Packing up is hard to do

Does order come from chaos as the Bible and quantum physics claim? Have we underestimated the magnitude of this relocation from Johannesburg down to Plettenberg Bay? Our lovely home down there is already furnished, but now that we are renting out our townhouse with furniture and all else to a corporate SOE, we have to remove our personal belongings, clothes, toiletries, books (mine are down there but my husband still has tooooo many of his here, including medical and golf books galore), too many boxes of photographs, files, paintings, my art stuff (much of it down there) and I don’t know what else – more stuff –

It’s too soon to panic or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. At least the appointment is made for professional carpet and tile cleaners to come by this Friday. We plan to drive down in our 2 cars with trailer in tow on Saturday. My husband is aghast at my wanting to take down my beautiful hanging orchid and at least one pot plant of my already blooming orchids.

What to keep, what to toss. An existential question for me. Already I’ve given away many clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff. Breaking up is hard to do – I’ve tossed photos of old boyfriends with a loving thought to them. No time for any reminiscing. I’m keeping letters and post cards from family and friends from when Moses was a boy; there’s no time for any reading of them now. It would take forever –

In among this all (and Wimbledon – my nerves), my lovely blogger friend Norah Colvin in Sydney Australia, has and is running a series on School Day reminiscences. It’s been so interesting to read these guest posts which appear on Sundays in which she interviews fellow bloggers from around the world on their memories of school days. My school memories went up on Sunday and can be read on her link below. The below photo is one I found of my sister and me which is not on Norah’s post & which I sent via what’s app to my sister in Cape Town while sorting photographs, which made her a bit weepy – I MUCH prefer her rounded collar –

Norah is a great proponent of early learning and especially reading – – – and her posts for parents and teachers are always excellent and innovative on this topic. Her web page is .com 

I’d better get on with it – thankfully Jane my housekeeper is here and will work for the new tenants a few days a week; and although our employer-employee relationship officially came to an end at the end of May, she’s being an enormous help right now in the cleaning of cupboards and much more –

Little by little, bit by bit, slowly we come to the end of it – 

To begin again.

Everything is pretty tumultuous around the world. Here as well. Plettenberg Bay where we’re heading to has recently seen several days of terrible protest action with some pretty darn revolting thuggery and destruction thrown in among the mess – may order reign everywhere and not a moment too soon.

Jean Raffa, author of beautiful books and Matrignosis: A blog about Inner Wisdom (rich and real soul food), blogged today on Susan E. Schwartz’s and my co-authored book, ‘Aging and Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ – it was a wonderful surprise to see this today! 

May the Force be with you and thank you for reading-

57 Comments on Packing up is hard to do

  1. Hi Susan! Since I am reading this over a month since you posted you likely have finished your move already. I’m new to your blog so I don’t know the particulars, but I DO KNOW the challenge of letting go and moving on. What to keep? What to let go of that? Isn’t that a universal question we are all asking (if we are paying attention!) as we age? So nice to reach out and connect with others around the world with our blogs. I’m happy to have connected with you! ~Kathy

    • Hi Kathy and thank you for coming by! Yes, the move is complete and now it’s a question of re-arranging and re-organising things – much like the aging process and putting attention onto the finer details – there’s a LOT to be considered! My husband is away in Scotland on a golfing trip and other things besides and I know that he can’t wait to get back. I reckon we’ll feel settled end October when all the travelling will be at least over –

    • Thanks Ankur for your vote of confidence! I’m feeling fairly positive about it all. I’ve been trying to comment on your post on the SIM card … with no luck!

  2. Hi Susan – oh yes … I remember the packing and sorting – all I can say is now good luck with it all – have a safe trip and just enjoy being at Plett and living on the south coast … no doubt with lots of trips around SA and other areas .. take care and look after those orchids – cheers Hilary

    • Thanks for coming by Hilary! I brought a tub from my patio of Johannesburg orchids to Plett and some cuttings of a tree orchid – I check them out every now and then. The pot plant of orchids is doing well, thank you!

