Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Moving Day

It happened. I survived. I didn't have the baby and I have only just got the internet back (allowing me to post this). That probably summarises my moving experience.

A few days after getting the keys to our new house I had a bit of a meltdown: What are we doing? There is so much to do! The house needs so much work!  It's too far from the station! It isn't big enough! We can't afford it! etc. I had a cry and complained to a few people. I felt totally overwhelmed.

On Sunday I spent the day at the new house with my Dad and partner watching them put together IKEA furniture. I doubt that was the most exciting day for anyone. I tried hard to keep quiet and not to unhelpfully make suggestions about how they were doing it wrong. Funnily enough all items were assembled fine without my intervention.

Next came the day of the big move. As my partner is a contractor he went off to work (to be paid) but not before I gave him a long list of last minute tasks and cried at him that I couldn't cope.

The removers came over at 8.30 am and started to pack my life into boxes. As a control freak I found this stressful, but I physically couldn't do all the packing myself without ending up broken and in labour. They stunk of smoke and their first request of "can we have a cuppa?" didn't fill me with confidence either. I pointed them in the direction of the tea making facilities and then continued to worry as they used my favourite mugs.

A moving lorry with boxes
My partner's parents came over so I had help and I used the opportunity to leave one of them overseeing the removal men while I hid in the calm of the new house and waited for our bed delivery. While I continued to worry about what I had left behind, my stress levels reduced and I avoided any further meltdowns.

Eventually the moving lorry arrived at the new house and they quickly piled the contents up in various rooms. I cringed each time they knocked into a wall or put a box down too hard and was glad to see them drive away.

When I have moved in the past the first room to be unpacked has always been the kitchen. I guess that's due to the combination of the cupboards being available and my life revolving around food. This time it was the second room I focused on and my priority was M's room.

It's important that my daughter likes the new house. Initial visits were a success after she saw the fireplaces and excitedly told me that Santa would be able to visit because we had a chimney, but I wanted to ensure her new room was welcoming. We rearranged the furniture a few times and then piled up her many toys ready for her to come back from nursery. It all went ok, except the box with half her clothes in (including her underwear) was nowhere to be seen.

I quickly discovered that I wouldn't want to employ any of the removal men as a secretary due to their unique filing system. I spent the weekend opening all the boxes to identify what exactly was where even though we had no storage to unpack most of them. Logically I would expect someone to fill a box from one location eg a cupboard, then when that was full move onto another box. This wasn't how our belongings were packed, for example the Christmas decorations which I had carefully collected together ended up in 4 different boxes, each with additional non-Christmas items from other cupboards.

Unhelpfully the boxes were poorly labelled as well, and the notes I had left on the door of each room largely ignored (my organisation had peaked with messages about where the contents should be moved to). Boxes were either marked with: kitchen, lounge, bed 1 or bed 3. As all the high priority items should have been in bedroom 1 eg our clothes and newborn baby bits, and the low priority (can be bunged in the attic) stuff in bedroom 2 this wasn't helpful.

One of the last boxes I opened, at the bottom of the pile in the spare room, contained bread and very ripe bananas. Stinky.
Very ripe bananas

So after surviving the move here are my top 10 tips for moving house:

  1. Don't do it when you are pregnant. There seems to be something about creating new life which makes people want to call up estate agents and I know a huge number of people who have ended up moving very pregnant or with a newborn. Why do we like to make life difficult for ourselves?
  2. Have a clear out starting when you decide to move. This means that you will have less to pack, but unless you are the most ruthless of sorters you will still end up moving with items you don't need and won't use again.
  3. Get packers. I asked people for advice and the overwhelming recommendation from everyone was to get someone to pack for you. It's easier, it's faster and it doesn't cost much. Even with my experience I would recommend anyone with more than a room to move gets someone else to pack for them.
  4. Get movers. I have moved in the past using just my car, with a hired van, with a man and a van and with a removal company. The easiest by far was the removal company and although the most expensive it was fastest and with least damage.
  5. Take an overnight/ weekend bag. This takes away the pressure to unpack straight away. The one box of my daughter's which I couldn't find for a few days had her underwear in, fortunately I packed a handful of spare knickers for her in my overnight bag.
  6. Take your valuables. Depending on the insurance cover of the company and your contents insurance you can replace anything which is damaged or lost, but there are some items where the value can't be measured and they can't be replaced. Moving these yourself gives you peace of mind.
  7. Hide. Watching someone else with all your worldly goods can be stressful, walking away and not watching helped me get through the morning.
  8. Have a packed lunch. The food will be in boxes up and you might be waiting around for long periods, having a packed lunch will mean you have the energy to keep going.
  9. Get help. You can't do everything on your own so whether the help is paid, offered or blackmailed it is strongly recommended.
  10. Don't expect too much. Moving into a new place can be overwhelming. Things will go wrong, you will see problems you weren't aware of, but ultimately everything will work out ok.


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