Moving on: How I project managed myself through a traumatic life event

18 March 2023 - 6 min read

I recently experienced one of the top five most stressful life events. The other four being death of a loved one, divorce, major illness or injury and job loss. Yep, I moved house. Now I'm no stranger to relocating my life and my family. I've lived in 20 locations in 47 years, changing schools in my younger years on six occasions. But this one would go down as the most stressful and traumatic of all the transfers.

I've spent the last 25+ years collecting stuff. Clothing and shoes and jewellery and homewares and 'vintagey' items that were waiting their turn to have a lick of paint applied before being rehomed with a new loving family. Four kids' worth of hospital identity bracelets, macaroni necklaces, participation awards and trophies, report cards and Mother's Day cards, camping gear and car parts. Hat blocks and fabric. Gardening implements. Power tools. Books. You get the general gist. Probably because you have similar collections 'growing' at your place. I had a four-bedroom house with a large garage that was full to the brim, but that had never had a car parked in it in the eight years that we lived there. I was well aware that I was having to downsize significantly, given I was moving to a two-bedroom apartment with no garage/car port, no laundry, no pantry. But holy crap, was I in for a whole world of hurt.

Did I mention shoes?

The shift was scheduled for mid-February, and I was having family stay for Christmas, so I kicked off proceedings nice and early in November with a tidy up of the gardens, washing of the walls, cleaning of the windows, etc. All jobs I'd popped in a list in Eggy and was thrilled to tick them off as soon as the job was completed. Christmas came and went, and I struggled with the post-Christmas blues for a number of days before I gave myself a kick up the arse and moved on to the next Eggy list…things to sell/donate/giveaway/throw away.

I sold my bigger items on Facebook Marketplace, then had a garage sale, then listed more stuff on Marketplace. (Tip to those playing at home: if you can, store all of the items you are wanting to sell in the one area. The number of times a buyer would come to pick up one item and end up walking away with multiple items was numerous. Oh, and beware of the scammers. The more you sell, the easier it seems to get, in relation to being able to spot them and get rid of them. I've found the 'only cash on collection' qualification seems to put a lot of them off.)

I donated a lot of items to various charities, which I must say, is getting more and more challenging to do. There were no bins accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week in my area like there used to be. With good reason too, it was reported that some charity bins were receiving donations of lawn clippings and decomposing food previously, which prompted the new guidelines. I would suggest contacting the organisation by phone prior to loading up your vehicle, to determine whether they are currently accepting donations and what items they are willing to accept for example, clothes, books, bric-a-brac.

A shedload of stuff to get through.

My poor extremely tolerant neighbours were, more often than not, the recipients of my desperate giveaways as the moving deadline loomed and there's always 'gifts with purchase' when I'm having a garage sale.

Finally, I only had to complete one trip to the tip, thank goodness, because that one trip was a shitshow. I had to load the old ute up myself, the items of which included a 25-year-old mattress and a mouldy old fridge, and then practise driving around the block multiple times as it had been a good 20 years since I had driven a manual. I'd planned the trip for early one morning to avoid as much traffic as possible and because I had a buyer coming to collect their purchase. However, I ended up driving to the wrong location, which wasted a whole bunch of time and meant that I then had to complete a whole bunch of hill starts to get to the correct location. Ugh.

I thought I'd done really well to cull, but when the removalist truck arrived, some punters failed to make the cut. Long suffering neighbours to the rescue again!

I found this move particularly traumatic due to a number of factors. The change of lifestyle, the downsizing, the volume of items that needed to be (and still need to be) rehomed, the weather (scorching heat and the challenging humidity) and the amount of assistance I thought I would have from my previous 'co-tenants'. I'd naively thought that, given my four children had all lived at the residence for a number of years and given they had all reached adulthood, that they would be able to offer some assistance in relation to this move. They did, to some extent. But I'd failed to factor in that they had their own lives. They all had work, or holidays booked, or festivals to attend, leaving me with the vast majority of the workload.

This is where Eggy was able to save a little bit of my sanity…

Love me a list for moving house.

I made lists: lists of jobs I needed to complete; lists of services such as electricity, gas and internet that needed to be disconnected at the previous residence and connected at the new residence; lists of the places I needed to change my address with such as the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Medicare, my banks, my insurance company (which may be able to provide you with a refund if your existing insurance policy premiums are cheaper at your new locations) and a list of new items I needed to purchase.

I saved documents: screenshots of the lease agreement; entry/exit condition reports; hire documents for the removalist truck; tax invoices for new appliances and emails of outstanding bills.

I created events: moving date; installation of NBN date; arrival of appliances date and the due dates for upcoming bills/expenses.

While Eggy wasn't able to do the literal heavy lifting, it was able to ease the pain of the mental workload. And when you've got a bunch of stuff vying for your attention, that's gold.

Without Eggy’s assistance, I dare say the property manager would have received a great many more teary phone calls from me.

And now I know how to drive Eggy Spaces, I'Il be moving all my 'Home' info over to the Space I've created for that part of my life.

- Brooke, mother of four, mover of houses, lover of Eggy.

Edit: While this house move was particularly painful for me, it pales in comparison to the gratitude I have for the roof over my head and food in my belly. I am very blessed.

Proudly made by a team of fair dinkum Aussies 🧡