There’s a fact somewhere that I can’t be bothered to find (but I know exists) which says moving house tops some list as one of the most stressful things a person can do. I assume the creator of this list meant a family of five moving 10 years of stuff to another part of the country – not one person moving a room’s worth of stuff a mile away – but hell, it’s all relative.
So yes, I recently moved. And yes it was stressful. Hugely stressful. So very stressful in fact, that I have decided to devise my own list, detailing exactly how stressful it actually was.
Here goes, the dreadful things about moving:
1. The thought of it
Think about it: moving. Now really think about it.
ARGH. With a capital ‘A’. And a sulky face. And an ‘I just can’t be bover’ed’ tattoo inked across your forehead…forEVA.
2. The preparing to move
Boxes are expensive. Bloody Rymans and their bloody daylight robbery. £7.19 it cost – per set. Seven hundred and nineteen pence for two pieces of flat packed cardboard, packaged in plastic, that apparently ‘become’ boxes when unpacked and masquerade as ‘sturdy’. Utter tripe. If I got so much as a saucepan in one before it crapped it out the other end I was doing well.
3. The packing up.
Drunk packing is often the best approach. Especially if one is packing for a holiday. You merrily dig out the finest suitcase you can find (or rather, the only suitcase you can find) and stuff it full of things that seem very necessary at the time but ultimately prove useless. These things include:
Wooly jumpers (holidaying in a hot country? A necessity!)
Toothpaste (brush night and day, like dentist said – though ineffective without its brushy partner)
Plasters (you never know)
And an alarm clock (must make that return flight – who cares it’s not worked since the last millennium?)
But I wasn’t packing for a holiday. I was moving. And that is always a sober affair.
Packing. Who actually enjoys this exercise? The only person I can think of is Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets but that’s just because he has a psychological disorder.
You start as you mean to go on – neatly folding “eva-thing”. This is, of course, until you get to point five…
5. The realisation of how much stuff you actually have
As the crushing reality of just how big a hoarder you really are thwacks you in the face like a flying suitcase, folding becomes futile. The name of the game has shifted and it’s now called ‘shove it all in and hope for the best’. Which you do in a frenzied attack, lest someone happen to walk in and witness the endless Nokia 3210 chargers you’ve kept or bank statements you’ve not opened or scratched CDs you cant let go of.
Then there’s the squashing of the bag itself to make sure the damn thing closes. Many times I found myself hurtling across the room, taking a flying leap and throwing the full weight of my body down onto the suitcase – a spectacle of belly flop – flomp, like a sack of potatoes. Unfortunately, this didn’t end up aiding the closing of the bag and all I actually achieved out of this exercise was to wind myself.
I then attempted to play the ‘bag as trampoline’ game. I positioned my derriere in the centre of the case and bounced up and down on it like a yo-yo. Sounds enjoyable, yes? No. Not least when the spiky end of a coat hanger managed to wedge itself into an orifice that should never see a coat hanger.
After a decade of squashing and zipping, comes the piling of the stuff into one room. With bin bags, suitcases, plastic bags, boxes, buckets, pots and pans, my pile looked like a dormant volcano. This got me to thinking that perhaps striking a match and setting fire to it all (so it becomes an actual volcano) might just be the best idea I’ve had all day.
6. The Moving
Rental Van? Friend with Car? PARENTS – where are you when I need you?
I don’t drive and I’m broke, so I recruited a dear friend to assist with the move. He was called C, and C was a sport.
Text from C: ‘How much stuff have you got?’
[Freak out, gulp and then run for the hills] Text from me: ‘Not that much, but a little more than I thought. Ok a LOT more than I thought. Don’t get scared… I can always, leave some behind…’
3 car loads later, I had ‘moved’.
I should have been pleased. I wasn’t. For what followed after was an endurance test, ten times more punishing than that I had just experienced: The Unpacking.
By Beenie Langley