Three years ago, when our first daughter was born, we were living in a two bedroom ground floor flat.
Despite the fact that newborn babies are barely more than a foot long, the flat, which we thought would be perfect, quickly seemed far too small.
Perhaps the fact that she came along in the middle of a very cold winter, when we were stuck indoors for weeks on end, didn’t help.
Or maybe the problem was that I was working from home and the only place my desk could go happened to block my Wife’s path to our wardrobes (not helpful when you’ve got to get baby clothes and linen out regularly).
Or it could have been the way the only place we could put our pram stopped our bathroom door opening properly.
The result was we felt as though we couldn’t move around without stubbing our toes, bumping our heads or failing to get out of the bathroom after a shower. So we decided to move.
Two months later, we’d left our flat by the train station for a small house further out of town, which felt luxurious by comparison.
We now had SPACE.
We had a dining area, and room for a desk. It was open plan, so we could actually move around with our baby in tow. And, being a Victorian terraced house, it had character. It may have been an extra twenty minutes journey from our workplaces, but it was worth it.
In the three years we lived there, Toddler and Baby learned to walk and talk.
They went from fragile, relatively still little newborns to wriggly, playful little kids, who loved racing each other up the stairs to brush their teeth every night (Toddler always won, unless I fixed it by holding onto her foot while Baby crawled past).
But all good things must come to an end.
With house prices sky-high in our area, and the only way we can buy a house being to save up a big deposit, we decided to move so that we could save up more of our monthly income.
When it came to packing up, we suddenly realised just how much we’d accumulated in those three years.
In the attic alone, I found Toddler and Baby’s old car seat, boxes full of picture frames from our wedding, bin bags full of baby clothes, spare parts for a pram we got rid of ages ago, a massive potty, and much, much more.
That’s before I’d cleared out the cupboard beneath the stairs, under the bed, and all the other little spaces we’d managed to jam (sometimes by force) baby toys into.
Over the past few weeks, my Wife and I have spent every night packing cardboard boxes and filling bin liners labelled either ‘rubbish’ or ‘charity shop,’ feeling like we were never getting any closer to getting it all done.
By the time we moved on Saturday, I’d visited the rubbish dump and the charity shop dumping box with a full car three times. It then took two trips in a full Transit van (yep, I was a white van driver for the weekend) to take most of our boxes to storage, and a further two trips to the house we’re moving into to drop off everything that was going there.
[On storage, incidently, is there anything that sums up capitalism better than the way storage companies sell, at quite a high price, the right to temporarily occupy a simple, metal-walled box full of air?]
There was something very depressing about moving the sheer amount of stuff we’d accumulated, from books we don’t read, to toys the girls have barely ever touched. Part of me felt like giving away everything that went into storage, because I don’t think we’re going to miss any of it.
On Sunday, with the house nearly empty, and the house we are moving into loaded up, it was cleaning day.
I took another trip to the rubbish dump with a full Transit van’s worth of things we hadn’t yet written off, and stayed in the house all day scrubbing away until every spot of the place was clean. Even mopping the floor to the extent that one Twitter follower said they wanted to eat soup off it…
By the time I left, the house that holds so many happy memories for us was like a shell, with all signs of life – our clutter, mainly – gone.
We’ve known we’d be taking the next steps before long, and here we finally are, three years, two kids and one wedding down the line, stepping.
The truth is, this move is going to be just the beginning, because lately we’ve found out we’ve already got the next step coming up. Watch this space…
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