Lucy Mangan

“Moving house is a living breathing hell” Lucy Mangan on how to survive a house move

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Lucy Mangan
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I am writing this literally in the middle of moving house. My mother is packing boxes round me. I will be joining her as soon as I have finished this. Or when she deems me to have spent enough time on That There Typing, whichever comes sooner.

Because it is all I can think about, and because I wish to share the misery, joy and wisdom the experience has brought me, here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Moving.

1. It is expensive. I know you know this, but trust me – it is even more expensive than that. Since you last moved, I promise you people have come up with a plethora of new and interesting ways to screw money out of you. ‘Carton collection levy’. ‘Arrangement fees’ now apply at practically molecular level. To say nothing of the mental health tax that is collected every time you speak to an estate agent.


3. The adjustment to a new self-image can be quick and painful. No matter how assiduously you have Marie Kondo’d your flat over the years, you will unearth more forgotten lipsticks, bras, books, clothes, shoes, brushes and random ornaments than you can believe. What is all this stuff? Where did it all come from? Why do I own all of Britain’s tights? In my mind, I am a beautiful, unmaterialistic person who treasures intangible joys like strolling through woodlands or spending quality time with friends. In reality, however, I just buy things. Mostly tights. Really, mostly tights.

4. Oh, and forty tins of Campbell’s Condensed Mushroom soup. I panicked when the company was taken over by Batchelors. I do not like this me.

5. You will be weak and end up hiring a storage unit because of all the things you do not need but cannot part with. I am now paying to own stuff I do not use AND cannot see. Well done. Well done me. At least I’m using the soup now, I guess.

6. Removal men who are packing 5,000 books into archive boxes require tea at 17-minute intervals. Back soon...

7. The internet will save you. The internet, I am absolutely sure now, is limitlessly great and glorious good. When I last moved – ten years ago, children, when we walked on all fours and before Amazon Prime, you had to RING the council, water/phone/gas/electric companies, your banks, your credit card providers, spend hours on hold and then SPEAK to endless people to find one who knew what they were talking about. Now? Now you just fill in forms online, send them off and they go straight to the one person in every company who knows what they are talking about. It is like MAGIC.

8. You will meet some really lovely local people when they come round to pick up the Billy bookcases you advertised on the community Facebook page. Pity you’re moving, really.

9. You will look deep, deep into your child’s eyes and hope against hope that you are doing the right thing.

10. You will look deep, deep into your bank account and seriously doubt it.

But most importantly... hang on, wait, Mum’s calling me. Gotta go. See you on the other side.