Me and my partner have moved around a great deal during the last two and a half years. Five times, to be exact. This means we’ve packed our clothes, our kitchenware, towels and bed sheets together approximately every six months. In the following weeks, we will move for the sixth time, and the plan to stay in that next apartment is, again, somewhere around six months.
You might think it’s crazy to move around that much. Doesn’t it take up huge amounts of energy, time and money – the three valuable things I’ve talked about so much on this blog? My answer to you: yes, moving does require all three of those, and no, I’m not too happy about it.
However, as we’ve been searching for furniture for this particular apartment (as we’re living in a furnished apartment at the moment) and been spending time at the new place, checking electrical stuff and so on, some thoughts have come to my mind about moving.
Adjusting to the Many Moves
How I look at it, a few good things have come out of relocating every six months or so:
- We’ve become extremely aware of the differences between different furniture, and the value of good ones. As we’ve been living in a furnished apartment a couple times, we’ve experienced sofas that make one’s butt hurt, showers that are extremely sensitive to adjustments in temperature (which results in either ice-cold or way-too-hot water) and beds that make one’s back ache. So lately, as we’ve been shopping for furniture, we have a clue about what to look for and what’s worth paying for.
- When visiting a new apartment, we know a little bit better what we want to check. How quickly the water changes from warm to cold, does the floor feel chilly, how the air changes in the apartment and so on. Small things that are, however, extremely important. The apartments we’ve lived in have had problems with at least one of those things. And it’s not nice, not in the long run.
- This goes with the previous one but deserves its own point: the location. We’ve lived in quiet areas and we’ve lived next to streets with a lot of traffic. Being aware of what kind of area the apartment is on, is important. Is there a great deal of traffic, is there noise pollution and so on.
- Here one might also mention neighbors. Do you have a weekend-party-goer or nearly deaf elderly couple as your neighbor (we’ve had both)? You might want to think again. (Or at least, you’d want to. But you can’t choose your neighbors, so, I don’t know what to say. Maybe just that it’s good to be aware of the environment, the surroundings when moving to a new place.)
- Because of soon six moves within less than three years, we’ve become some sort of minimalists without never really aiming for it. Nowadays, we don’t own very much, just the things we need and use actively. The only physical memory I haven’t been able to let go of just yet is a wooden parrot I bought on Tenerife when I was five years old. But everything else we own fits into two backpacks and eight storage boxes. The last time we moved, it took us only one day to pack all our belongings. And that’s pretty awesome, I’d say.
- As we change things up every six months, we never really settle. Instead, we keep on adjusting, finding new routes to the grocery store, the gym and the university. We refresh our minds constantly which is good for the human brain. I guess you could also describe it as stepping away from your comfort zone for a while.
But as one might guess, moving around this much also comes with a few not-so-good things:
- When living in a furnished apartment, you can’t really start buying new sofas or beds if you don’t like the current ones or they don’t suit you and your body. That means you might have an aching butt or back the whole time you live in that apartment – and you just have to deal with it.
- You can never really settle, invest in things such as plants or spices because they will become problematic when you want to swoosh things up and move to the next apartment. And when you move from one furnished place to the next or have to get some furniture for only the next six months, you never really have the opportunity to choose the furniture you want because you have to be very practical about everything (more about this on Thursday).
- One’s creativity suffers when moving around. Because moving is about practical stuff and includes some bureaucratic paperwork, it’s away from your creative flow and efficient creative working. Even after the move is finished, it takes some time to get back on track, to get those creativity levels up and running again. (I might add that this is also the reason I’m writing about moving this week – it’s all I can think of for the moment and there hasn’t really been time for any other thinking.)
Intervals of Moving
During these last couple of years, I’ve begun measuring time through these moves. As they are so closely together, ranging from five months in one place to nine months in the next, it is also easier to have a to do -list for bigger things that need to be completed before the next move. For instance, before we move from this apartment to the next, I’d like to take the two big Ikea-bags filled with old clothes to recycling. And last weekend we prepared a dish that required two ingredients I wouldn’t consider buying myself but what the actual owner of the apartment has (sesame seeds and a bag of bread crumbs).
I’d say it’s more efficient to live like this than living in one place for five years. When moving around, bigger chores can never lay around too long. It’s also a good chance to go through all of the belongings, empty the fridge and the cupboard for dry foods. Everything from clothes and food to the mind gets refreshed every six months or so. But this kind of lifestyle suits those who prefer this kind of efficiency. How much stability and continuity one has in life is a whole other question (although habits and routines help out here a great deal).
However, I’ve been longing for something either more stable or more upbeat for the past month. These previous years have felt more like an in-between phase, like I am never really here but always thinking about the next move, the next phase. Feeling like this makes me restless, less focused. So I think it could be a good time to switch things up a bit, try something completely new in the near future. We’ll see what happens.
But for now, we will continue preparing for the next move. I hope you have a lovely Tuesday (see you on Thursday)!