The move was one of the stranger experiences in my life.
Two weeks ago, I closed and locked the door on the place I called home, where all my worldly belongings resided, and caught a plane. A week later, I flew back and walked into a different home completely furnished with all my stuff.
While I was out, the home-staging fairies had moved me to a brand-new house.
The surreal moving experience was the home staging company’s way of offering me consolation, or compensation, or both, for the fact that I had barely gotten the sheets warm in the home I last lived in and staged, before it sold. Talk about pulling the carpet out from under me.
Success is dubious. Doing a job too well, I’ve learned, comes with a price. In this case homelessness.
The staging company made me a deal: If I packed up all my smaller contents in boxes, the staging fairies would do the heavy lifting and — even better — the heavy thinking:
They would not only load and unload my household, but they also would decide where furnishings would go in the new place.
“Wait, they can’t do that!” was my knee-jerk reaction. “Only I can move me. How will they know where I would put my things? What if I don’t like it?”
Then I came to what’s left of my senses, which, after five moves in three years, isn’t much. I tallied the cumulative hours of sleep I have lost arranging furniture in my head. The total came to about a year.
Before every move, I’d lie awake for hours thinking the blue sofas must face this way and be parallel; no, they must go that way and be perpendicular. But, wait, then the cable outlet is on the wrong wall. And so the mental machinations would go.
This ambivalence has also driven movers to the verge of violent crime. More than a few times, they would stand huffing and shifting their weight while holding a 2-ton hutch, and while I held my chin ponderously, thinking aloud, “Maybe, here. No, over here. Wait!”
So why was I hesitating at the offer? Then I had a thought I need to have a little more often. “Let go and let them.”
“Have at it,” I told them and left town.
“But aren’t you worried they will see your personal stuff?” my best friend asked when I told her the crazy arrangement.
“As a home stager, I’m on display 24/7. I have no secrets,” I told her.
So last weekend I walked into a new home that was totally organized, and beautifully staged, with my own stuff — only better. (Please don’t tell the staging company I said this or it will spoil my martyr act.)