Relocating tips

12:35 PM

I was planning to write this yesterday, but I had a tiresome Wednesday so instead of packing yesterday’s precious 2 hours of me time with a blog entry I decided to apply one of my relocating tip : take time to relax. So I put my feet up made myself a nice cup of tea and watched a movie instead.

My relocating tips are the ones you apply after you found a place and are gearing up to pack and move, for us this phase always left us about 3-4 weeks between the day we knew we would shift to a certain place and the day packers and movers would come to pack our stuff. Now this time our move will be one without packers and movers, a way I am used to, because as told previously, if you relocate within the same city you enlist the help of friends for as much as you can and even in the case of an intercity or interstate move the moving company dumps box in your flat a couple of weeks in advance to let you do the packing. Anyway, in India should you move around the corner without packers and movers or at the other end of the country with their help there are always things that you need to plan. My tips below apply to moving within India first and foremost.

1) If you got the chance to see the flat you are going to move in beforehand, ask for a second visit if possible, take your measuring tape along with you and start visualising what goes where. That way you have the few coming weeks to prepare yourself, and by the time the packers and movers come in into the new place with your stuff, you can direct them immediately on where to put what.
I did one totally blind move over the years, the one that took me in the flat we currently live in and are about to leave. That was the hardest, I had 5 minutes to inspect the empty place before the first boxes and furniture arrived, in the end it went well, but I found myself frantically figuring out where I wanted my shelves and how my bed should face while directing other movers to other rooms with some boxes. The other nearly blind move was the Navi Mumbai, but I had a full day living in the empty new flat before they arrived, so it was till fine.

2) MAKE LISTS, as early as possible, make them in a notebook, and put everything move related as soon as it crosses your mind, it might seem silly, but if something such as “wash the curtains before leaving” strike your mind 3 weeks before the move, just note it down, the last few days leading to the move are hectic, and both physically and emotionally draining, and you would not believe how many times I was glad I wrote silly stuff a month before because they just slipped out of my mind as the time got near. And there is nothing more upsetting than unpacking something dirty in your new home when all you want at that point is to be done with it all and relax in your new surrounding.
I usually make 3 or 4 lists : “Things to organize”, “Before leaving this flat”, “In the new flat” and “Shopping list”, sometimes shopping goes in the “new flat list”.
The other reason why I make lists are that it allows me to clear my mind, even if yes I KNOW I’ll have to call the carpenter to put my shelves on the wall in the new place, the fact I write it down means I can stop worrying about it or mulling it over and over. It’s all there on my to do list so it’s fine.

3) If you are moving across the country and will get to spend time in the empty flat on arrival for a day before the movers come like it has been the case many times for us. Measure all your big furniture BEFORE they come and pack your stuff and keep a record of the measure in your relocation notebook (war plan as I call it). That way you can take your time on the first day to measure things in the new home and figure out if whatever vision you had will work or if you need to figure out a plan B. Again this may sound silly, but trust me from experience (and sadly we have far too much in the relocation department) the more you plan in advance the better, moving IS stressful, there are moments you will want to scream and kick, or collapse on the ground wanting it to be over with, so the more you can organize before finding yourself in the mayhem will ensure you’ll get through less battered.

4) I mentioned a shopping list, this may sound again stupid, but again, if you know you’ll need certain stuff in the new place like shower curtains, storage boxes, new buckets and mugs, chances are you can buy these before moving, and spare you some shopping trips, or the hassle to figure out where you can get these stuff if you are shifting to another city you know nothing about.
things that are always useful to have as soon as you are in your new quarters: cleaning supplies, clothes drying lines, clothes hanging clips, mops, plastic mugs and a broom. Or put it on a list separately and place an order with your local general store as soon as you arrive to have them delivered to you so you can clean up before the packers and movers come, or buy everything before hand and pack it yourself in a box labelled CLEANING SUPPLIES in bold. The last thing you want is to have to empty 5-6 huge boxes of kitchen supplies wondering where the hell they packed your stuff to finally find out they decided to throw them in a bathroom box.

5) Unless you have friends or relatives you can live in for a few days while in transit, prepare yourself for urban camping, we did it 3 times already, the air mattress we bought at a trekking and camping supplies store was the best investment, first we used them quite a bit in just that one year we moved 3 times while in transit, but they also come in super handy when you have more guests than you have beds in your house, and take far less space than even thin cotton mats you find in most stores in India. Pack a hot plate with the stuff that will travel with you, you’ll need it would it be just to make your cup of tea in the morning, and let’s not forget Maggi noodles which just about comes in handy in such time. The first two urban camping experience we packed real tea mugs, the first time we forgot plates and cutlery, had to buy them in plastic and paper, the second time we packed the plates with us as well, but they are heavy and take space and could potentially break in your suitcase, the last move we decided to go the paper cup and plastic plate route. We had 3 days in our empty Bangalore flat before leaving for Mumbai and we ate out a lot, but it still came in handy.

