Exactly one month ago I found out I was going to be moving. My landlord had discovered that her house was worth a lot more than she paid for it, thank you London real estate, and it became clear that it would be only a matter of time before this house became another person's home.
The idea of where to go came up. Should I throw in the towel in Kensington and embrace the new and oh-so-cool area of Shoreditch? Should I put everything I have in storage and move to Los Angeles for a few months to store up some vitamin D? Or should I throw out the "independence card" and move in with Mr. FFG, who incidentally lives only a five minute skip down the road? In the end, the charms of Mr. FFG won and so the move began.
Coincidentally, I was on a press trip last month with the super charming Anna Hart the move was officially given a date. Anna handed down some much needed advice by way of a recent article she had written for the Telegraph all about the idea of "Light-Living." If you have not read this, I highly suggest taking the moment required to do so. In a nutshell, Anna tells us to abandon our "stuff" and live life with only what we need. This is all fine and good if perhaps you don't work in fashion. In my head I was dreading the idea of packing up two closets full of clothes.
Now, it must be said that I have a certain addiction to my closets. Somehow my clothes have all become like a photo album of my past. A dress reminds me of a first date, a shirt reminds me of my first concert in London, and so forth and so on. I cannot not these memories go. I say I can't let them go, but a house awaits me where I have 1/3 the closet space I do here in my own home. Well, I suppose I should be using the past tense now.
So I set about with the move. I made three piles in my bedroom, as I figured the closets would be the hardest to plow through so I did them first. The first pile was keep, the second was giveaway and the third was give to friends and family. The first pile, the keeping pile, remained the largest. After seven hours of sifting, it was clear this would be like peeling an onion, layer by layer I'd get to the heart of my closet. I even started taking pictures of the clothes I had to part with. Seriously, how sad am I? Finally, the piles on the floor that were full of parting friends were larger than the keeping pile.
The closet finished, I moved onto the rest of the house. It took me exactly 12 days of sorting to get it finished. For a moment I thought to myself, "wow, lady, look at you clearing out your life." Then, I piled everything together and found that in fact I had cleared out my life, but in the process discovered I was a hoarder and still had ten times more stuff than I could ever ask Mr. FFG to pile into his house around the corner.
Despite Anna Hart's wise words on living free, I was a slave to my "stuff." What would a normal person do? Well, I suppose they would sift and sift through again until they reached an overall load that was manageable. What did I do? I hired movers, rented a storage unit and locked away my prized possessions until the day a larger house can accommodate all of my "things."
So through it all I did come out the other side with some top tips to pass on to anyone that's preparing for a move and they go a little something like this...
- Many women told me to really think about absolutely everything I was giving or throwing away. Apparently moving makes us all regret a lot in the end. So, I was advised to think and rethink every single item. (Damn it, I'm pretty sure that's why I still have so much stuff, so probably rubbish advice there).
- Keep a box for future generations. This is mainly for the Chanel Bags, the Ralph Lauren vintage Navajo sweaters or the costume jewelry you no longer wear. If you think a future daughter or niece may love it, keep it and keep it in a safe place. Mark the box "for the future" and put it in the back of your new closet, your attic or a storage unit.
- Plan ahead. I had a great tip from a closet organizer one time. She said that the year before you move, every time you wear an item of clothing, turn the hanger around on the rack. At the end of the year, the hangers that have not been turned around contain clothing that you never wear. Say goodbye to it without a second thought... you obviously never use it.
- If you can afford help, pay for it. I have moved three times in London and the first two times I did it myself. As in, I asked a boyfriend to help and the two of us moved everything up and down stairs ourselves. We ain't spring chickens anymore and truly moving is a dangerous game. I used Ecomovers in London to move me the third time and this final time. This is no promotion, truly from personal experience I can't recommend anyone more for the time, value for money and expertise at what they do. Ecomovers, you made me a happy lady.
- Host a friends and family clear out party, complete with lots of champagne and cheesy eighties music. You know that scene from Sex and the City where Carrie is clearing out her closet to move in with Mr. Big? Yeah, you gotta know I replayed that moment entirely. There's nothing that says moving has to be the most depressing thing on earth!
- Just let go and know that every move is a move forward in life. Alright, maybe that's just what I keep repeating time and again to myself to make this easier.
Next time I'm writing, I'll be writing from a whole new world. Wish me luck, as I move five minutes down the road. Geeze, am I ever over dramatic or what?