- You’re never prepared. Every step takes far more time (and boxes) than you think, and no matter how carefully you pack, you will certainly still be hunting for something vital weeks later.
Ok this might not be universally applicable, but it’s always been true for us. Then again, Armin’s packing style (to which I defer for reasons unknown) prioritises spatial efficiency over logic of contents, which doesn’t really help. IN ANY CASE. We’ve been here for nearly three weeks and I still can’t locate my computer keyboard.
- The hard part is packing. (In this case much harder than it had to be, for reasons ranging from insufficient boxes – kind of hilarious but also really annoying – to my own sucky state of mind, so the actual transfer was also stupidly hard.) The fun part (unpacking) is also really hard, and more so when you don’t have the right furniture to unpack into/onto.
We’ve been to Ikea three times,* and are finally, finally more or less organised, or at least ready to get organised, in all spaces except the entrance hall. We even have two bedrooms in good working order. But it’s so freaking exhausting. Always more stuff to assemble, and then the packaging to dispose of, and then you still have to do the actual unpacking, and hope it all works the way you wanted. (We have way too much stuff. Still. I keep trying to prune, but I don’t really want to live in a house with fewer books, even if I do want more breathing room on the bookshelves.)
- And then there’s the emotional angle. It’s never just about moving. It’s about what the move means to you way deep down. About why you’re moving (is it wanted or forced?), and how the new place compares to the old place, and of course, what it says about how you’ve got your life together. It can be so good or so bad, but either way, you’re processing FEELINGS along with each box.
The feelings this time are almost all good. We’ll miss the gorgeous light and the balcony view, and being next door to best friends, but everything else is a huge upgrade. (And the friends are still in walking distance, just.) But it’s a huge step, moving from a rented flat to a bought house, and it’s throwing up all kinds of feelings about the last two decades. We bought a flat in Joburg in 2000, then sold it on moving to London, so it’s taken us 19 years to get back to that same level of adulthood. I’m thinking a lot about what those 19 years gave us and what they took. Two international moves; so much life experience, so many big opportunities; but so much temporary, unsettled living. It’s stupid to tie the capitalist milestone of buying property to “adulthood unlocked” but that is how it feels. And achieving adulthood at the age of 43 is… uncomfortable.
- I’m also thinking a lot about Le Corbusier’s “machine for living” (could he BE any more Swiss?!) and how your home shapes the way you live. About the evergreen hope that if you can just arrange your space a bit better, your days will be better too. More efficient. More hospitable. More creative. All of the above. I have high hopes for this machine, once we just get it running smoothly.
- Meanwhile, in non-moving news, Elfling has just been promoted to the Pfadi level of scouts and is quite unreasonably excited. Unreasonable, because she was previously begging to be allowed to quit entirely. I won’t bore you with the details, just please indulge my smugness at pushing her to stick it out that little bit longer, because she is suddenly so very into it. As predicted. And we’re all quite weirdly excited that she gets to spend time hanging out with a bunch of teenage girls (starting with a “fluffy puffy girls’ weekend” this very Friday). I mean, what 10-year-old wouldn’t want that?!
* I dream of living in a house that isn’t 90% furnished by Ikea, but this is not yet that house. It’s not just the cost saving. It’s the time saving. Whatever the situation, Ikea probably has something that will work, and that’s just not true of anywhere else. But it would be nice, eventually, to get stuff with a bit more individuality.