Monday, July 06, 2015

How Not To Relocate



I recently moved Nation.  To be more specific:  I recently moved from Scotland to Wales.  To be even MORE specific, I moved from Central Scotland to North Wales and I am now 331 miles south west of where I used to be.  I am a 30-something woman who has never lived outside Scotland.  In fact, until I ventured through to live in Stirling in the autumn of 2014, I’d never lived outside the region I was born in.   I’ve always wanted to…I just hadn’t quite gotten around to it. 

When LT had finally had enough of his job, he went out in search of a new one and found that his skills were being sought in a small town on the North Wales coast.  It looked idyllic.  He was interviewed and offered the job in short space of time and, suddenly, we had to make the decision to move our entire lives. I knew this meant I’d have to give up my job, my car, my family and friends and all the things I was so familiar with, but we decided to take the chance and see how it went.  After all, what did we have to lose? (apart from all those things I’ve just listed…).  I could find a job in Wales, surely?  I could buy another car (my other was a lease through work), and I would still HAVE my family and friends…they just wouldn’t be as close as they used to be.    Besides, LT had to give 6 months notice, so I had oodles of time to get everything organised.  Famous last words. 

Fast-forward five and a half months and picture the scene:  we have a house full of stuff we don’t need; nowhere to live; no transport; and no idea of what we were doing.  The time seemed to pass so quickly and, with us both working full time, it flew by.  With two weeks to go, we manically searched for an apartment to rent, I started scanning AutoTrader for suitable cars, and we ransacked the house, taking numerous trips to the dump in a bid to stop ourselves feeling like the people we see on episodes of Extreme Hoarders.   I mean, we had make a little effort before the two-week freak out, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough.  I didn’t even start looking for removal vans until a week to go.   Well, if I didn’t know what was going and what was staying, I couldn’t really provide a proper list of Things To Be Moved, could I?   And, besides, we had no address to move it to…

Needless to say, with frayed nerves, way too much stress, and a 662-mile round trip in one day, we found somewhere to live.  I managed to find a car the weekend before we left by calling Mr. Random Bloke who was advertising a small second hand Yaris.  It was previously owned by two careful, older ladies from Shetland, and is now in the hands of a third, not so careful lady owner from Stirling.  We booked a last minute removal through someone we knew and, with a few days to spare, it seemed like everything was in place.   I could finally breathe again. 

I can see the funny side of this now that I’m sitting in my rented apartment, with the sun streaming through the window, safe in the knowledge that it’s largely all over.  Apart from all the stuff that now lives in my parents garage that we didn’t have room for.   Oh, and the stuff we had to leave in our home in Stirling that we also didn’t have space for. And the third bedroom in the new apartment that you can’t get into because it’s full of boxes of stuff that we can’t unpack because we have way too much crap and way too little storage space.   Apart from all that, it’s largely over.   I find closing the door to said bedroom and pretending it doesn’t exist is the easiest way to deal with that whole thing.    It’s certainly working, so far.    

I hope that, in years to come, LT and I will be able to sit back and laugh (oh, how we’ll laugh!) about that time we moved to Wales and didn’t bother doing anything until the last minute.  It might take a bit longer for us to forget how we stared suspiciously at each other's belongings; each secretly thinking that the other person could probably just chuck most of out it.   Alas, it was not to be.  Anyway, without further meaningless chat, this is my guide to how NOT to relocate:

Don’t sit on your backside for the best part of six months thinking that you have plenty time to make arrangements.  You don’t.  Do the things you can do early on, such as clearing out your house.  This then gives you some time to decide what you need and you can arrange to give any furniture/clothes/shoes you won’t be taking to a local charity.  This will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside and save you many, many trips to your local civic amenity site.  

Don’t wait until two weeks before you move to call someone and ask if you can view his or her property. This will mean that you’ll feel pretty much compelled to take it, irrespective of the fact that your stuff won’t fit in it, so that you don’t end up living on the street.  Check out the area you’re moving to and make contact with local agents if you’re looking to rent. 

Do (and I can’t stress this enough) put your foot down when your other half insists that he absolutely must have 10 years' of old bank statements.  In fact, unless he’s self-employed and actually needs records, I fully encourage you to wait until he’s out and bin them.   When you get caught, don't tell them it was my idea, though.  

If you’re a bit useless and know little about removals and prices, don’t just assume you’ll find a Van Man last minute.   Go to a site, such as AnyVan, and ask for quotes.  I ended up with 11 quotes, ranging from £500 to £1,800, for the same job. Do some research and you could potentially save yourself lots of money.    

Don’t contact your energy providers/local authority/internet provider/mobile phone network at the last minute.  Give them a fighting chance of helping you by giving them some workable notice.    Don’t sign up with a new Internet provider a few days before you move and then get upset when they can’t turn on your Wi-Fi until 10 days after you arrive.   Otherwise you will, like me, have no one to blame but yourself.

Don’t forget to redirect your mail until you have a chance to make all your calls and let everyone know about your exciting new change of address.  You don’t want to miss out on all those bills now, do you?

Don’t rock up to your new area without doing some research.  If, like me, you’re used to living in a city and move to somewhere rural, you’ll need to know what you’re dealing with.  Where is the train/bus station?  If you’re a gym bunny, do you have facilities nearby? Is your nearest supermarket a half hour drive away? (Why, yes, it is….)  If you have a milk related shortage, is there a small local store that opens late?   More importantly, does this store also sell wine?  

If you’re all outgoing and friendly, join a local club/group/gym/wine tasting event and get out and meet new people.  If you’re like me and are horribly shy and awkward around people, stay home, keep taking your anti anxiety meds and proceed with caution.