It happens. After months of looking, viewings and struggling to find that perfect place, whilst trying to pry as much information out of agents and lawyers as humanly possible, and yet still being left baffled by the whole thing.
It happens. After months of stress, sleepless nights and worry, whilst sneaking out the office to take the calls from estate agents who are annoyingly determined to sell you a one bedroom flat after you've repeatedly made it clear to them that you are looking for a two bedroom one.
It happens. After weeks of planning the move, whilst trying to find a removal company who'll do the job for the price you want, on the day you want, all without breaking everything along the way.
Yes, it finally happens. After all the months of stress and all the weeks of planning, now is the time to finally pack everything up. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Just a case of putting things into cardboard boxes. Couldn't be simpler.
Sensibly, you buy more packing supplies than you think you actually need, and yet somehow you are still surprised when you end up using them all.
Sensibly, you organise the boxes according to rooms and function, with boxes for the living room, kitchen, office, bedroom and sentimental attachment.
Sensibly, you've remembered to label the boxes properly, by writing what's actually in them. Rather than just writing 'Fragile' on everything, which is effectively useless when moving into your new home, as it leaves you scratching your head trying to work out which box goes into which room.
Sensibly, you've also remembered to sellotape the boxes up properly. Apparently a single strip along the middle of the box is not enough. A single strip along the middle, combined with 3 separate strips adjacent should stop those fiendish boxes from falling apart.
It's important to remember this as you may not realise that some boxes are in fact out to get you and are determined to fall apart on you at the most opportune moment - for them, not you. For example, a box full of books will not fall apart on you as you're about to pack the books onto a shelf, as that could be considered helpful. No no, these villainous boxes will deem it fit to collapse on you only when, for example, you are walking over a puddle on a rainy day. Hence delivering maximum inconvenience and permanently ruining as many books as possible, with the least amount of effort. You've got to understand that they are experts, these boxes, they know what they're doing and if you don't sellotape them up properly they will punish you.
Then there's packing technique. It's strange how competitive you become when trying to determine how many things you can stuff into a single box. Do you lay your DVDs vertically, sideways or flat? If there's space left down the side, do you stuff it with more DVDs or bubble wrap? It turns out you put more DVDs down the side, thus ensuring you break your previous long-standing 'How many DVDs can I Get in a Single Box?' record, which has stood for an amazing 17 minutes.
Books present a similar conundrum, but there's a trap with books, especially hardbacks. You've sorted them by size, you've tried alternative ways of packing them and you believe you've cracked it when you've finally manage to pack the box with as many books as humanly possible. Then comes the twist. It turns out books are kind of heavy, when packed together into a medium size box. My girlfriend knew this, but after assuring her that I knew best, for some reason she didn't feel the need to explain this weight issue to me until I had packed the box, sellotaped it up and nearly broke my back trying to lift it. My girlfriend then assured me that we would look back on that moment in years to come and laugh about it.
Sentimentality is a strange thing and during a move it can strike from the most unexpected places, for example folders, books, CDs and VHSs. Yes VHSs! A He-Man video watched at the tender age of 5, which held no meaning for 25 years, yet when presented with the choice between keeping it or throwing it away, suddenly takes on great importance. After packing them away, inevitably I head straight to Youtube and all those childhood memories come flooding back the moment I hear that cheesy 'The Video Collection' intro. Not to mention the hours then wasted thanks to 'Suggested Videos' bringing up clips of childhood cartoons I hadn't seen in years, yet after all this time can still remember all the words to their theme tunes.
It's surprising how an object, which to anyone else holds no material value, is to you an emotional link to your past. In middle of packing my clothes away I knew I had a First Holly Communion suit in there, but that was no big deal. No, the big deal comes with my old black puffer jacket that I used to wear when I was a teenager. Back in the 90s everyone at school had them, the girls in particular wore an assortment of atrociously luminous colours. Obviously I can't fit into mine anymore, but that's not the point. This jacket more than anything reminds me of my school days. The laughs, the fights, the girls (or lack of), all of these things happened whilst wearing this jacket. My girlfriend doesn't quite get why I won't part with it, but now I've seen it, and the memories associated with it, I know I will never part with it.
Getting ready to move can stir fond memories, but it can also stir upsetting ones. Technically I don't need a portable CD player anymore, my iPod has seen to that. But this CD player is different. My cousin gave me this CD player. She was lovely lady, caring, supportive and sporty as hell. She may have been older than me, but she always spoke to me as an equal, even when I was a child. She died from cancer many years ago. On the face of it, keeping this CD player could be seen to be pointless. But my cousin bought me this CD player, it's the one thing I have of hers that she gave to me. This CD player is my link to my cousin. Broken or not, I will never part with it.
That's the thing about getting ready for a move. You're not just moving from one building to another building. You're saying goodbye to your old life and beginning a new life with your partner. But that doesn't mean you sever all the links with your past. It's your past that created who you are today, the person who found this girl and now wants to move in with her and start a new life together. It's your past that has led you to where you are today, and it's these sentimental pieces that bridge the gap between your new life and the old.
And so it goes. You may think you're opening up a cupboard just to put stuff into a box. But, in fact you're protecting your memories so they can be remembered again. You're protecting the links to your past, so one day in the future you can revisit your childhood heroes, your childhood friends and love ones who are no longer with you.
Who said packing was just putting stuff into boxes?
Check out our other articles which will help you in the lead up to deciding what to do when you are moving home!