      Settling in, though on the move again – a weekend in De Hoop Nature reserve tomorrow, then back to Plett only to leave a few days later to Cape Town, from where my husband will be flying to the UK. No doubt I’ll cruise around – as in motoring – 🙂

      I hope you’re well and settling into the idea of BJ being your new PM? Here, politically, things are at breaking point … Susan

      • I think I pass on commenting on BJ or what life is going to be like – I guess it’s interesting if nothing else – but am glad I’m here. I gather life is not easy with you … hope Plett will be easier … take care – and enjoy all the visiting et al – cheers Hilary

  3. Dear Susan, As always there is deep synchronicity in reading your post today as my own “unpacking” begins, having just returned from my own travels. And having just read Jeanie’s excellent review of your 2nd book “Aging & Becoming: A Reflective Enquiry” I realise that I’m unpacking and washing so much more than just memories and views … but of the mountains I lived with and climbed so readily! I guess this is the case (I’m sure there’s more deep symbolism in there too!) whenever we “pack” or “unpack” ourselves … whether we’re “holding or releasing” the process itself is one of deep, deep change.

    Hmm, I feel that I shall be contemplating this over the next few days as I settle down into an old, yet new life, once more. Indeed, this is a well timed post, thank you! And as I’m writing so much later, I do hope the move itself is going well for you all. Love and light, Deborah.

    • Dear Deborah, welcome back from your travels! Travels can provide a wonderful opportunity to unpack and reframe whatever is of importance I find … i like so much what you say about holding and releasing …

      We’re here in Plett arrived last Wednesday. We’re so grateful that this trek with two overloaded cars and overloaded trailer and ourselves as drivers arrived safely, overnighting in I think the oldest town in SA – Graaf Reinet, so full of history and wonderful people. We were also surprised and verrrry grateful that we managed to unpack from the cars and trailer and carry large and very heavy boxes up the stairs without tripping or slipping or having damaged backs, though we had help!

      What an uncertain world we live in – thinking of the UK and Theresa May’s resigning on Wednesday and your having a new PM; the antics of POTUS and believe me there are antics galore going on here in SA. And that’s only the political stuff.

      Happy settling back and going forward! Love and Light to you, Susan

  4. Good luck with your packing, Susan. I have packed many times so I am rather expert at it and I don’t get very attached to things [except my few favourite books]. I am sorry about the thuggery in Plett. There are issues elsewhere too.

    • We’re set to leave tomorrow Robbie. All done though my husband is still frittering around 😀 Thank you for coming by. Seems like the Plett community is pulling together and municipalities pulling their whatevers out of their whatevers. May this happen everywhere!

  5. We have lived in our current house for over 30 years. I can’t even imagine the work it will take to pack up and move. Good luck on your relocation!

  6. Oh, moving is hard and stressful. I sense the chaos of all of it in your blog. My aging vacuum cleaner just conked out and that took an hour of trying to figure out how to save it which I can’t do. My some standards, I don’t have lots of stuff, but it’s all slow going to get rid of it. Boxes of Vic’s books being packed this week to go to the library booksale–and it all makes me nutso because I’d rather do anything else. I’m laughing that I read your blog about the issue I’m avoiding. So tackling a small bit daily because I don’t have to move anywhere–yet. Good luck. Eventually it happens.

    • Ha ha that is funny Elaine, seeing a blog about the very thing you’re avoiding! Arduous to say the least. But the end is in sight and a newish beginning although we’re very familiar with Plett. Being there permanently is something I have to still digest but I’m hoping that we can travel our lovely country using Plett as our base. Someone put up a magnificent photo of a whale leaping from the sea in Plett today .. so this makes me extra excited! Thank you for coming by 🙂

  7. I do hope your move goes well, Susan. As you said, one door closes and another opens onto a new beginning. May it be the beginning of something wonderful.
    Thank you for linking to your school days interview on my blog. I’m sure your readers will love to know a little more about you. The photograph of you and your sister is gorgeous. Funny how ‘little’ things like collars can make a difference to how we feel about ourselves.
    Congratulations on the wonderful review of ‘Aging and Becoming’. It’s funny. Until I read the review I hadn’t made the connection. I have read two other books about ‘becoming’ this year: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and Anne Goodwin’s ‘Becoming Someone’. It’s obviously a popular theme and a topic about which many of us are interested as we travel this journey called life.

    • Thanks Norah, delayed by a day or three but that’s ok. We leave on Tues a.m. after doing the handover to our lovely new tenants who actually love our home. He is a New Zealander, she an American – she loves that the complex is pet friendly and soon they’ll arrange for their much loved cat to come here!
      Yes, I was collared by the collars! (silly)
      Thank you for saying about Susan and my book … it is now a ‘thing’ about aging! And also thank you for the reminder about a door closing and another opening … I wonder how we’ll feel as we drive out the driveway on Tues to begin our trek …

      • I’m pleased to hear that your new tenants love your home. It is important to know that they will treat your home as their own and look after it well. I’m assume you’ll have mixed emotions as your drive out on Tuesday, but hopefully optimism will win. I wish you a safe and uneventful journey.

