The Joys of Packing for Long Term Storage

Packing for long term storage gets complicated, especially when it comes to small items. For example, I have a ball of cord that I use to make i’i for dance class. (I’i are Tahitian hand tassels, sort of like small cheerleaders pom-poms.) So, do I pack the cord with string, or do I pack it with dance costumes? It doesn’t really matter except for when I need it again. I’m not going to like having to unpack two or maybe even three boxes because I couldn’t remember where I put it. Normally, when you pack for a move, you find everything — or almost everything — when you unpack. But what if you aren’t going to unpack? What if you forget what your system for packing was? What if you can’t decipher the inventory notes on the boxes?

boxesThe smart thing to do, of course, would be to throw away the string and buy it when I need it again.

But sometimes the solution isn’t so simple. When I moved from the house I lived for twenty years before coming to take care of my father, I found a couple of buttons in a rummage drawer for a sweater that I’d already packed. I put the buttons where I knew I’d find them, but I didn’t — not for four years, and then by accident as I was again packing up. I wondered where to put those dang buttons so I’d be able to find them again. To show you the level of stress I’ve been under, it took me more than a week before “duh” hit me. Sew them on the dang sweater!

And what about the little tool that pulls snags to the wrong side of knits? For reasons I don’t remember, I’ve been keeping that tool in a bathroom drawer along with stray buttons and safety pins. (I suppose it makes sense. It’s when I’m dressing or standing at the mirror that I discover needed repairs.) I put the gadget with sewing tools because that’s where it belongs, but I know I’ll never think to look for it there.

Although I’ve gotten rid of more than half of what Jeff and I owned jointly, and half of what I owned, I still have an insane number of possessions.

In the coming years, I’ll be working on paring things down even more.

But not now.

Now I have to figure out where to put my small pliers. Where will I think to look for them when I need them? In with the tools? Or in with my craft stuff?

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire,andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.