Staying Put

This past September I passed a couple of personal milestones. My husband, I, and 9yo Drake have lived in our current house for 8 years. I believe this is the longest time I’ve ever lived in one residence. My previous record was a house in a far-flung suburb of Columbus, Ohio. We moved there when I was 10 and I left for college at 18. I came back the following summer, but my parents and I clashed over my very bad behavior, so I began my sojourn on the East Coast, almost 11 years in DC and Philly. I lived in, at my best guess, a dozen different places during those 11 years. My husband and I got married and moved to MN when he got a job here. We rented in a close suburb for 3 years, bought a condo downtown (which was great until we had a baby, then it sucked) and then (finally I hope) bought a house in a family-friendly neighborhood in Minneapolis where we’ve been ever since.

As best I can figure, I lived non-consecutively in OH for about 13 years, and consecutively on the east coast for 11 years, and consecutively in one Ohio house for slightly less than 8. Other than that long stretch from when I was 10 to 18, I never lived in any one apartment/space longer than 3 years. I’ve now been in Minnesota for 14 years, and in the same house for over 8.

About five years ago (when we’d lived in the house just over 3 years), I became very anxious about the accumulation of stuff and where to put it, and bewailed my lack of organizational skill. I even made a category on the blog for Organization. (It has very few entries.) Then I realized–prior to that point, I moved so often that my life had purging built into it, and I was feeling anxious at about the time–3 years–that I usually moved. Now that I was and would be in one place, I no longer had the urgent excuse to purge that moving provided.

I wish I could say that realization made me shape up and get organized. It hasn’t. My house is filled with blowing and drifting piles of crap. Now that 6yo Guppy is in 1st grade we have the avalanche of school papers from 2 kids, and I am fast losing my ability to know what pile something’s in. I spent half a day last week looking for a particular piece of paper. I am and probably always will be a sporadic perfectionist (occasional compulsive?) which means I make dents now and again, but then entropy takes over, piles grow and the cycle starts all over again. I probably should figure this organization thing out, though, since our house is small and I’m eventually going to run out of room.

It’s odd seeing how other people live, those who stay put and put down roots. I have no intention of moving, but life sometimes decides otherwise. I’ll have to wait and see if my plans and the future align.

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