Friday, March 11, 2011

Pack Up and Go – tips, tricks, pros, cons and boxes and boxes of advice for your big move

Ell-Leigh says:

Moving can be an exciting and daunting process, whether it’s just a few streets or a few towns over. Having just experienced the situation myself, I've put together a few handy hints for others in the relocating business. 

Tips and Tricks
-start early while you’re excited – use that energy to get the things you won’t need (books, cds, and/or dvds you won’t be needing between then and the move) early so you aren’t packing your life’s worth of stuff in the two days before you leave.
- use the move as an opportunity to downsize. What do you really use and need?
- Many small fruit and veg stores or supermarkets will be happy to let you take some empty boxes of their hands (otherwise they have to pay someone to crush them… I had that job once… Not terribly exciting…) so head to
- no lids on those boxes? Well, grab a roll of Glad Wrap and some duct tape and follow me! Cover the top of your boxes with two layers of Glad Wrap, leaving around 15cm on each side and tape the edges to the boxes so that it’s tight across the top. Tape straight down the middle of the glad wrap top and again the other way, so the Glad Wrap lid has a cross on it. Tadaa! This can also be used to make boxes such as apple or pear boxes which have lids and bottoms which are essentially the same into two boxes instead of one!
-using dishtowels instead of newspaper to pad between dishes (thank you

Hooray for Moving Away!
Moving, for me, is always super exciting. I love the potential of a new space, the latent creativity of an empty room. Although it didn’t happen very often as a child, when I did get the opportunity to rearrange the furniture in my room, or move to a different room entirely (could it be true?) my eyes would light up and I would get to work pulling out drawers and moving backstreet boys posters like a nine-year-old blonde pigtailed interior designer worker bee. Perhaps it’s the Virgo in me, or the OCD tendencies, but the idea of a new space to make my own (which generally means a combination of pretty, brightly coloured and strictly ordered) has always been like a fun new project for my visually creative side, a new opportunity to splash out aesthetically.

I suppose to a certain extent moving away has the same kind of promises as a new year – when I move to this new place I’ll be more productive, when I move I’ll be closer to my gym so I’ll make sure I work out more, when I move I won’t have my housemate’s unhealthy food in the fridge so I’ll eat better, etc, etc and so on and so forth. Many of these “New House Resolutions” aren’t likely to work unless you make them work, but at the same time, they are an opportunity to MAKE them work. If it’s true that you only need 21 days to make a new habit, moving somewhere that is closer to your gym, or to a place which has a lap pool (hi fives for where I live), can be the chance to enforce your new routine. Then 21 days later – TADAA! – you’ll be so used to your new pattern that you could practically do it in your sleep (although swimming or driving to the gym in your sleep probably isn’t such a great idea).

Moving somewhere new can also give you new freedoms. Moving away from home for the first time, for instance, or moving away from housemates who were bad influences. New freedoms are especially exciting when moving out of a small town and into a big city. Again, it’s the seemingly endless possibilities of a new place (new surroundings, new parks to picnic in, new neighbours to share elevator rides and awkward small talk with, new streets to walk down, new cafes to coffee in, new! New! NEW! YAY!) that makes the move so enticing and invigorating. 

Lauren says: 

Moving. Topic of many a mate-ship demonstrating fabel, birther of many a clichéd saying, it’s something that everybody has to do at least once, usually many times more, in their lives.  Without a doubt, it’s one of the more awful activities that make up the comfy Western-life experience and to this day I am astounded and perplexed as to why we have built the act into so many of our ‘significant rites of passage’. Still, everybody has their own tips and tricks and for every nosy neighbour standing on the corner instructing the moving man how to load the truck properly, there’s another hapless first time mover searching in vain for advice on how to make the whole ordeal a little bit more bearable.

Ell-leigh, the delightful optimist in this equation, has, however, already covered those for you. Yes, moving is exciting. Yes, it ties in with the new beginnings theories and loveliness. Yes, there are many a handy ways to tie up your loose possessions all crafty like and pretty. But also yes, and you can quote me on this, no matter what you do in preparation, now matter how many pre-made meals you have sitting in the fridge or hunky handy men are awaiting your call for help, it’s going to be about five shades of awful with a dash of foulness on the side.  Why? Because:  

1. You Will Get Injured

Boxes are the weapons that the universe uses to beat you up for all the years of rampant consumerism you’ve been indulging in. The more stuff, the more boxes, the less floor space, the more painful bumps in the night. You thought a papercut was bad? Try a cardboard cut. And don’t even ask me about cardboard burn.

