Last week, I found myself musing among boxes. Some gaped open, begging for sustenance like baby birds. Others I had already closed and taped shut, firmly shut, three or four strips of tape apiece.

As I sorted through the immense and innumerable piles and drawers and baskets and shelves of stuff, I felt like the worst of sinners. Here, filling boxes and trash bags with my gadgets and gizmos aplenty , was proof of my materialistic gluttony.

Why all the packing and disposing? We're supposed to be moving. We bought a place downtown and we're ready to embark on home ownership and all the fringe benefits. But the Home Buying Train is slow to start. We signaled the conductor, but he's asleep at the wheel. So, right now there's a lot of steam swirling and hissing at the platform, clouding our visions of the immediate future, but no chugging, lurching, or inching to denote progress.

One side effect of this delayed departure is a dampening of my nostalgic self. I haven't been able to sigh and smile as I pick up our mail for "what could be the last time." I haven't felt the urge to thoughtfully brush my hand over the doorbell which stopped working the first year we moved in... or the faded explanatory sign we taped above the bell, either. I haven't baked my last batch of biscuits in our first oven, or played the last game of darts in our first garage, or laughed for the last time at the way our first bedroom door will only latch easily during the summer months.

Forcing myself to pack, however, does jumpstart the nostalgia. I am brought face to face with every scrap I've hoarded. For instance...

Ten zillion printed photos, prize ribbons from poetry competitions, Lego men, stuffed animals, paper paper paper, receipts, jeans I swear I'll fit into again someday, Disneyland Fast Passes, college notebooks, old DVD players, cat toys, wrapping paper, baseball caps, a tube of glitter lipgloss from seventh grade, leopard print sunglasses, mechanical pencils, scallop-edged scissors, baseball programs, movie ticket stubs, a swim cap, empty glass Coke bottles, birthday cards, expired car registrations, stationary sets, calculators, deflated volleyballs covered with signatures from the teams I coached so many years ago... oh, and a dinglehopper and a snarfblatt !

Wouldn't you think my collection is complete?

The adult Me urges my damp, tender, inner child to drop the whosits and whatsits galore and opt for productivity instead. She's right, of course. A big move such as this one is the perfect chance to purge the excess, to supplant the superfluous.

Enormous garbage bags, the 40-gallon kind, have been filled to the brim with the old and the unnecessary, the thing-a-mabobs (I've got twenty!) . These bags crouch in the corners of my kitchen now, peering at me from behind leaning towers of boxes like gargoyles, leering and threatening to vomit their contents all over my linoleum.

I've packed boxes and boxes of books, labeling carefully so that I'll be able to easily search my mobile library when the occasion calls. I've set aside the bags of clothing to donate to Good Will. All in all, I've been very mature about the whole thing, stress having served to steel my spine against other pressures out of self defense.

But as a strong proponent of Nostalgia (it is, after all, sometimes the best therapy), I do not forget how proud I am that Jonathan and I have made this house our home, even in a short time. And, while I'm confident that home will be wherever Jonathan and I are together, this house will be missed.

As the engineer at the helm of the Home Buying Locomotive gets his act together, I'll keep on packing. I'll streamline my heaps of junk, paring collections down to the most important, the most precious. But I like having room in my life for the little things. Nine scrapbooks full of photos, momentos and notes proves that my life is in the details. A crimson ribbon from a box of chocolates purchased in Brussels is important to me.

Thankfully, Jon accepts this quirk and encourages my painstaking process of cataloguing our life together on 12" x 12" pages. Between the stuff and the understanding husband, I guess I truly am a girl who has everything .