When we were planning our move, we considered all the possible options. Paying for a removal van was out of question due to cost. Although James’ family are near-by and are so generous that they probably would drive us the 150 miles to Edinburgh, we felt this was totally unfair on them. Taxi was also out of the question because, well, we didn’t even get a quote since we knew it would cost an arm and a leg. That left the train. A quick search online said: £46 for the two in first class (first class has more suitcase holding area), bingo!
Thus our crazy plan of moving house on the train was hatched.
We figured out that the most we could comfortably carry – without being one of those passengers that carry on 10 luggages on their own – was a medium (72 Litre) suitcase each, one guitar each and a small rucksack each. After further consideration, I swapped out my rucksack for a rice cooker (I cannot live without my rice cooker).
Planning what to pack was interesting. We realised early on that what we have to pack was completely different from what you would pack on a backpacking trip. What we were doing was a hybrid between the traditional sense of ‘moving house’ where you take absolutely everything, and travelling where you take the absolutely minimum stuff you’ll need. Space was limited, but we also wanted ‘home comforts’.
Although what we have done is a little on the extreme side, we felt that the following questions would be useful in reducing the amount of stuff you’ll take with you on your next house move:
1. Do you really need that many?
I had lots of document folders. They are handy for keeping all your paperwork organised. I had a whole wadge (technical term for way too many to count) of them because, well, they’re useful. Although they are handy, I had many more than I would ever use, so I reduced them to 5 folders. Think about how many you will actually use, and only take that many.
2. Is the item worth it’s weight in gold and priced like one?
My scanner (the Scansnap) is bulky, but it’s incredibly useful to us in reducing our paper clutter. It’s super fast, easy to use and does double sided scanning. It is also pricy at £200+ for a replacement. Although it does take up a lot of room, we decided that it was worth it. If you can’t live without it, then pack it.
3. Can you replace it cheaply?
Although it IS wasteful, when luggage space is limited, you may have to just replace the item once you are there. We priced up how much it would cost to buy all the cooking/eating stuff. It came to £80 brand new, which is not unreasonable, and I’m sure we could get them for cheaper second hand. We decided against taking our own cooking/eating stuff since they took up so much space and relatively cheap to replace. Have a ‘resettlement budget’ and let go of the bulky but cheaper stuff.
4. Is there an alternative?
We debated about buying a printer once we got to Edinburgh. I had a quick look on google and discovered that there is a library a few minutes walk from the new place. They charge 20p per sheet. Seemed like a lot, but when I costed up a cheap printer, inks and paper, it worked out to be the equivalent of printing out 250 pages at the library. I would be horrified if I printed more than that in 2 years. We decided against buying a printer. If there is something you need, see if it possible to hire or use the public resources near your new location.
5. What is your comfort level?
We decided that we didn’t want to be doing washing every night in the sink. We do do daily sink washing when we are travelling, and would be happy to do it when we’re sunning on the beach everyday but for now once or twice a week was enough. Think about what you are comfortable with, and only take enough to provide you with that level of comfort.
6. What’s your luxury item(s)?
Finally, the joy of moving house in a suitcase rather than travelling with a backpack is that you have room for some luxuries. Mine are my three teddies and the fluffy blanket. We are also taking our guitars and the rice cooker. We wouldn’t dream of taking these on a backpacking trip! Think about what items would make you feel really at home, and allow yourself to pack a few of those in the suitcase.