Moving is a stressful time for anyone. It is said that it is stressful on relationships, right up there with divorce.
One may think that I would be used to moving being that I have moved, built and renovated my homes quite a few times in the last decade and a half. Granted, with each subsequent move, I’ve learned more lessons and became more aware of awry details with each project. Things like organizing the order of the trades coming in to do work, purchasing items ahead of time to avoid several added trips to Home Depot at crucial moments, have become inbred skills.
It was handy that some of my work background helped me to learn a lot about the process of renovating, from the days when I worked for a construction company, in charge of scheduling trades and responsible for deficiency inspections. I also managed an architectural firm for a few years which afforded me the opportunity to learn how to read blue prints. This came in handy for me when scouting out homes to build or renovate, aiding me with the vision to project what it could look like on paper, or, if it was an older home in need of major repair.
In real estate these days, people hire out to have their homes staged so that potential buyers can see the space clearly and envision what their own things will look like in those homes. I consider myself lucky to have an eye for possibility in the impossible looking situations.
Two and a half years ago, my husband and I purchased such a home. We pretty much gutted most of it, except the roof, in three and a half weeks! Nobody believed it could be done in that time frame; but they didn’t comprehend our determination.
We took possession of that house while still carrying our old home for just short of a month. I hired the trades to come in on tight schedules, one after the other, so as not to be on top of one another, leaving no room for error—even though there were plenty of mishaps and headaches. My husband and I did a lot of work ourselves, particularly the demo, after firing two sloppy crews and losing two days in between as I scoured to find replacements and my husband went to town himself with a sledge hammer. We renovated walls, floors, bathrooms, kitchen, windows, gas/heating, electrical and plumbing.
We worked 7 days a week, often twelve hours a day. We didn’t take time to eat properly, or sometimes at all, and by the time we dragged our azzes to bed sometimes after midnight, we woke at 5am to begin the procedures all over again. By the time we moved in we had both lost a lot of weight (most of which was unnecessarily needed to lose) and our bones ached terribly. But it got finished, in our allotted time frame.
Now that we are moving again, people ask us why we would want to move after everything we went through in our current home. I have answered this question in a former post here, explaining our reasons for wanting to move. My husband wants to slow down, travel more, not have to maintain the outside duties that come with a home, so we are readjusting our priorities.
In the meantime, I feel as though I’m living between two worlds. Boxes are invading many pathways in my home. Many of them left open for me to access the things I need until we move—but of course, that is only if I can find them. I have learned to improvise a lot. There is no Christmas tree this year, and certainly no room for one as the boxes occupy most of my floor space. Although, I did manage to hang our stockings over the fireplace to serve as some reminder of Christmas.
I keep telling myself, “This is it. No more moving after this.” I’m getting too old for this shit. Even though I’ve become a seasoned mover, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of work involved. Sometimes it just feels good to vent.
I like to think of myself as a pretty organized and methodical person, so I live with lists to make sure I don’t forget anything. My sister laughs at me when I tell her how long it takes me to pack a box and she always retorts with, “I can pack a box in ten minutes.”
But my strategy is different. I go through everything before it goes in a box so I know exactly what’s in it and where it’s going to be placed when I reopen that box after the move. Packing a room with everything thrown in a box with no planning as to where the stuff will be going gives me anxiety when unpacking, while trying to guesstimate where to put things and finding out all the places where they don’t fit. This eliminates a lot of work unpacking, thus my homes are usually unpacked within 2-3 days and people coming to visit or help always seem to marvel at the state of organization so soon after moving. It’s just so much easier if you can plan your space ahead of time so you don’t have to think about where everything is going to go in the new place.
I’m going to share a few of my handy, helpful packing tips to help transition a move a little easier:
1. Make lists of services to cancel and reconnect, go to the post office to put in change of address.
2. Hire movers ahead of time.
3. Have a list ready for after the move to call to inform change of address for companies like, credit cards, memberships, subscriptions, etc.
4. Make a things to get list such as: hooks, nails, towel bars, etc. for whatever rooms in the new home that you can think of that you will need to save extra trips to the hardware store.
5. When you purchase a home, you are usually given 1 or 2 visits to see the property again. Use this time wisely. In the past I have booked some trades to meet me at those visits for measuring things such as: granite counters, kitchen cupboards, window coverings, etc. This allows for you to get the ball rolling and a good head start to have things already in production to get ready for your move in.
Moving is never fun, but if you can at least organize some law in order for the process, it will help immensely to take away a lot of the anxiety.
D.G. Kaye ©2014