Diary of a house move

Diary of a house move

We’ve had some great reviews from our customers over the years but this one really amused us. We think you might enjoy it too…

 

Monday

Less than two months to go until we’re in our new home and I realise with a terrible lurch that I still haven’t sorted the removals company to move us. Feel immediately stressed and out of control and have visions of blokes in overalls with clipboards, sucking their teeth and walking around the house, judging us on the mess. Realise I haven’t asked any local friends for recommendations, let alone looked online for reviews. Eye up the wine for moment and then decide the more sensible approach is to actually Get On With It.

Tuesday

After a plea to local friends on Facebook, extensive Googling and reading through what feels like hundreds of reviews – a lot of them rather scary (who moves canaries in a wardrobe??) – I narrow my search down to three companies. One, called Mardan Removals, seems to have many more personal recommendations than the others, including one from friends who own Tynings, a local estate agent, so I start there. It turns out that Mardan is a family firm, and all their reviews say they have years of experience. As my husband and I run our own business, I set great store by that. Of course there’s always the outside chance that they spend their time watching daytime telly, gambling online and drinking coffee, but on the whole I think family run means personal service so I give it a go.

Make a phone call to Marcus who actually owns Mardan. That’s another plus – I am taking to the organ grinder from the start. His calm manner is like a balm to my stressed out psyche. He explains to me that he needs to come over to take a good look round so he can make sure he quotes properly. This is already different to the last company who moved us out of London to Bath by going through each room on the phone with me. That ended badly as it took them a lot more time than they originally quoted and caused so much stress and extra expense it was like having your toenails pulled out. It mentally scarred me and made me suspicious of removals companies for a long time.

Wednesday

Marcus comes round the very next day and takes me through each room, explaining the different levels of service they provide. They are happy to supply boxes so I can pack the sundries myself and they just move the big stuff (I immediately decide it will be a cold day in hell before I take that on but I guess if you don’t mind doing that it’s a cheaper option) or they can do absolutely everything for you. He is incredibly thorough and doesn’t even flinch at the state of my son’s bathroom, which is a definite sign of a strong constitution. I make a mental note to throttle son when he gets back from college and wince as I open his wardrobe so Marcus can see the amount of clothes and shoes he has. Yes, they really are that detailed.

Marcus runs through the backgrounds of the guys on his team who will be moving us on the day. By this stage I’m convinced he won’t be employing clueless meatheads like the ones we experienced before but I pay attention and resist the urge to thankfully hug him. I ask him about pre-payment as we had to do that last time and I wasn’t happy about it at all. Apparently his company doesn’t believe in that. They ask for payment on the day when the move has been done and we are happy with the service. It is clear that I am a naïve fool when it comes to house moves but I am rapidly learning the right way to do it so I can question the second company I ask to quote like a seasoned professional.

Marcus leaves and I slug back a coffee wishing it was a large G&T and start looking around the house – realising I have a ton of things to chuck out before we go. No point in moving the clutter with us but the thought of it already makes me feel like I need a lie down. The dogs eye me with distrust as I half-heartedly make a start on their treat drawer. This is going to be a long process.

Marcus gets back to me that day with two different quotes, both incredibly detailed. Having moved house 4 times in 5 years, this is a world away from other removal companies we’ve dealt with so we decide immediately to give him our business. My stress-o-meter goes down several notches. Always a good thing.

One week to go

We receive an email from Mardan telling us exactly who will be in the team moving us on the day and giving us a full itinerary. It’s getting real. I’m still trying to convince myself to throw out items of clothing last worn when Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision. Husband and kids are keeping out of my way in case I ask them to do the same. Dogs won’t make eye contact with me. I feel the stress levels simmering to number 9. Catch husband trying to keep his leather jacket from the 80s and march him to the charity shop pile myself.

The big day

Carl and his team arrive at 8am on the dot. They are all very smart and friendly. I was right. No meatheads on board. I can see Carl do a mental sweep and work out immediately that I’m the one that needs TLC today. He’s been in the business for years and has a very good aura. He’s also definitely dealt with his fair share of stressheads in that time and knows how to handle them. The place looks like we’ve been ram raided before they start but after only a couple of hours they’ve packed up huge amounts and are already tackling the furniture. They are moving us over two days and it’s like a military campaign. I feel redundant. It’s a great feeling.

Day Two of Big Day

Now all the vans have been packed up, two of the four man team come back to the old house where I am waiting, to finish up the last bits that we needed for overnight and take the last two beds. I see they have put covers on the mattresses. Realise that no other removal company I have used has ever done that. Feel annoyed at all of them for being so lax – it’s raining outside but apparently that’s standard stuff for Mardan. When we moved down to Bath it was raining too but the removal company at the time didn’t provide that. Nor did they cover all the carpets with removal plastic. They just shoved down mats that kept rucking up and were about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. They weren’t a cheap option either.

We arrive at the new house where husband is in place with Carl and the rest of the team, telling him where things should go. Obviously this was a huge mistake on my part as none of the things are where I want them. I try and shoot him a death glare without Carl noticing but I think he’s sussed me. Carl very patiently gets everyone to move them around again. And then again when I can’t make a decision about where the sofas should go. In fact, things get so tense about the sofas I realise to my horror I might be on the verge of a few tears.

And that’s when the wheat is definitely sorted from the chaff as Carl also works that out too and has a quiet word with me about how people can often feel overwhelmed when at the final stages and that he and his team will be happy to move them a dozen times as long as they end up where I want them. I weigh up at this stage whether a hug of gratitude might be a little OTT. It makes everything suddenly all right. We work out the sofas. To my chagrin, it’s the husband who finally cracks it. Curses. But I can’t afford to be churlish.

They are all done and dusted, with everything where I want it, by lunchtime. I never felt rushed into making a decision or that I was inconveniencing them in any way. I have felt that many times with previous removal companies where they acted like they were doing me a massive favour and turned their nose up at my Yorkshire tea.

Even better, Mardan took as many boxes as they could away with them so we wouldn’t have too much clutter. They also were bright, funny guys who put up with my manic ways without batting an eyelid. Probably seen it all before but I was grateful.

Realise I have learnt a great deal about how it should be done during this move and vow never to use anyone but Mardan again. They do international removals too – so wherever we end up they’ll be taking us there.

Now lying on the floor in my new lounge with gin drip attached. The boxes can wait.

Gina
Combe Down

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