What I’ve learned from moving house 6 times in 5 years.

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The first time I moved was to a different city. In 2012 I moved out of my parent’s flat to student accommodation for University on the other side of the country. Moves 2-4 were flats I shared with other students, and I moved for various reasons (mostly crappy landlords and mould) but that’s another story. Move 5 was my shortest stay, staying for just over a month and having to look for house number 6 due to extenuating circumstances.

In August I will be leaving house number 6 to move into a flat I will share with a friend. Lucky number 7, eh?

As I contemplated yet another move, I began to think about all I’ve learned after living in so many places in such a short period of time. Surely I must have learned something, right?

  1. Moving is not fun. After the 3rd time it gets a little dull. If it had been in my power I would have much rather have stayed in the same place for at least a few years. Sadly friends move away and some houses are so awful you just have to get out of there.
  2. It’s important to keep on top of your cleaning throughout your lease. You’ll thank yourself when close to moving day. If you’ve kept on top of your hoovering/mopping/surface cleansing etc. it will take you a lot less time when you scrub last minute in hopes of getting all your deposit back.
  3. Don’t settle. In my 3rd year of University, I lived in a flat that can only be described as derelict. The walls were mouldy, the shower was poor at best, the hall was crawling in woodlouse – you get the idea. We’d jumped at the first place we could get because it was cheap and we were excited. In this economy there are more flats out there than potential tenants, so please be picky. Or you might regret it.
  4. OPEN YOUR WINDOWS REGULARLY. It will prevent mould and your flat will have a nice clean smell.
  5. Be careful who you choose to live with. No matter how much you love your friend, you might not be compatible flatmates. Do they like everything clean? Are they more casual? A complete slob? Find out. You don’t want a nasty surprise or to be in a situation where your habits put your friendship in danger. Also be careful about people who advertise for flatmates on sites such as gumtree. General stranger danger warnings aside, you don’t know them and they might leave you high and dry when it comes to bills or violating the lease you only signed a month ago…
  6. It’s good to have regular clear outs. Every few months or so look over your clothes, books, CD’s etc. and decide what you could do without. I regularly cull my bookshelf and wardrobe as from moving so often I’ve learned to dislike clutter. Moving is a lot easier when you only keep the things you love or need.
  7. Keep your sentimental items where you can see them. Every year it’s the same thing – I go through the boxes under my bed to pack them for the move or see what I can throw out and I find them. I am a soppy individual. I keep a box of all the birthday cards I have every received so I can read them again. I keep a battered old shoe box filled with nick naks from the early dates I had with my current partner. My sister made me a photo album for my 21st birthday. I end up spending the whole day looking at them and getting emotional about all the good times I’ve had and the people I am lucky to have in my life. I always kick myself for forgetting I had these items as they would have been so helpful when I was feeling down the rest of the year.

 

If any of you are moving soon or are a fellow accidental traveller I hope some of this resonated with you or was helpful. Move number 7 will be a step in the right direction as this last year I’ve been living alone and it doesn’t really suit me.

Take care of yourself, 

Nikki

 

How exploring your creativity can boost your mood.

I spend a lot of my free time dreaming about the things I would love to do. I often imagine myself as the owner of a craft shop filled with my own designs. Little things I’ve sewn on tables and my paintings hung on the wall. I imagine there is a small cafe at the back full of my own baking creations, a new special every day.

Sadly I know next to nothing about business, and in this economy it would be a huge risk to even try.

The point of this story is that while I spend a lot of time dreaming about being creative, I rarely take the time to put these dreams into action. It’s fun to imagine, but if you push yourself to create you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride – a great way to slowly build your self confidence.

It doesn’t matter if what you produce is good (although hopefully you like what you’ve made at least a little bit), what matters is how it makes you feel.

Exploring your creativity has many benefits. Activities such as painting or trying a new cookie recipe can be very therapeutic as you are creating something with your own two hands. It can distract you from the stress in your life at least for that moment. As you build your confidence in your chosen activity you will have something new that is a part of you. Many mental health professionals recommend exploring a new hobby in order to understand yourself better and to build on what makes you you. This can be very helpful when you are going through a traumatic change in your life or have difficulty spending time with yourself.

If you are one of those people who feel as if they don’t have a creative bone in their body, here is a list of potential creative hobbies you can try.

  • Baking
  • Painting with acrylics; beginners painting supplies can be bought very cheaply at pound stores and The Works
  • Sketching
  • Small sewing projects
  • Knitting/Crochet
  • Gardening
  • Explore interior designing by decorating houses on The Sims
  • Paper crafts
  • Writing short stories
  • Painting cardboard figurines; these can be found at stores such as The Range and Hobby craft from as little as £1
  • Adult colouring books

Everybody has a creative side, it’s just finding the right hobby for you. The sense of calm I feel after completing a creative project never fails to improve my mood when I’m having a particularly trying time.

 

Take care of yourself,

Nikki