The Useless Crap You Find When You Move

by Matthew J.X. Malady

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, BuzzFeeᴅ Executive Editor Doree Shafrir tells us more about the pitfalls of packing and unpacking and constantly moving from one apartment to the next.

Just found a stuffed manila envelope labeled “2006 crap.” Moving is so fun.

— Doree Shafrir (@doreeshafrir) September 20, 2014

Doree! So what happened here?

When I moved out of the apartment I shared with my then-boyfriend in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 2009, I got rid of my huge file cabinet and threw everything that had been in there into two storage boxes. They sat in the back of the closet TB and I shared in Carroll Gardens; when TB and I broke up, they moved into a closet in a different apartment in Fort Greene; when New York and I broke up, they found a home in the back of a closet in my new apartment in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until last week, when I was packing up my apartment to move in with my current boyfriend, that I decided it was time to excavate whatever was in those boxes.

I can’t say I recommend bringing two heavy boxes that you never open with you to three different apartments, but the upside is that you *will* discover a time capsule of sorts, especially if you used to save everything. There were my post-college journals, there were letters I’d written from sleepaway camp when I was 14 (“Yesterday in sailing I went out on a boat with Caroline, Beth, & Tammy. It was really fun”), there were fraying photographs of my grandparents in an envelope marked “photos to restore,” there was a typewritten 23rd birthday card from my best friend and birthday cards from my sister. There was a rejection letter from an editorial assistant job at FSG, with a handwritten “Doree, we’ll keep your resumé around” note at the bottom. And there was a manila envelope marked “2006 crap.”

doree photo

So what was in the envelope? Anything fun?

If the rest of the box was filled with somewhat charming ephemera, this envelope was aptly labeled: It was full of crap, like bank statements and electricity bills, some still in their envelopes. (There was also a notice for a hearing about a complaint I’d made against an NYC cab driver who had refused to take me to Brooklyn. True crap!) I’m sure that the contents of that envelope had been papers that had been strewn about the tiny apartment I was living in in Williamsburg with a lesbian Verizon salesperson and her Chinese crested dog Vlad that I just hurriedly shoved into an envelope and labeled “crap” right before I moved to Fort Greene the first time. The act of saving those pieces of paper would seem to indicate that I intended to come back to them later, but I can guarantee you that I never envisioned it would be a full eight years later. This time, I just threw everything out.

Lesson learned (if any)?

I have been known to loudly proclaim that people don’t change, and yet: when I opened this envelope, I was pretty convinced that I have, in fact, changed. Because holy shit, I really used to keep everything. And now I just keep, like, half of everything.

Just one more thing.

I got rid of probably 3/4 of the stuff in those boxes; the stuff I decided to keep is now in a plastic container that went, you will not be surprised to learn, directly into a closet in my new house.

Also, nobody should ever move.

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Matthew J.X. Malady is a writer and editor who was in New York but is now in Berkeley.