It has come to my attention that moving, like so many other stages of life, evoke a very specific pattern of emotions in people.
Stage 1: Denial - You know it's coming. The date is even set. But, despite that big red date you've circled on the calendar, you still find yourself saying things like, Oh, I have plenty of time. I don't really need to pack yet. This stage goes on the longest, and generally leads directly to Stage 3.
Stage 2: Bargaining - Once you realize that you do, in fact, have to move, you begin to put a few non-essentials in boxes. You get your Brownie points by packing up a few minor things, pat yourself on the back and call it a day. Still partially in the denial phase of things, bargaining leads to over confidence. I packed up the guest room, and it only took me 35 minutes! This isn't going to be so hard after all! When in the midsts of this phase, please note: it will be every bit as hard, and then some, as you imagined it. This is a totally false sense of security. You should just keep packing.
Stage 3: Anger - That date on the calendar keeps creeping closer. In fact, it is probably now just two to three days away, and you're suddenly realizing - for the first time, no doubt - that the time to start packing has long since passed. All that's really left to do is grab your crap and cram it somewhere. What? you think incredulously. How do I still have so much left to do? It is this phase that inevitably results in your underware - which you planned to have easily accessible - ends up packed away with that picture of some long lost relative in a box you meant to store in the garage for the next ten years. Good luck with that.
Stage 4: Random crap - Whew. You made it! After three days of subsisting on Red Bull and two hours of sleep, the movers are here. And by some miracle, your jittery hands are closing the last of the boxes. Or... so you think. As you go through the house, you suddenly discover all the left-overs. You know what I'm talking about: that one random hand towel, a mismatched pair of socks. Two sheets that were stuck in a closet you thought you cleaned out weeks ago. During this phase, you very seriously consider just chucking it all, because a) you've just discovered that you never really liked that particular hand towel anyway, and b) let's face it, it's not the Great Depression. There's a Walmart right down the street, and you can get two for a dollar on the way to your new house. Keep at least three extra empty boxes handy for this phase, or be prepared to replace a lot of random crap.
Stage 5: Readying - Congratulations! Your house is empty. Now, I'm not sure whether everyone has this compulsion, or if it's just me and my OCD. Once the house is empty, I personally have to make sure it's in show quality condition. I want to scrub everything to make sure that my dirt isn't passed on to the next owner. Mostly, because I find it disgusting to clean other people's dirt. Especially hair. Casey has a horrible habit of leaving his shavings on the counter and in the sink. By the way: Peanut, if you ever read this, it is really a horrible habit. Chicks don't dig it. If you're over the age of four, you should always be responsible for cleaning up whatever comes off/out of your own body. For reals. I'm currently carrying half his genetic code inside of me, but I HATE cleaning up my husband's hair, so you can imagine how I feel about stranger hair and stranger germs.
Stage 6: Grief and acceptance - You never really realized just how awesome your house is until today as you're about to drive away. Go ahead, take a few minutes to say goodbye. Maybe light a candle, if that happens to be one of the things you found in the Random Crap phase. Appreciate just how lucky you were to build your memories in that place. Then, get in the car, wipe your nose and know that what you're going to is something awesome, too.
Stage 7: Vow never, ever to move again. (Even though you probably will.)