It’s been almost two months since we’ve moved into our new home! Right now, we’re still missing a few things like a dining table and a small couch, but so far, we’ve managed to turn this space into a place we can really call “ours” (well, until our lease contract expires, that is!).
Before moving into our new nest, we were renting a small 34 square meter, 1-bedroom apartment. It was good enough for me, Mike, and our guinea pig Booboo. You could even say that we were fairly happy there. We wouldn’t have stayed there for 4 years if we weren’t happy. But after finding out that there will be a little one on the way (that’s a blog post for another time!), we knew that it was necessary for us to move to a bigger space. And so we went condo-hunting, found a place just a few minutes away from our old place, immediately fell in love with it, and on that same day, told the broker that we have decided on taking it!
Can I just say that moving while pregnant plus moving during the summer equals a huge pain in the arse?!
I was 10 weeks pregnant when we moved. Since I was on my first trimester, which is the most delicate period in pregnancy, I couldn’t lift heavy objects. I felt so useless. My poor husband had to do most of the manual labor. I felt guilty so once in a while, I would try to help out and pick up something but Mike would immediately tell me to drop it. “You shouldn’t be doing anything!” In fact, I was so useless that I couldn’t even watch one of the cleaners empty the kitchen grease trap because the ghastly smell was making me puke, so I had to stay in the bedroom with the door closed (I could still smell it though! Ugh!) and Mike ended up staying with him.
Moving during the summer was also really uncomfortable. Lifting, moving, and organizing stuff at 38°C just was NOT fun. The heat just made us hot-headed. There was actually one point during our move when I burst into tears and said, “I just want this to be over!!!” Hormones and heat are not a very good combination, you see.
Even before the actual moving day, though, we already had a lot of work to do. We tried to get rid of as much stuff as we could, so that we didn’t have to bring them to the new home. I spent a lot of time tinkering with my buy and sell apps, losing patience on low-ballers and answering stupid questions like these:
(Click on the photos to see the full size)
Mike’s aquarium was one of the hardest things to sell. On top of that, there was the dilemma of having to sell the fish. To Mike, these fishes are not pets… they were his friends and his babies. He had them for the longest time, and he loved his aquarium so much, so I didn’t want him to give it up. He said he had to, though, because we needed the space for the baby. Also, he said that he would have to get rid of it eventually anyway, if we plan to move to Australia one day.
I had to agree that bringing the aquarium to the new place would be such a chore though! Thank God that just a day before our move, someone finally bought one fish and the aquarium! It took three grown men (Mike, the buyer, and the buyer’s friend) and a trolley to carry this heavy, massive, and fragile 82-gallon glass tank from our 11th floor unit down to the buyer’s car parked in the basement. They were all huffing and puffing and were drenched in sweat after. We were so glad we didn’t have to take that to the new place!
Instead of moving for just one day, to be more efficient, we planned a 3-day move. For the first two days, we were very lucky to have our aunt’s helpers drive us around and assist us with all the drudgery. We spent the entire two days going back and forth both condos, picking up stuff from the old place then dropping them off to the new place. And in the middle of all of that, we still had other things to take care of, like having our A/C unit professionally cleaned, settling balances at the admin office, etcetera.
And then there was this issue with Globe, our landline and internet service provider.
Moving Misadventure Day 1: Grrr!!! Globe!!!
A month before we moved in, which was around May 17, I rang their customer service hotline and asked about the process for transferring our line to our new place. Unfortunately, the agent I spoke to was quite soft in the head. I had to repeat everything until she finally got it! Anyway, I specifically said “We will be moving to our new place on June 1st.” That was pretty clear. Or so I thought. The next day, May 18, I got a call from a Globe technician, saying “We’re on our way to transfer your line!” Uhhh… I said we would be moving on June 1st! So obviously, we weren’t living there yet! And then he asked, “Also, I’d just like to clarify your unit number. It says on the record that your unit number is 299999999 (or something like that).” What?! So the agent relayed the wrong information! (Note: Our unit number only has 4 digits, which I must have repeated ten times). Unfortunately, that didn’t end there. I spoke to another agent, who STILL got the wrong info. Finally, on my third attempt, I lost it and told the agent “This better be the last time I call about this!!! I’m so sick and tired of having to say the same things over and over again!” The last agent I spoke to FINALLY (hallelujah!) got it, and escalated the issue to her supervisor. Mike said to me, “You were giving instructions in Tagalog, and they all still couldn’t get it. Imagine if I was the one who called them. With my Aussie accent, I bet they would mess things up even more!”
Moving Misadventure Day 2: Condo Conundrum
I hoped that the next day of our move would be a lot more seamless. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Because we were so tired and busy, we failed to inspect all the nooks and crannies in our new place. When we finally did, we were appalled to see that the place wasn’t cleaned! I cringed when I saw spider webs and cockroach droppings in the kitchen cupboards. I immediately called the broker and asked why he didn’t have the place cleaned, knowing full well that we would be moving in that day, and he said “I did have it cleaned!” to which I retorted, “Well, you obviously didn’t do a very good job at having it cleaned!” (Pregnancy hormones were really rising at this point!) I demanded that he had it cleaned “RIGHT NOW!” That wasn’t all. The toilet bowl seat was broken, the bathroom floor was filthy, there were ugly tape marks on the wall of the bedroom that needed painting over, the kitchen pipes were leaking, and the grease trap wasn’t cleaned. Mike was FURIOUS! And I drove the broker crazy with my incessant phone calls, ordering him to make sure everything is dealt with ASAP! I was THIS close to terminating our contract with him and just moving back to our old place. He finally sent people to troubleshoot the issues, but we wasted so much precious time staying in the new unit, watching the cleaners like a hawk and making sure that they don’t leave until the place is spotless.
