Wisdom for moving house


It’s right up there with death and tax time in terms of stress and drama. It may even beat death, because you don’t get to lie down. It’s moving house. I just did it. I don’t want to do it again, ever, but I have learned a few things that might be useful for the future, and useful for others about to embark on the same journey. Gather round and I’ll share my dubious wisdom.

First of all, where do you want to live? It’s worth taking a look at what is near any potential new dwelling in terms of amenities and entertainment. Your spanking new home might have a turret, a stunning view and the sort of garden children’s classics are made of, but if it’s a half day trek to the shops, your neighbours keep rottweilers named Judge and Jury, and the nearest pub is called The Assault and Battery, you may want to think twice before signing on the dotted line. Community is good- places to recreate and kick back make a neighbourhood worth staying in. Do you feel safe here? Will you have things to do? Will running out of toilet paper on a long weekend be a disaster of major proportions? You need to think about these things!

Then there’s the actual place-whether it be a house, flat, shotgun shack or Death Star isn’t so important as how you feel about the prospect of living there. When you’re doing the rounds of vacant properties keep a list of needs, preferences and problems. Personally, I won’t compromise on the bath – it doesn’t need to be eight foot long and have claw feet, but it does need to exist. Your deal maker or breaker could be anything at all, but do make sure you know what you really really want, Spice Girls-style. You’ll be paying good money to spend most of your free time in this joint after all.  And a word of warning – words don’t mean the same things in real estate ads as they do in real life. “Compact” is quite possibly a code for “cramped”, and “quirky” could indicate anything from “weird-smelling” to “haunted”. Make sure your new house is not haunted.  Unholy spectres make very inconsiderate housemates.

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Okay, so you’ve found a place to live. It’s pretty, it’s close to a good bar and the people you will be sharing it with are all at least marginally human. Now you have to get yourself in there. Allow plenty of time to pack your things. And plenty of boxes to put them in.  You’re going to need more of both than you will have, trust me. On the upside, this is a good time to de-clutter. I’m told that de-cluttering is a very good thing if you want to not end up starring on a depressing reality tv show. Hmm. I dunno about that. Maybe I need all those broken shoes and expired discount vouchers!

Seriously though, the 12 month rule is a good one to help make these decisions with clothes- if you haven’t taken something out of the wardrobe for a stylish strut in the last year then get rid of it. That puce polar fleece midriff warmer could be someone else’s awesome op-shop bargain! If you are still wavering as to whether a particular item should stay or go, just ask yourself if Joan Jett or David Bowie would have it in their house. Then throw it out anyway, because you’re getting sick of this whole process and being finished with it is worth a thousand crocheted fascinators.

Many people will try and save money by ferrying all their goods and chattels across town themselves or with the help of pals. This is a fine idea up to a point, but don’t push your friendship by trying to get a fridge, kayak or harp into a Nissan Pulsar. Hire a van for that stuff, and let someone else swear and stub their toes on awkward corners.

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Once you have arrived, make sure you know where all your remote controls are and then go to the bottle shop. You’ll need to spend a few hours very mentally and physically inactive before tangling with all that unpacking. It can wait. It will wait. Wait long enough and it will all be ready for your next move.  As I stare at my own crates and laundry bags, knowing that somewhere in there lurk some clean socks, a sense of fulfilment at making this far that suffuses my heart and that is good enough for now.


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