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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

The Homebody Chronicles
Moving out may be harder than moving in

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

Gannett News Service
So, you finally moved out.

And you're probably wondering, "Why didn't I think of this before?"

There's something to be said for independence. Don't have to check in or sneak out. No washing six loads of laundry or cooking spaghetti for an entire family. No 6 a.m. wake-up calls from Grandma, who believes in the early-bird theory.

The spoils of freedom.

But there is one part about moving out that can make any independence-seeking soul rationalize staying home: the actual moving.

Loading up your entire bedroom — didn't realize you had that much stuff, did you? — into easy-to-carry boxes can be the deterring factor. What to take? What to ditch? What to cleverly hide in another room or the hall closet where your folks wouldn't find it?

I spent four weeks trying to move out (for the second time). Four weeks of agonizing over what to take and what to convince my teenager sister she needed to borrow indefinitely.

You can't help but go through the mental checklist:

Hmm, Fido Dido T-shirt. When was the last time I wore that?

Letters from the ex. Store or shred?

Would I ever need "The Star Wars Encyclopedia"?

It can be painful, parting with such precious nostalgia as your comic book collection or your high school volleyball jersey.

Even that prom dress, the one you got at Ross for $15, is hard to separate from.

Take it or leave it — that is the question. And how you make those decisions on what to bring may be rooted in why you're moving out in the first place.

To fill into your own space? To reinvent yourself? To just get away from the parents?

I needed to expand. As we get older, we tend to fall into our own schedules. We start to figure out a pattern that works for us.

Breakfast bar in the car at 8:12 a.m. Saturday morning. "Sponge Bob Square Pants" with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, no milk. Grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, listening to Dave Matthews Band.

You take ownership of a routine, one that allows you to figure it all out. Do I prefer morning showers to night showers? Do I enjoy reading the newspaper in my underwear? Do I like watching "The Iron Chef" while eating ice cream?

But at a cost. That's called "rent."

For $700 a month — and that's without utilities — I can unfold on the couch exactly the way my mom wouldn't and drink orange juice right from the carton.

For $700 a month — not including electricity, cable, phone, student loans, groceries, weak moments at Borders — I can play Jane's Addiction and do modern dance in my living room.

For $700 a month — did I mention my bills? — I can come home at 8:45 a.m. guilt-free, eat Creamsicles for breakfast and only use purple towels. 'Cause I feel like it.

So, I dug deep. In my pockets. To fork over the cost of freedom. In my head, to find out what I was searching for.

So, with a new defined purpose, packing was a little easier.

Mom's rice cooker goes, Hello Kitty bed sheets stay.

Advertiser staff writer Catherine E. Toth has finally moved furniture into her new place. But don't ask her for microwaveable dishes, a VCR remote, a whisk, detergent or an extra shower cap. Those things aren't in her budget.