Before the trauma of our recent move I had an entirely different appreciation for household decor.

Previously, when I’d enter a tastefully done home, I felt admiration for the owners taste and style. A really beautiful oak hutch filled with heirloom china or a huge glass-topped coffee table always caught my eye and gave me a bit of a twinge of envy.

Then we confronted the challenge of moving the 2700, split-level, square feet of furniture, appliances, books, artwork, and personal effects that we’d accumulated over nearly two decades and three children.

It took two garage sales, countless trips to Goodwill, a humiliating visit to a used book seller who viewed ten boxes of our most prized volumes through the gimlet eyes of a jaded merchant only to purchase about a dozen books total, a half-a-dozen Craigslist postings, and finally a call to 1-800-GOTJUNK to winnow down the carefully-amassed material wealth of 17 years so that it could fit into a 1500 square foot townhouse.

Now, when I enter someone else’s home, and I see their prized heritage antique china cabinet, the first thought that jumps into my mind is something along the lines of, “That thing must weigh a TON.I can’t imagine having to move THAT.” And then there are all the fragile items.

At a recent visit to a friend’s house, I couldn’t get the image of a cake platter that stood about a foot tall on a slender spindle of glass out of my head. All I could think about is how difficult it would be to move it and that it would require a box unto itself.

A psychologist friend of ours tells us that moving is a genuinely traumatic experience. I don’t remember feeling like this the last time we moved, but we were a lot younger then. We had one less child and had a lot less stuff. Back then was about expanding and upgrading our lifestyle. This time it wasn’t just a move. It was down-sizing: stripping away the accrued trappings of our former life.

Perhaps that’s the reason Steve and I still feel like we’ll awake from this dream to find that we’re back in the house where we spent the past 17 years.