So we’ve just moved house, well documented to be one of the most stressful things that we can do in life. However, we have had lots of practice. This will be the fourth house we moved to in the last 15 years.
No we are not of the run, it’s par for the course if you are in my line of work. So it’s not our first rodeo by a long chalk.
However, it is our first time moving since I completed my 5 year project. I hadn’t quite factored that into my calculations. This move would not be just like the previous three because I had a lot more stuff. A Lot….
Our previous house had lots of storage. Not necessarily all together but a lot. So the spoils of my 5YP were located in 3 different rooms over 2 floors. My shoes lived in a closet in the study, my shirts in a bedroom wardrobe, and my suits and coats in a ground floor closet.
Therein lay the problem, actually two problems. First, that the storage space was generous meant that it was not immediately obvious just how much ‘stuff’ there was until you took them out of the closet. I’m embarrassed to say that the movers were a little speechless when they saw the shoe closet. But that was before they found the shirt closet…..
Second, and more worryingly, the new house did not have anything like as much storage. It’s one of the drawbacks of newer houses. Older houses have chimneys and therefore chimney breasts either side which make natural storage cavities. It’s the sensible and obvious place to construct shelves or locate closets. Newer houses which don’t have chimneys simply have fewer natural storage places. So we had a problem. Actually my 5YP did.
But it was about to get worse. Two of our older wardrobes did not survive the move. They had made each of the previous 3 moves with us and were becoming less and less robust with each move. On this move they simply fell apart. So we were moving to a new house with less storage and we had lost two wardrobes, one of which had served as my shirt closet.
So when we got to the new house I had expected to move from 3 closets to 2, which was already a challenge. Now I only had one. It was never going to work.
There is a built in closet in our new bedroom, but that had been claimed by my wife; her storage needs are even greater than my own. So I had the smaller closet in the spare bedroom and had planned to add to that an additional wardrobe. However, this was one of those which had been ‘lost in translation’.
In any case, owing to the shape of the room, it had not been clear to me how easily the wardrobe would have fit into the spare bedroom given that I was also trying to fit a small home study into that room, whilst retaining its function as an occasional guest bedroom.
So whilst I mourned the loss of a wardrobe I wasn’t too disappointed that I no longer had the logistical problem of figuring out where to put it, in addition to a study desk and chair.
However, that did leave me with the mother of all storage problems. It was compounded by the fact that the closet in the spare bedroom/study was smaller than I realised. My shirt collection wouldn’t fit in there, never mind the suit collection.
However, there were bigger issues to deal with than 5YP storage. There was a whole house to unpack and set up. So all my clothing remained in boxes and for a few blissful days I genuinely had no idea where my clothes were.
I even found myself idly wondering whether I needed any. Essentially, I had 2 sets of clothes: what I was wearing on the day of the move, T-shirt, shorts and flip flops, and one change of clothing, polo, chinos and drivers. That was it. My wardrobe choices were wonderfully simple. And storage issues were irrelevant.
However, after a few days the house was beginning to take shape. As you do, you start with beds and public areas. So on the first evening, all the beds were up, including the spare bedroom.
The next day we had friends over for dinner so the dining room, kitchen and living room were our focus. I changed for dinner from my working outfit, T-shirt and shorts, into my leisure outfit, chinos and polo. Great stuff.
So by the end of day 2 most boxes were unpacked downstairs and those that weren’t yet unpacked were at least in the rooms in which they would end up.
It was time to move our focus upstairs. The boxes for the spare bedroom looked ominous. But with the bed, study desk and chair in place the space left for storage of any kind was, shall we say, limited.
My shoes ran to 4 boxes. Shirts occupied two hanging boxes. And I was on the verge of outrage to discover that my suits had not been put into hanging boxes but had instead been folded in half and stuffed into boxes.
As they were not clearly labelled I spent the next day or two discovering boxes with suits and coats in them. So I have no idea how many they were.
I suspect that our movers had seriously underestimated the number of hanging boxes this family might need and had simply run out of them by the time they got to the suit closet….
So I needed an innovative solution.