Friday, 3 January 2014

Moving out, but not on

On December 10 we closed the door to our lovely but-getting-too-little home for the last time. It didn't matter, by then, whether we wanted to go or not, the train had already left the station. The house was sold, the truck had taken our boxes away and the house was bare - soon to be filled by a young couple who had fallen in love with it. I was ready for whatever will be next.

I learnt a few things about moving house. Friends who are both willing and available are worth their weight in gold. Throwing out and tidying up as much stuff as possible before it's time to pack is a very good idea. You'll never regret getting started really early on packing up the things you rarely use. Various parts of children's toys that have been lost somewhere in the house can be found (though moving everything out of your house is going to rather extreme lengths), and there are some wonderful reunions. Setting aside a part of the house to start stacking boxes in is nicer than having them multiplying in every room- at least at the beginning, they will take over eventually. Numbering boxes and keeping a notebook of what is in each box makes it much easier to track what is where.

These are useful lessons for next time I move, but gosh I hope I don't have to do that again for a long time. I have told my agent the next house he finds me had better be a good one because I don't want to go anywhere (well, maybe...).

But I think I've learnt a couple of useful lessons for living too. It's wonderful getting rid of things you don't need or love and it's wonderful having a clean house!

I always work at throwing away things I no longer need or love, and I always feel good about it. But it is an ongoing job, there always seems to be more in the house than there should be. I tell you, there is nothing like moving house to help you get rid of stuff. I threw out things in the lead up to moving, I threw out things just before they went in to a box, and I expect I will throw out more when I start unpacking. Another great way to get rid of things was when we were preparing to move to London many years ago. It was very useful  thinking, "am I really going to want to see this in a few years time?" So often the answer was no. If only we could get this mindset when having a sort out on an ordinary old day. I don't seem to be able to. But I'm going to try really hard. If I could only remember how good it felt just to have a sorted and culled medicine cupboard I will be inspired forever.

And then there's the cleanliness. I never had a dirty house. You know. But I did have some unclean bits. You know. My usual round of bathroom cleaning and vacuuming, rare fits of dusting, and cleaning out the fridge and microwave when I thought of it did leave a few areas not so well looked after. It's funny how satisfying it was to have the whole house beautifully clean even when all our things had gone and we were about to walk away. I'm forming a bit of a plan that involves regular room by room cleans, and moving furniture around a bit to get at the dark corners. With that and the inspiration found in The Modern Woman's Guide to Domestic Bliss by Kirsten Matthew things are going to change. I just need a house.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
 William Morris

Delivering farewell flowers to our neighbours

Kent proudly delivering his tools to the workshop, Autumn 2008.
New owners, old wallpaper, and lots of love, Autumn 2008.

We moved to Findlay St in early 2008. We put up our bed in the lounge when we arrived, so that we could strip the wallpaper in the bedroom. We lay together in our first-owned-home, excited to be back where we belonged, and dreamt of redecorating and vege gardening (well, I did) and small children and life together. Four years later Kent lay in his casket in our lounge, with my heart ripped from its foundations. Our home has seen the arrival of two small children, watched them take their first steps and listened to their joyous laughter and frustrated cries. It has watched our beloved Kent slowly die; the carpets have soaked up my tears and the walls have been marked by my anger. It has enveloped me in both the gentle light and pitch black of lonely nights, and it has stood strong when it has felt as though our family has been left with no foundations and no roof or walls. It was, and will always have been, our home, and now we move. The tears and joyous laughter come with us.

Flowers from Findlay St, keeping us company in our new, temporary bedrooms.

Now, go and clean out your medicine cupboard!

Links if you need a little more:

My last post on keeping a tidy house: Finding a home. Finding your head.

A widow and his little daughter move house: Saying Goodbye... Again.


  1. Beautifully written, as always. I can't wait for the "Moving In" installment - soon!! :)

  2. lovely tribute to the life you and Kent made together in this house xxx Also I like the idea of numbering boxes with an index - we really could do with that for our attic - I open an average of 5 boxes to peek in each time I look for something!

  3. Angela, wishing you all much happiness in your new home x

  4. Having friends who were able to help you out with the move is such a blessing. Anyway, I agree with what you said about getting rid of things you don't really need to pack for the new house. After all, moving into a new place is a great way to start fresh, and away from clutter. Thanks for sharing that, Angela! All the best to you and your family! :)

    Clay Delgado @ World Packaging Co.