Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Moving and lessons learned by Shelley Hopkins
My blogging has come to a stop while we have been closing up our house in one state and preparing to buy a house in another state. I had forgotten how much work moving can be. There is nothing like packing up all of our belongings to discover how much junk we have. I am a fairly simple person, I feel like I am the kind of person that doesn't hang on to things, and yet I find stashes of paper left over from one craft, bags of ribbons left over from another craft, magazines that I can't bring myself to throw away, books and toys from when my children were young, books that I may want to read again, and so on.
I am not a shopper, so where do all these things come from? How do they get into my house? One answer is disorganization. I began boxing my cleaning supplies only to find that I was storing different cleansers in various parts of the house. Once I had assembled the cleansers in one room I discovered 3 bottles of bleach. I rarely use bleach. I guess that I use it so rarely that whenever I needed it I assumed I had none and bought more. If I can remember what I have, I may never have to buy bleach again.
We are buying our 4th house, and another lesson I learn, every time, is that you should fix up the house the way you want when you buy the house, and don't wait to only fix it up for the new owners. Many times we put off projects, only to find that we are moving and the project needs to be done to make the house easier to sell. If we had done those projects earlier we would be enjoying the upgrade, and we would be ready to sell.
Leave yourself enough time. That can't be stated enough. We always seem to be short on time and it always causes problems. With our first house we had to turn the keys over by a certain day. We planned our move, our friends showed up and on the hottest day of the year, July in Georgia, and in one very long tiring day everything we owned was moved from one place to another. The next day was cleaning day, and with my 3 young kids we began working on the house. We started at the top and worked down, finding lots of trash, and forgotten items that needed to be carried to the new house. We made several trips back and forth, then with the day nearly over we began cleaning. The kids were tired and grumpy, and the youngest at 4 was confused about the move, causing her to be more emotional than expected. Finally, exhausted, I decided the house was clean enough, turned in the keys and took everyone home. We were also dehydrated from the heat and hard work, but that was no excuse, the new owners found the house messier than expected and were very upset. I had cleared out the garage, but not swept the floor. I had carried away all the yard items, but missed two heat tiles we used to grill on. I had cleaned and vacuumed, swept and wiped out the fridge, but left the bathrooms less than perfect. Even the fridge wasn't as clean as it should have been. I was so embarrassed when the new homeowners complained, and we had to pay for cleaners. To this day I double check my cleaning, leaving an extra day to return to the house and walk through as if I were the new owner.
For this move we contracted movers, and they were to come on a certain day. We were prepared, boxed and ready. My husband took off of work and we drove the 9 hours to finish boxing and wait for the movers. They never showed. We had to hire a new company, my husband had to return to work, and I was left in our old town to supervise. After they left with all our things in the truck, I was stuck in my old town for an extra week until a ride could return me to my family. Luckily my son lives in this town, so I have a place to stay. Needless to say, plans never seem to work out exactly as expected. Leave time for the what if's.
My last lesson learned is that it takes time to make a house a home. The building we buy to live in only becomes a home as we build memories within the house. When we invite people over for a meal or game night, when we celebrate holidays and participate in our traditions in the house, it becomes a home. When we nurse sick kids, have fights and make up, burn the dinner and rent movies, these things make the house a home. When we dance to music, laugh at jokes, and work on our crafts together at the kitchen table, we are building memories and a home. I am ready to head back home, finish the house buying process and start working on my new home.
What makes a house a home for you?