  8. Ah, moving–not so much fun. The big move–2,000 miles from the Mid-Atlantic of the US to New Mexico came in 2011. Three yard sales. Many trips to the recycling centers. Giveaways to charitable organizations. More trips to the dump. One trip out west to put stuff in storage. Then loading up a 26-foot truck for the final move. It was at closing on the sale of our Virginia home of 30 years that our agent in New Mexico called–the person in New Mexico changed her mind, she wouldn’t be renting her place to us while the new house was built. By the time we arrived, our agent had found an alternative rental. Another 18 months and repeated trips from the rental and the storage units we got moved in. Only another few months of unpacking and arranging and we were settled. Yes, that was the last move! We do love the new house–just the way we want it, where we want it. The turmoil doesn’t seem so bad now in retrospect.

    • oooops John that’s one hang of a tale … apart from all the storing and selling and moving and then to be let down by your person at the last moment. I’ve heard one or 2 stories of this nature. But, as you say, in hindsight it didn’t seem so bad after all! I guess we can say this when it all seems worth it. I wish you continued happiness in New Mexico – it sounds such a lovely place. I read ‘The Choice’ by Edith Eger a few months back and the last part of her book (as a Holocaust survivor) was set in New Mexico which she loved for its vibrancy and the people. Thank you so much for coming by.

  9. Oh, Susan, I feel this same thing, an unsettledness that I haven’t felt in decades, partially driven by my own circumstances, partially because the world seems to be on fire. I wish you a peaceful move, the ability to let go of that which no longer serves you, and a little space to stash the stuff you want to come back to later. Such clearings out are difficult and I still rue the day I gave away a glass orange fruit bowl — more like a piece of art than a bowl because of it’s irregular shape — that was in my mother’s attic when we moved her to be closer to us. I hope that no such treasures slip through your fingers. Good luck. xo

  10. Moving is a chore that takes its toll on a person’s psyche. I feel for you, but am pleased to read that you seem to have the task under control. Safe travels, happy new-ness to you.

    • Thanks Ally Bean for coming by. Unsure about things in/under control – plans change hourly 🙂 Departure date set back or is it forwards as of this morning… instead of this Saturday, it’ll be on Tuesday next week. Unless that changes – Life happens when you’re busy making other plans –

  11. As you well know, I have experienced the tumultuous experience of moving, and the chaos of curating which precedes it. You know you’ll get through it, but I can empathize totally.

    I don’t blame you for wanting to transplant that orchid. I’d do the same – beauty travels!

    Congrats for being published on Jean Raffa’s website. I see her thoughtful comments often on Elaine Mansfield’s blog. Now I’ll have to click on the other link and see what I can relate to about school day reminiscences. What a newsy post, Susan. Thank you!

    • Thanks Marian for your empathy. I remember well your endless curating, boxing, selling, donating, keeping, storing.

      My post was/is very newsy I agree. It never rains but pours.

      Jean Raffa’s posts are wonderful – Matrignosis.

      Onwards –

  12. Hi, Susan – The stress of moving began to bubble up inside of me as I read your post. I feel your pain and am sending warm wishes and positive vibes your way. I’m off to check out Norah’s site now.

    • Thanks for warm wishes and positive vibes Donna, gratefully received! Hope you’re settling back in after the camino in familiar surroundings.

  13. The last time I moved, I swore it would be the last. Of course, that was a foolish thing to do. But at the time, I was barely coherent because of the stress of moving and knowing what to toss and to where to toss it.

    I wish you well and and one suggestion: be ruthless.

    • Thanks Maggie, at least we’re not forever moving. I’m thinking of our new tenants who, because of the nature of his job, has to move every now and then, new place, new people, new city, new country – so, that’s the other side of the coin 🙂

      Being fairly ruthless as a build up to being verrrry ruthless – getting my practice socks on …

  14. Thanks for the mention of my post about your book, Susan. I know it has helped many women through their times of change and will continue to do so. And now you’re going through another time of BIG change again too. I look forward to enjoying the wisdom it will surely bring to your future writing. Sending love and blessings…Vaya con Dios and bon voyage!

