We are, once again, in the process of packing up the house. We’ve collected boxes from friends and neighbours (which you can see stacked up in the picture above), we’ve collected all the bits and bobs you need for packing – paper, tape, labels, sharpies, bubble wrap and our control centre, and the packing has commenced.
We are well practiced at moving, and we have decluttered so much stuff in the last few years that I am hoping that this will be the easiest move yet!
I have taken the brave step to list my potting shed on ebay – I do love gardening, but with a very transient lifestyle I need to find a way to get all the joy out of this hobby without needing so much gear that takes so much effort to move from house to house. I’ll be sad to see it go, but relieved that I won’t have to spend time constructing it and deconstructing it at each house we live in.
I’ve also really enjoyed living for the last couple of weeks with my cupboards half-empty. I’ve packed up / sorted through the things I don’t use often or won’t use before we move house, which has left much more space and light in my storage spaces. I love it. I wonder if I can be brave when we get to the other end, and either declutter further or think about how to put some of those items in deeper storage..
This is my house-move control centre, and my top tip for people moving house!
This shoe box contained:
- Sticky labels – for labelling boxes
- Luggage tags – for tying onto those things that won’t fit into boxes – a guitar case, the tent, shelving units, clothes horses and the like..
- Parcel tape
- The list of boxes packed, their numbers and a rough description of their contents
- Marker pens
- Light bulbs
- Bin bags
- The list of things to do / remember on moving day
- Sandwich bags
- Bags of screws that were from furniture we dismantled (marked up clearly!!)
Carry this box from room to room while you are packing – it has everything you need in it – and make sure you have it with you when you go from old house to new house. It has to be the place you put the odd bits and pieces you are likely to misplace and need when you are in the new house before all the boxes are unpacked. It’s invaluable. It will save you all manner of stress and cross words.
More top tips to come!
A busy week, with annoying last minute changes of plan imposed on us by the removals company, and a flurry of people charging in out and out of both houses, and we are finally moved. This is basically the only part of the house that still needs to be unpacked – the bookcase in our study. 3 days of on-and-off unpacking and we are done! I am convinced that this is due to the sheer amount of decluttering we have done in the last 18 months.
This house is bigger than the last one, and while we do have a reasonable amount of furniture, the place feels spacious, airy and uncluttered. There are empty spaces in the rooms, which I can see I might feel tempted to fill up with new things, extra furniture and decorations.
We’ve spent some time in the last couple of days in DIY and home shops, buying lampshades and picture hooks and the like. Shopping in IKEA provokes different reactions in me and my husband. He wanders, looking bewildered by all the stuff, following the arrows that take you through the maze of wardrobes, mattresses, vases and plastic plants. I march, with list in hand, looking for shortcuts, determined not to be tempted by the array of stuff that might just look nice in that corner, might make organising our kitchen cupboards easier, might add a homely touch to a spare room. It takes all my willpower to walk past the wicker baskets without picking one up..
I am doing quite well at not bringing new clutter into our home, but am still stumped by how we can downsize further without it feeling uncomfortable or bleak.
Here’s my shed and my plants all packed up and ready for moving. We’ve cleared and dug over the borders (as required by the landlord), and created new flower borders where the chickens used to live.
I must admit that one of the sheds is still ram-shackle full of stuff that needs packing or preparing for moving, but I am so pleased the back garden is basically done and dusted. It’s the major T-minus-two-weeks task on my pre-move list along with:
- Redirecting our mail
- Meal-planning and placing a grocery order to be delivered the day after we move in
- Finding day-care for the dog on the days we are moving – wide open doors are not a good thing with a dog that loves to chase anything that moves (including leaves blowing in the wind)
The front garden needs a little tickle too – but we don’t have enough space in the garden waste recycling bin to fit any more grass cuttings or bits of shrubbery in, so that can wait until next weekend..
With 3 weeks to go, packing commences. I can’t bear to start much before then or we’d spend quite a large proportion of our lives surrounded by boxes.
A month before, I make sure we have all the packaging materials we are going to need and start the early jobs:
- Ensure the moving dates are booked with all the interested parties – including the removals and cleaning companies.
- Identify what food we have in the freezer that will need eating before we move and which recipes I need to come up with to use up what we have.
- Notify the phone and broadband provider of the moving date.
- Put any final things on ebay that need selling.
Three weeks before I focus on starting to pack, and try to get some big jobs out of the way – this time we have dismantled the shed and other garden furniture.
My house move plan is a well-worn routine that we use each time we move, and it has been adapted from FLYLady’s Moving Tips. I particularly love the idea of starting with packing the things you don’t use very often and numbering the boxes. This means that at the other end you can start by unpacking the boxes with the highest numbers first. It’s so logical, but it does rely on the moving men following the instructions to stack the boxes in the new house with the numbers showing. This time, I shall be super strict about that rule!
And so it’s upon us. Our next house move is imminent. Boxes have been delivered by the removals company, and I’m about to start the task of packing up the house again. It was this activity that started me on the minimalist track in the first place, so I’m hoping that this time around, there’ll be less stuff to move.
Crunch time will be when the lorry is loaded – last time it was full to the brim. I’m hoping that this time it will only be 3/4 full – let’s see if I’ve met my target.
We have now been through the entire house on a decluttering rampage. It’s taken us 18 months (although things have slowed in the last few months as there’s been other things to do), but we have been through every room, every cupboard, every drawer and got rid of stuff.
There are a couple of things remaining.. One box of gardening stuff sitting in the garage that I had set aside to put on ebay – my ebay experience (lots of hassle for not much cash) has meant that this box now needs sorting through and the items taking to the charity shop.
A few boxes and bags of mementos (including the mystery bag) which my husband has been shunting from room to room, and now to the garage in a desperate attempt to clear enough space in our spare room for it to be usable. This pile of stuff is a project in its own right, I had plans for it, but now it looks like I am going to get ruthless. Watch this space – the closer we get to moving date, the more likely it is that I will just chuck the lot away..
I’ve had this bag of stuff for longer than I’ve known my husband. It’s definitely lived in four different homes with me, maybe five. It lurks under dining room tables, in lofts, behind desks, in the back of wardrobes – maybe it’s even been to Narnia and met Mr Tumnus?
Each time we move and then when we tackle whichever room has been used as a dumping ground during the move, my husband goes through the routine of asking “What’s even in there?” and ”Can’t we just chuck it away?”
So far, I’ve managed to resist these questions with a claim that I have a plan for the stuff in there and will get rid of it when I have some time. The claim is true, I do have a plan, and it is one of the things I will tackle and blog about in the coming weeks.. But for now, I wanted to introduce you to what my husband calls The Mystery Bag and desperately hopes my need for blog content will finally lead me to getting rid of.