You’ve done it when you’ve given someone a certain kind of gift—a camera, a camcorder, or something like that. Right next to the big bow, you’ve affixed a label: Open me first.
What a simple concept, one I’d have expected to put to use during a most important voyage of my stay-at-home life: my family’s move from our oversized house to a downsized, now-being-remodeled, home.
I like to think I’m an organized gal. Come the first of the year, I snatch women’s magazines off my supermarket’s shelves. You know, those “home journals” that tell you how to keep house and be a perfect wife or mother. Their articles are an irresistible seduction. Titles—such as Organize Your Home—call to me like sirens from their January covers.
Like a starving lioness, I devour those mags. I prowl the aisles of Walmart and Target. I butter up the staff at The Container Store. In my quest for a perfectly organized life, my mouth waters at the variety of storage containers in delicious array. Clear plastic boxes I’m not afraid to pluck off the shelves and toss into my cart.
Compared to this, Christmas shopping is one big zip. January is my time to dream and spend. Energized and full of New Year’s zest, I donate, recycle, or toss into the trash. When my work is done, with great tenderness, I squirrel the remaining good stuff in the storage containers I’ve selected from the stores. With little ceremony and much relief, I snap their covers on and admit those fine containers to the Organization Heaven of my closets’ shelves.
One would think the skills acquired from these annual efforts would’ve smoothed our family’s recent move. Except that we’re downsizing from 5,000+ square feet to less than 1500. Of course, this meant removing pickup truckload after pickup truckload of furniture and stuff for donation or recycling, and, sadly, for the dump.
The removal of it all was a Herculean effort. And the machinations we went through to find good, caring homes for all the keeper stuff? Don’t even go there.
Absorbed was I—body and soul—in the sorting and inventorying needed to place our things in five different temporary storage venues. Didn’t I have to do that? I mean, don’t we need access to all these things while we live in a hotel ‘til our remodel is done?
Upon hearing my story, you might understand how I could forget the simplest idea. Had I remembered, I’d have placed our essentials—cameras, laptops, and bullet-proof vests—all in a box labeled Open me First.
Alas, I did not. My dear daughter’s laptop, and her brand new Apple MacBook Air, have, unfortunately, gone missing. From what we can tell, these things are buried like needles in a haystack in our moving company’s warehouse. Which means our daughter can’t use them until we move into our remodel and quit the hotel.
This is why my holiday gift to you is a bit of friendly and unsolicited advice: if you happen to be wrapping gifts for Christmas morning, or preparing your family for a big move, write Open Me First on a box or two.