, , , , , , , ,

This one goes out to all those who have gone through the pains of shifting home…

As a little girl, every 4 years, sometimes less, our family would get busy with the next ‘move’. We would take down our favourtie posters off the walls, transfer clothes from messy cavernous, cupboards into gaping large suitcases and finally pick up the pieces of our heart from the corners of the house we had been staying in. An emotional goodbye to our playmates, a flurry of promises to stay in touch, made with naïve conviction, and a coin buried in the garden for finders (I just KNOW someone in the world has found at least one of those!) and soon we had shaken off the sorrows of parting dived into the joys of discovery. We were off to a new house in a new city, for a new set of adventures, to start a new life!

The seeds of my ‘wanderlust’ were thus sown! The bright-eyed excitement of a little girl, happily embracing the good, the bad and the not-so-great of a new place, was bound to be infectious, and made for smoother transition for everyone around.  The thrill of exploring a whole new world made the challenge of ‘fitting in’ with a new set of nosey neighbours, or into a new gang of cliquish playmates a thrilling, rather than daunting, experience.

Many years later, I am moving house yet again (I stopped counting after the 10th house!) Things are a little bit different now that I have to supervise all the organizing, packing, transferring, cleaning, unpacking, and the hundreds of details that go into each of these activities. Kinda takes the fun out of moving doesn’t it? 😉 But I am undaunted because I actually have an action plan that is designed to keep the fun in and seep the stress out of the whole ordeal of shifting. Here it is:

1. Make a tree-list! First, draw a large tree on a blank sheet of paper, with a big sturdy trunk with your name on it , and a huge canopy with all the broad categories of things you will be packing – like electronics, furniture, etc. inside the canopy. For each category, draw fruits hanging from the tree that represent items in it – like furniture would have a ‘sofa fruit’, a ‘bed fruit’ and so on. And since this is your own happy Packing Tree, go crazy with the different shapes and sizes of the fruits, colour in with crayons if you want!
2. Get help online… No, I don’t mean the psychic gurus who can tell you what you had for lunch from the tap-tapping of your fingers on your keyboard! I mean, the wonderful social media. Just say on your status bar that you need help with packing your stuff and see how many friends, and friends’ friends jump to it. Apart from some smartass comments, you will get enough well-meaning offers of help which you MUST take up. It’s a great way of reconnecting with people you know, and so much more interesting than packing alone.
3. Pack a Punch! Ask friends for contacts of packers and movers that they have used, instead of randomly picking numbers out of the biggest ad in the yellow pages. Apart from peace of mind from knowing that your delicate glassware and enviable wine collection is in good hands, you will get a better rate if you use a recommendation, and get more personalized service, especially if your friend tipped them well 😉 Get quotes from at least 3 different companies, and go for the one that’s in the middle range.
4. It’s a treasure hunt… It’s fun to find that pretty earring that rolled under the bed, or that cool tee that got stuck behind the drawer. Also, all those precious things that we had packed away and forgotten about can now be dug out, and brought back into our active lives. What’s more, you can now get rid of those ‘emo-clothes’ that you had horded in your wardrobe, hoping to get into them some day, or just hanging on to the memories associated with them.
5. Sale away… Set up a garage sale. It really isn’t much work if you keep it simple and informal. The idea here is not to make a killing in sales and get pots of money, but to get rid of some of your still-good stuff. So sort out what you want to sell, keep the prices really low, and throw in deals and freebies for genuine customers. It’s a great way to pick up some loose change, and some new friends! And the good unsolds can go to a welcoming charity house.
6. Throw a House-Leaving party! This one’s my favourite! Make a party punch out of all your open bottles of alcohol. Sort out the eatables that you can’t take with you like half blocks of cheeses and chocolates, open packs of cookies and cereals, frozen bacon and sausages and so on.  Keep some bags handy. Now call all your friends over for an ‘Everything Must Go’ party. Finish up whatever you can at the party, and then let your friends choose what they want to take away with them as return gifts!
7. Put some heart in your ‘thank you’s – Your support system made up of so many people like your maid, watchmen, gardeners, postmen, cable guy and in some cases vegie vendors and egg-walas is what made your life comfortable in your current house.  Spare a moment to thank them… nicely! Give them a little bar of chocolate each along with some money when you say your bye-byes. Their smile and good wishes will stay with you for a very long time. As for your neighbours, now is the time to forgive them for throwing their garbage on your doorstep, or keeping you up nights with their wild parties! Give them some closure, and bid them goodbye.