Posted on March 21, 2015
How Our House Move Turned Out
As I have already mentioned, we have moved to the Scottish Hebrides islands. (That’s “heh-bri-deez”, for those who don’t know!) We have been in our new home for six weeks now, so I thought I’d give an update on how our move actually turned out.
First of all, the entry date for our house was moved forward by four days. This didn’t matter too much, as we didn’t have anything extra planned, but I think psychologically it made us feel slightly more rushed!
The weather on the day of the move turned out to be damp where we were, and heavy snow at our new house :-O with areas of heavy snow on the 5 hour journey in between!
The (somewhat crazy) arrangements for our move were: my husband drove a hired van up to the new house on day 1, along with my dad and a friend, driving back to my parents’ house late that night; then on the following day, he drove the van again with our son and my dad, with me following behind in our car, with the girls and my mum. We did it this way because the access to our new house prevented us from self-driving a 7 ton lorry, and we have left about half of our possessions in my parents’ garage due to the dining room here being in need of major repair work (the walls need a damp-proof course put in, and that part of the house needs re-roofed).
Here is a photo my mum took on the journey:
It was very beautiful, but I was a little nervous at some points, particularly when it was snowing hard and the snow was lying on the road. However, we are thankful to God that on both days we had safe journeys, and absolutely no problems at all due to vehicles, weather or injuries from heavy lifting.
It was a huge blessing to have had the help of my parents and my husband’s friend for the move, and it really made things a lot easier.
On arriving at our new home, it was very cold. It took about a week of having the fire on all day (we have a wood and coal burning stove), to get the house nice and cosy. The stove heats our water tank, but for the first week we had no hot water and had to boil a kettle every time we wanted to wash the dishes. Let me just say here that I am so thankful to have had running water at all, and we do have an electric shower, so we were still able to have a wash! It really made us realise how much we usually take these things for granted, when there are so many people in the world who have nothing like these luxuries.
At any rate, the draughts and cold have forced me to be at least a little creative (!), making a draught excluder and putting some extra linings on door curtains using blankets etc.
We had a week’s holiday from homeschooling for the house move, and spent most of the week cleaning, and gradually unpacking boxes. There has turned out to be more work needing done in the house than we had anticipated, but my husband is very good at DIY, and personality-wise, is not the kind of person to put things off for long (unlike me- cringe!), so he has done a massive amount of work in the following 6 weeks.
The girls bedroom has gone from this:
and the kitchen has gone from being a health hazard (!) to this:
These two rooms were not ones we expected to have to renovate, so we still have a sizeable amount of work to do elsewhere in the house which we were expecting, but the jobs that have been done have made the house comfortable and useable, which is great.
I wrote earlier this year, when we were looking forward to Our Big Move, about tips and advice I had been given or read about regarding moving house. Looking back now, I think the most helpful things we did put into practice were:
- using disposable plates, bowls and cutlery – in hindsight, I would have bought enough for a whole week’s worth.
- buying easy-to-cook meals- again a week’s worth would have made even more of a difference, especially as we ended up gutting out the kitchen.
- having a ‘first night box’- this made finding the bare essentials we needed for our first night in the house much easier.
What we could have done better:
- not brought boxes with us which are not really needed just now, and are sitting in the dining room unused, while some things I wish we had brought (recipe books, plastic food storage boxes, extra fiction books for the children), remained in my parents’ garage- maybe if we had numbered and indexed our boxes when we were packing, we could have avoided this, rather than just labelling the boxes with their contents.
- we should have printed (or written) out in advance a list of useful phone numbers. We had no landline telephone or broadband for the first week (not long, I know), and no phone book or Yellow Pages, so setting up utilities and other services was more difficult, as we had no way of finding out the numbers, except by phoning my mum on our mobiles, when we had signal (sorry, Mum!)
- preferably moved all we needed to move at the moment in one van load, as it was incredibly tiring doing the move over two days as we did, with the long distance involved. However, circumstances really prevented us from doing it otherwise.
All in all, the move went very well, and we have been settling in to island life, getting to know people, and finding out where everything is. We have been made welcome by our nearest neighbours, and have met lovely people at churches, youth events and even fitness classes (yes, really!), so that has made the transition a lot easier.
If you have recently moved house, what worked well and not so well? Do you have any great tips for moving house that I haven’t thought of? Please let me know in a comment below.
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