Moving to Paris: The Checklist Part II: packing up our lives
The last few weeks have been a bit of a crazy whirlwind, so I thought I'd come back and talk a bit more about the other things on our to-do list. Since I only got through two items in my last post, I think I better try to be a bit more concise this time!
A lot of what I've been posting on social media has been about the glamorous bits of living in Paris (aperitifs on the balcony, anyone?), and less about the difficulties. So here's a little insight into what happened closer to our move date...
Packing up our life
- Tom and I have lived together for more than three years now, and although we lived in a fairly small flat, we'd managed to pack it with so much stuff. In the weeks before our move we started sorting everything into three categories:
- Take to Paris: We drove over in our Skoda Fabia, so that limited how much we could take.
- Take to Grandma's loft: Long-term storage items like photo albums, heirlooms, books for our future library, and camping stuff.
- Stuff to get rid of: This category actually had a few sub-categories of its own, including:
- Sell - Tom had a few bits that were worth putting on eBay.
- Recycle - We used the move as an opportunity to clear out our wardrobes. We're big believers in only having clothing that we wear all the time, which means that the only things we were getting rid of were too worn and patched up to go to the charity shop. Instead we salvaged all the buttons and zips (for future makes!) and took the remaining fabric to our local fabric recycling bank.
- Give away - This is how we got rid of the most stuff! We held a 'going away' party and laid out all our remaining possessions on tables and worktops, and invited* our friends to take whatever they wanted. Notably I managed to get rid of an extra large hi-vis jacket, and Tom managed to convince someone to take the slow cooker that he brought with him when he moved in, and hasn't used since. Brilliant!
Our last days in the UK
Although I won't write about it here, we had to move to Paris the week after our vivas because of the start date of Tom's job. We'd also handed in our theses just a couple of weeks before that, so it's safe to say we've had a lot on our plate so far in 2017. I'm going to skip ahead to the Tuesday before we left the UK, because that's when we were finally able to start getting the 'big stuff' done:
- On the Tuesday before we left for Paris we had our 'please take all our stuff' party. See above for notable things we managed to lumber people with.
- On the Wednesday we packed up all our 'Grandma's loft' stuff (including a chair that we re-upholstered in world map fabric a few years ago), and made the drive up to Yorkshire to deposit it all. We also took a huge box of documents for shredding, because we'd re-organised all our files and didn't really know how to get rid of confidential stuff securely. Luckily Grandad is ON IT when it comes to preventing identity theft! That night we stayed overnight in Yorkshire, which meant that...
- ...on Thursday morning we could go and visit Tom's grandparents, and say 'au revoir' before we left for Paris. Then that afternoon we drove to Manchester to stay with Tom's parents for the night (more au revoirs).
- On Friday morning we drove back to Nottingham via Woven Monkey (to pick up my last fabric order!), just in time to get into work for our friend Ciaran's viva. This was also the day that Dan, our excellent wedding photographer, was dropping off our photo album, so while Tom was in a meeting (and Ciaran was in his viva) I ran out to meet Dan and collect the album. As is tradition in Nottingham and Germany, fellow PhD students make a viva hat for the person in the viva, detailing their likes and dislikes. Ciaran loves talking about a local exotic nightclub called 'Flirtz' so I spent the afternoon making a saucy costume for a barbie out of bicycle inner tube. That evening we went for a celebratory dinner with Ciaran in Nottingham, at our favourite pizza place.
- Saturday was a day of packing up the car with all our Paris stuff (my years playing Tetris as a child finally paid off), cleaning the flat, and closing British bank accounts. We went for a cheeky half at both our favourite micro pubs, and settled down for a big nap at around 6pm. We had to snooze on the sofa because we'd already stripped the bed! At quarter to midnight we got up, had a quick snack, and started to drive to Paris. Before we got out of the car park we had to stop and run back up to turn the lights off though, ha!
- We drove through the night to reach Folkestone in time for our 4am Eurotunnel crossing. WE DROVE ONTO THE TRAIN!
Next time we'll pick up on the other side of the Channel Tunnel...