Day 47 - packing leads to unpacking

Or not, as our case might be. When moving house, I've always go through the same sequence of thoughts:

1 Committed to a move date

This is the worst part of moving! We have so much stuff! Way too much stuff! How will we ever pack up and shift all this stuff? I'm sure it'll all get better once I buy some boxes.

Time to drink a small gin.

2 After purchasing boxes/hired movers stage 1

OMG I must freecycle/recycle/donate/jettison anything we don't use! This really is the worst bit of moving. But it'll get easier once I've sorted everything.

 Consider drinking a tiny bit more gin.

3 After freecycling/recycling/donating/jettisoning

Wow. We still have a heap of stuff. I'll start packing everything in labelled boxes so we can easily organise ourselves in our new place.

Possibly drink a fortifying amount of gin.

4 After packing bedding, toys and books into neatly labelled boxes

I've run out of time and energy! I'll just throw heaps of stuff into random boxes - we can sort everything out in our new place. This really is the WORST part of moving.

Finish bottle of gin to reduce the amount of stuff that needs to move.

4 Moved in - Day 1 - everything except for bedding, the kettle and cafeteiere is in boxes.

Isn't this marvellous! I love living simply, undistracted by clutter and junk! Wait. Where's the gin gone?

Purchase more gin.

5 Moved in - the next year or so

Where are the nailclippers? We had 6 pairs of nailclippers in the apartment. Does anyone know in which box the nailclippers went? Anyone? ANYONE? Unpacking is the WORST part of moving.

Go to shop to buy another set of nailclippers and bottle of gin.

I once moved into a house at the same time as my friend Karen. We carried our stuff into our bedrooms, then unpacked. After 2 hours I'd hung a few things in the wardrobe, made my bed, and read a book. Everything else was in boxes or plastic bags. Exhausted and bored, I dropped down to Karen's room and knocked at her door. Karen looked as tired as I felt. But her room was transformed from the empty-feeling rental I'd seen just 2 hours previously. Karen had made her bed in sumptuously coloured linen. She'd put down a rug and hung pictures. She'd lit several lamps, hung her own curtains and stacked her books. She'd even placed her Buddha statue so that it overlooked the whole room while she burnt some kind of incense or oil that made the whole room feel warm and lived in.

Karen is some kind of goddess of moving - she makes a huge effort to make a new space her own. I've never quite managed that - I've always thought 'oh I'm only here for a year...I won't bother to unpack everything to save me effort in the next move.

Technically, as this is our 'last' move into our 'forever' home, I should be able to unpack everything. But because there's so much work to be done to the house - so much dust and dirt - we can't unpack properly. We've decided to leave much of our stuff in plastic boxes to protect it and to make it easy to shift from one place to the next should we need to work on a particular room. We're trying not to move in too much furniture, so we can carry out works needed as quickly as possible.

The result is chaos. The 'big' items are easy to find - we have boxes of clothes, bedding, toys, books etc. But there are lots of boxes of 'stuff' that is all somehow vital to our life, but rarely used. Everything is higgledy piggedly - we have gardening tools in the attic and kitchen stuff in the shed. So we do need to organise our 'stuff' better even while we live with the constraints of a work in progress house. But this week - with Mehdi away and me working fulltime and doing the crèche and school run solo, I've achieved little in terms of organisation.

This weekend it's my hope to clean and paint the lovely old kitchen cabinet so it's usable - that would free up some kitchen surface so that we can arrange things a little better - I really want to find space to put out my Kenwood chef.

Next week when Mehdi is back from San Francisco, we have some important discussions about electricity, plumbing, heating, plastering, chimneys, fireplaces and the positioning of new doors/windows where necessary - all things we will do slowly, when we get the right solution, and when we find the money.

Looks like we'll be living out of plastic boxes for some time to come. Where's the gin?

A drink containing water, lemon and ice in a glass cup
Photo by Jez Timms / Unsplash

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