America is a country on the move, residences that is. (It’s also a country of yard sales, which I will get to below.) Last year, 40 million Americans moved to a new home. Apparently, Bekins is recession proof.
The average person moves approximately every six years. That’s 13 moves in a lifetime, before, pardon the expression, the “final move.” That is, unless you believe in reincarnation, in which case we’re continuously moving (sounds exhausting to me). In Santa Monica, with our rent control law, you could say the only way a renter moves is when they’re carried out. (Sorry about that.)
Wrapping everything you own in bubble wrap and handing it to four burly guys to truck across country, or even across town, can be traumatic. In fact, after getting fired or divorced, moving is listed among life’s most stressful experiences. From personal experience, I’d add standing in line at the DMV.
In a way, America was founded by moving. Aside from Native Americans, everyone who settled here came from somewhere else. This is especially true in Santa Monica. Whom do you know who was born here? I imagine those who were hardly recognize the place now. I moved here in 1975 and I definitely don’t recognize it.
There are many reasons why Americans move so much. The weak economy has prompted migrations to the Silicon Valley and the Southwest from the chronically depressed rust belt. Frankly, I’d be depressed just living in an area called the “rust belt.”
Another factor contributing to moving mania is divorce, which generally results in one, if not both, spouses relocating. (The word “spouse” sounds so rodent-like. Ironically, it was my ex-wife who pointed that out to me.)
Divorce rates are at epidemic levels. And I’m not counting Elizabeth Taylor’s eight, Larry King’s possible eight (on, off and who cares?) and Mickey Rooney’s seven. The Mickster will be 90 in September so he’s unlikely to tie the celebrity divorce record but he definitely has the most kids, nine, from four different wives. (Does Maureen Dowd provide you with this type of pointless info? I think not.)
One advantage of moving is the opportunity it provides a person to go through his or her belongings to see what’s worth schlepping i.e. is it “move worthy.” We Americans have so much stuff that we actually rent lockers in which to keep our excess, making self-storage a booming business. We don’t provide housing to the homeless, but we do for our extra stuff. Go figure.
Since rent controlled tenants generally stay put, their “stuff” tends to mushroom. In the extreme it can develop into “hoarding,” defined as when a person accumulates so much he or she is almost buried in their belongings.
I know more than a few rent controlled tenants (not naming names, Michael) who suffer from this obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s so prevalent that there’s a reality show on A&E called, appropriately enough, “Hoarders.”
If I watch reality TV, even for a few minutes, I can feel myself getting dumber (something I can’t afford). But, as research for this column, I checked out “Hoarders,” which is oddly fascinating, though I’m not sure why.
“Hoarders” popularity may be due to the car crash syndrome where passersby rubberneck to get a look at what may be a gruesome sight. Hoarders’ dwellings can be pretty gruesome. And perhaps we all have a little hoarder in us. Though I keep my apartment neat, I know I do.
Somehow I collect things I never use but am reluctant to throw out. I’ve got enough VCRs, answering machines, and even a fondue set, to start my own thrift shop. (Which may be where I got them in the first place.)
Finally, the tie-in to yard sales. I mentioned all of the above because this Sunday, TSRA, the residents association of the Shores apartments in Ocean Park, where I’m fortunate to live, is having its annual yard sale. (Warning: if you have a hoarding issue, you probably should stay away. Without this caveat I’d feel like I was describing a delicious cocktail to an alcoholic.)
For everybody else, the Shores yard sale will take place between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the Ashland Walkway between Neilson and Barnard ways (as if walking toward the beach). It’s just south of the Shores south tower which is located at 2800 Neilson Way. And there will be some very cool collectibles, which is such a nicer word than “stuff.”
There are 532 units in the Shores and, in the spirit of spring cleaning, many residents will be “divesting” themselves of their hidden treasures. Items will likely include: antiques, books, tools, DVDs, CDs, jewelry, clothes, toys, furniture and sports memorabilia. And fever or not, I promise I won’t be selling any fondue sets.
If he’s not busy cheese “fondue-ing,” Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.