw out the rest of my stuff. It’s going to be awesome!


  1. tuney.

    HEY! How much for the blue flannel snowman sheets? Cuz I only have sheets for SEVEN beds, and I MUST. HAVE. SNOWMEN.

    Good Lord. This is why I choose to commute. Moving would be the death of me. How could I ever throw out that bookbag from high school that somebody left in the rain on the back porch for 8 years? HOW? Clearly, you should bring Chris with you to GA so I can borrow her.

  2. YetAnotherKaren

    You can have more than one set of sheets per bed??

    I cannot stress enough the importance of labeling, having moved across the country and back again with 3 kids, all in the past 1.8 years.

  3. bob

    YOU are why my company has a factory with the capacity to make 119 thousand dozen wash cloths a week.

  4. jody

    Oh man. Can I come help pack? We never have any good drinks when we pack…usually just beer. Boooring.

  5. ChristieNY

    LOVE the pictures!

    I can rest well tonight knowing that you are in good hands, Mrs. Otto, and that your house will be all packed up and headed South on time.

    (Btw, we’re moving at the end of the summer and I have a TON of stuff, maybe I can borrow your dear friend Chris? Pretty, pretty please? ;))

  6. erin

    That’s really cool the way your picts. pop up!
    I think I need to borrow Chris…I’m needing to simplify over here!

  7. hannita

    Friends that help find boxes and pack are the very best kind of friends to have.

  8. becky

    i will give you both my number if you promise to drunk dial me while packing. that would be awesome.

  9. Jennifer

    Drunk packing is certainly the way to go, as is labeling EVERYTHING because you don’t remember sh*^*^t when it’s all packed away. So glad to hear you have a house to move into, a wonderful friend to kick this house into shape. Surely the resti will fall into place on it’s own. Sending lots of good packing energy your way from someone who has done way to much of it.

  10. beth

    When I moved myself and all my books, my movers told me it was cheaper to mail the books (book rate) than move them at $.whatever/pound. However, if you are packing in booze boxes, you have to cover with brown paper before the post office will accept them. Yes, I found out the hard way. Also, your mail deliverer will hate you as soon as you move in, but it was worth it.

    Book stores are also good places to get boxes, especially boxes the right size to pack books in. Of course, it’s a bit counterproductive if you feel obligated to buy a bunch of books to say thank-you…

    Good luck in your new house with your new husband!

  11. LadyBug Crossing

    Hey! I have those snowman sheets! They are soft and snuggly!

    Enjoy unpacking when you get to your new house… That’s fun! Actually I unpacked my whole house in one week and got all the pictures hung, too.

    Best of luck to you!

  12. Judy.

    I’m glad Chris was able to come help you… and despite how wonderful she is, you were write on the labeling deal. You will NOT remember when you get everything down here just what’s in what box… even the liquor boxes. (aren’t they great for packing in????)

  13. kathy

    Mir + Chris = too much fun to be believed.

  14. Wired

    I remember when my mother sold the house I grew up in.
    She had packed NOTHING! I mean NOTHING the day we had arrived to help her move. 13 years worth of “stuff”. I think my uncle about had a coronary when he walked in and realized she hadn’t been packing AT ALL. Talk about barnstorming and no prisoners…

  15. BOSSY

    Bossy is way into this brand of Kamikaze tossing. Go ! Go!

  16. Christine

    Heard a great tip: As you pack, label each room a different color then put that color on the doorframe of the room it’s being moved to. When you’re unpacking, you can just tell people to head to “blue room” saving a lot of confusion and aggravation.

    To be truly anal, you can put a legend near the front/back door, so people know that “the blue room” is upstairs.

    Happy packing!

  17. jenn

    I have two set of sheets per bed, but I do not keep them in a closet. The “extra” set lives in a blastic under bed bin, one for each bed in the house. This is (partly) why Mr Clairol calls me the Linen Nazi. Chris, I salute you.

  18. Sara

    BWAHAHAHA! “alcoholic children’s books”. How will the little sots read them?
    Such an ugly job, packing. Glad you had Drill Sgt. Jordan there to push you along with the packing and alcohol consumption.

  19. Karen

    Ha ha ha…you knocked her into a box. I laughed out loud and Thomas said, “Wassso funny Mommy?”
    A kid-free, poison-free weekend with you guys? SO jealous. Even though you’re packing.

  20. Kimberly

    I had a friend who helped me pack like that once. It was both freeing and traumatic at the same time.

    The key thing I learned from her was, if you come across a box you haven’t seen in years and can’t remember what’s in it, DON’T OPEN IT. Once you check inside, you’ll decide you absolutely cannot live without those items (that you never would have missed, had you not opened the damn box).

  21. Cele

    OH mi gawd. The girl rocks. Do you know how hard it is to find friends, I mean a FRIEND that will help you move, and I’ve never heard of a FRIEND who will help you pack. She could have a whole new career.

  22. Kerry

    I am so jealous. I know you two are working your pants off, but boy do you make it sound like fun!

    cross posted!

  23. becky

    will check back in july, at blogher, to see if you’re over the trauma yet. :D

  24. Barb Cooper

    I was on bed rest with my second child when we moved into this house so my entire family came to Austin to help pack, move and unpack. They just moved me like another (very cranky) piece of furniture.

