I have a love/hate relationship with moving house. Because I am a gypsy at heart I love moving house. Because I love change (especially change I have orchestrated myself!) I love moving house. Because I love 'making' a home, I love moving house. There are plenty of reasons to hate moving house, as any of you that have done it will be sure to know already. There is the problem of leaving the familiar. There is the packing - ugh! The detritus of life in our modern world has somehow to be packed in some sort of order and transported to a new place which doesn't have the same places to put things. New places must be found. It's hard mental work. I'm midway through such a move at the moment so please forgive my tardiness in writing and perhaps my mental fuzziness too. I just have too many small and annoyingly insignificant things to pay attention to or they won't be done. Of course, I am renting a place, as those of you who read my post 'Homage to the Sabco Tile and Grout Brush' will be aware, so apart from giving the place a good old clean like I would if I was selling it and moving out, I have the additional pressure of having my cleaning work inspected to determine if I deserve to get my bond back or not.
On the subject of bond money, my kids who both lived part of their lives in rental accommodation with me and who helped with cleaning and moving on several occasions, seem to have a lot of trouble getting bond money returned to them now that they are out on their own. I find that surprising really as I've never lost a single cent of bond money and I know that they clean to the same high standard as I do before leaving rental premises. I wonder why they have trouble and I don't. It's a bit of a mystery. Sometimes I wonder about the term in most rental agreements 'reasonable wear and tear'. Sometimes I think it is not taken into account that furnishings such as curtains and blinds are old and deteriorating at the time of entry. They might appear to be in good condition but also be about to fall apart. It might not look like reasonable wear and tear but it could just be that the darned things have rotted due to old age and actions that might have once caused no damage at all, will cause a great tear. Anyway, just saying that sometimes I think when we go into a rental accommodation and sign the paperwork, we need to be super careful to document every detail and to notice every little thing that might be about to fall apart or collapse with old age.
Another thing about that is...you have three days after picking up the keys (and it can be in fact less than a full 72 hours depending on when you are permitted to collect the keys) to the place to complete and return a condition on entry report. Now that is hard if you consider that usually your life is absolutely turned upside down at that time because you've been packing everything up and away. You have to transport it, unpack it and find some semblance of order so that you can continue with work, study or other commitments. It is exhausting even if you have a removalist and moreso if you are doing it all yourself. I think this puts the tenant at a serious disadvantage because they will be trying to get moved in and organised and notice every detail of the new place all at that very difficult time of upheaval. They are probably trying to clean a place they are exiting at the same time. I have done it many times and it just makes my head spin!! Visions of The Exorcist not entirely unwarranted at this point. It can be pretty scary stuff.
Moving house is listed as one of the greatest stressors, in my book, anyway (no I haven't written a book yet, but maybe I should!), and yet it is at that time and under that pressure that we whiz through a place and tick the boxes here and there and sign the forms. I know what it's like. I did the same in the place I'm in now. After I returned the forms, I found numerous extra bits and pieces about the place that I ought to have documented but didn't notice until it was too late. They're not a big deal, but they could be. They are little things like a screw in the wall or a light fitting dropped from the ceiling a bit exposing wires. Now if the agent decided to see those things as damage, even though they were like that when I moved in, if they are not noted on the entry condition documents I could be liable to wear the cost of having them removed or repaired. These are not exact examples but just to give you an idea.
Have you ever bought a house and then when you've moved in you keep noticing little things you missed when you viewed the place? Do you keep on finding new little things about the place for weeks? I think you very well might. Things like a loose hinge on a cupboard door, or a leaky tap, or a door that jams sometimes, or a lock that doesn't work properly, or a blind that won't work, or whatever it is. Often it takes weeks or months to really know a place well. I'm just saying that it's a pretty tough call to expect it to be completely accurate when you get only three days when you are moving in. It's tough. So you might not mention that something is old and thin or faded or whatever because you simply may not have noticed. Take note fellow renters. You have to put aside your tiredness and your emotional stress for a few hours and scour your new home with a severe and critical eye. You absolutely must document - use your digital camera too if you can and lodge copies of photos with your forms - every detail of anything in the place that is not absolutely perfect. This is doubly important if you happen to be young and perhaps a bit 'alternative' looking. Not saying that real estate agents are any more judgemental of people than anyone else in business, but just saying that you must do it in order to protect your own interests and in order to have some solid evidence if your integrity or caring towards the place is ever questioned. It's one thing to say 'it was like that when we moved in' but completely another if you can say 'here are the photos we took on the day we moved in' and 'here are the notes we took'. You must make sure the agents have a copy too. It's hard but it's worth it. Just in case. I'm going to do a better job of that next time myself. Just in case.
This time I'm moving in with my friend David. It's still a rental home, but between us I'm sure we'll take good care of it and it's nice to be sharing a life again quite a few years alone. It might be a bit stressful learning to fit in with one another a bit but then, life is full of stressful situations anyway, and an exciting part of life is learning the best way to respond to all that. I was wondering to myself as I wrote this, just how high moving house does rate on the scale of stressful events. At some moments I have felt that it must rate very high, but I was quickly brought back to earth when I looked for something to support that idea. I found the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale which rates moving house on about 20 compared with 100 for death of a spouse, 63 for a jail term and 50 for getting married. I've put a link at the end for you if you'd like to check out some others. I'm sure many of you will scoff at Christmas rating a mere 12 points! I guess in reality the stress levels attached to each of those events would depend to some degree on how you choose to manage them. Let me know what you think. What are the big stressors in your life? Just in case you're feeling stressed out...HELP! (for young people) and more HELP! (printable booklet that looks pretty good compliments of the Government of Scotland...gotta love the internet)
Well, I can't spend much more time here with you right now. There are things to be packed, sorted or tossed away. It can be a great time for getting rid of questionable bits n pieces that seem to grow into piles around the place. Those bits that might come in handy or that I might find time to read...out they go. Time to set myself free of all that a little too. I haven't started cleaning yet. although I have washed curtains over the past couple of weeks. They are old and faded and I was extremely relieved that they made it through a gentle cycle on the washing machine in one piece!
Wish me luck and hopefully I'll be all settled in soon and back writing every day or two. School holidays start this weekend too so I'm looking forward to some adventures to write about too. Stay tuned!
Find the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale here:
Here's a link to a checklist to keep you organised when moving house: