3 Lessons I learned from packing: An exercise in the oft-overlooked portions of life.

In August of this year, my family will be making a large relocation for the second time in the last half decade. Five years ago, we made a move from the Mid-Michigan region to Richmond, VA (a place that I had never even visited prior to our move) for my wife’s PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University. This place has become our home, our friends here have become family. Yet, the realities of crunch time have set in and packing has to occur.

I started thinking as I was filling boxes recently that packing brings about an interesting exercise in engaging some of the most overlooked portions of our lives. Packing causes us to do 3 important things.

1)      Remember – Looking through your closet, storage space, or any other location allows you to come across memories that are often hidden from the normal day-to-day activities of life. I know that every time I begin to pack the items I place into boxes carry memories with them. Some of them are joyous, funny, or even painful, but often times it takes something like packing to recall our own story.

2)      Be curious – As a child this was my issue. Every time I was told to clean up my room, it would actually lead me to play with the things that had just been lying around. As an adult, this same curiosity influences how I pack. Whether the item I see is a book I never got around to reading, a piece of technology that was packed away, or even something that had long ago fallen behind my dresser – packing affords me an opportunity to see what things are and how they function even if I don’t ever recall my original decision to purchase them.

3)      Downsize/Evaluate – Yes. This is the least enjoyable part of the lessons learned. Sometimes it takes moving a home, or even packing up after the loss of a family member to let go of the “things” in our lives. I have moved so many times over the past 15 years that I have some things that never make it out of boxes between moves. Do I really still need them? What about things that are of value to me, are they stored or on display? Packing is a great time for evaluating what is important in your life.

Image(funny, but true…)

These are great, but tough lessons that often times can only come from packing. They allow us to reflect, imagine, and evaluate how things are going in our lives!

Any interesting stories of things that you have learned through packing or moving? Any cool discoveries?

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