photo of oak tree
photo of oak tree

This is a photo I took yesterday of the oak tree outside my front door.

I don’t know when the final moving date from our old home to our new one will be. I have in mind that it would mean something if we spent our first night in the townhouse on June 21, the shortest day, longest night of the year in the southern hemisphere. To sleep in the townhouse in our bed from our old home on June 21.

A way of bringing in a ritual – moving into our new home on the longest night of the year.

Already we are heading into June – sundown comes far sooner and sunrise much later. Our elder son Mike was here recently for 4 nights and days and helped enormously with lifting, carrying, manouevering, directing, guiding, suggesting placements of furniture with a fresh imaginative eye. Those few days have seen us using some real muscle power in carting things from our home to the townhouse. Nothing is final in terms of final placements of anything. We will not have enough cupboard space for linen, towels, blankets etc. My study is about a quarter of the size of the one I have here at home and I can’t figure out quite where to place my desk. My chaise longue will have to go into the bedroom. Much has already gone by way of auctioneers, still much to be sold privately, much to be donated.

A few friends have said to me that this is such a big thing we are doing, moving from our much loved home of 26 years to a much smaller place. They have said about loss, emotional upheaval. Because I value their concern, I wonder about this as regards my own feelings. I seem to not have any emotional upset about this imminent move, at least not now. Yes, it is true that I have little time for myself, my writing, or walking around my familiar block enjoying these beautiful autumn days.

But as my good friend Lynda said the other day, you never know until the actual event happens. As a medical doctor who has witnessed cancer in others, she never imagined it would happen to her yet would wonder sometimes how she would respond should it happen to her. It did happen to her – awfully so – and as we discussed recently, one has no idea until it actually happens to you personally. So, while there is no comparison about illness and moving, this is my sentiment about moving from the old to the new … I will wait and see, to feel how I experience this.

My gardener, Lowan, dug up some clivias and azaleas from my home and we transplanted them into the townhouse garden, while removing some plants from it and bringing them bagged, back home for any friends who may want them. There are about 60 pot plants whose fate is yet to be decided. There is something in me that wants to have something of my old garden in the new. I will have to say farewell to my secret garden at the bottom end of our garden, visible to no-one. I won’t have that at the townhouse.

Treasured books and note books, dream journals, files forever. As someone said this morning, you never clear out until you have to. I am not a hoarder yet I cannot imagine getting rid of the afore-mentioned.

Friends will be coming by in the next days to take from the garden here at home what they want. This makes me feel a bit lighter about it all, knowing that the plants will live on. I will make my own blessing on them as they leave my house hoping that they fare well in new homes.

The cats, Harry and Angie – already we think that they sense something.

Change is in the air …

34 Comments on moving home – from the old to the new –

  1. One more thing. I forgot to mention. I always try to take some of my plants with me. the last time we moved it was in December, so sadly I wasn’t able to. I know how you feel.

  2. I don’t know why you’re moving, but you are doing exactly what I hope to do at some point in the not too distant future. After having to dismantle our parents’ home of 30 years, I realize I do not want our children to have to do that with our collections. I’m already planning to move things out of here a little at a time. I got rid of four books today. (Like that is really going to make any kind of difference.)

    One thing I’ve been trying to do is scan photos. And digitize videos. This can reduce large volumes of information into something manageable. I do most of my writing on the computer, so I don’t have a lot of filled journals hanging around. A few. But I hope to deal with those as well.

    We spend the first half of our lives accumulating and the last half getting rid of.

  3. I wonder how long houses have been moved? I just sold a house this year I know was at least a 50 years old. It was a small frame bungalow with wet plaster walls, and when I bought it, it sat on a nice, newer concrete block foundation. My father delivered papers in that area when he was a teen early thirties and remembers both their future home and the little house next door I owned, and he remembers it was moved to that location.

    • That’s interesting Samuel about the history of your house, as well as of your father selling papers in the 30s. Thank you for this slice of life.

  4. Thanks Bill! Good luck on your road trip – is this through South Africa or a metaphoric ongoing road trip? I suspect the latter …

  5. Thanks for the comment on my ramblings and I hope your move goes well. I’mm also passing through on my roadtrip.

  6. Lovely comment Patricia thank you so much. You highlight the difficulty of saying goodbye while welcoming the new so poignantly and for me this is a timely reminder. To hear this expressed by you sort of puts any potential pain in the goodbye in a clearer light. And you are right, this is a conscious choice and it is not as if it was thrust upon us by bad luck or ill fortune.

