Educational Move


My dining table at the moment

This last week has been incredibly busy with the move, kick-off meetings for the new project and ebay.  I can’t say anything about the project, as I signed my life away with NDAs and contracts, but here are a few things I have learned in the last 10 days about moving.  And ebay.

I need to open drawers more.

My soon to be ex-apartment comes with a huge amount of storage space, which is great and was a big selling point when I moved here.  I had a lot of stuff – when I moved from Singapore to Australia I shipped a full 20ft container of things.  A lot of that ended up in various drawers scattered around the apartment.  Some of those drawers, it seems, haven’t been opened since then.

There were a few “Ah!  I wondered where that had gone” moments, and a few “Why did I bring that?” moments too.  Mostly it just resulted in a shrug and a transfer to the bin.  The best find was a set of old pictures of my family dating back to the 70’s and 80’s that I had totally forgotten about – and I had a great time going through those and trying to work out where each one had been taken.

I need to unpack every box next time.

That’s right – I found boxes up in the attic that hadn’t been unpacked in 6 years.  Including one with some kind of dead rodent tucked in between the old curtains in the box.  Naturally, the contents of that box were thrown out pretty sharpish.  It is amazing how much damage bodily fluids of dead rodents cause when they are packed up into a box full of curtain material…

Second hand books and January don’t mix.

I think it must have something to do with all those unwanted Christmas presents, but every second-hand book shop I contacted wasn’t interested because they don’t start taking books again until March.  This isn’t a problem per se, but it does mean that I have to store about 350 books that I hadn’t planned on keeping, on top of the 200 or so that I am keeping.  Hopefully, when March hits I will be able to share the love a little more and pass on the books I have finished with.  Watch this space…

Money can be found in the strangest of places.

Maybe I go through some kind of coin-tossing ritual as I sleepwalk.  Maybe the ants that are invading the apartment this year love picking up coins and carrying them to strange places under cupboards or at the back of shelves in the kitchen.  Or maybe my friends have been hiding them over the last 6 years seeing when I would finally find them.

Whatever the reason for their location, it also seems that the coin-tergeist has a thing for foreign currency.  I discovered over £25 worth of coins in various places, along with about S$4 in coins.  The highlight was finding four S$50 notes inside the pages of a book that I was about to ship off to the Salvos…  No idea whatsoever what that was doing there, but I did start flipping through the pages of every book I took off the shelf, just in case!

Deposits are returned quickly.

I think I have been burnt by this one a few too many times (here’s looking at you, Singapore…) but in Australia there is a centralised, government-controlled body that you pay your rental deposits to.  When you move out you simply complete the form with your bank details and the money is returned to you within days.  If the landlord has an issue, they have to challenge it through this body, rather than just keeping your deposit.  Australia, you win huge points for being so civilized about something that causes tenants so much grief around the world.

My landlord likes me.

A lot.

He and his wife have expressed on a number of occasions how sorry they are to see me leave.  They recently offered to let me stay on a week-by-week basis if I needed to.  Then their offer was to throw out any tenant who may be in the apartment if I ask to move back in.  I thought that last one was a teeny bit creepy, to be honest.  Then it got stranger – they asked if I had ever thought about living in the same suburb that they live in.  It turns out they also own the apartment above their current place.  And it is empty…

The perils of paying your rent on time, I suppose.

I am volumetrically challenged.

Having successfully negotiated the world of self-storage, I opted for the larger space that was available.  “Much more than I will need”, thought I.  “Will make it easy to get in and find things if I need them later”.  No such luck.  When the rest of the stuff is moved in at the weekend there will need to be a big reshuffle and a huge stacking up of boxes taking place, as I grossly underestimated the volume of the items I was storing.  Maybe it is just seeing everything squished into one small space rather than scattered around the apartment, but I am already worried about how things will fit in.  All the big pieces of furniture are still left to move.


I have never used ebay before, quite possibly because I just boxed things up and then forgot about them for 6 years.  However, this time I decided that other people may actually want to buy some of the stuff I was getting rid of.  I very quickly learnt one thing.  If the objects are listed as coming from IKEA, then people will practically resort to fisticuffs to get hold of them.  Unique or hand-crafted artisan pieces on the other hand will sit there and re-list time after time, with barely any interest from buyers.

Maybe this is because people can look up the IKEA items and work out if they are getting a bargain or not?  You can’t really do that with a handmade bamboo and wood four-panel screen from The Philippines, so maybe that makes people nervous about value.  I didn’t feel that I was over-pricing things.  In fact a friend (who is a Finance Director) was convinced one evening that I was actually under-pricing one item, so she spent half of the dinner looking up similar items on ebay to get a good pricing.  She was right, of course.

Maybe people just don’t like my taste in furniture?  It is a possibility, I suppose…

The most important thing that I have learned is, however, that I am living perfectly happily without having a house full of things.  I won’t be living without all of my possessions in the coming months, but I will be living without the majority of them.  Downsizing & simplifying is a good thing and something that I am ready to do right now and it feels good.


A long-term British expat - 18 years and counting

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