The Curse of the Blue Bins

blue parachute

“It’s time to make the doughnuts…”

If you’re a child of the ‘70s, you should remember this commercial. Please Google it so you can either experience it again or watch it for the first time. The premise is there’s a guy who has to drag himself out of bed, in the wee small hours of the dark morning, to go make those delicious Dunkin’ Donuts. He is miserable at that hour of the day and moving quite slowly through the motions to make the donuts (or is it doughnuts – I’m never sure!)

I feel like the donut/doughnut guy right now. Except I am lamenting “It’s time to unpack the Blue Bins.” This task has become my biggest life challenge at the moment. Allow me to explain…

Back when I moved in early June, I hired a highly recommended local moving company to assist with the monstrous task. We were moving only 3 miles due north, the equivalent of a 10 minute drive, to our new smaller, older, far more charming “Old Town” home. The company (which I will not name here to protect the innocent) offered packing services, as well. I desperately wanted to hire them to bubble wrap every single plate I owned, but I simply couldn’t justify the expense or the lazy factor associated with me not packing up my own belongings.

So I didn’t hire them for packing. I hired my friends instead. But I didn’t pay them anything. So technically, I didn’t hire them. Actually, I guilted them into packing for me. I quite simply did not give them a choice in the matter. I became desperate to pack the things. They showed up. They packed the things. And they packed a lot of the things into the now infamous Blue Bins.

The rental of the plastic storage bins was yet another convenient service offered by my movers. (As my 10-year old has noted, it’s not entirely accurate to call them blue. They are clear with blue lids.) When it was evident I would not have enough cardboard boxes for my belongings, I decided it would be economical and environmentally-friendly of me to rent 50 of these handy bins. I recall it cost me around $200, or $4 per bin – about half the cost of purchasing the same. Smart, right?

 

I moved on June 5th. Originally, there was a 2-week agreement attached to the bins, meaning I needed to unpack and return them in that time frame. It is now August 15th. I missed the 2-week deadline. But I view life through a lens of adaptability and most everything is negotiable in my world. One of my mantras at work on various deals is “the price is never the price.” I usually approach deadlines and rules with this same style of flexibility. This tendency provides for a great sense of “go with the flow” for me, yet can cause a sense of frustration for those around me, I realize quite well. In this case, I’m talking about Jordan, Bobby, and Shawn at my moving company. They now have me on speed dial, and currently – tag, I’m it! I owe them a call back.

“Miss Payne, we need to hear from you about the bins, please.”
“Miss Payne, we really do need the bins back.”
“Miss Payne, we have the bins rented to someone else.”

 

At this point, I must mention that several weeks ago, I did work out special circumstances about me keeping the bins “for as long as you need them, Miss Payne.” This arrangement came after the estimate for my move versus the actual cost got missed by $1,200. You can imagine my shock and awe when, after a 13-hour moving day, my bill came to $2,050 versus the $850 I was planning for. Thus, I told them I was going to keep the bins for a nice long while, and they agreed to that accommodation.

Now, let’s do some counting.

I started with 50 of the Blue Bins.
I unpacked 30 of them fairly quickly, and those got picked up.
I unpacked another 11 just the other day, and those got picked up.
They tell me I still have 17 in my possession.
Uh, that’s more than 50, but in any case, I’m in the home stretch and I need to return the remaining Blue Bins ASAP; it is now URGENT.

 

But I’m not even certain of the location of all 17 bins. I can confirm that seven are in my mudroom – one of the two rooms inside my house that has become a catch-all and a pit of total disorganization. The remaining ten MIA bins must be in my garage, where about 80% of what I own has landed.

Oh yes, let me tell you about my garage. It is a nice, large 2+ car-sized, detached garage, and opening the door to it gives me instantaneous anxiety. This is why I leave the door tightly shut. Occasionally, The Precious Pair and I will go hunting for something out there, and amazingly, we’ve been able to find what we’ve needed so far. But generally it’s best just to stay the hell out of there. Needless to say, my car does not fit in the garage. Luckily, I have a great little parking pad in front of my house.

