Stack ’em high

29 Jan

I’m finally getting around to unpacking the rest of our boxes.  I’ve talked about this before.  And before.  And before.  If I don’t unpack all these boxes soon, I’ll be talking about it forever.  I’ve realized that three months is the grace period for unpacking.  If you still have boxes around within three months of moving, you’re fine.  Normal.  After three months, you’re a slob.  The cut off is abrupt and merciless, and despite all your rationalizations you know it is true.* Our boxes arrived in the middle of November.  That means I have just a few weeks before I descend into full-on slob territory.  And while it’s true I didn’t come here to vacuum … I do need to be able to walk around.

To that random stranger in 2000 who wanted to ‘explain’ to me ‘what sci-fi/fantasy is’ because ‘not too many girls know’: suck it.

On moving day, as our movers brought in box after box, it was clear early on that our conservatory was going to become a book box burial ground.  We brought thousands of books over with us from the US.  You may ask why, and it’s a fair question.  I’ll try to explain.  It’s like this — OH MY GOD LOOK OVER THERE! WHAT WAS THAT NOISE? IS THAT DANIEL CRAIG?  Sorry, what were we talking about?  Who cares about explanations, anyway.

A few days ago I sat down in my sunny room and decided enough was enough.  I unpacked 16 boxes of books and stacked them around the low walls of the room.   It’s cozy and colorful in here with all the books for company, and I feel like a charmingly eccentric English prof.

Let’s stick with ‘charmingly eccentric’, okay? 

I’ve made some great finds.  Some ancient french materials from grammar school (Okapi, anyone?).  Old friends like Dorothy Dunnett, Ellis Peters, and Margaret Frazer.  Needlepoint samplers.  A journal kept while travelling in Egypt.  Piles of old letters from college.  A copy of my taxes from 1995.  And before you remind me how stupid it was to ship copies of fifteen-plus-year-old taxes overseas, let me inform you that these taxes have been following me around in that very same box for not just seventeen years but through THREE countries and FIVE states.  May I please collect my prize for silliest preservation of paperwork?  I promise I’ll keep it safe.  In a box.  Forever.

What a laugh.  After dedicating myself to touring and exploring everything new and wonderful in this fantastical country, I  spend the entire day sorting and stacking the past and cleaning house.  But it’s all good:  I found a Fodor’s London Travel Guide.  From 1996.  Useful.

Only 10 more boxes to go.

*Edited to add:  Of course this merciless cut off does not include boxes in basements; attics; closets; in garages; in sheds; in car trunks;  under sinks or beds or stuffed in cabinets.  I’m talking about the boxes I had sitting out in the middle of our main living spaces.  For those: three months.  For the rest: eternity is soon enough.


20 Responses to “Stack ’em high”

  1. Jeanne January 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I don’t think it’s at all eccentric to decorate with piles of books.

  2. competentmom January 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Hmmm… I thought that one had a year to unpack fully… not that that matters for us anymore, we still have boxes, and it has been multiple years. In our defense, they are in our basement, in “storage” as it were.

    But what a fabulous collection of sci fi/fantasy paperbacks! We have a similar, possibly smaller, one, which we largely left here in storage. They were the only books that we boxed up in plastic storage boxes before letting the movers put into larger cardboard moving boxes… and it worked, they came through just fine. We only brought a few classics, ones that we thought our daughters were old enough to read. We missed them and were very happy to unpack them again here, and our daughters began dipping into them again. I *love* love love your cheerful storage in the sunroom!!!

    • Monique January 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      Storage doesn’t count! And I know just that feeling of missing books — ours had been in the basement for too long and we were missing them at home — it took a transatlantic journey to bring them all back in to the sunshine.

  3. Louise January 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    “Suck it!” Ha ha! And I totally fell for your distraction…Daniel Craig is HOT, don’t tease me like that!Love this post, and love what you’re doing with the books. I’ve always been charmed by how stacks and shelves of books can warm up a room.

  4. Zazzy January 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I concluded that boxes that I never even unpacked through three moves should probably just be thrown out unopened. But I couldn’t do it. I think your book stacks are a clever use of the space!

    • Monique January 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      That’s how I ended up with 17 year old paperwork — just bringing boxes along unopened, move after move. But also how the old correspondence was preserved …

  5. Ayris January 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    So … did you have bookshelf space for all those over here?!

    • Monique January 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      We had most of them stacked up on storage shelves in the basement. It’s been years since we had extra room for a ‘library’ in the house proper … those were the days.

  6. Christine January 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    You have hurt my feelings oh perfect one! It’s been 6 months and I’m still unpacking boxes. The last three are heinous. Full of difficult things. And the worst part? Everything needs to be repacked in six months for yet another move. I will not tackle those evil boxes kin to pandira’s atrocity today. No I will have some tea and Toblerone. And admire the view from your sunny convervatory in your pics. ;P

    • Monique January 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      I’m betting they are not in the middle of your living room, like mine were! Anyway, young children in the home must add at least another 6 months to the cut-off, and moving again just after you got there? Tea is not strong enough. I hate those difficult boxes. My kitchen junk box gave me heartburn for days. Eventually I threw it ALL OUT. I haven’t yet thought to myself “gee I wish I had kept those 8 mismatched birthday cake candles” or “if only I had paperclips in assorted animal shapes!”

  7. Zazzy January 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Are you familiar with (what I remember as…) Bell’s Law? The average time between throwing something away and needing it is two weeks. This can be shortened by one week by keeping it a long time first.

    And by the way, I’m all excited to find out what interesting places you explored this weekend.

    • Sarah January 31, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      Case in point – gave my salad spinner to goodwill because we hardly ever used it, and then bought the same exact one here a month or so later because we needed on desperately.

      • Monique January 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        You contributed to the economy — good for you! 😉

    • Monique January 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      So I am going to need those taxes in just a few minutes, then? 😉 Just posted about this weekend —

  8. krisgal January 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Oh gosh, and I thought we hauled over a lot of books (all my husbands boring engineering and calculus text books from college, no less). We had to do the same thing with our books – stack them along the wall of our spare room until we finally got around to buying bookshelves. By the way, ebay is GREAT for finding second hand inexpensive bookshelves. Get to it!

    • Monique January 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      Note to self: ebay uk. Thanks!!

  9. Lisa February 1, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I am slightly jealous! When I moved over I had 3 suitcases and that’s it! I left so many books at my parents house. Which they are, 7 years on, still holding for me!! I did of course bring my favorites and have since started a new collection! ;0) Oxfam is my friend! xx


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