Back in December I decided that the time had come to finally give up my storage container in Manhattan, and ship its contents back to London. I had intended to live in Manhattan full-time from April 2010, but the fates conspired, first by setting Judy’s building where I was staying on fire, then by giving me a tropical disease, and then by playing chicken with my sister’s health, so I decided to set up an LLG base in London, from which I would then travel to New York each month in 2011.
For two years, 2007-2008, I did live full time in New York, but in 2009 and 2010 I travelled continuously, ostensibly still based out of Manhattan, but spending large chunks of time working in California, working on LLG in New Jersey whilst staying with my dearest, dearest boys & Bassets, and then recuperating from an illness last summer in England.
What that means in practice is that I haven’t had a home of my own in nearly two years. I have become adept at suitcase living, but the one constant has been that Chelsea, NY container to which I have always returned each time I’ve been in the city, whether to swap out winter coats for summer dresses, hunt out my portfolio or find a good bottle of wine.
I hadn’t quite factored in what a ginormous task emptying out that container would be. I don’t know why I was surprised – even back in 2009 I was writing about how a simple trip to find some clothes took over three hours. The container itself really wasn’t that big; it’s just that the contents were all crammed in and totally unorganised,[photo], so I ended up renting out another locker for December just so that I would have a place to put sorted out bags, Goodwill donations and trash whilst I continued excavating.
In the end, I hired a little ZipCar to make two return trips with full carloads to Goodwill on 26th & 6th, and take twelve bursting trashbags to the dump. (Utterly bloody Manhattan Mini Storage on 21st has a damp problem, and all my duvets, pillows & linen were mouldy when I retrieved them. Take it from me, inhaling noisome feathers from burst pillows is not pleasant.)
And then I had to pack securely what was left. This endless sorting and packing, along with form filling for Customs, is the reason why I went very quiet on the blog in the week preceding the 16th December when my shippers picked up the cases above for transport via sea to Liverpool, England and thence to London. (That’s also because my shippers brought forward the collection date by four days and I nearly had a cardiac trying to get it all ready on time. )
The only glimmer of light in that week of subterranean scrabblings in my sodding storage container that stank of corruption and decay was discovering that I didn’t need to list each item I was packing for customs (just an estimation is sufficient).
Anyone who has been a fashion assistant or editor look away now, as I am going to say the word of horror:
Any fashion shoot taking place abroad has to list EVERY SINGLE ITEM on a numbered checklist with each item numbered and packed corresponding to its number on the list. I think if I had to have done this for my NY possessions I would have been found weeks later locked in my container, sticking mouldy feathers in my hair.