Why is it such torture for me to get through the two remaining cluttered interior rooms, my garage, and especially those 17 Blue Bins? Most likely because it signifies the end of my year-plus transition, and the beginning of a new, calmer time for me. And, in this case, why would I avoid and prolong that kind of closure?

About five years ago, a former boss and mentor assured me wisely that I didn’t need to thrive on the chaotic tendencies of my personality and my lifestyle. He would say things like: Calm the storm inside. Cover it up. Own a new you. So, I took his feedback, and over time, I designed a better professional brand for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still fidgety and swirling on the inside, but I’ve learned to tone down my public anxiety.

Yet over this past year, in my personal life specifically, I have learned to thrive on Chaos. As an example, I have conditioned myself to function on about five hours of sleep every night plus loads of caffeine and adrenaline. (current timestamp 4:08 am)

So what will happen when I reach the bottom of those bins? What will happen when the rooms are all set and straightened and organized? What will happen when my garage has brand-new 2-by-4 wooden shelving with all the colorful plastic bins I own versus rent stacked neatly in rows? Will I discover the Consistency and Reliability and Predictability I’ve been craving for my life for so long? Along with those things, will I find the sweet ending to my Chaos?

The answer is, I have no idea. And, so, I am cursed by the Blue Bins.

The entire past 13 months for me have represented one major life decision after another. This move signifies the ending of that chapter and the beginning of the next. And remember those Choose Your Adventure books? The kind where, based on the decisions you made, the story ended in different ways. There is one possible scenario in my story that currently annoys me a bit. It’s the one where I finish all my unpacking, and I simply fall apart.

 

A friend recently observed how busy and active I stay. That person also suggested I might be doing that as a survival mechanism, and maybe if I were to sit still for any amount of time, the weight of all the change I’ve endured would set in, and I might begin to feel things I haven’t yet felt. This could very well be true. At the same time, not gonna’ happen. Nope. No spiral. Not for this girl.

I am ready to draft this next chapter. I am ready to embrace true Peace. I am ready for Calm to take my hand at the breakfast table. I am ready to spend endless hours on my porch with the people who matter most to me. I am ready to become a new and different version of me. One who does not have Turmoil to hide inside anymore. One who can truly discard Chaos for good.

Throughout my unpacking process, it’s important to note there is one thing I have done consistently and obediently by the urging of my smart and wonderful friends. I have created many piles and boxes of things to purge. Those same friends are begging me to load all of it up and take it to straight Goodwill in one full swoop. But I have a different plan. In line with my new love affair for the wraparound porch I never stop talking about, I am planning a Porch Sale to happen this fall.

We hosted countless garage sales at our former house. We would spend the night before organizing and tagging and pricing things. Then the next day, we would be lucky to make $50 selling our discarded wares. But it was always fun to set up shop in the garage and run our business for a day. And it taught the girls a lot of things like counting money, placing value upon items, and the discipline of letting go of things, too.

So when I was walking in my new neighborhood the other day and I spotted the sign advertising a Porch Sale, I knew instantly we needed to have one of those. And it will be huge. I have a ton of stuff from those bins to sell.

To add a fun twist to the plan, The Precious Pair has already decided they want to donate a generous portion of our profits to local charities. I am highly in favor, and in fact, I would like some of the funds to go to a local organization that helped me over the phone for several hours one stressful night and in the following days about a year ago. So they will receive some of our proceeds as well as the local animal shelter and likely one or two other places the girls and their friends will select.

Cleaning up the Clutter from my life in this fashion will bring me Closure. Once I sell those extra belongings and haul the rest away to Goodwill, I will consider myself officially settled. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, soulfully, gratefully settled.

Please watch for details about our Fall Porch Sale. We would love to see you there! No need to purchase any of my junk; just come to visit and swing for a bit.

17 Blue Bins & Counting…
Meesh

One thought on “The Curse of the Blue Bins

  1. Good luck with those 17 bins – and finding happiness in your life. For the record, Americans spell it donuts. Canadians (and I would assume British) spell it doughnuts.

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