The Mistake I Made In Moving Myself

If you’re reading this, congratulations to Ralph on winning our sportsman’s bet – he was right, I was wrong. This introduction might not make much sense to you right now, but I promise you if you read on it will.

I’ve recently moved house. It came up in conversation with Ralph, and I jokingly said I was giving him a bit of competition as I would be doing it all myself. Ralph was concerned to hear this, wondering why I was going it alone. He said that if it was either a trust or a cost issue he’d gladly arrange something for me, as he genuinely wanted to help. I thanked him, but assured him it was neither of those that was going on – it was just that I was only moving a mile, and it seemed crazy to have someone come and do it. Ralph assured me that what was crazy was trying to do it alone. He wished me well, but said that if it didn’t all go as smoothly or as well as I had assumed it would, I owed him an account of my experience for him to put on the TFM site. That you are reading this gives you the answer to that!

The first lesson I learned is that whether you’re moving a mile or moving to the other side of the world makes no difference at all to the shape, size and weight of what you are moving. Calling on professional removers to move stuff literally just up the road seemed like a crazy, lazy waste of everyone’s time and my money. In the end, what was crazy was the time I spent doing it, and the cost of it all was me being left physically worn out.

In terms of the shape, size and weight, there were some obvious things I couldn’t move alone – a washing machine, beds, chests or drawers and so on. For that I called on friends and relatives who had both the muscle to help me lift and the vehicle we could transfer on. I am forever grateful and appreciative of the help they gave, but ultimately it’s an approach that cost me a lot more time than it should have. The problem with a favour from someone is that it’s a favour on their terms. I spent more than a few hours not daring to do anything else as I sat around waiting for people to turn up at the time they said they would. It is great that family and friends want to help, of course, but I can’t help regret the time I lost hanging about waiting. Having the professionals do it would have meant I had free time to do all the other stuff that needed doing.

And, believe me, there’s a whole load of other stuff that really needs doing. It’s about a month after the move and I find myself, on top of working and trying to spend as much time with my family as I can, balancing closing my affairs at the old house, getting everything unpacked in our new home and updating everywhere with my new address details. Sleep is something I am starting to think I can only daydream about.

My family are all happy and loving the new house. I’ve not had a chance to enjoy it myself yet, and that’s all as a result of me taking on moving everything more or less by myself. I really, really wish that I hadn’t been too modest or assuming to take Ralph up on his offer; an offer that seems like it grows kinder with each passing day of me dealing with boxes, packaging material and shifting furniture about.

The idea that there’s such a thing as a “short and quick move” isn’t a real one. To anyone reading this who is considering handling their home move on their own – no matter what distance – my response would be to suggest you seriously reconsider. There really isn’t any savings to be made by not hiring the professionals, as any money you don’t spend simply doesn’t balance against the time you are going to take doing it or the toll it’s going to have on you physically.

Ralph, it’s not for the first time that I am saying that I am sorry that I didn’t listen to you, but I sure do hope what I have learned here makes it the last time I am saying it. No matter what distance you are moving or how easy it looks, it’s further, more difficult and tougher to do it than you may think. The next time my better half decides she fancies a change of house, I promise you I will be on the phone to the removal professionals long before I know anything about the new home she’s found.