LESSONS FROM THE MOVE: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She’s blogged since 2002 about the business side–and the spiritual inside–of art. She says, “I share my experiences so you won’t have to make ALL the same mistakes I did….” For ten years, Luann also wrote a column (“Craft Matters”) for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She’s a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.
The latest installment in moving my very densely packed mixed media art studio is a bit confusing.
I was about halfway through packing up the studio, when I realized there were so many packed boxes, I couldn’t even navigate my space. So I had to move several dozen boxes home for safe-keeping.
Then I thought, with the extra space I’ll have, I should also pack up some of the supplies I’ve stored in our garage. That added a few more dozen boxes.
There was no place in my garage for those, too. (Why does packed stuff take up more room than when it’s just “out”???)
So we found a half dozen pallets, set them up on the porch, and tarped the stack just before the next round of drenching rainstorms hit last weekend.
It looked like we could do the actual truck rental/moving the first weekend of February. Unless it rained….fingers crossed!)
Then my darlin’ hubby reminded me he had a three-day conference to attend that same weekend. And the weather report? Three days of rain. Three days. Of rain.
On that Wednesday, January 30, late afternoon, my landlord asked me when I thought I’d be totally out of my space. I explained it might be an extra week. (I had previously offered to pay for the extra week, if it came to that, and he agreed.)
That’s when he said, “What would it take for you to be out of this space by tomorrow?”
He then offered the use of a truck, and the aid of two of his own employees, if I could move the next day.
Of course I said yes.
The next 36 hours were a hot mess. I entered that stage of packing where you just grab stuff, throw it in a box, and tape it shut. By the next morning, I wasn’t even taping boxes shut.
The truck was huge. Jon says it was bigger than my studio! It had a sign on it about “Junk Removal”, which, in other circumstances, would have hurt my feelings.
The two guys were wonderful, and thorough. The only thing that broke in the process was one light bulb. They even loaded my box of packing supplies, and a bag of garbage.
The actual long-dreaded move took less than three hours. (Yes, I tipped them generously.)
And so here I am, in my wonderful new space, filled with empty shelving racks, my desk, my sewing table, many many many boxes, and said bag of garbage.
Old Studio New Studio (in progress!)
(Don’t cheer yet, we still have to move all those tarped boxes on the back porch!)
I should be cheering, though. I should be thrilled. The worst part is over, right?
Not so fast, cupcake.
The configuration of my new space is totally different. While my husband was gone, there was only me to move heavy furniture and such.
My biggest roadblock?
I can’t figure out where to put my desk.
I pushed it here and there, up against this wall, back out to another wall, placing it perpendicular to a wall. Finally, yesterday afternoon, I gave up and left it sitting in the middle of the room.
How did I get this far, and get so blocked, so quickly?? I felt like an idiot.
Here’s how I finally got through it:
I pretended I was talking to a good friend.
If a good friend had just gone through a major, last-minute move, with almost no help, from a noisy (ongoing construction, jack-hammers, regular hammers, buzz saws, etc.) and tightly-packed little studio, to a slightly larger studio, in the middle of the rainiest California winter we’ve ever seen, would I call them an idiot?
If a good friend had gone through a year like mine (loss of both parents, my daughter’s loss of her first child-in-the-works, making five trips across country to be present for all three, and a sixth trip already this year), would I criticize their lack of energy and brain-capacity?
If a good friend had done their best to meet all commitments, gallery openings and receptions, special orders, etc. and now could barely find the time and energy to even unpack their supplies, would I chide them on their work ethic?
If said friend collapsed (in between the oh-so-many-stacks of boxes) in the middle of their studio because they couldn’t figure out where their desk should go, would I make fun of them?
I think not.
So why was I being so harsh on myself?
We all do this. We all believe that everyone else is “doing it right”, and we aren’t. We all believe that we should be doing better, even when circumstances won’t allow it. We are all kinder to our friends, even strangers, than we are with ourselves.
One compassionate friend and blog follower left a comment for me about their moves (office and house.) They made note that it took them 12 weeks, in both situations, to find the perfect place for everything. (Thank you, Susan!)
Twelve weeks. I’ve unconsciously allotted myself three days.
I may not find the perfect spot for my desk for awhile.
Heck, even if I do find the perfect spot for it, I’m gonna have to move stuff around again anyway! I realized I need a big rug in the new space. (It’s echo-ish, and the floors will be slippery if they get wet.) So of course I put myself in a tizzy searching thrift shops for one, thinking I had to have it in place before I set up.
But then I found a super-cheap room-size rug on eBay for under $100. It also ships for free! It’s attractive enough, subdued enough not to distract from my artwork, and certainly not “precious” enough to worry about spills and stains, too.)
So today, I finally went to the gym, for the first time in weeks. It was good to be back!
I got home to find another offer, from a good friend, to help move more stuff. I always hate to ask for help, but they insisted. “I always enjoy our talks, so I’m doing it for myself, too!” they said. I’m taking them up on that! (Thank you, Laurie!)
And here I sit, sharing my slowly-untangling thoughts with you today.
I hope, if you are also facing something overwhelming in your life, that you have good friends to help you through.
And even if you don’t, I hope you are as kind to yourself as I’ve learned to be, today.
6 thoughts on “LESSONS FROM THE MOVE: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day”
You should be quite happy/proud with your accomplishments. That picture of the new studio space with actual aisles between the stuff? Boxes on shelving? I am dumbstruck! I realize that it will take weeks/months to get everything the way you want it, but the simple fact that you can walk through the space without having to push tumbling stacks of stuff aside puts you way ahead of the game.
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Aw, Gary, that means so much, coming from YOU! I still remember how beautifully organized your workshop is! One tool, not half a dozen (because I’m always losing mine!) and each tool has its own place. I learned so much from you, even if I can’t always put it into my own practice. ;-P This week, I’ve been so good about organizing and unpacking, I was able to clear out our storage space in the garage so I can work on boxes and framing. And soon I’ll be going through the items I know I can’t use, won’t keep, and find a way to move them on, too. Yippee!!!!
We’re just about to move into my new space. Two things I’ve learned: 1. BUY THOSE FURNITURE GLIDES TO PUT UNDER STUFF. We bought a bunch. You’ll be able to move that desk around by yourself like it was nothing until it finds its happy home. You can even buy nail-on versions if you want them permanent. 2. WHEELS. Become the Queen of the Roller Derby. I’ve put as many things on casters as I can. I see some of your rolling shelving in one photo. I intend for my new space to be as flexible as possible and that means easy movement of furniture. For the extra work now, you’ll have years of easy rearrangement, and especially when you drop something behind a piece of furniture. In my separate wood shop, I have a huge work table that I built for my 6’2″ standing height with a one-inch vinyl grid, used for sewing tables glued on top. WHEELS on the bottom. Two are locking casters to stop rolling when you need to. It’s against the wall until I need to walk completely around it and then I just pull the whole big thing out effortlessly.
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EXCELLENT ideas, Michael, so glad you shared them here! I’ll look for furniture glides asap. Yeah, I think I lost a gorgeous horse earring under some built-in shelves at my old studio. :^( No more built-ins!!! MORE WHEELS!! Got it!
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Welcome to your new Studio, Luann!
I’m new to your blog and I reeaally enjoy listening to you( of course, I mean reading)!!
I’m actually delighted you said “listening”, because I tend to write like I’d talk! Thank you!!!!