Complete Upheaval: Moving

We moved over six months ago. I wrote this blog post before all the boxes were unpacked and while my right arm was still throbbing. Yeah, moving can do that to you.

Our beloved Victorian

Moving. We were moving. After 18 terrific years in our beloved custom-built Victorian home, I packed our belongings and we moved to an apartment in a neighboring town. It was a complete upheaval. We wanted to be out of our home when it was being marketed and shown for sale. We didn’t want the stress of strangers possibly frightening our pets or accidentally letting them out of the house. And honestly?  I didn’t want to risk the possibly of being home/just leaving the house and hearing a potential buyer say, “I can’t buy this house. I hate the color of the paint they used in the master bedroom.” I would have stabbed that potential buyer. And we all know that’s not conducive to a quick home sale.

Have you marketed your home while still living in it? With pets? We have. #welearned

I purged my precious (and not-so-precious) stuff over the course of more than a year. Then I packed a shit ton (technical term, of course) of boxes with the stuff that was left over. It took waayyy too long to pack.


My husband Mike repainted most of the walls in our home. I hated the colors he used, like with a burning passion I hated the colors, but our realtor and home stager (yeah, we hired a stager because “everyone” in our former town does) insisted the colors they chose were “popular colors” that “sell homes.” Did you know the color gray sells homes? Even when it clashes with gorgeous natural oak woodwork? The color gray depresses me, but if a couple wants to move into a home painted entirely gray and try to be cheerful, I say, “Ok!”

Mike also removed virtually every curtain/valence/drape in our home.  Why? According to our realtor and home stager, “Buyers don’t like curtains. They prefer bare windows.” I figure any buyer who love bare windows must have at least some exhibitionist tendencies. I mean our home has large windows. Full length, if you know what I mean.

These were just two of many “must dos” we had to do. We sought and found a realtor who gave it to us straight: what we needed to do to get top dollar for our beloved Victorian. Who were we to argue? By the time we replaced the Waterford chandelier and ceiling fixtures it wasn’t my home anymore, which was, I guess, the point. It was right around then that I realized just how exhausted and sad I really was. Mike looked like he was exhausted too, but he actually didn’t say, “I’m exhausted.” so maybe I’m wrong.

But, but, but. The fun had only just begun. The house wasn’t even on the market yet!

Move #1: Moving to SC

Next up was our dual move. I researched movers and moving companies. I narrowed down our choices to two, then got estimates from both. I wanted to bring most of my outdoor concrete(!) statuary and wrought iron tables/benches/chairs to our new “retirement home” in South Carolina. Did you know that most national and long-haul movers charge by the pound? HAHAHAHAHA. Those estimates were cra zy.

I chose a great family run company out of Bergen County, NJ that does both local and intra-state moves. The price was reasonable. They had all of our belongings packed on one truck without anyone else’s stuff packed on the same truck. The guys left NJ on time, arrived in SC as scheduled. And? I’m getting ahead of my story here, but trust me when I say they were terrific. So terrific that I used them to move the rest of our crap into our new apartment in the neighboring NJ town.

I packed and labeled hundreds of boxes: APT or SC and what was inside each box.

Choices! Crap, the choices. Choosing what furniture went to our apartment versus what would be shipped to South Carolina versus what the stager wanted us to leave  at our former home to help keep the cost of the staging within our budget. Jesus H. Christ. The logistics were enough to make me want to shoot myself. But like a good little soldier I just followed my lists (which I wrote down in a cute little notebook that our stager gifted us; I used every page of it.) and the checklist/timeline our realtor gave us, all the while chanting under my breath … “You can do this. You can do this. You CAN do this.”

Of course, I didn’t have a choice at that point since we did want to sell our home and we didn’t want to be living in it when it was being shown. Go ahead, tell me #firstworldproblems. Honestly? Come back after you’ve managed a dual move, 3 cats, 2 young adults, a husband and all their wants/desires/requests/crap and then we can talk.

I got it all sorted out. And my choices were mostly good ones.