6) Start de-cluttering as soon as you know you’ll be on the move, even before the new flat is found if you can, the more time you have the better because that mean you can just tackle one area after the other on the span of several day. It’s amazing the amount of crap one can collect in a short amount of time, there hasn’t been one move so far during which we haven’t jettisoned some dead weight. This one will be no different, this is the perfect occasion to donate old never worn anymore clothes, throw away plastic containers you don’t have use for, and sort out your important papers,you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll find yourself getting rid of. And it’s all crap you won’t have to figure out where to store in the new place too.

7) I always end up writing things like “pay the milk man and newspaper guy” on my lists, let them know a day or two in advance that you’ll be leaving so that they can prepare your bill. That’s one of these small thing that if not written on the list I am sure to forget at the last minute, and it’s not fair to them to suddenly come one day to find you gone and a few weeks of milk or newspaper they’ll never get paid for.

8) Write down important phone numbers in your war plan as well, I always have a list of take out joints in there, as moving day and urban camping looms upon us you can bet we are in for easy food source. I also write down the various delivery service number’s we use to cancel them, because the last thing you want is frantically wonder where you put their business card at the last minute. I also kept the Tata sky number, the Eureka Forbes one and any of the known service at destination so I would not need to try to find them online, the fastest I have my Aquaguard set up the better.

9) If you really care about something…pack it yourself! Packers and Movers aren’t all careful with your belongings, and it’s better to wrap certain things in boxes yourself before they come. For us there was also the issue of books, we have books that we want in the shelves, and some DH want to hang on to but we don’t need to have displayed, the problem is that packers and movers can;t possibly know that, and they will just fill book boxes with book and mixing it all up, if you pack your “storage book” as such in boxes on your own and label them so, you will not have to sort out through heaps of books on arrival, the box labelled “storage” goes in storage, the one with books will go in the book shelves. We made the rookie mistake when we shifted to Navi Mumbai, we then had hours of sorting them out we could have spared ourselves, since they also found a pile of old magazines we wanted to throw away (but forgot to put it on the list) and threw them in with all the books, no fun figuring what was to be trash, what is storage and what is nice book when you are dead beat, want a shower, a clean home and food in our tummy.

10) Keep basic tools with you…at all time! Screw drivers, Allen keys, these are things you will need to fix certain things, the one you aren't;t taking in your suitcase, pack them in a box where you’ll find them fast and not at the last moment (along with the cleaning supplies works well). We have a Swiss army knife that has a interchangeable screw driver heads tool, that thing is by far the best thing we ever had, it has all the tools a Swiss army knife has and yes it comes in super handy during a move, and the screw driver thing is just added sheer genius, and it takes no space at all in the luggage.

11) If you are relocating across the country, pack you personal transit belonging in a suitcase the night before the movers come, keep the suitcase shut with everything you will need for 2-3 or more days in transit in there including important papers and valuables such as jewellery. Put all the stuff that will travel with you in one corner of one room, and give the packers and movers the express instruction not to pack these, keep checking during the day that they are following said instruction. And when I said keep everything you need for you own trip shut I mean it, during our Bangalore to Navi Mumbai move I di leave my towel on the top of the suitcase after my morning shower, DH left his jeans, by the evening I had no towel for my evening much needed shower and DH had no clean jeans to wear the next day to head to the airport, they packed everything that was not in our bags. And while we are on the topic, put all keys and AC remotes that belong to your landlord in your purse before  they come too, and write on your list that you should hand them over to the owner of your premises while checking out. What good would that be to have an AC remote from your Mumbai flat you no longer live in and find out about it in Bangalore simply because you forgot about it and the packers and movers packed it? Sure the owner can replace it, but it’s a question of principle, there are enough lousy awful uncaring tenants that do things on purpose, don’t make the statistics grow and give a reason to your previous owner to be wary of tenants. It takes 5 seconds to write it down as early as you can on your list, 5 seconds to remember to keep these away on D-day and another 5 seconds to read your list and hand them over to your landlord when you leave.

12) Last but not least, and probably the most important tip: TAKE TIME TO RELAX…everyday. Each time you feel overwhelmed or ready to blow up, stop what you are doing, even if it is not move related, and just do something fun: watch TV, go for a walk, go shopping, go for a hair cut, pedicure…whatever rocks your boat…just DO IT. I’m not kidding when I said moving is stressful, don;t try to be a hero, nobody is going to give you any prize for stoically going through your stuff and hours of planning. Beside wonder woman and superman are fictional characters, they do not exist and you should not even think you can do it all. because here is a breaking new: nobody can do it all. You can’t plan a move be a good wife/husband, mother/father, domestic goddess, corporate worker, and handyman at the same time…so give yourself a break. The world is not going to end if you don’t clean the whole place up in a day, you aren’t committing an inhumane crime serving leftovers or calling freezer food a meal, or for just not wanting to cook at all and ordering take out…in fact as part of the “RELAX” bit, just do it, make take out a friend on a bad day.

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