You’ve all heard it. At the housewarming, talking to your friend in the street, in the office or workplace, anywhere you meet people who have recently shifted into their next house. They all say one thing:” I AM NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GOING TO SHIFT HOUSE AGAIN.’’
This statement often ends in what the more uncharitable would consider a hysterical shriek.
And you think: “Come on. It can’t be that bad. I mean all you have to do is empty the cupboards, call the removalists, shift, and that’s it. Where’s the problems in that?’
But your whole experience to that point is probably moving from a rented house, usually shared, or a unit into your first home. You owned next to nothing, apart from what seems to be a huge new mortgage, and could get the whole moving thing over in the morning so you and your friends could spend serious quality time in the afternoon celebrating.
But then comes children, lots and lots of furniture and other stuff and then you decide to move one more time.
No problem. I mean you did the first shift in half a day. This shift couldn’t be much worse than that surely?
Yep. It is. Much, much worse.
We moved after about 25 years in the one house. Two boys grew up in it, moved out and we decided it was time to shift.
The shift actually started about six months before we moved.
First to go was all the books. Over the years a book here and book there amounted to far too many in shelves lining the rumpus room. We found a church thrift shop that would take them.
By about the tenth car load (well, in my defence the car isn’t all that big) the people running the shop were saying things like:”How many more books do you have?’’
Then there were the old cupboards in the garage used for storage and in the wardrobes a lot of old clothes I might want to wear again. Well in my dreams. The clothes hadn’t grown but my waistline had.
That again involved many trips to the thrift shop with the clothes, household items and knick knacks that were still in excellent condition but we didn’t use anymore.
I was probably seeing those thrift shop volunteers more than I was seeing my wife, Corinna.
Finally we reached an inescapable conclusion. We had to get a skip and just dump anything we didn’t need that was even a little bit worn.
It had reached the stage were we were becoming a mite desperate.
So we got the skip, a large one.
Tore apart the old cupboards in the garage that were too tatty to do anything else with and tossed away anything that was even a little bit worn. Two days and the skip was on the verge of overflowing but at least we had put a dent in the cleaning up.
What started out as: “Should I keep this, it might come in handy some day, or get rid of it?” changed quickly to: ”Haven’t used it lately, it’s gotta go.’’
That should do it, we thought as we continued our search for the next house.
The Brisbane City Council has an annual curbside clean-up where stuff too big for the bins is placed on the curb. The council then comes around and removes what’s left after the more enterprising, complete with trucks and or trailers, have taken what they want.
Corinna and I noticed a couple of old fans and a freezer.. and …and.. and by the time we had finished the footpath in front of out house was completely filled with stuff we reckoned we didn’t need.
Then the entrepreneurs took a lot of it away and we filled the footpath again.
“That’s it’’, we thought. “Everything we don’t need is gone.”
At last we found the new house we wanted. A deal was offered and finally everything was settled. We had the new house and our old house had new owners.
We had about two weeks before settlement day.
I asked for a day off work to shift and my very sensible boss gave me a week.
I needed every second.
We got a mass of boxes. Far too many I thought. And started packing, and packing and packing.
The two car garage was completely full of filled boxes and I was still packing.
The owners of our new house thankfully agreed to let us move our boxes into their garage before settlement day.
Corinna organised a ute with a tray to shift all the boxes on a Saturday in July a few days before settlement.
And it rained, All day. Friday was fine, not a cloud, giving me hope the weather bureau was wrong. Hah.
Probably my imagination but the rain got particularly heavy every time I loaded the ute.
Of course the cardboard boxes got soggy, everything got damp and I got soaked every load.
Unloading was fun, trying to hold the sodden boxes together as I sloshed into the garage.
There was only one catastrophe and it was a serious one. The last box carrying wine disintegrated as I was putting it down. Broken glass and red wine everywhere with me trying desperately to stop the wine flowing under boxes carrying sheets and goodness knows what else By the way. That was the last day of decent rain Brisbane has received.
And of course while we were packing we were finding more stuff hidden in cupboards for years that we had no use for.
Plus old pieces of timber and bits and pieces that had rested in the rafters in the garage just in case some time in the future I might need it.
Our rubbish bins were overflowing. The stuff we didn’t need was piling up and finally Corinna and I looked at each other and agreed. We had to get another skip.
And again we filled it. But we were showing no mercy by this stage. We just wanted to finish packing and get out.
The removalists, who were excellent, came the day before settlement.
But that just revealed another problem. Some of the furniture hadn’t been moved for years and the carpets were filthy.
Corinna, a google queen, had managed to find a professional carpet cleaner and as soon as the furniture was gone, he moved in..
We finished cleaning most of the rest of the house by about 1 am and our first night in the new house was one of exhaustion.
The next day was settlement day, midday if I remember correctly. Early the next morning we were back to finish cleaning the cupboards and check everything was done for the new owners. We finished about 15 minutes before settlement, physically and mentally exhausted.
Unpacking at the new house was fun. In the rush to move everything we had no idea what was where in which box so each box was a mystery.
Early in the move I put the cutlery in a place we could get at easily when we started to unpack.
It took three days and fears that we had accidentally tossed it out before I remembered where I put it.
And as for the screws, bolts etc I tossed out because I wouldn’t need them any more.
You guessed it. Within a couple of weeks I did need them.
So no we are definitely NOT, I REPEAT, NOT. NO, NOT EVER MOVING AGAIN.
Sorry, started to get a bit hysterical again there.
Read Part 1 How we bought a house by Dennis Connors
Read Part 2 That’s the house. At last we have found THE HOUSE.How we bought a house by Dennis Connors