    Thank you Patricia,



  7. Hi,
    Goodbyes are difficult for me because I know change has ushered in a new phase in my life. The funny part about it is that I desire to change, to grow, to move forward and upward, but I hate saying goodbye. If there were any way that I could keep the old as I move on with the new, then I would do it. So I thank God that I have to let go of the old.
    Like you, it really doesn’t hit me until the last day or the first day into my new phase. I think that is okay. I am glad that the hurt comes after I have crossed over or before I take that final leap.

    So don’t worry about when it will hit you. If and when it comes, you will be able to deal with it because you have chosen to go this route. This is your decision and change that stems out of our decisions is a wonderful thing to experience, even when we hate saying goodbye.

    All the best.

  8. Susan, what a wonderful photo.
    Change is difficult, especially after so many years, but I always say when my son goes away to college (another 9 years :)), we’ll move to a smaller place, so I can actually have time to do what I want to do (write, read, etc.) and not worry about maintaining the house so much. Have to find the positives in life, I guess.
    Great blog post (and I thought I had subscribed to your wonderful blog, but never received notifications, so I did it again).
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

    • Thanks Silvia for saying about the photo! And for your comment and for subscribing! I am in the throes of another blog on moving which I MAY post tonight if I can figure out a way to create a link to something in it.

      You’ll see in Arlee’s comment about decluttering sooner rather than later – well, you have 9 years to go before your son goes to college, but believe me the stuff that the offspring accumulates is HUGE!

      The smaller home we’re moving to will I know be much more manageable and less costly to maintain and hopefully will free up my time for reading writing etc.

  9. New place looks very kiff, but it is quite a thing. Perhaps to consider renting a storage unit nearby to house all the furniture while you decide whether to sell / use it? In any event, nice post 🙂

    • Thanks so much Mike! No, when we move it will be final! But an interesting suggestion and you never know! Already I think the dining table is too large and want to get a smaller one and place near the kitchen; and make area where dining table is currently placed into another area with sofa, writing desk for Dad etc …

  10. Moving is a time of so many choices. Your picks of what to keep would compare to my own. I hope that I can unclutter my life long before I have to face moving. Less decisions to make.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    • Thanks Arlee for your comment. Much of our furniture has gone off to auction or donated and it is quite freeing in its way. Uncluttering in one’s home is an excellent way of freeing up and allowing for other energies to come to the fore. Less decisions to make when the actual time comes. So NOW is the time!

  11. Moving isn’t easy, Susan, you’re dealing with it really well. I’ve been thinking of it recently, and have been taking an overview of what I have in my house. It’s made me think of how little I actually need, in comparison to what I’ve accumulated over the years. Like you I’ll always have the few favourite bits and pieces, the books and writing paraphenalia that feed the soul. Plants too, but I think a new house would create room again for more change. Plus there would be lots of ideas for new stories along the way! Maybe even another novel? It can be an exciting adventure…

    • Sharon, thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate this so much and am encouraged much of the time when I view it as an adventure, or a challenge, but change it certainly is! Paring down to essentials is what I think is necessary in the ‘less is more’ mode –
      Ideas for a new novel? This is what I am hoping for the WIP – (I’m learning the lingo!)
      I think it helps to ‘overview’ as you say what one has in one’s home so good luck to you Sharon on your doing this.

  12. Thanks Joyce for visiting! Encouraging to think it might be nice in a smaller space. It may well be – though I am used to space. Is this why your husband is not so keen?

  13. Lovely post – and I’ve felt it many times also. I suppose moving a lot has made the transition less lofty. My brother is moving to a smaller home after thirty years or so — I think it bothered his daughter the most (although she moved out long ago). Love that you are keeping and sharing the plants — what a wonderful tribute.

    • Sally how lovely of you to stop by thank you. Certainly in my childhood we were always on the move so I suppose this is why I am not too freaked out though childhood was a long, long time ago!

      Good luck to your brother and his move. A few comments already recorded here may be of use to him? They certainly are to me!

