Moving is worrisome business. Will it rain on moving day? How much of my security deposit will I get back? Will I find the box with the nose-hair trimmers before my coworkers notice that the situation is out of hand? I recently relocated, and these are some of the things that concerned me. But I also realized that it could have been much worse. Fortunately—as is so often the case—we can turn to literature for answers. These five books offer valuable lessons for making your move more Jane Austen than Stephen King.
Hire a Good Inspector: The Amityville Horror
If you’re worried about a leaky roof, a cracked foundation, or a pig-headed fiend appearing outside your windows at night, it’s imperative that you retain a trustworthy inspector before purchasing a new home. When the Kathy and George Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue in 1975, they hoped to cut a corner by hiring a priest to bless their new home—the site of a series of grisly murders the previous year. Like most shortcuts, this blew up in their faces as they endured a series of terrifying paranormal events, requiring the additional expense of unlicensed demonologists. As Vonnegut said, "In this world, you get what you pay for."
Treat Your Movers Right: Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West
Whether you’re employing professional movers or your friends to get the job done, providing lunch—usually in the form of pizza—is appropriate and a great way to keep both energy and spirits high. Unfortunately for the Donner Party, neither delivery nor takeout was available when winter weather forced them to over-winter in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Don’t let your movers get hangry like the Donners. Fortunately for us moderns, it’s so easily avoidable.
Prioritize Real-World Communities: Rosemary’s Baby
One of the great stressors of moving is getting to know the new neighbors; a network of friends is critical, so pay attention to the demographics of any prospective home. For example, if you have young children (or plan to), make sure your chosen ‘hood has plenty of other young families to keep both you and your kids company. Obviously, this was Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse’s miscalculation when deciding to take an apartment in The Bramford: They just didn’t share anything in common with its mostly elderly tenants. And in his eagerness to make friends, Guy led himself—and Rosemary!—into some uncomfortable social situations.
Rise Up from the Clutter: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
The goal of “death cleaning” is simple: Ridding yourself of unwanted, unneeded possessions before your demise saves your survivors the chore of dealing with your stuff. But there are at least two more good reasons to lighten your load: 1.) When your time does come, think of all the posthumous embarrassment you’ll avoid. Imagine your children rifling through love letters from your first girlfriend, when you can happily (and just as effectively) store your adolescent pinings in memory. Likewise, shoe boxes of old Christmas cards (the equivalent of I’M LONELY scrawled on a scrap of napkin), cocktail umbrellas collected across a lifetime of middling vacations, or a box of binder-clips and rubber bands kept for no discernible reason. And 2.) Reducing your junk footprint now simply makes for an easier move.
Find a Home That’s the Right Size for You: The Shining
A house should feel like a home. While we’ve established the importance of having enough room for your belongings, too much space can also be problematic. Just like French fries, the notion that “bigger is better” sometimes leads us into the darkened hallways and forgotten rooms of our minds. Jack Torrance and family learned this the hard way. Also make sure that your new home isn’t a doorway to hell, a sort of battery for evil energy, or situated atop an ancient burial ground. (See Hire a Good Inspector above.)
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