Reading though my Twitter feed this morning and I saw a tweet from Nurse Mike about his recent move and it made me think about all the times I have relocated during my life and the reasons behind them, the opportunities that were made available and the lessons that I learnt about moving, packing, engaging and connecting. My father served in the Australian Army, so as a child I moved a number of times, I then joined the Australian Navy, and moved a whole lot more, following my departure from the Navy I moved from Perth Western Australia to my home now in Rockhampton Queensland, some 4,642 kilometres (2,884 miles for those playing in the USA) across the country. And through the 17 different moves that I have completed through 5 states I have learnt some invaluable lessons and tools around the actual moving process and settling into a new locale.
Pack into Boxes
This may seem like an obvious tip, but after helping move my friends over the years, and myself numerous times, whether across the street or across the country, the advantage to having EVERYTHING in a box is astronomical. When you do a short distance move the temptation is just to throw everything into the car, to not pack things into a box so you save the hassle of unpacking, try and move drawers full, clothes on hangers and I have even seen fishtanks full. The disadvantage of moving this way is you tend to do more trips to and from the new place as everything is an odd shape and in it most vulnerable form. When everything is in a box, almost everything is a square or rectangle making the move so much easier. Think of playing Tetris with nothing but square shapes, now play with six circles, two octagons, a dodecahedron and four triangles. A little harder now. Most boxes will fit in and around larger objects like tables or filing cabinets, funnily enough objects that are also square or rectangular.
Unleash the inner Ikea
The temptation to leave all of that flat pack furniture assembled, including the bed, bookcases, and coffee table is immense. No body likes Allen keys, and nobody likes assembling furniture when the instructions either went the way of the Dodo or are written in Ancient Hebrew. There are some items that can make life easier, they include a hex shaped drill bit or screwdriver with hex bit attachments, it will save the ‘Ikea Hands’ by the end of the day and speed the whole job up. If you are slightly handy, and have an angle grinder, you can also make you own by cutting of the angled portion of the Allen key and using it in your drill. The reason for disassembling your furniture is two fold, firstly it removes unnecessary space from the back of the van or truck, and secondly lessens the possibility of damage by the item of furniture taking a load or falling when moving.
Clean and Sort before the move
Sometimes moves are unexpected, quick or unplanned, but that doesn’t mean that the time cannot be taken to clean furniture as it is moved, and things cannot be sorted prior to being packed. Remember if you pack it, you have to move it. So moving is a great time to perform a ‘spring clean’ and donate or throw out some of those things you have been hanging onto since Keating was in power. The advantage of cleaning your furniture before you move is you tend to enter a house that is reasonably clean, if you bring in clean furniture it saves having to ‘double clean’, that is both the house you left and the house you are entering. Think of a move as a Dirty Room and a Clean Room in a Hospital. By decluttering your belongings you have to move less, save space, give the less fortunate clothes for the winter and help others out with your donations.
Moving can be an Opportunity
Most of my moves have been a requirement of either my fathers or my work, but the ones we conducted voluntarily were for family and opportunity. When I left the Navy in 2014 the employment prospects in Perth were low for someone who was not a tradesman willing to work in the mines, Rockhampton however was still flush with opportunities of many varying types. Being a regional centre the health sector, education sector and Government sector were all short of staff. So my wife and I decided to make the move to be closer to family for support, and to increase employment prospects. It would take time to make the opportunities come to fruition by my wife secure full time employment with a local private school and I began working with a Government agency. Time would go on and circumstances changed, I took up the opportunity to study Nursing with CQUniversity and changed my careers direction, and stayed home to look after our youngest daughter. Without the move to Rockhampton neither opportunity would have presented itself for my wife or I. Sometimes you have to move, close one door, so another can open.
Connecting with the Community
One of the hardest things to do after a move is connect with the locals and find a new circle of friends, for some this comes easy and for others a little more difficult. It is important to connect with those in the region and build a sense of community, it will be good for your mental health in the long run. As Christians we found the ability to connect easy as we could connect through the local Church, that worked for us but doesn’t work for everyone. I would recommend making yourself available, check out the local groups who meet in the area. If you like playing boardgames connect with the local club, if its lawn bowls then go a watch some games and connect in, golf, tennis, scrabble, bingo, canasta, whatever the hobby or activity you enjoy find those of like mind and seek them out.
Moving can be hard work, connecting even harder, but if we step out and take the opportunities when they present themselves who knows what we can achieve. Do you have some other tips from what has been mentioned here? Stories of when you moved for a change or opportunity? Tells us about it in the comments sections below, or email me from the Connection page.