  14. PS I am not counting books when I say keep one of everything!!! I still have boxes of books that I keep close.

  15. Dear Sues, It is quite a thing – moving on! I know I tried to accommodate much of what I was used to into something much smaller….and I ended up a bit down about the constant compromise…….so now I think if I did it again I would keep one of everything useful, chuck the rest, and then create each room completely differently to what I had been used to… it becomes a challenge and not a compromise.
    Paring away the layers of tack (not implying your stuff is tack….) and just deciding on what I actually need…..brings things into sharp focus?
    Thinking of you doing the up and down of moving!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Didi. Compromise (a word I usually dislike intensely) can be looked at more positively and realistically as you wisely say thank you so much. This is the approach I will use.

      There is a lot of tack – and a lot of changing my mind about a huge of of things re: the townhouse. I guess I’ll keep the ‘one’ husband but do I really need a zillion ancient towels? And 15 trays? We looked at them this morning and we decided we didn’t. So out they will go.

      Thank you again! It is so rewarding to hear of others who have been through a similar something. I learn something new everyday!

  16. Susan…I love your perspective on moving…..You were happy in your home for many years, you built a life…memories, you developed into the smart, beautiful, incredible talented woman.
    So..I would look at it as “The House That Built You”……and a new chapter begins. ..your new home awaits you. 🙂

    • Linda, I love the analogy of the book – “The House that Built You” and a new chapter begins!

      You of course had the awful experience of having to move to a new home after Hurricane Sandy battered the Atlantic seaboard. It was so amazing to be in touch with you over this time and to learn of your personal courage and those of others.

      Happy settling into your new home in NY on the 6th floor! 🙂 🙂 xx

  17. Wow, you are a beautiful writer. The words you use to describe moving, whether intentional or not, are really lyrical and read like carefully thought-out prose.
    I, myself, have moved many times so I understand your feelings of loss. However, because I have made so many moves, I have never been rooted in one place for the extended amount of time that you were. Although it is difficult to encounter the changes that come with a move, you are so lucky to have such fantastic memories.

    Courtney Hosny

    • Thanks so much Courtney for stopping by and your lovely compliments! I much appreciate this! As a child (when Moses was a boy) we moved a zillion times so perhaps there is a faint memory of transition. But I guess I am looking at all of this as a challenge, old making way for new, though wrapping glasses as we did last night, is so tedious and tiresome and time consuming!

  18. I have to agree that change is very hard – especially after that long in one place. We moved nine years ago after being in a place twenty-five years. It was very tough. Now we are thinking of moving again because my husband wants to downsize. I have too many books and things I don’t want to get rid of, so I have no idea what will happen there. You are far braver than me. I dread the day.

    I have cats too. They can sense change.

    • Sunni, so great to have you come by and comment thank you. I so hope that the downsizing goes well – this is exactly what we are doing. Already I have moved half my bookcase to instal them in newly built bookcase in townhouse and that was quite fun and thoughtful in its way re-arranging them.

      Do keep me posted! And thanks for the reminder about cats sensing change.

  19. Susan, thank you for your comment and for highlighting the opposites which I hadn’t considered in that way until you pointed it out! It rings true and makes it more real. The ‘opening and shutting’ is so image-ful and makes me think of doors closing and new ones opening.

    A smaller space allowing for something larger to emerge? Another encouraging aspect thank you. And yes, change is part of our every day lives. For which I am grateful.

    What a paradox about fantasy remaining the same …

  20. Change is so hard but we do it daily and is such a part of life. Nothing remains the same except our fantasy.
    What a venture you embark upon and how the space, although smaller, will open up to bigger or to something that you do not know at the moment. How brave of you and Neil to do this opening and shutting that will begin on the longest night and shortest of days.

  21. Gwynn, thank you for your wise perspective. I think it takes an ‘other’ to point out things sometimes in order to see in another, different way, not previously acknowledged. You are right, we did make this decision actively. And, as you say, it will be interesting to see what dreams will present in this time of change.

    Thank you for your encouragement in saying that all your moves have brought more joy. I will keep that thought uppermost. Meanwhile, I will keep a track of my feelings as and when they occur.

    Thank you again, dear Gwynn.

  22. Susan, you seem to be doing well with the move as I think you have actively decided to make this change. However, it will be interesting to see what feelings, if any, pop up when your move is complete.

    I know for me, I don’t like change. I had a tough time leaving my home of 23 years, but once the move was complete, I saw that it was for the better. Each move has brought more joy into my life. I’m learning to accept change. However, I still have my feelings along the way. I wonder what you will experience and possibly what dreams the move will inspire in you. You are doing a wonderful job and very well stated.

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