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Happy Moving Day!

Art-of-Happy-Moving-book-coverHave you ever had the experience of finding the exact right book at the exact wrong moment? And I don’t mean those times when you’re sure you put the book down somewhere where you knew you definitely wouldn’t forget it, and you know you’ll find it eventually but you’ve looked EVERYWHERE and have given it up for lost, so you finally pay the late fee at the library and get back in your car only to find it under the front seat.

Instead, I mean those occasions when you don’t even know you should be looking for a book and the universe intervenes to drop into your hands the book that perfectly fits your situation…only about two days after it would have been really useful.

Friends, I am living that moment as we speak. A few days ago I was standing at the New Nonfiction shelf on the library’s first floor (at the bottom of the staircase, before you walk into the Fiction section, if you’re interested), just minding my own business and turning a few books face-out to attract readers, when I found it. I found the book that, had I had it two months, two weeks, or even two days earlier, would have made my life much less stressful. Even if I didn’t have time to follow all the practical advice in the book, I would have at least had the mental comfort of the author’s light-hearted prose. But no. I found “The Art of Happy Moving: How to declutter, pack, and start over while maintaining your sanity and finding happiness,” by Ali Wenzke, literally the day after I moved.

Wenzke’s book isn’t an exact how-to book for my situation – she has a lot of experience with cross-country moves and I only moved locally within the Boston area, for instance – but she’s got a lot of good advice about how to prepare for the move, checklists for moving day itself, and even pro tips for how to settle into your new home and neighborhood. It’s also a quick read, I’m already halfway through and I’ve been busy unpacking.

More than anything, “The Art of Happy Moving” is a moral support kind of book. Other books and websites get more into the nitty-gritty of evaluating your finances before you buy a house, how to budget all the different costs of home ownership, etc, but the strength of Wenzke’s book is that it feels like having a conversation with a trusted friend who has absolutely been there before, and who knows how to get through a move not only unscathed, but also better off on the other side.

And the real showpiece of Wenzke’s book? “The Art of Happy Moving” is chock-full of great advice for how to do every step of the moving process – with children. From making regular (even non-moving-related) decluttering into a fun game, to discussing the move with kids, to helping them integrate into their new school, Wenzke gives real-world advice that is absolutely worth checking out.

So, how would my move have gone differently if my timing hadn’t been so ironic? Things probably would have shaken out differently in a number of ways. For instance, having an official timeline checklist would have been helpful. I also might have narrowed down my search to a shorter list of towns earlier in the process, saving myself time not looking at towns less likely to fit my lifestyle.

One of this book’s chapters is called “The secret to happy moving: get rid of everything you own,” and she’s not really kidding. I had actually started decluttering over the winter, getting rid of things that didn’t “spark joy,” a la Marie Kondo. I also started packing well in advance of my move, but by the time I got to moving day I wished I’d gotten rid of even more.

Luckily for me, Wenzke includes a number of chapters aimed at the post-move reader, so my timing might now be so unfortunate after all. Of particular interest are her chapters on arranging your new house to be a happy home with special places for your family and for entertaining, and on how to meet people and make friends in your new town.

Kitty and I are settling into our new place – and yes the book does have a chapter on moving with pets – and getting back to our routine after the controlled chaos of moving. Some boxes were packed so long ago that I’ve forgotten what’s in them, so unboxing feels a little like opening gifts. I’m glad to be moving on to the next step in the process, and even though moving is a necessary activity it’s not something I recommend if you can help it. However, if you’re contemplating or faced with a move, I do recommend picking up a copy of “The Art of Happy Moving.” The Norwood library owns the hard copy, plus both the ebook and e-Audiobook versions are available digitally through hoopla, which is accessible to all Norwood residents. Happy moving day!

Liz Reed is the Adult Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood MA. You can read her article in the Thursday July 11 edition of The Transcript Newspaper.

Liz Reed

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