Next on my checklist? I called house cleaners to come in and clean our already clean house. Because when I was looking at houses for sale in our town, most homes I saw in our anticipated price range? You could REALLY eat dinner off the hot water heater because it was THAT CLEAN. So I knew that’s how clean our beloved Victorian would have to be. To compete, you know. And I couldn’t do the cleaning. Nor could I wash the 65 windows in the house. I called a professional window washer to do it for me.

Why couldn’t I do the work I’d done for years on my own? By the time I packed the boxes for our moves I had a terrible case of golfer’s elbow. Repetitive motion injury. Tendinitis. As I put each moving box together then sealed it I used six pieces of packing tape. Multiply that arm motion by the 200 boxes I packed, and well, you get it, right? So instead of me cleaning  the house and washing the windows (and then jumping out of the third floor window to end my miserable life) we paid hundreds of dollars to have three women come for 5 hours and clean from the attic to the basement. And one man come in for 3 hours and polish the windows until they shone. God bless them. They did a terrific job.

And then? Mike and I flew to SC to meet the movers. And unpack the concrete, wrought iron and MANY BOXES over the course of 3 days. Yes, it was necessary, but sure, I think it was stupid. I could hardly move my right arm, let alone unpack the damned boxes. But unpack I did. Hour. After hour. After hour. Day. After day. After day.

Unpacking my clothes. And finding space for them.

And then we flew home, drove to our new apartment, parked the car in the garage (a novelty for us since our beloved Victorian doesn’t have one), walked up the flights of stairs and unlocked the door to our new NJ home. After we unpacked our suitcases? I unpacked MORE BOXES at our new apartment. For days I unpacked, injured arm and all. It was painful. I was sad. I cried a lot when no one was looking.

And then? We signed the papers to get our home listed for sale and hightailed it back to South Carolina to “rest.” Yes, I packed up one Siamese cat and more BOXES, and we drove to South Carolina. I didn’t even want to be in the same state when our home went on the market. I was too emotionally spent.

Brutus, our senior Siamese, was a real trooper on our 13-hour jaunt to SC.


This entry was posted in Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Apartment living, Moving Day, New Jersey, NJ Blogger, Operation ReloSouth, ReloSouth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Complete Upheaval: Moving

  1. Debbie O'Shea says:

    Very interesting read! I can empathize with you regarding the arm injury. I get the same injury from overuse, or it freezes from keeping it in one position for too long (witness those long hours sitting at the typesetter moving only my right arm to move the preview screen from side to side).

    Your article was also bittersweet. It must have been difficult to leave after all that time and all the obvious love you put into making it a home.

    Glad that you have a happy ending. Hope you have a happy life down in South Carolina!

    • adventureMom says:

      Thanks, Deb!
      Yes, that arm injury was painful. I can’t believe how many years you did typesetting. And you never complained of pain. Perhaps because we were so young then?!
      It is bittersweet to move out of the home I pretty much raised the kids in; that’s the home they remember most. I’m on to a new adventure, but I underestimated how difficult this transition (still in progress, of course) would be.
      Take care, my friend, Darlene

  2. Mary Louise says:

    I truly enjoyed your article. You really did tell it like it is.
    I know that this was a very emotional move for you as it would be for everyone. I do know firsthand however that some people are more attached than others. Your home was like your baby that you built, loved, and made beautiful. The fact that you did so much of the finishing work yourself made it all the more personal. Thank you for sharing your story with everyone, great job.
    I know that you ultimately will be very happy in South Carolina. Hope that the permanent move happens sooner rather than later for you. I just can’t see you and Mike in an apartment!
    Talk soon,
    Mary Louise

    • adventureMom says:

      Mary Louise,
      Thanks for your support through “all of this!” We couldn’t have done it without you. Your friendship over these many years has been sustaining and lots of fun.
      And, yes, as we decorated and refined our former home, we wove our love into it. And it worked. So many people walked through our front door and said, “This house…it’s so peaceful…calm…welcoming.” Just what we wanted for us and our friends.

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