    Because you can hire people to pack you (once my mom opened a carton that a moving company had packed and found the bathroom trashcan COMPLETE WITH TRASH lovingly packed inside.) and you can hire people to move you but you cannot hire anyone to UNpack you. I still can’t find everything (seven years later) but I will always know that my family really does love me–in their own extrememly dysfunctional way.

    Man, I can’t imagine how much work you all are doing. I’m glad you’re making it fun, though!


  25. Brigitte

    I think maybe Chris just PRETENDED to throw those extra sheets away – she has lots of beds at her house, and NEEDS those sheets!

  26. Daisy

    I did the sheet- clearing thing last summer. My daughter was afraid she’d find me in the middle of a pile of random sheets crying for my mom. Oh, wait, that’s Paris Hilton in court.

  27. Lady M

    We did at least get rid of the extra long single bed sheets that only fit beds in our college dorms . . . (deleted) number of years ago. Packing us up someday is not going to be fun.

    Glad you’re having fun with Chris!

  28. rachel

    yep – celiac disease leads to candy overdoses! :)

    I’ve never wished I could help someone pack before. Glad you had a great helper. Have a lemon drop for me, too!

  29. Rachel May

    I’ve been thinking about you — nice to know things are going well. How cool to have a friend helping; just having someone there makes it better! Of course, the alcohol helps, too… :P

  30. Kim

    I am with you on the sheet thing Mir. My Grandma always taught me that you needed one on the bed, one for the wash, and a flannel. I have stuck to that…although it may now be something like…3 for the bed, 3 for the wash, and a whole pile of ones that don’t fit any bed here.

    Um…Maybe you should send Chris to my house when she is through.

  31. Kerry

    Remember, this is the same woman who threw out all of her Christmas decorations! Be afraid. hehe

  32. Kendra

    I’m moving in less than 2 weeks….will you send Chris my way when she’s done at your house?? I have 2 kids under the age of 3 that really help do the unpacking while I’m doing the packing. And I need a tough friend to tell me to let go of all that junk.

    Good Luck!

  33. Karen

    Hey, if you’re moving to GA, you and Chris just hop and skip on over to AL and help me declutter before I lose a child in my mess!

  34. Lisa

    Glad you are getting started! We have a contract on my dad’s house and it took forever to get packed up. Of course my folks had lived there 40 some odd years. Still Mike and I moved in to our new house recently and for the love of all that is holy, we have too much stuff! I am still unpacking. As to the sheets….I am a massage therapist and have been one for about 15 years. I have WAY TOO MANY SHEETS. You have inspired me to go through them and get rid of most of them. I even took sheets from my folks house that I remember having as a child…I AM 43 years old! LOL And of course since we just got married in September, I got sheets for wedding gifts too! Most of those I took back, except for one really luxurious set that I love. Okay, enough blathering…..I have been drunk unpacking tonight and need to get to bed! CHEERS!

  35. Stephanie C

    Can’t resist those deals on sheets at Amazon, eh? I can’t have enough sheets at my house, because my husband constantly uses them during home improvement projects. Even though I have a specific shelf for ‘non-matching, hole-filled, stain-spattered, you can use for painting project sheets (because you most likely have already used its mate)’ and ‘matching, clean, WE USE THESE DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH THEM! sheets,’ the man cannot distinguish. I should lock up the good ones. I considered making the bed with the fitted sheet he used to stain the living room hardwood floor to see how comfortable he thought it was. But he would just sleep on the couch.
    p.s. I still have the apron from Crackerbarrel where I worked for all of two days (before the store even opened!). It has my name on it!!! How can I part with that? I imagine cooking a fancy pancake breakfast for the family one day while wearing it. So I guess I can fantasize about that without actually keeping the apron because that’s never going to happen. Chris needs to come to my house!

  36. Kristi

    What a great friend! And I mean you! With promises of margaritas and a weekend without kids, why, anyone would take you up on that offer no matter what it entailed!

    Here’s to hoping that it all gets done no matter the room spinning like it probably is!

  37. Lisa (qtpies7)

    Wowser! I’m terrified to try to move with 7 kids. We did it two years ago, and I just can’t imagine it again. It took us 3 weeks to move our stuff, hehe. (we moved 2 blocks away, heat of the summer, by ourselves, couldn’t breathe… oh the humidity!)
    But I have to say you should be able to have 2 sheet sets per bed, shouldn’t you? I shouldn’t because my kids don’t even keep sheets on their beds, they sheets are all in my linen closet and their beds are bare matresses with blankets. But if you have a bad puking virus run through your house, you should have spare sheets!

  38. Bev


    LOL at the sheets and packing story!! Very cool, the way the photos come up! I would get on well with Chris, I LOVE helping friends to sort things out!! So I am NOT the only person in the world who does!!!!!

    As for sheets, I have five sets which I am using in strict rotation. Well three are sets, the others are a top, a bottom, and a pair of pillowcases, never stopped me from sleeping! And of the lot, only one pair of pillowcases were bought new, the rest from my local versions of Goodwill. And I have a “new though from Goodwill” set not in use yet, and a pair of flat sheets from Goodwill, sold as double which turned out to be single, but as I have a fourfoot/threequarter/small double bed they will be *just* ok, have to get pillowcases for them – but too pretty to resist, and would you get tiny polkadots in a “real shop”?! Guess this is too many for some, not enough for others, and just right for others, a bit like Goldilocks?!

    So my linen cupboard (which here is a hot press, but did not want to confuse American readers!!) is cheerful looking as is my bed, but no one could call it sophisticated!

    Bev from Belfast, Northern Ireland

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