    • In my original post that I’d added to, I said more about you Jeannie and that I was looking forward to your new book :Twin’s Soul and that I’d found the ones of yours I’ve read to be so life enhancing. But I had 2 drafts up and I clearly chose the wrong one to use. That little addition didn’t appear. Thank you for your kind words about Susan Schwartz and my book. So much appreciated as well as your warm Vaya Con Dios and bon voyage wishes! Love & blessings to to you dear Jeannie. Quite funny really – my putting up a blog post and making links to 2 more posts about me. This has to be a first!

  15. So glad I found you thanks to Norah’s blog. Best of luck with the move. I know how difficult it is. My guy and I moved four times between 2010 to 2014. Yikes. But each move was a learning experience, and joyful, and now we’ve been settled for almost five years. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to move again?

    • Thanks Pamela for coming by! Four times in 4 years! Definitely time to move again … 🙂 Not really, not if you’re comfortably ‘settled’ 🙂

  16. Hi Susan, I just looked up the location of Plettenberg and the photos of the area are stunning. A great first sentence, the Bible and quantum physics, wisdom of the ages and science. Every relocation is a large undertaking on many levels. We have transported a few plants long distances. Our rubber tree is 43 years old, the first gift from my husband. We call it a symbol of our love, and we make sure to take care of it:). I am heading over to the link on your school memories. Beautiful photo of you and your sister. I look forward to reading the posts from your new home:)

    • That is so lovely about your rubber tree Erica, thank you for sharing that with us. A few of my plants will go down and some special rocks and stones from the garden which came came from our old home just over 6 years ago when we downsized from there to here in our townhouse. It is a sweet photo of the 2 of us!

      My elder son who lives in Plettenberg Bay in his own lovely home sent some photos via what’s app this afternoon of the tidy up of our home. It looks particularly inviting and sparkly clean. Plettenberg Bay is a truly lovely place … we’ve had a home there for about 12 years now, so it is not exactly new to us – I guess it’s a ‘home from home’ but will be our more permanent home –

      Thank you so much for coming by!

  17. Downsizing is tedious work. What I have discovered in the past few months is that none of what we gather and consider as important will go with us. We leave it all behind. Maybe the next generation will cherish it for a while but sooner than we expect they will want to build new dreams and will get rid of the old. And that is good so.

    Wishing you all the best at your tasks.

    Shalom aleichem,

    • Thanks Patricia for your sound thoughts and good wishes. We checked with our sons if they wanted any antique stuff which they didn’t so that was sorted a long time ago. Now they just want photographs!

      Shalom Aleichem to you, and thank you for coming by. Susan

  18. Here’s one who envies any move to Plet! All those walks along hard sand. Oh how lucky are you! Find a pansy shell for me!

    • I’ll do my best Phi … I look every time – they are verrrry hard to find. I think I’ve found one only once on a Plet beach.

  19. The idea of packing is what keeps me from moving more than anything. I tried to go through one closet at a time for a while, throwing away those old boyfriend pictures (which I didn’t) but it didn’t work. Good luck. I’m excited to hear how you settle in.

    • I HAD to throw the old photos of boyfriends away Jacqui – the ones where I’m in the picture I’ve retained. But those lovely handsome kind and good men I said farewell to .. my sweet husband gave me several among his collection – and I waited or day or so before saying goodbye to them –

      I reckon I’m doing this only because push has now come to shove. I’m not sure that the trailer and my husband’s large-ish car and my little Brio will be able to contain all that I want to keep. Luckily I did a fair bit when we did a major move November last year –

  20. Downsizing and moving is ROUGH!! We moved from 2200 sq. ft. to an 800 sq. ft. apartment. Figuring out what to get rid of and having to get rid of more is tough! My heart goes out to you, Susan. Yet, believe it or not, you will feel free with less STUFF! But getting through the project is hard. Take care of you!!!!

    I loved reading Jean’s post regarding your book this morning. It makes me realize that since I turn 70 next month, that I need to read your book again!! 😉 I may actually become the REAL me! 😉

    • I remember your move a few years ago Gwynn! And that it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. We have our personal things to pack which will mean MORE stuff when we get down there 🙁 🙂

      It was a wonderful surprise seeing Jean’s post up today about Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry. I reckon it’s worth dipping into every now and then. I eagerly await Jean’s new book, The Soul’s Twin. Her books are food for the soul which I’ve personally found enriching.

  21. It doesn’t seem that long since you were moving into the townhouse but when I think back – I’ve been reading your blogs a long time!

    • We’ve shared our relocations and reflections over a number of years Elizabeth … you’ve just had your first anniversary in Spain hosting an airbnb … I want to come.

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