Moving house makes me wish I were a tortoise, with the joy and convenience of everything I might need neatly packed on my back and instantly accessible.
Having shifted myself and all my worldly goods on a number of occasions now, I think I have it nailed – well sort of. So, here is what I have learnt.
One – never allow your movers to pack for you. They will fill overly large boxes to capacity, rendering them back-breakingly heavy when it comes to the unpacking stage after the movers have long gone home.
Two – movers label boxes generically. The word kitchenware, neatly printed on a box, is about as useful as a tine-less fork and as annoying as a paper cut. Yes, I know it’s kitchenware but where the dickens is my cafetiere because I have just reached the stage of “give me a shot of caffeine and no one will get hurt”.
Three – don’t repeat my mistake of thinking that label abbreviation saves packing/unpacking time. It, in fact, does the exact opposite and you will find yourself standing in front of a sealed box thinking: what the hell? For example, marking a box “LDPCJ” quite obviously means Lefthand Drawer Pantry Cans & Jars. Three weeks later, however, amid a fog of exhaustion, this could also quite obviously mean Lost Demented Postie Called Jack. GFSDAB? Ground Floor Study DVDs and Books. Three 3 weeks later – Grandma’s Foul Spare Dentures and Broomstick.
Four – there will always be at least two, if not many more, boxes that never, ever get unpacked. They sneakily crawl away when you are not looking and begin nesting in a cupboard under the stairs, or worse still, the dreaded attic, from where they will proceed to breed for years, or at least until the next move.
Five – the whole thing is not worth getting into a tizz about. Give yourself time to reflect on what sort of tortoise you would like to be. One of those tiny little things with pretty, concentrically patterned shells or one of those humungous things, living for centuries on the Galapagos Islands? Either will do for me.