This weekend, my housemates and I will be moving house, shifting from one humble abode to the next. While we love the house we are currently in, so do the people that actually own it, the landlords. Six months ago they gave us notice that they’d like to move back in, and there really wasn’t anything we could do.
About a month ago, we embarked on searching for a new place to call home. We looked in our current area, as well as new suburbs in which we’d never lived. We trawled through the real estate websites, putting in our preferences every time (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, at least 2 car spaces, no tiny apartments, close to work, max $650 per week, no make that $700 per week, oh what the heck $750 per week).
Eventually, we found what we were looking for. Just within our budget, close to work and the city, large living spaces, a backyard, two bathrooms, a gas stove, excellent. Now, the time has come to pack up our belongings, question our sanity with every “are we keeping this or throwing it out?”, change our address with a dozen institutions, and move.
With moving house comes excitement and anticipation. I have lost count of how many times I’ve put our new address into Google Maps and calculated how close it is to everything. A 41 minute walk to work according to Google, I could probably do it in 30. Just a short bike ride into the city? I can’t wait.
Also with moving house comes an array of hidden costs. Time is money, and money is time. When you move house you start to wonder where both of these things go. Whether you are about to move or would like to reflect back on how consuming an activity it really is, I give you a list of things to be prepared for.
# 1: Time off work to inspect places
Luckily for my housemates and I, all of our workplaces have flexible working arrangements where you can work fewer hours one day and more the next, as long as it all balances out. That said, it was still a pain to take a 3 hour lunch break to drive around town, tramping through open homes with all the other hopefuls. Inspections are a massive time suck, as is time spent searching for inspections to attend in the first place.
# 2: Time to pack
Whether you are a hoarder or a devout follower of Marie Kondo, packing up your belongings will take up nights after work and precious weekends. It will feel never ending at times, and you’ll wonder how you accumulated so many things, but when an empty house is the end goal, everything has to go somewhere.
# 3: Time to move
While I haven’t yet got to this part for this particular move, I have moved enough times to know you can’t underestimate the number of trips it may take to transport your life across town. Moving stuff from inside the house to inside your car, or removal truck, will have you pacing like you’re competing in a walking event. Though, no matter how quickly you walk, the move will still feel slow.
# 4: Money for the bond
Bonds can be expensive and if rent didn’t already feel like dead money to you, then the bond certainly will.
# 5: Money to eat out
As the contents of your fridge dwindle down to half a block of cheese and a jar of pickles, there really isn’t much point doing a massive grocery shop, especially when the fridge has to be switched off for an entire day. Whatever you buy and don’t eat is just more stuff to be moved, or worse still, thrown out. There will come a point where you realise you must surrender whatever budget you usually dedicate to eating out.
# 6: Money for removals
While I lift weights at the gym, I don’t plan on lifting our couch, dining table or bed frame into a truck. Someone else can do that.
# 7: If you’re not careful, injuries
As I type this I am suffering from a very sore lower back, and I blame the abundance of heavy books on our bookshelf. In an effort to be efficient, I conveniently forgot all that work health and safety training I did when I worked in retail, particularly that part about bending at the knees. Your body isn’t actually a machine, who knew.
With the right amount of preparation, you can be only half surprised when these things creep up out of nowhere. I am excited to move house, and equally excited to return to a normal rhythm of spending my time and my money. Time to stretch out my back.