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Rejected Essays: The 7 Stages of Moving

Frog statues, carrying bags, around a house statue. Image by <a href="">Alexas_Fotos</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

While the prospect of living somewhere fresh and new can be exhilarating, the process of moving isn’t fun. Cleaning out closets and drawers, packing boxes, having your bad habits (like, ahem, not throwing away junk mail in a timely manner) laid bare as you pack …

There is an almost-universal dislike of the actual process of moving. So when I had an idea for an essay, I thought it would have the universal appeal that editors look for.

Here’s what happened.


When I was moving in 2017, the process was fascinating to me. From the highs of finding a place to the lows of finally clearing out of the old one — it seemed to come with a whole, wide range of emotions. When the move was all over, I was inspired to write this essay … and laughed the whole way through it.

I thought — for sure — editors would love it too.

Eagerly, I wrote my pitches, found the contact info for the appropriate editors and sent this essay out into the world. But after pitching it to a number of places, it didn’t sell. Eventually, I shelved it, intending to pitch it again later. Earlier this year, I sent it out a few times but it, again, didn’t sell.

Maybe I am not as funny as I thought I was? You decide.

The Essay

The 7 Stages of Moving

You found it, and it’s just right for your family. It’s that new place that ticks off the boxes on your needs list — That special abode that will be your next family home. You’ve negotiated, signed the deal and set a date for the move. It’s exciting and wonderful. Congratulations!

But finding the house is only the beginning. Now comes the hard part: Packing and moving. 

Now, get ready to experience the seven stages of this joyous occasion. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll question your sanity. 

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

And we can almost guarantee you’ll survive this. Won’t it be grand once you are settled in?

Stage 1: Euphoria

You’ve signed a new lease or purchase contract! 

This. Is. Awesome. 

The world is a beautiful place and you are skipping through it on a cloud of joy. You can’t wait to tell everyone, and start mentally planning your first dinner party. It’ll be a blast … as long as you seat that one coworker far away from your BFF. Oh, what a wonderful day!

Stage 2: Glee

Moving is fun!

Moving! Moving! Guess who’s moving? The countdown is beginning, but it’s no sweat. You pack a few things here and a few things there. You’re purging as you go, because that’s the smart thing to do. Who wants to move things you don’t really want? Oh, how fun! As you glide from room to room, surveying all that needs to be done, you remain so excited. The payoff — living in your new place — will come soon. And since you’re so prepared, this move is going to be easy. Perhaps you can even move a few boxes over to the new place. 

Stage 3: Confusion

Hmph. It doesn’t look like we packed anything

It feels like you’ve packed everything, but the house looks more like you just decluttered. Maybe. If you open the closets and cabinets. Uh-oh! I mean, sure, your wine glasses are snugly packed in a box and so are the spare blankets and towels from the hall closet. Meanwhile, like the genius you are, you packed your out of season shoes too. Still, every room looks not packed at all — except for the sealed boxes you keep walking into. Whoops. Okay, time to step up the game. Pack those boxes, and stack them out of the way. This is good that you are buckling down. This move is still going to be a cinch.

Stage 4: Denial

It’s never going to happen.

You’ve been packing forever, and still it seems like the house isn’t ready for moving. At all. There are boxes here and there, in every room. And, yet, not a single room is really ready yet. You console yourself by walking from room to room and admiring the towers of boxes. It’ll get done, you are sure. What you really need to do right now though is relax. You’ve been working so hard. Clearly, it’s time to reward yourself. Go out! See a movie! Looming move date be damned!

Stage 5: Panic

The moving date needs to … move!

You’ll never be ready. No way. There’s so much to do, so much to pack, so much you should have done earlier. What were you thinking?!? This move is a disaster and you will never, ever get done. What are you going to do? How will you even repair the little nail holes in the walls if you can’t even open a single drawer in the kitchen without finding more stuff that you haven’t packed yet. There goes that security deposit. And forget about sleeping.

Stage 6: Bargaining

Just get it in a box. Or a bag. Just stuff it anywhere.

Breathe. Breathe. You can do this. It’s doable. It will be done. Who cares about organized packing though? Just get everything in a box. Right. Now. You’ll sort it all later. Seriously — just throw it in a box and seal it. At least it will get to the new place, right? You’ll organize and purge later. Just get it done!

Stage 7: Relief

It’s the day. The day you’ve anticipated and dreaded. 

Moving day. And you survived.

The final box just made its way into the house. You’ve cleaned, patched, painted, scrubbed and shined everything at the old house. And now, it’s finally over. You can collapse on the sofa (careful of those boxes) and have a nice ice cold beverage (wait, where are the cups? What was that box marked?) in your new home. 

Okay. That was great. Now, it’s time to unpack.

The Rejections

This was rejection by silence. I pitched this essay a total of four times, first to real estate/home-related publications and then to parenting publications. No bites.

My Thoughts

In my college classes, I teach my students to “kill your darlings,” which really means eliminating phrases that you love but are cliche or otherwise more clever in your head then they are in reality. And I think that applies here — to my entire essay.

I loved the idea so much. And I found the whole thing clever and funny. But the lack of response shows me otherwise. In retrospect, I think I was just amusing myself. As a writing exercise, that’s fine. But as a saleable piece, not so much.

This essay just wasn’t the one.

Published inRejected Essays

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