First bit of advice for the novice with basic furnishings that do not have a heavy price tag.

Being a tenant in Australia, involved in a removals business and a landlord in Europe, I was hoping that I might be in a position to provide some advice on moving for all those out there facing the anxiety of packing, moving or storing their items for the next phase in their life. In general these blogs have an aim to be personal to allow the stories to connect, funny (I will see if my humour matches a few personas out there), with useful tips and tricks on packing, moving and storing your household and commercial items and generally arrive at a helpful conclusion – that’s the aim.

I had always thought that there was some gypsies blood in me when I moved 8 times in 6 years in Australia and I had no qualms about moving to any country when faced with this question – love to travel. However, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney I came to the reality that it wasn’t me; it was the property! Yes, I had come to Australia after buying my own place and I spent a few years making it a home – first mistake – DO NOT COMPARE AND LIVE IN THE PAST. I was proud of my little 2-bedroom first time buyer apartment and it was a home that I welcomed people to be in. I had my running friends over after a long run for tea and homemade scones, I had my nightlife friends over for pre-drinks (oh the benefits of wobbling a short distance from apartment to club had big kudos with all #falsefriends) and I had my family over for food, chats and general homely activities like picking all the personal pimples and open wounds – what else are families for only to build resilience for the world. Hence, I was a bit lost when I first caught a chill of the eastern suburbs’ apartments in May of 2010. Lack of preparation and a delusion that Sydney was beach weather all-year round was of course a contributing factor to my frosted toes, snotty nose and overwhelm. The move was an initial two-year maximum stint to allow for the Celtic Tiger to get some kale and power itself back up for another revival and then I would move back…still waiting…tick, tock.

I went to Kmart – first discovery of home furnishing on a budget, purchased what I could to make me feel at home in a room of someone else’s rented four walls. However, the shaking of the windows all through the night made me feel like I was sleeping outdoors – how is it possible that so many apartments have paper-thin glass on windows #missingdoubleglaze. In general, the wind that was cutting a hole in my body most days and this did not subside until October (on reflection I was probably a bit on a ‘poor me’ vibe that I had to get over). I remember a sinus infection that would not spare me for a least two months and my then man, who became a boyfriend, still stuck around so it is him who deserves an award. So where is all this going – well this was my very first time to hire a removals company and I was solo in the adventure.

Never to have moved apartments (apartments in Ireland are furnished with beds and appliances so this blew my mind) before I was now faced with the tasked of moving my belongings (very little) and my then boyfriends (he was a good man who bought fridge, bed, couch, tv etc.). He was away in whoop whoop for work so I knew it was all down to me for the next phase in our lives. What to do? Google first – removals companies. I didn’t really have anyone to ask about this as I was in the country less than a year so my circle of friends was limited as I was working a lot. I asked those experienced where possible, sought recommendations and then planned it out in my head. I had a budget and I wanted to take control.

I hired the removals company for large items and I hired a ute (my first Aussie driving experience) for the bits and pieces I could take. No kidding it was the hottest day on record for 2011. Averaging out at 38 degrees on the day I was sweating buckets and up and down loading the ute and driving to the new place and unloading with no lift. It is so vivid I can feel the air now as I write this. I remember the arrival of the removals company as the slowly went from truck to apartment. I now understand that this was their second job and they were conserving energy where I was on stress-ball mode (I remember thinking ‘God they are so slow’). I had to leave to ute back before 5pm cut-off so I also convinced the removals guys to give me a lift to the new place as I had no transport. The truck was something to be desired and I had to sit in the middle as the off-sider light up and had a smoke along the way. All too close for comfort, thank the divine it wasn’t a long trip.

So where is this going – it is all about planning. Despite the issues with heat, solo project and timeframes it was such a successful first time move. With the challenge I excelled and visually planned and time-lined the move as a project. I later discovered that I was a natural planner and received my official qualifications in project management, but this is the first bit of advice I can give you – PLAN.

Ask yourself as a novice;

  • What are your moving requirements? Entire apartment, garage, small items, large items, domestic items, when to book the cleaners, moving in/moving out dates etc?
  • What can you do yourself? Pack, move smaller items, hire a van, rally up some friends?
  • What do you need a removals company to do? Appliances, couch, TV, wardrobe, tables, chairs, entire contents?
  • What timeframe have you got and can you complete some tasks way before the move that will assist with completion, workload and potential variations? Remember you still have to work; you still have to look after your physical and mental health and have a social life, so can you fit a half hour to an hour in on preparation to the lead-up of the move?
  • Write it down and make a checklist of what is needed.
  • Ask those around you how long they took to move items, see if friends have spare boxes and if they can recommend a removals company.

Plan – Visual – Schedule – Breath – Relax.

Planning image