Thursday, March 25, 2021

It's Time to Rethink Unpacking

After a round of unpacking and arranging the shelves in my master bathroom, I  finally take the time to sit down and reflect. I am exhausted, frustrated, and still not finished sorting and organizing. Tomorrow will be Day 3 of arranging just this one room. How did I get through the packing stage without crumbling? Perhaps, it was the deadline of moving day that became the incentive. Now the routine of constant unpacking is getting to me. Friends are telling me to take my time and understand that these moments, days, weeks are stressful. As I think that I had no words to express my feelings, these thoughts flowed out.

It's time to rethink unpacking. 
The obsessive routine haunts
My dreams, wakes me wondering.
It's time to stop the merry-go-round.
Find my center, undo the stress, relax.   

While thinking these thoughts, I googled poems on unpacking and found a very interesting one by Thom Gunn, "Thoughts on unpacking".

Unpacking in the raw new rooms, I clear,

Or try to clear, a space for us, that we
May cultivate an ease of moving here
With no encumbrance near,
In amplitude. But something hinders me:

Where do these go, these knick-knacks I forgot?
—Gadgets we bought and kept, thinking perhaps
They might be useful someday, and a lot
Of others that were not:

Bent keys, Italian grammars, Mickey Mouse caps.

You can read the rest here. I read the last stanza to my husband.

In the stillness, I decide to the quiet voice inside and start anew with a renewed spirit. I will clear a space for us because my little granddaughters will be here in the morning and I am ready for a day of pure fun.

This is a combined slice of life post for both Poetry Friday Roundup and March SOLSC! #SOL21.

Poetry Friday hosted by a poetry colleague, Susan Bruck who is honoring National Poetry Month Kidlithosphere Roundup by collecting special projects from Poetry Friday poets.


  1. I totally understand your frustration w/ the unpacking process. I suspect you want the new home to feel organized and finished do you can relax w/out a “to fo” list hanging over your head. This is totally understandable.

  2. Carol, when we moves oh so many years ago we found that unpacking was easy. It was finding the right spot for everything that was difficult. Enjoy the day with your granddaughters. They are top priority.

    1. Bob, you are most certainly right. I can unpack a box but get stuck in the where it goes search. I had a marvelous time with my granddaughters and so glad that I took the time to enjoy life.

  3. In this last move I felt no urge to hurry & I was still working so I did take time, & luckily had lots of help hanging pictures, etc. But the poem line "Where do these go, these knick-knacks I forgot?" made me laugh. I lived in the other house for nearly 40 years, still remember each & every part of where those knick-knacks were there! Do relax, Carol, perhaps purchasing a new shelf or two can bring new ideas? Thanks for sharing the words of this mixed-up time for anyone moving.

    1. Linda, I am not good at hanging pictures. Neither is my husband so we will wait for my daughter to have time or hire someone. We met neighbors today on our Grandma/Grandpa walk and that was wonderful. I liked that line that you chose also. Have a great weekend.

  4. I am sorry for your stress, Carol. I hope you can truly have a day of pure fun with your beautiful granddaughter. Unpacking will wait. The older I get, the less I have to get everything done. Nobody cares but me anyway! ;0)

  5. That moving thing. Ugh!!! The last time I moved, I vowed I was never doing it again! And there are still boxes in the garage!!! Good luck!!!

  6. That Thom Gunn poem is new to me, and it's spectacular! So much sympathy for you in this unpacking - what a nightmare!

  7. I can so relate. When we moved two years ago, it took forever to finish unpacking. My first goal was to get the kitchen, bath and bedroom functional (not complete, just usable) and then we took our time with the rest. Some boxes didn't get emptied until a year later. To be honest, my husband still has boxes to unpack. Enjoy the day with the grand!

  8. Welcome to your new home, Carol! Yay! Give yourself grace on the unpacking...and enjoy yourself (granddaughters, meeting new neighbors, poetic gems like Gunn''s the limit!)