Moving House: How To Pack Coat Hangers
By Tom Warneke
Coat hangers. I hate them. I hate them a lot. They’re either those plastic moulded varieties and they’re cheap and they snap or they’re the thin wire kind that bow at the first sign of a heavy jacket or they don’t bow but don’t leave your clothes hanging in the best shape. I hate coat hangers.
I tend to use nice timber coat hangers – in fact, for the past few years, it’s one of those random luxuries that I use to call home. Everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve gone in search of nice timber coat hangers with which to hang up my clothes. From the fact that it’s made of wood so it’s a little closer to the earth than plastic or the fact that it’s more solid than their plastic/wire counterparts means everything is hung more securely. There’s simply a strange feeling of luxury given to the fact that everything is hung on nice coat hangers. I’m going to spare you the sales pitch but needless to say, timber coat hangers leave your clothes in better shape and they take up more room in your wardrobe so it lets the clothes have more space and stops you from filling said wardrobe. All good things. and I feel better for it!
But I digress, we didn’t come here to talk about the virtues of how to hang up clothes.
In recent years I’ve moved a lot… overseas, interstate or just across town but each time necessitates moving. Being a production manager and a technician, most of my job is moving stuff around – coordinating schedules, trucks, packing boxes, inventory, y’know… all the hallmarks of a typical house move.
I recall one of our most lauded statistics at the symphony where I worked was the fact we moved a three bedroom house, on average, five times a week.
Alas, moving for myself is something that I detest and something I really suck at. Invariably, I always pack up my life at the last minute. I recently had to box up my life in Dubai because when I return to the country, I’ll be in a different house. Packing, of course, happened at five minutes to removal time. I also invariably don’t pre-pack enough. Yes, it’s easy to pack the dusty collection of books you haven’t touched in five years but what if this week is the week you finally want to read them? What if that red jacket is finally needed tomorrow night? Couldn’t possibly pack these things too prematurely…
I invariably end up sitting in a house full of loose items as removalists begin to shuffle around me moving fridges and tables and I’m left pondering over how best to box up shot glasses and which carton to put the Uno cards into.
It’s not a practical dilemma – it’s an emotional one. I move stuff for a living. But this is different, this is mine and every time I go to move, it feels like a little piece of me gets broken like poorly packed glass.
It’s a weird emotional bond to a place and the people within it and when you’re forced to box your life up and send it somewhere new time after time, it’s tough as it’s a clear statement of closure. It’s also generally a scary statement of impermanence – what saddens me most about moving is that it demonstrates to myself that I’m never really anywhere, just transient from place to place…
I made the decision after this most recent shuffle in Dubai that I’m going to buy a house. A strange gesture perhaps for someone who loves being transient, loves seeing the world and loves ‘not settling down’. But it’s these very loves that I fear I’m going to lose if I don’t plant roots soon. I want the state of permanence so I have the home base, so that I have something on solid ground. It doesn’t mean I need to be there all the time or have 2.4 kids and a white picket fence but it means I know where home is, it means I know where I belong… it means I don’t need to pack coat hangers.
In chatting with a close friend of mine recently, I was pondering the idea of home and the fact I hadn’t really been there for some time and how delightfully excited I was to see friends and family on my return – he shared my excitement but hit me with a statement that sticks… “but, where really is home anyway?)
“but what is ‘home’ anymore anyway?”
That one statement hit me hard. It made me think that for all the amazing things we get to do in this industry – the people we meet, the experiences we help create, the travelling we get to do, the amazing experiences we get to have ourselves are truly something unique that most people can only dream of. These are things that ‘ordinary’ people simply can’t fathom and seem in awe of. So when I seem in awe of their day-to-day 9-5, it’s perhaps the clearest example of the old adage that humans all embody; the idea of the proverbial grass being greener on the other side.
But when you think about it – it’s not… it’s just different grass. Maybe it’s watered more on that side or maybe you’re just looking at it on a sunny day but really, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. So I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle or way of living for anything. My itinerant nature while challenging and frustrating and heartbreaking at times is also the source of great joy, excitement and lifelong experiences. I’ve met the most amazing people from Macau to London, Dubai to all around Australia – done things and met people that never would have happened if I were fenced in by that white picket fence.
So alas, it’s time for both – a life of experience and travel, adventure and meeting incredible people coupled with a home base on which to hang my hat, firm ground to plant my feet, bookshelves to hold my books and maybe most importantly… a wardrobe in which to never have to pack coat hangers again…
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