Monday, 7 May 2012

Moving house...

Illustration from here

I have spent all weekend moving house.

Not from my own home.

No, we have not been packing up the '70's monstrosity. That all stays gloriously unchanged and stable, thank goodness.

No, I have been moving my Mum.

She has lived in her old house for a number of years - over a decade.

When she moved in she was of sound body and mind.

But this move - this move from "independence" to something else, is anticipated be the the last one she makes. From house to "retirement village". A care environment with an intercom on the wall and nurses and all her meals cooked for her.

She moves from space she never used, to a compact unit designed for aging. Every surface is level - no falls here. There are grab rails everywhere. No falls here. Her zimmer frame glides slowly. No falls here. There is no drinking here - no wine in the pantry. No falls here.

For the past few weekends I have gone through every inch of her old home. Unveiling, sorting, discarding, remembering. Filtering. Wrapping and stashing. Only boxing up the clean and the useful.

And this weekend, we are done*. She is in her new home.

I am envious. Such a little neat clean space. All shiny and new. No worries over maintenance or cleaning or cooking.

I have unpacked, at the other end, for her.

And as always, the same tips remain true -

  1. Always carry a box with you in your car, not with the removalists, that contains kettle and coffee provisions, a cloth, loo paper, a Stanley knife and bin bags. (And to be honest, some unbreakable wine and beer glasses too!)
  2. Clearly mark each and every single box.
  3. Have the box with the bed linen in it one of the first to be unpacked - get the bed(s) made up as soon as you can - that way, if all else turns to shit, you can always just go to bed. The unpacking will always wait till tomorrow.
  4. Check services are on and working - hot water particularly, and 'phone. If not, have a fight with Telstra.
  5. Use the spare room for the majority of boxes - leave plenty of room everywhere else to start getting an idea of where stuff can eventually go.
  6. Don't rush to hang pictures up on random existing hooks - else they will stay for the next however many years until you next decorate. Do it properly the first time.
  7. Have notebook and pen handy to write the ongoing shopping list of all the new bits and bobs you find yourself realising that you need.
  8. Go out for a curry or other favoured takeaway that night - your new kitchen will wait.
* We are about a quarter of a way through the process. Now I have to go back to the old house and get that sorted and ready for a dead market. :-(

I have moved 27 times in my life. And this one was the hardest yet.

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  1. I enjoyed the story of your mom today. My mom is getting on in years and the last little while she has been talking about going into a home. She is finding it difficult at times to keep up with her small apartment. Then there are the days when she is glad that she is still in her own small apartment.

  2. Have been there with both my parents and MIL. It's a draining process, both physically and mentally, but there's light at the end of it all, she's in the best place for her now. x

  3. Big Hugs Lucy during this tough time...hope your Mum settles in easily and is happy and you have peace of mind now knowing she is safe and in a fall free environment xoxo

  4. It must of been a very hard move! I wish I had had your tips when we moved a couple of weeks ago!! Loo paper and coffee provisions?~ sheer luxury!! :P x

  5. Thinking of you Lucy, I am dreading having to do the same thing for my Mum when the time comes. I love your list of tips though, I have to jot them down. Hope your Mum settles in well and that she lives the rest of her time happily upright (no falls) and with a smile on her face. Hugs from Perth xxx

  6. At least the hardest bit is over now and you can look forward to visiting for a cuppa and a chat in the new place. I hate moving, Ive only done it 6 times and hope I dont move more than 10 in my lifetime. I'll never forget leaving my parents home for the first time - we used the horse truck to pack all my belongings in you should've seen the look on the neighbors face in suburbia when we rocked up in the horse mobile. How embarrassing!

  7. That's a huge task.
    I hope there's wine in your pantry, love!
    :-) x

  8. Oh wow Lucy, that is a major job. I hope you have a celebration planned for when it's all finished.
    I'm going to keep your how to list, and maybe in 30 years when hubby decides to retire from the farm, I think it may come in handy.

  9. A mere 22 moves for me. And all you say is true. Curry and beer never tasted as good as when you're moving house.

    Moving is more than boxes though, it's emotional. Go back to the old house. Open all the doors and windows. Fill each room with nag champa and get down to the task of readying it for sale.

    And have more curry. x

  10. Great post Lucy. Am taking notes on all the tips. We moved The Builder's mum out of her home a few years ago and I agree, a very, very difficult move. x

  11. Oh Lucy, what a difficult move to make. Thinking about you.

    What great tips! I haven't really moved many times as an adult but I learned last year to keep the kettle and bed linen handy! We still have some boxes still to unpack...

  12. Hi Lucy. We have just finished this process for Mike's disabled uncle. House sold 2 weeks ago. Has been a long process but now it is done it feels good. It's a sad job, but sadly we all have to do it for someone. Hope you and your mum get some joy in her new space. xxxx

  13. Those are great tips. I laughed a bit about not hanging pictures on existing hooks because they'll never be moved. I can see that happening.

  14. Old age is a bastard. It stinks. It seems like your Mum agreed with the move and is happy in her shiny, new home. You're a good daughter. I hope the next stage goes well for you too. xo

  15. My nana and papa did this in 1997. In the end it was perfect timing as Papa had another stroke and had to be admitted to a full care nursing facility - Nana has been in her little compact unit in Adelaide ever since and she has been happy there. She's now 87 and she is far less mobile and not doing brilliantly and the place is a godsend - she has had a couple of falls and has been cared for brilliantly.

    I think you are being so strong about looking after your mum. It is admirable. I am not sure I will have the strength when and if the time comes that I need to look after mine. I can only hope I am as thoughtful and caring as you...

  16. Moving your mum. That says so much. xxx

  17. Moving house can be a stressful business. Luckily there's no shortage of professional movers out there to help, for a fee.

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