Apologies for my absence these last couple of weeks – it’s been a bit crazy. As I write this I’m trying to put together as much content as I can so that I don’t end up falling behind like I did last time, but if anything that might delay my comeback even more – so we’ll see. I’m writing this at the end of August – if it gets posted at the end of September you’ll know how successful my plan was (Update 28/09 – It clearly wasn’t). Anyway, buying our first house was actually the first thing crossed off my 30 Before 30 list since I went to Disneyland last year. So, obviously, I had to write a post on it. As I write this, I OWN A GODDAMN HOUSE. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that this is officially our place, no strings attached. BUT IT BLOODY IS.
Anyway, enough of that. In celebration of the fact that we now own property, I thought I’d put together a little reflection on the whole thing. So, I give you five lessons I’ve learned throughout this exciting, stressful AF process.
1: Everything Will Go Wrong
Many may think I’m exaggerating here, but it’s true when I say that everything (or at least A LOT) will go wrong. You may be thinking that, given that I’m a massive pessimist, this is quite a biased view, but let me tell you, it’s bloody true. I feel like we had a plan in our heads over what we wanted to do and how it would go down. Essentially, 90% of that plan went to shit. I’m not saying that stuff will go horrifically wrong to the point that you no longer own a house, but I’m saying that so much will go wrong it will feel like the whole thing is just cursed. In the period of us moving into our new house, the following happened:
- I had a flat tyre on my car. It wasn’t possible to get it fixed immediately, so it was out of action for the entire weekend. We’d made plans based on having two cars so it massively put a spanner in the works.
- 90% of the furniture we purchased and built before the moving in date was either broken or damaged. Update – we have subsequently bought more furniture and almost everything has either been delayed or damaged.
- The dishwasher (literally the thing I was most excited about) is broken. Two weeks on, we still have no dishwasher (another update as of 28/9, after a further two weeks, it’s finally fixed!).
- Massive skag in the spare room carpet – meaning it was virtually pointless unpacking anything.
- We have no bins – apparently because of coronavirus. Apparently, leaving our rubbish in bags out on the street during a global pandemic is much more hygienic than storing it in a dedicated bin but WHATEVER. Update: we have recycling bins, but currently no wheelie bin. I shouldn’t get too bitchy as we’re not living in streets covered in black bags of our own filth (it’s all double bagged and stored in the garage), but still, when you have issues with germs as bad as I do, it’s not ideal. (ANOTHER update 28/9 – we now have all of the necessary bins, past me can calm the fuck down).
Anyway, my point is – no matter how positive you are about things, stuff will go wrong. Some may say to take it with a pinch of salt, given that I’m a massive pessimist, but I’ll be honest. When we completed, I felt ridiculously positive about everything. Then stuff started to go wrong. No matter how positive I felt about anything, it was instantly replaced with dread and uncertainty. My point is, just be prepared for stuff to go wrong. Whether you’re an optimist, a pessimist, a realist, whatever, stuff will go wrong. But it’s okay though – it’s part of moving house.
Update as I’m re-reading this 28/09 – it’s important to highlight that while stuff goes wrong, it will still get fixed!
2: Think It’s Too Early? It’s Not
Before we completed the sale of the house, I was very superstitious about the whole thing. Yes, we’d bought bits and pieces (largely for the other house we were supposed to buy last year), but I really didn’t want to jinx things. For that reason, I made the decision not to pack anything before we had it set in stone that we were moving. Ames, you stupid bitch.
We officially completed on the 3rd of August, and while we had paid rent till the end of the month in our old place, we wanted to get into the new one as soon as possible. Liam got on to the internet company to switch our broadband over (software engineer priorities) and they needed a date to switch it off in the old house. I was dubious about giving a date of less than 2 weeks, but nonetheless, that’s what we did. Fuck me, it was stressful. I also should mention that while we’d actually paid rent until the end of August, our landlord was going on holiday mid-month, so as a favour to him we agreed to do the handover then. Meaning we had to be completely cleared out of the old place as well as moved into the new one.
I’m completely aware that we essentially created a rod for our own back here, but my point is – pack shit early. In hindsight, we were essentially at the final hurdle, and we had been told a rough estimate of when we’d complete, so it wasn’t like we were kept completely in the dark. Obviously, now, I’m not complaining, as we moved in sooner than I had thought we would, but it was bloody stressful and created A LOT of hassle. If I did it again, I probably would start packing the stuff we didn’t need, or I perhaps would have arranged to move in a teeny bit later. Again, back to my original point – it’s never too early to start packing. Pack what you don’t need, or at the very least, have a clear out so that it cuts out half of the work when you do start packing.
3: Factor in New Stuff Into Your Budget
If you’re investing in new furniture, great. You’ll of course have a budget in mind for that, but if you’re like us and moving into a brand spanking new, freshly built, never been lived in by anyone else house, you’ll want new EVERYTHING. Yes, things like bedding, cushions, plates and such aren’t a priority like your furniture (they can of course be brought in later) but sometimes the excitement takes hold and you just want everything nice NOW. If you’re like me and have literally no self control when it comes to shopping, it’s a good idea to budget for the little extras when you’re factoring in how much you’re going to spend on decoration and furniture.
4: Buy More Boxes Than You Think You’ll Need
Because of the current situation, I wasn’t keen on collecting boxes from Amazon deliveries and such, so I decided to treat myself (what have I become?) to some brand new boxes designed for moving house – one set even had tape, pens and stickers as well. They were stupidly expensive considering they were literally just cardboard boxes, but they were nice and sturdy, and the quality overall was really good. I bought two “kits” – one of which contained 12 boxes, the other had 15 – but believe it or not, it wasn’t quite enough. And there was me thinking more than 20 would be overkill…
My point? If you’re able to, add an extra pack of boxes to your order – they will almost definitely get used! Alternatively, if you’re okay with it, it’s a good idea to put any delivery boxes you get aside for emergencies.
5: Sofas Take FOREVER
I don’t really have any advice on this one – buying a sofa before you actually know when you’re going to move is not the most practical thing to do, and in my mind, it’s also jinxing it. Honestly, there’s no advice here, but if you take anything from this point it’s this: sofas take FOREVER. I never actually realised how bloody long it takes for a sofa to arrive. When we’ve bought them in the past it’s been cheap and cheerful, ready made bits from Argos and Ikea, and even then, it’s only a select few you can get quickly. Thankfully, we have some armchairs that arrived after a few days which are nice and comfy, so we’re not stuck sitting on the carpet. Maybe that’s the advice – arrange for alternative seating!
Okay, so this post has been quite moany and negative, but let’s not forget the big picture. To be honest, I’ve forgotten it myself at times over the last couple of weeks. We now have a house. It’s a beautiful house and it’s ten times better than what we almost ended up with last year. At the time of writing, I’m feeling more settled, and it feels so much more like home. The fact that it’s fresh and cleaner means that my OCD has actually been behaving itself – which is a bloody shocker considering how the tiniest amount of stress sends it spiralling. Yes, the whole thing has been stressful AF, but it’s certainly been worth it. And when our sofa arrives it’ll definitely be worth it.