Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

Could Life Get Any Crazier?
By Lois Winston

My last Booklover’s Bench post was seven weeks ago, and right now my head is spinning over everything that has happened since I last posted. First, the good news:

My husband and I are now fully vaccinated. We’ve even ventured out to a restaurant for the first time in thirteen months and also visited with friends we haven’t seen in more than a year.

Also, those of you who read my March post will remember my ongoing refrigerator saga. After a year on order, the fridge still hasn’t arrived. We recently cancelled the order because last month we decided to sell our house and move out of state to be closer to family.

Deciding to move during a pandemic sounds crazy and is not something I would recommend. The funny thing is, though, of the seven authors on Booklover’s Bench, I’m the fourth member to pull up stakes in recent months. We had been toying with the idea for some time now. We’re getting older and no longer have a family support system nearby. But when the pandemic hit, I figured we’d hold off until life was back to normal.

The universe had other ideas. My husband recently became ill and landed in the hospital for several days. Luckily, his condition is correctable, and he’ll be fine once he has surgery in a few weeks. But this episode made it clear to us that waiting another year or two before moving was no longer an option.

Pandemic aside, much has changed in real estate since we last sold a house. For one thing, HGTV didn’t exist. Now it seems like everyone is staging, renovating, and flipping homes, and they all have their own TV shows. Joanna and Chip Gaines even have their own network! Thanks to HGTV, home buyers are brainwashed to demand Carrera marble kitchen islands the size of my bathroom and walk-in closets the size of my bedroom.

Our charming 1600 sq. ft. 1935 Craftsman bungalow is ideal for first-time buyers looking to find a reasonably priced home in a town with a great school system and an easy commute into NY. After only thirteen days on the market, a young couple fell in love with the house, despite the lack of an enormous kitchen island and walk-in closets.

However, we still have weeks of craziness ahead of us. We have to get past the surgery and recovery, as well as buying a new home, settlement, and moving. I’m looking forward to the day I can settle into my new office and return to the craziness of the murder and mayhem of my imagination. I’m only about 20,000 words away from finishing the tenth Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. I’m not happy about having to put my writing on hold, but I’m certain Anastasia is enjoying the reprieve.

So, readers and friends, please share your moving tips. I’d love to hear them!

And while you’re here, visit our contest page to enter for a chance to win a free book. The contest runs from May 1-18. Click here.

Comments

  1. We have no plans to move – just did some home improvements and plan to enjoy them for a while.. But I’m taking notes for the “someday” move. All good tips. Thanks, and good luck!

  2. maggietoussaint says

    When we moved ourselves from MD to GA and into a smaller house, we graphed the floor plan and the furniture location out ahead of time. It meant more than a 65% reduction in everything. It was hard being ruthless with items that were shrouded in family memories. But we did it, and what a difference that made when we arrived. I knew where everything went due to graphing out the locations ahead of time. That breakfast set we couldn’t sell and I couldn’t bear to part with? We found a way to make it fit in the new house (still have that set, custom made by a church friend’s dad). The next tip I found was important for me, was to hang our pictures on the wall as soon as possible. Once those familiar pictures, whether art or family photos, were up, it truly felt like home. So, my tip is make unloading easier at the other end and to prioritize your time to do things that make your new-to-you house feel like home sooner rather than later.

    • Maggie, when you’re married to a man with degrees in both architecture and engineering, graphing out a floor plan like you did is an absolute given! The day we made the decision to move, he measured all our furniture and created a database in his Auto-cad program!

  3. Aleta Anderson says

    Cross-country moves are challenging! I’ve learned to pack everything I’ll need for the first day or two in my car and keep it locked so no well-meaning helper can add or subtract things. Keep the coffee maker, a towel, bedding, and a packed weekend-type bag there. Oh yes, and a book! Don’t unload these items into your new place until you’re reasonably certain no one will move them. Actually, this hint is just as useful for local moves. I’ve moved a lot!

