Thoughts on Moving without having a Meltdown
It's now been five weeks since we moved out of our old house, the place that we had called home for almost nine years. I'm currently living in limbo, staying with family and friends as we renovate our new house in the countryside; circumstances that are, at times, inconvenient and stressful. I'm counting down the days until we can finally move in, but it seems like that anticipated date is slipping further and further away, as work gets rescheduled. There's definitely days when I'm grumpy and snappy, as is to be expected when you're living out of a bag and traipsing across three counties on an almost daily basis, but it's nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. There's an end in sight, and creating our dream home is spurring me forwards.
I thought I'd share a few thoughts on keeping calm when moving (and renovating), as well as sharing a few preview photos of what our house looked like when we bought it. Be prepared - it's not pretty! The house was completely stripped back when we finally got the keys. There's no kitchen or bathroom (other than a sink and a toilet - thank god!) and absolutely everything needs doing. We're knocking down walls, rewiring the electrics, putting in new radiators and internal doors, obviously installing a kitchen & bathroom, and decorating throughout. Scroll down to the end of the post for the 'before' photos of inside (I'm keeping the outdoors separate, as we have big plans for the garden and the garage).
I know I'm not the only one going through a move at the moment - several of my online friends are also in the process of buying and selling (Jess & Siobhan) and many of you will understand just how stressful moving house is. I read somewhere that the three most stressful events in your life are having a baby, getting married and buying a house, and I completely agree with the latter. Before we decided to sell (our previous home was my boyfriend's but I assisted with the sale) and relocate, I had no idea how much work was involved, how many incredibly dull forms we'd have to read and sign, and just how long it would take. It took us four months to finally complete and get the keys to our new home.
In a way, the length of time it all takes actually helps. We weren't in a chain (our buyer was a first-time buyer and we were purchasing an empty house) and I completely understand that anyone in a chain will indeed feel more frustrated as time drags on even further, but I was glad of a few months to sort things out. After Christmas, we gradually went through our entire home, weeding out items that we didn't need or use. We took things to charity shops or gave them away, getting rid of all the clutter we'd accumulated over the past nine years. Everything left was packed into boxes (neatly labelled) and packed away in my boyfriend's parents garage for now. Our large furniture has been put into storage.
The new house has a much smaller footprint than our old home, so getting rid of things that we don't need was necessary. We sold some of our old furniture that wouldn't fit in the new place and really thought about what we actually need in our home. Now that all our belongings have been packed away, out of sight, for the past five weeks, I'm sure we'll be getting rid of much more when it's finally time to unpack. Before we started, I panicked about how small our new house is, worrying that we wouldn't have space for everything that we 'need'. Stepping back from it all and packing all of your belongings away makes you realise that we all fill our homes with unnecessary clutter.
One thing that has really helped me to stay calm and not get too stressed out is having a loose schedule. Everything changes on a daily basis, but having things written down helps to keep your mind clear to concentrate on other things. It's an incredibly messy piece of paper, things constantly getting crossed out and moved as work gets pushed back or takes longer than we initially thought, but it gives us an idea of what's happening when. It also ensures us that things are happening in the right order - the builder has to knock down the wall before the plasterer can do his work before we can decorate before the kitchen gets fit.
Pinterest has also helped me to get organised. I started a Pinterest board for the house as soon as we had our offer accepted and we've been using it as a place to store inspiration ever since. When you're renovating an entire house from scratch, it can become incredibly hard work to manage the essential works, let alone plan how you want each room to look. Pinterest has really helped me to hone the ideas that I have for the house, and to allow my ideas to evolve over time.
I've also found that simply stepping away from it all really helps. Whether it's giving ourselves a couple of days off from worrying about everything, or just spending the day working in the garden rather than wandering aimlessly around the house when we're waiting for work to be done. In order to calm down, you need to take a break!
So, the house itself. Here it is, in all its glory. I've actually developed a bit of a soft touch for those raw plaster walls and will miss them when we eventually get round to painting. That's about the only thing that I'll miss though! There's a more comprehensive house tour over on my Instagram Stories if you'd like to see the house in more detail, and I'll be sharing more details as we complete each room.
I'd love to hear from you if you've ever taken on a similar renovation, or if you're just going through a move yourself at the moment. Let's have a chat about the woes of moving house in the comments below.