2. No matter what people say, there is actually no such thing as “Good Moving Weather”

Scenario One - RAINY MOVING DAY: Welcome to this year’s season of “So You Think You Want Everything You Own To Go Mouldy in One Short Week!” You’re our major prize winner! Ding ding ding ding!

Scenario Two – SUNNY SUMMER MOVING DAY: Ever had heatstroke? Ever had heatstroke and not yet had a cold freezer or any unpacked medical supplies or a change of clothes for once you’d regurgitated on the ones you’re wearing or any idea how to get to the local hospital OR even an unpacked cup for some water? Welcome to hell.

Scenario Two.a – SUNNY WINTER MOVING DAY: Deceptive, isn’t it. That sun. A warm globe of pulsing light, raining down happy “essence of vitamin D” squiggly golden rays of goodness onto the earth. Cheering you as you move into your new place of residence. Lulling you towards a false sense of security. Smiling at you as you open your new curtains and greet your new view and breathe in the new (it’s not) air. Making you forget how to figure out how to heat the new place because even though today the sun is shining tonight it’s going to be goddam cold and you haven’t got the slightest clue as to what cycle is being reversed where in the air conditioner that you haven’t got connected yet.

Scenario Three: SNOWY MOVING DAY: Similar, really, to rain, I think the myriad of ways that the slippery, ice devil situation we call snow is an unwanted moving condition are fairly self explanatory.

Scenario Four: CLOUDY MOVING DAY: By now you’re starting to think that cloudy is the best scenario for moving, aren’t you? You’re wrong. And you know why? Because no matter what the weather, no matter if the temperature has reached a steady degree of perfection, no matter if you’re going to avoid getting both sunburnt or soggy, no matter that your reasonable mind is telling you that there has to be SOME kind of weather better than the rest for moving and that this might just be it….MOVING STILL SUCKS ASS. 

3. Moving = Depressing Mortality Thoughts:

Most people don’t like to talk about it, but we all surely think about it. It comes at about the moment when you lift up your bed to find the forgotten fuzzy sandwich/stack of shoplifted fetish porn/unsent and revealing love letter to Alec Baldwin that you’d pushed under there months earlier.  It’s at that moment that you pause, and think, “Gosh darn, imagine what would happen if someone else had found this!” Then, you think of the scenarios in which somebody else might be peering underneath your bed: a. you’re being robbed or b. you’ve died and somebody’s sorting your stuff. In situation ‘a’ there will probably be few repercussions from your under bed stash, and you dismiss the thought from mind. It’s situation ‘b’ that has you worried. What would your mum/best friend/gypsy landlady think of your kooky collection? Is that really the last impression you want to leave them with? That you were an unhygenic kleptomaniac with a penchant for eldest Baldwin, specifically his armpits?

Needless to say, all this thinking about your forgotten items is going to lead to some speculation about the rest of your stuff too. Do you really want to make someone sort through all this crap when you shuffle off (in your mind it’s going to happen quite soon now, perhaps even before you move). Do you really want someone looking through it all? It’s a dilemma of the highest order. All of a sudden you’re in a tizzy, distressed by the realisation of your own mortality and surrounded by an air of morbidity that you won’t be able to shake for a week. And all because you decided to move.  
But…I’m being too negative. There are good points to moving house. If you’re a recovering hermit, for example, moving house literally FORCES you into contact with the outside world. However briefly, you will at some point need to transition from house old to house new and as they tell us in therapy, “every small step is a step in the right direction” my reclusive little friend. You might also be required to meet a nice removalist type, who may just insist on shaking your hand. Flesh to flesh contact equals double point score!!

If you’re not a loner-holic, don’t fear. There are other, subtle ways that moving is good, you just have to have to focus really hard on seeing through all the surface difficulties. My one and only tip for you is to find something you’re really excited about, something about the new place that is specific and individual and really makes you want jump for joy and then don’t let it out of your mind. There will be nasty surprises when you finally get in there, a scorpion infestation, for example, or the fact that the showers don’t actually run yet, but you’ve got to keep your eye on the prize. Because just as quickly as it comes with its boxes and rolls of tape and sore backs and bruised knees, moving ends, and soon you’ll be all unpacked and will have forgotten all about it. And then you get to throw a party. Win.


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