Archive for December, 2010

Moving On…

December 31, 2010

To put it mildly, I’ve been having a little bit of a creative block recently.  In an attempt to get back into the swing of things I’ve decided to take some popular advice, namely to “write what you know”.  I’ve thought about all the things I feel qualified to bitch about and come to the conclusion that of all those things, I know moving house the best, so here goes…

I despise moving house.  I have always despised moving house.  I knew I despised it long before I ever actually did it – I have a very distinct memory of myself aged about seven telling my mother that I never ever wanted to move, a concept which I’m sure she was horrified by – and I didn’t change my mind after my first move aged 12, or after any of the other nine moves I have been subjected to since then.

Of the ten (TEN!) times I have moved house in my 22 years, seven of them have been within the last four years, which as far as I’m concerned is excessive by anyone’s standards.  There are many reasons for my seven moves, ranging from the mundane (fancied a bigger place) to the dramatic (housemate’s crazy mother wrote a letter full of lies to my mother when I was staying at my parents’ for Christmas, and attached all my opened bank statements, which proved nothing more than that I was earning a pittance from my office job and an even smaller pittance from my bar job and spending it on groceries and bus fare and not much else).  The moves themselves have ranged from the drastic (Inverness to Southampton) to the so-short-distance-it-seems-fairly-pointless (the Polygon to the Avenue – about a two minute walk). What all my moves had in common was this: I hated them.

It is not that I dislike change.  I am actually a fairly big fan of change. It is fun and exciting and sometimes a bit of a challenge, and all those things are fine with me.  It is not even that I resent the cost, although god knows my overdraft has taken a hammering during several moves, and after a move I can usually only afford to eat plain pasta until the next payday. 

What I hate about moving, is packing.

Now I’m not going to beat around the bush: I am a hoarder and as such, I have a lot of shit.  I am not even particularly emotionally attached to some of it.  It is just mine, and it follows me around, and it makes moving an absolute nightmare.  At the lowest point of my renting career, I was living on my grandmother’s sofa and paying near enough £200 a month to store the aforementioned shit in a warehouse outside town. 

The worst part of moving is moving my books, which make up the vast majority of my hoarded stuff.  I will never throw a book away.  I just can’t do it.  I love being able to dip back into any book I have ever bought – and I have bought a lot.  The thing about books is, everyone who has a large book collection makes EXACTLY the same tactical error in transporting them when they move.  I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll end up doing it again.  What happens is you look at your large book collection and you think, what I need… is a fucking massive cardboard box.  Why do people do this?  The resulting cardboard behemoth weighs about as much as a Beluga whale and threatens to burst every time you manage to move it more than an inch, which is a pretty massive effort in itself.  It usually requires at least three people to get the bastard up the stairs, and requesting assistance in this task is a great way to make two of your friends hate you forever.

I used to think my books were bad enough, but my last two moves have been undertaken with a partner whose DVD collection puts my book collection to shame, and of course we have made the giant-cardboard-box mistake with those too.  But it doesn’t end there, because who wants to cart around ten small boxes of kitchen stuff?  Nobody, that’s who!  Give me another one of those massive cardboard boxes, how heavy can a whole cupboard full of plates be, really?  Pretty fucking heavy, it turns out.  I gave up a long time ago on the whole wrapping your plates in newspaper thing, too.  I don’t like getting covered in newsprint, it makes a huge mess, and at the end of the day I smashed just as many plates when they were wrapped up as I do when they’re not.  Sooner or later, your crockery has to learn to fend for itself.  If it can’t survive a few hours in a box, then it has to die.  That’s how evolution works.  Sort of.

The ultimate rock-bottom scenario in packing, though, is the bin bag. I’m sure everyone has had to resort to this at one time or another.  Basically you have either procrastinated for a little too long or you have a move sprung on you at short notice, so you stuff everything you own into bin bags with no attempt at sorting or organising it first, then you tie the bin bags, throw them into the nearest car and high-tail it out of there.  The bags promptly split, leaking your stuff all over the place, and if any of them miraculously survive the move the contents will smell like a bin bag forever. Luckily, this tactic is normally necessitated only by a break-up move, so I have avoided it in my more recent moves.

The main problem, really, is that I hate packing so much that I always end up seething with rage about having to pack for several weeks, and don’t actually get round to doing any packing until the week before the move.  This achieves two things: it makes Chris really, really angry, and it causes me to pack with absolutely no concept of organisation, convenience or common sense, so that when we have moved all the boxes, the actual unpacking becomes sort of a cross between a treasure hunt, a lucky dip, and a nervous breakdown.

My next move is scheduled for the 15th of January and in an amazing feat of timing, I am not even going to be in the country. For Christmas, Chris paid for me to visit my family in Scotland for my mum’s birthday, which is on the 16th, and so on the 13th of January I will leave our current abode (Chris’ gran’s house), knowing that in four days I will return to a shiny new flat full of giant cardboard boxes just waiting to be unpacked.  The pain of packing them is pretty much forgotten now as it was done way back in September, and the giant cardboard boxes have all been sitting in a storage warehouse ever since, just waiting to be reclaimed (and costing me £120 a month for the privilege of not having all my stuff) and I am very much looking forward to the unpacking, arranging and general prettifying which is my favourite part of moving. It helps that I’ve got a week off work to do all of it, and to entertain my sister who is flying back down with me for a visit.

And once the move is complete I will flop down onto my sorely missed sofa and loudly declare, as I do every time, that I am NEVER MOVING AGAIN, and that if I am forced to by fire, flood or act of God, then I will burn all of my stuff and just buy new stuff when we get there.