    • Thanks, Aleta. We’ll be staying with our kids until the movers arrive. However, we do plan to pack up the cars with the essentials we’ll need before we get to unpacking all the cartons. Coffee pot is definitely an essential!

  4. I’ve moved seven times and the best thing I learned was FIRST THING before any other unpacking make up the bed! Then it’s ready for when you are absolutely bushed and have to lay down and get to sleep so you can face the next day ready to begin unpacking again.

  5. Don’t worry about your writing during the move. You’ll have too much else on your mind with getting ready for the move then unpacking and fixing up the new place. The Muse will return once you have room for it in your head again. Also expect to be disorganized and unable to find things for a while. It’s hard to adjust to a new location. Enjoy being with your family and the rest will happen.

    • Thanks, Nancy! Wise words. The last time I did this was 23 years ago, and all was done for us because it was a corporate move.

  6. My biggest tip… be willing to give things up. Now that we’re moved, I already see things I should have given away. Good-luck.

    • Debra, I’ve often been too ruthless in the past, giving away something I thought I’d never use again, only to find I had a need for it later on. So I’ve been weighing decisions carefully. Still, most things are winding up in the toss or donate pile.

  7. Pictures are important. Have an inventory of every box and number them so you know what’s in box 1, 2, etc. Only take what is really essential. Leave behind as much as possible. Start fresh and new if you can.

  8. Take pictures of all your stuff before the movers arrive. If you need to file a claim for damages, it really helps to have that kind of documentation. it’s also a good way to remember what you put where! (And by the way, when you get to your new digs, look for an extra Box #49. We lost that one in our move from Tucson to San Diego ten years ago. Maybe it will show up in your stuff since it wasn’t in ours!)

  9. Melinda Abraham says

    I presume that you’re hiring professional movers. Make sure that they use their own employees to load your goods. You don’t want a firm that hires day laborers who may lack experience. In my last move I had been assured that the firm would use their own trained employees. A crew of three arrived. At least one member of the team apparently didn’t read English. Therefore, things which I had clearly labeled as not to be moved…things that need to stay with the house…showed up at my new location. I hope that the new owners of our former residence understood that I meant to leave them the broiler pan and other components that should have stayed with the appliances. Of course, I meant to box them up and ship them to the old place…but with trying to get settled in the new place, that never happened. OOPS. The moral of the story is don’t buy a house from me. You’re in luck, I don’t own property in the area where you’re moving to.

    • Melinda, I’ve heard so many horror stories regarding movers! We’re going with the company that moved us 23 years ago. They’re a family-owned business that has been around for decades and do all the corporate moves for a large pharmaceutical company. They have their own storage facilities throughout the country for interstate moves and don’t use 3rd parties or day laborers for anything.

  10. cherylhollon says

    Hi Lois, George and I just moved into a little condo in downtown St. Petersburg and we had already gone through the purge of things we didn’t want. My big tip is to buy sturdy boxes, but get them in the small size. Our movers were so happy because that automatically kept the weight down and our move went very smoothly and FAST. The boxes are good for up to four moves, so we’re giving them to our youngest son and his wife for their upcoming house purchase. Good Luck!

  11. My one moving tip is to get rid of stuff before you’re even thinking of moving. I spent nearly two years sorting through things to do the donate/toss/keep decision and it was the best thing I ever did! Good luck on your move!!

    • Thanks, Caridad! I’ve been ruthless whittling down our stuff. Houses where we’re moving don’t generally have basements. It’s amazing what you wind up storing in basements when you have one. On the upside, the local not-for-profit resale store is getting ongoing donations from us.

  12. Ha! My only moving tip is one I know you know — get rid of as much stuff as you can before you move! We downsized from 3K to 1200 feet moving from TX to FL and got rid of a lot — but we still have boxes in the garage that almost 15 years later I’ve never looked in (and I’m missing a couple of things I’m pretty sure we brought but haven’t found them yet — seriously, our detached garage is the size of a house). I love your old place — hope you find an equally cool new place.