Hey, Fellow Tar Heels. I hope everyone’s staying safe and as sane as possible!
This week, I’m going to talk about moving. Like a lot of you, I spent a large percentage of last week moving out of my dorm room and into my childhood bedroom, which turned out to look a lot like a minor explosion had gone off inside my room when the final box was unloaded. My childhood toys were mixed in with my microwave and coffeemaker, all my posters clashed with the lime green walls (seriously, ten-year-old me?! Lime green?!), I’d brought back stacks of books tall enough that they each resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and, of course, the clothes. Don’t even get me started on the clothes.
Every time I’d visited home in the past four years at UNC, I’d simply contented myself to live amongst the boxes for the few days I enjoyed my parents’ hospitality. There was no room to unpack a suitcase, and no point in convincing my parents to store their own extra boxes elsewhere. Now, I was attempting to unpack several suitcases and many more boxes - a desperate effort to turn a room I had not lived in in several years into a livable space, somewhere I could find some peace with this new situation while also being able to learn and attend my classes.
Surprisingly, sorting through the explosion of boxes that my room had become was one of the most relaxing activities I’ve done yet in these past few weeks of quarantine. What looked like an impossible problem became something I could change, a true challenge for me to tackle. Organizing, cleaning, and rearranging my room became a kind of mission for me.
I found a lot of peace and genuine joy from using the Marie Kondo method. Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and inspiration for “this sparks joy” meme creators everywhere, has long advocated for the power of organization to improve one’s life. Following her methods, I packed up boxes, organized my bookshelves, and packed bag after bag of old clothes, toys, and games to donate when this is all over. Slowly, my dorm room at UNC began to take shape around me.
My room isn’t quite perfect. The walls are lime green (seriously, never let a ten-year-old pick a wall color), it’s still cramped and full of boxes, and it’s not in Chapel Hill. But the blend of old and new I’ve created in my childhood bedroom helps me remember that there are still some things we can control right now. We can stay inside with our families. We can reach out to our friends over text and zoom. We can even transform a small kid’s room into a place a college student can live and learn - lime green walls and all.
Best wishes to everyone struggling with their own box explosions this week!