I moved house last weekend!
After a rather stressful week of dismantling furniture, putting things into boxes, throwing out items that are no longer useful and donating clothes to the charity shop, I finally packed my life up and moved.
Packing and moving have got to be my pet aversions, so the whole experience was, to say the least, emotionally draining and physically exhausting. To be honest, the stress starts way before the actual physical movement. It starts right from the time I click my way through the numerous house letting websites in search of a suitable place to live. It is stressful having to consider which area to live in, finding out whether the place is close by to a supermarket or bus-stop, deciding how much money I will be willing to fork out for rent monthly, choosing whether I want an apartment that is unfurnished/part-furnished, and trying to work out based on photos as to whether the place looks vaguely habitable.
Then, there is the stress of trying to arrange house/flat viewings. I honestly do not understand why letting agents only ever work Mondays to Fridays 0900-1700. Do they not realise that in order for one to be able to afford renting a flat, one must first hold down a job of some kind? And FYI, most people who have jobs tend not to be free Mondays to Fridays 0900-1700. Arranging a viewing can sometimes be akin to making an appointment to see the Queen.
When the viewings are finally arranged, one then faces the incredible frustration of being phoned up 2 hours before the time of appointment to be told that the flat is now off the market as someone else has put a deposit down for it. Or, if you have just seen a nice flat, the landlord/agent almost always puts the pressure on by saying that “you better make a decision quickly because I have 4-5 other viewings lined up today and the place will be gone before you know it.” This was what exactly happened when I went to view my current flat. The apartment was really nice, and everything in it was perfect for me. However, it was flat number one of the six that I had lined up to view for the day. Simply “going for it” without seeing what the others had to offer almost seemed rash. But, what if other people who came to view the flat later seized it before I could turn back to take it? That day, I went to see 2 other flats after the first one, and upon realising that none of them even came close to what this first flat had to offer, I cancelled the rest of my afternoon viewings, prayed a quick prayer to God, and hurriedly rang the landlady back to confirm that I wanted to take her flat. Thank God the place was still available! Almost immediately after I had signed the contract and paid the deposit, one of the other flat-viewers came round (the landlady didn’t manage to get in contact with her to cancel their viewing so she had to show her around) and actually wanted to take the flat stat! Imagine my relief then that I managed to “get in there first!”
So, after the contract is signed, packing then becomes the main source of stress. Putting one’s life into boxes is no fun at all. Going through all your belongings and deciding which ones go in a box and which others go in the trash is a surprisingly difficult thing to do. I find it especially hard to throw away things that have been with me for a number of years. I may not have any use for them at all, but because I have had them with me for so long, I find it difficult to throw them out. The same goes for things that are still in good working order that I simply have no use for- it seems almost wasteful to throw them out, but it’s not always easy to give them away to someone else either. Medical journals are another source of stress- they are so heavy, yet because they are a source of valuable knowledge and information, I cannot bring myself to callously throw them out, especially when I have yet to even take them out of their plastic packaging! At the end of the day, when everything is packed up and ready to go, I often find that I own a lot more stuff than I ever expected. I then stress over the day when I actually have to physically move all these heavy items out of the flat, into a van, and then out of the van into the new flat.
A van. And a man. Yes, these 2 things then take over as a constant source of headache. Should I ask friends to help me by taking several loads in 2-3 cars, or should I just hire a van and do 1 single big load at one go? The van seems like an easier option, but who will drive it? Will they be free to drive it on the proposed day of my move? Where can I rent one from? What size van will I need? How much will that cost? I find myself then going around begging people to give me a hand with the moving and driving. I hate doing that because I know that helping me move is extremely tiring, and will probably take up a good part of someone else’s precious Saturday off work.
The day of the move eventually arrives, and I am embarrassed about the amount of stuff that I own. It is tough work getting things from the 4th floor to the first and finally into the van. My back hurts, my arm hurts, my leg hurts. I get bruises everywhere from lifting and banging into things. I feel guilty for using up someone else’s precious Saturday. I say thank you and sorry non-stop. And I tell myself I never want to do this again.
Until I have to move again.
I am a seasoned “mover.” I have moved 12 times in the last 8 years. I have moved so much that I am sick and tired of this whole routine already. I cannot tell you how glad I am to be moved into my current flat now. At least for the next 12 months, I know I am staying put. What a relief.
Anyway, I went back to my old flat after everything was emptied out of it last Saturday. Being completely empty, the flat was echo-y throughout. I took advantage of this and had some fun recording a song using the special effect this created: