We moved homes the other week.
Change of residence ranks high on the Life Events Stress List. It’s between “Troubles with boss” and “Changing to a new school”.
For an additional challenge the move was planned for the week we returned from a long trip to Canada with a week in the Dominican Republic at the end of it. We were jet-lagged and weary even with our sun tans.
The week before we left for this long trip we were shooting a television show for three days. It was fun but tiring and I didn’t do much in the way of prep work for the move before we headed off island.
Yes, we set ourselves up for a stressful and tense move with our jet-lag, no preparation and a very short window for getting out of our old home, leaving it in good condition with all the linens washed and the walls free from toddler marks, and getting into our new place.
Despite the odds, it was the easiest move I’ve made so far. Note: I said easy. Not enjoyable.
Have less stuff. Really.
I packed up most of our stuff in an afternoon and then my husband and I finished packing and moved it all in one evening. Okay, the only furniture we own is a train table. That is a big one.
But, as someone with a lot of moves under my belt, I’ve found it’s rarely the furniture that does you in. It’s all the stuff in the closets and cabinets and kitchen drawers. It’s boxing all of it and moving all of it and then unpacking it.
In my athlete days I moved crossed country twice a year. My teammates and I lived out of a few duffel bags and some boxes of dollar store kitchen ware, drying racks for our spandex wardrobes and CDs (dating myself here). It was never the big stuff, the suitcases of lycra that did us in with the packing. It was the small things. It was the one off cheap bundt cake pan we bought and made one bundt cake with. It was the scores of CDs that we hadn’t listened to or the flimsy closet organizer we bought to get our clothes in order but never used.
It’s those little trinkets, not the bookshelf and the things you use everyday, that will have you wanting to curb your stuff during a move.
So get rid of it.
With our laundry situation there was no way I could get all the linens – sheets, duvet covers, towels – washed and dried in 48 hours.
So I outsourced them. The laundry service did a bang up job and it took an item off my plate.
We also hired a sitter for the evening so Chris and I could make quick work of moving. The other cost, and this was a splurge in my jet-lagged stated, was a cleaner for our old place. They got the place spic and span in two hours and for a reasonable price. One of the benefits to living in an 800 sq ft apartment.
If you don’t have the funds to outsource a few things during your move ask family and friends to lend a hand. Find someone to watch the kids for an afternoon or friends over for a packing party and have some nice food and beverage on hand.
Less stuff = not needing professional movers = saving $.
Even with our outsourcing this move didn’t cost us anything close to the price of hiring professional movers or even what hiring a moving van + feeding friends beer and pizza would have cost. Our expenses for the move were: babysitter, linens, cleaner and fuel for the car our friends loaned us. In fact, the fuel was by far the most expensive piece of our move at £50 ($75) for half a tank of gas (for a sedan – I know, crazy prices over here).
In 2009 we made a very costly move when we sold our 598 sq ft condo and purchased an 1100 sq ft one. I was 8 months pregnant and my husband was away for stage one of the move. I packed up most of our apartment myself and we hired movers to come in and take everything to storage. Our new home was being renovated so for three weeks we rented a furnished condo. When our new home was ready the movers took everything out of storage, put it in a moving van, and brought it to our new place.
That move cost us thousands of dollars and was one of the most stressful times of my life. Every other day I went to the pharmacy to check my blood pressure fearing that I was developing pre-eclampsia. I was so on edge with the move, the logistics of it, the endless packing and the cash we seemed to be hemorrhaging from it, that I was worried my blood pressure was sky high.
Moving is never easy.
Even with less stuff and some help, I still found myself tired and grumpy by the last hour of the move. At 10pm I felt like leaving the last few things at our old place and getting them in the morning. All I wanted was my bed and sleep. Chris helped me shake it off and we took our last load of stuff, Chris’s guitar and the clothes hanging in our wardrobe, to our new home. It was well worth it to push on and wake up the next morning in our new place with the move done.
And unpacking? Pretty painless. One morning of work had most of our stuff in closets and we were ready to resume living a normal life (read: no takeout). This weekend I finally put away the last couple of boxes and our new place feels like home.
Anyone else have lessons from moving house?