Three things I learned about moving house.

ImageLife update: I moved recently. Wrapped around these three words there are weeks and weeks of decisions, lists, jobs, favours, life lessons and a smattering of character building dramas. The move was fairly significant -ending a decade at a high-level desk job to become a full-time student and leaving the familiar loveliness of home for the beguiling city lights.

 

The experience has taught me plenty. I honed my box packing skills to protect precious things, I packed storage items into strong boxes and inventoried all the contents, I made tough but mindful decisions about letting things go, and I became an enthusiastic garage sale queen.

 

I learned it aint easy being green when moving house, but there are some ways to make it not quite so deleterious for mother earth. If you’ve moved recently you may remember all the single use things like rolls of packing tape and acres of bubble wrap, as well as all the things that need to be thrown away (or, better case scenario, re-homed). The most important thing, for me, was to scrupulously minimise what ended up in landfill, which meant gifting, garage saleing, gumtree-ing, ebaying, opshopping, and bestowing as much as possible.I sold a bunch of things through local facebook buy/sell groups, as well as gumtree and ebay. It’s a wonderful exchange – them excited about a new possession and a bargain price, and me over the moon that there’s one less thing to pack, store or otherwise wrangle into the next chapter of life. If these things are attended to, then the detritus of moving doesn’t seem quite so wasteful.

 

Closely related, I learned some powerful lessons about the acquisition of stuff. And – cliche alert – that finding happiness within is the real end game. With some reluctance to shout this out into internet land, I found I had acquired over the years (and when I say acquired, okay, I actually mean, bought retail in a hulking big chain store, freshly imported from China) six different appliances to curl my hair. Six! And how often have tendrilous curls tumbled down my back? Um, honestly, twice. And both times made by my wonderful hairdresser, not by the seething mass of electronics collected under the bathroom sink. You see, in moments of dwindling self-awareness I had some loony idea that curly hair would make me prettier, happier, better. Armfuls of rarely-worn clothes attested to a similar internal narrative, as did bottles of untaken vitamins and boxes of unbrewed herbal tea. Not what we really need folks, not what we need at all.

 

The biggest lesson of all was a reminder of the incredible importance of loved ones – for me they were there at all hours of the day and night – helping, heavy-lifting, encouraging, purchasing, acquiring, driving – and they made the seemingly-impossible possible. It amazed me, time and again, the oh-so-rightness of this help. Friends’ availability would be exactly when I was ready to get a particular task conquered, space in the ute/van/trailer/camper/landrover/hatch (yes, there were all these!) would seem to expand to exactly fit what needed moving, arrivals and departures coincided with breaks in the weather, and spectacular food deliveries came right when hunger had gnawed to the depths of my stomach. Importantly, I learned (I hope!) to get better at asking for help, and also at graciously accepting it. That was sometimes a struggle, but reminded me of the beauty of friendship, and my immense gratitude to be half of so many amazing pairings of people, loved ones, friends.

 

Life is getting settled, slowly, and the lessons of moving animate some new practices in my life in the big smoke. I immediately joined the library to borrow books not buy them, I’ve made a cooking pact with my partner that we need to systematically eat through pantry cupboard food supplies (moving into an existing share house amassed near-kilograms of cinnamon and turmeric for example!), and I promise promise promise that no hair curling appliance will enter through this front door, and nor will the self-doubt that animated all those earlier purchases.

Advertisements

One thought on “Three things I learned about moving house.

  1. We’ve been through the same process and like you had a lesson in what we need in life. It was complicated because we were down-sizing because our three children were moving out of home, we were moving country and we did have to store things. And I wanted to minimise dumping things at the tip.

    I LOVE Gumtree. We sold some things at generous prices and about half the stuff we gave away on Gumtree. It was extraordinary the distance people travelled to pick up a bargain. Sadly we lived in a wealthy area of Sydney where garage sales don’t work because people only want new stuff. Not much of our stuff went to the local area. Instead, people drove for one or two hours from other areas of Sydney and beyond to pick up and reuse our stuff. We met some lovely people this way and were left open-mouthed at what people can stuff into tiny cars!

    We also contacted our local alternative school where one of our children had spent a happy couple of years. They picked up some furniture but were mindful that they didn’t want to clutter their school with little-wanted junk.

    We did have to make a few trips to the tip, but what do you do with toasters and kettles that are at the end of their lives? Even the tip shop refused stuff we had that could have been reused by someone else. They were overflowing with useful stuff that people in our wealthy area were not flocking to pick up.

    The lesson that I learned from all this is minimise machines in the kitchen. Many of these were given to us as wedding gifts but stayed unused, filling up cupboard space. Most people do not need an electric lemon squeezer. I prefer slicing and dicing the manual way rather than using a food processer – though if I was an enthusiastic cook I would have a different opinion.

    I agree with your comment about your loved ones. We were touched by the number of friends who turned up unasked and took a car load to the op-shop and offered accommodation on our last night in Sydney.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s