Moving Misadventure Day 3: Misbehaving Movers
On the third day of our move, we hired removalists (or what we call a “lipat bahay” service in the Philippines) to transport our bigger items like our pieces of furniture. I inquired with several companies and settled for one called AB Solis Trucking since they were based in Mandaluyong and they offered the cheapest rate, which was PHP 1,700 (USD 34) per way. I couldn’t find any reviews on them, but trusted that they were legit since I saw their website which also had photos of their business permits. They responded quickly too.
While the removalists were in our old condo, hauling our things, Booboo was squeaking really loud. Mike was already really tired and hot, so he snapped at Booboo and said “Shut up!!!” (Poor Booboo!) He had food and water, so he couldn’t have been hungry or thirsty. He also doesn’t squeak like that when there are other people in our house. The one and only time he let out high-pitched shrieks like that was when a midget came into our house to collect our laundry!
When the removalists brought our things in our new condo, we were enraged to see that they damaged some of our items!
And the annoying part was that they even told us, “That damage was there before we even moved your things.”
Mike fumed! We know what our things look like, and we would know if they have been tampered with or not!
I called the owner of the company and reported what happened, and said that: a) we are NOT paying for their service (obviously!) and b) THEY need to pay US for the damages. We only asked for PHP 2,000 worth of damages – and that was us being kind and considerate. If we were going to be really harsh about it, it would have cost them more… A LOT more. In the end, the owner agreed to our terms, but he said something that really irked me: “Had I known that you would be transporting fragile items, we should have just cancelled the service.” Say what?!? So they were in the business of what, transporting stuffed animals? I do appreciate that the owner was professional enough to own up to his staff’s irresponsibility and pay the price for their mess, but when we need to move again, we’re definitely not calling them again. So yes, I am satisfied that the moving company owner handled it well, at least, but they really need to hire more competent and careful people.
No wonder Booboo was squeaking uncontrollably! He knew something was up! He was trying to say, “Be careful, daddy! I don’t trust them!”
Whew! 3 days of non-stop nuisance! After our move, that was when I realized and finally admitted, “We have too much stuff.” Whenever Mike tells me that I have way too many shoes or clothes, I would be in denial and say, “That’s nothing! You should see other girls’ clothes and shoes!” But now, I’m more motivated to live a minimalist life. I want to have LESS stuff. I never realized how much having too much personal possessions can weigh you down!
So these are things we wish we knew and did before we moved:
✓ Declutter little by little, and declutter early.
Looking back, I wish we had decluttered earlier and more frequently – even months or years before we planned this move. It would have been more efficient to get rid of unused or unwanted items once every few weeks or once every few months instead of a having a “one time, big time” cleanout. Also, since we had only a few weeks to move, that meant that we needed to sell our things ASAP. So as the move out date drew nearer, the more desperate we were to get rid of our things, and the more willing we were to drop the prices of the stuff we were selling.
✓ Do not do it all in one day.
If you can, do a 3-day move. Yes, it will still be exhausting, but at least you can get some stuff out of the way for the first two days, then only spend on hiring a removalist on the third day. Also, with a 3-day move, on the first 1 or 2 days, you’ll get to see what else is missing from the new home, and you’ll still have time to shop for those things.
✓ Ask for help.
We were extremely fortunate that our aunt’s helpers were there to help us with our move. Seriously, I don’t know what we would have done without them. They not only helped us lug stuff around, but they were also there to install our A/C, repair some minor damages, help us identify what else we needed, and drive us around. Believe me, every extra arm and leg makes a big difference. Just make sure these are people you absolutely trust with your prized possessions, since you won’t be able to keep an eye on them all the time. And do give them a nice tip for a job well done! (The PHP 2,000 that the removalists paid us for the damages? We just gave that to the helpers as our way of saying “thank you”!)
✓ Have a little stool with you both in your old place AND new place.
If you’re like us who kept going from the old residence to the new one and back, it’s handy to keep a small chair around for those times when you need a break.
✓ When asking to reconnect phone and internet lines, ask the agent for a recap of the conversation.
Sometimes, you call the customer service hotline, speak to an agent, and think that they got everything right. But sometimes, no matter how clear your instructions were, some agents still manage to goof up. My suggestion: before ending the call, ask them to repeat what you have discussed, just to see if they really understood it. Don’t forget to get a reference number!
✓ Do not scrimp on removalists!
This is one of those things where the saying “you get what you pay for” applies. We chose our removalists because they were the cheapest, and they end up ruining our things. Never again! According to Mike, removalists in Australia even have padded trucks so that if the things do bump on the sides of the truck, they won’t get scratched or damaged. I don’t know if there are removalists here in the Philippines that exercise that kind of caution, but at least choose someone with lots of good reviews. If your things are really important to you, you should invest in hiring people who will value them as much as you do.
✓ Take photos of the valuable things that you will entrust to the removalists.
That way, if they do damage something, they can’t say “But that has always been there!” It would be best to give or show the photos to them in advance, just so they know that you know the state your things were in before they handled them.
✓ Before moving in your new home, check EVERYTHING!
If you are a new tenant renting a new place, check every drawer, cabinet, corner, wall, and switch. Has it been thoroughly cleaned? Is everything working fine? Is there a dent or damage? Take photos for proof and send it to the unit owner or broker. Anything that needs repairing or cleaning should already have been taken care of by the owner, and this also means that THEY need to shoulder all repairing- and cleaning-related expenses.
✓ Trust your pet.
Sweet little Booboo wasn’t just crying for attention. He was crying to warn us about the removalists. Sorry we didn’t listen to you, Booboo!
If you’re moving anytime soon (or someday), I hope you find these tips helpful and learned from our moving misadventures!