It’s a universally acknowledged truth that moving is the worst. Sure, it might be exciting to decorate a new place from scratch or explore a new neighborhood, but everything that comes before that is pretty nightmarish: packing, cleaning, selling furniture, realizing just how much you’ve been hoarding in your junk drawer…the list goes on.
I’ve spent the past month tackling the arduous process of vacating my home of seven years. And even though I’m looking forward to a new apartment—and a housewarming party at some nebulous point in the future—I needed a more immediate incentive to keep me from descending into a cardboard-box-shredding meltdown.
While I’m not moving far enough to warrant a going-away party (a whopping two miles), I’m definitely sentimental about leaving the place where I spent the majority of my adult life so far. Which is how I came up with the idea for a “housecooling” party—and it turned out to be a much-needed bright spot during an otherwise stressful month.
For starters, it was the perfect opportunity to finish off the handful of bottles of wine I’d been hanging onto, along with various pantry and freezer items (looking at you, bag of Chinatown dumplings). Plus, unlike a housewarming, which usually requires getting your new digs in tip-top shape (the whole point is to “show off” a bit, no?), this was the perfect zero-pressure gathering: Everyone knew I was moving, so the fact that half the living room was in boxes was almost a given.
Oh, and remember how I mentioned selling furniture? The party doubled as a sort of tag sale: Several people expressed interest in items I was planning to get rid of, and by the end of the night, I’d sold a loveseat, a bookshelf and made arrangements to swap couches with a couple who were in the market for a bigger sofa (while I was looking to downsize). Yep, having a party actually saved me from having to turn to Craigslist.
Aside from all the practical perks, the housecooling gave me an opportunity to reminisce about past times in the house with people who were around when I first moved in. And it’ll be a nice way to remember that place: filled with good friends and wine, rather than stripped of all decor and overrun with boxes (aka what it looks like now).
In all, it turned out to be one of the best gatherings I’ve ever hosted, in that apartment or otherwise. Which is good, because I probably won’t be ready for my next housewarming until 2019.