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Moving House and the Treasures You Find While Unpacking

I recently took the grown-up step of getting a mortgage and buying property with my sister! It was a long process from start to finish, with stressful viewings and nerve-wrecking negotiations, one flat even fell through, only to be replaced the very next day by an infinitely better flat. For all my complaints about how time-consuming and admin-heavy it was to buy a property, at the same time I do realise how hugely lucky my sister and I are to get onto the property ladder in London at our age. To our amazement, completion day actually arrived on the 5th August and we celebrated with champagne and nibbles in a completely empty flat, not even a chair to sit on. That weekend our parents helped us move in furniture and beds and it was a bit like Christmas Day as we unwrapped bubble-wrapped crockery, glassware and household paraphernalia that, unbeknownst to us, our parents had been collecting for us. Much of it I remember from my childhood or my grandmother’s house, which instantly makes the flat feel more like home. I moved in around two weeks later and in the beginning struggled with living south of the river and not knowing where anything is!

        In my 2.5 years in London I’ve lived in Parsons Green in south-west London, near Fulham (there was a short spell in Hammersmith too at the beginning, but I swiftly upgraded!). And I have to say that Parsons Green is an idyllic, safe, beautiful part of London. It’s hardly avant-garde but there are plenty of yuppies and it’s near the Thames and plenty of my friends live around there, so it suited me just fine (I even wrote an ode about it once…). Our new flat is not too far away in Wandsworth, but I now live south of the river and the truth is that it’s simply harder to get anywhere once you cross the Thames! However my sister and I are starting a PR campaign to get this part of London on the map (of our friends and acquaintances that is, as we want more people to move here!). So far it’s a bit like ‘nappy valley’ (young families and babies everywhere) but with some strategic hashtagging we reckon we can get some more young’uns to pick Wandsworth as their locale of choice… To our delight we’ve discovered that Wandsworth Town and Earlsfield in particular have some great pubs (The Earslfield) and cocktail bars (Three Six Six) and it’s actually pretty nice down on this side of the river. Spread the word!

        Anyway, back to the treasures. Over the years I’ve been collecting postcards and artwork and decorations from all over the world, anticipating the day when I’d finally have a flat of my own to put them all in! Now that time has come and I’m gradually unwrapping treasures that I acquired as far back as 2006 (!) and finding homes for them in our new flat. Not only is this bringing out the creative in me (I did an interior design course on my gap year and am actually getting really into it again!) but it’s bringing back all sorts of memories and is proving very nostalgic! Do you get this when you move home and unpack things you’d completely forgotten about?

        This weekend I decided to tackle the ritual of putting up my postcards, which I’ve done in every single room I’ve lived in since I can remember! The flat is due a complete decorative overhaul early next year after we finish some building work, so I’m not fussed about white tack marks on the walls and I went to town! I’ve covered an entire bedroom wall in postcards, maps and posters I’ve collected. Not all my postcards fit on that one wall so I went through and selected my favourites, which took me on a trip down memory lane. I re-discovered postcards I was sent from years ago, and it’s funny to read the ones from friends I’m no longer in touch with and from various ex-boyfriends – some of these people might not even know that I now have a blog about postcards! I also inherited a large bunch of postcards from my grandmother, who used to pin postcards she received from her far-flung friends onto a corkboard in her kitchen. While the images are old-fashioned and faded, so wouldn’t really work as Postcards of the Week, the stories they tell on the back are fascinating – there’s one even from my grandfather back in the 1970s before he died.

postcards on wall

        My granny was my ultimate travel inspiration and she was such a globe-trotter! She was alive for the first four months of this blog and she adored reading my posts (printed out for her by my father, as of course she didn’t have a computer). She was my first and biggest fan, she even helped me come up with the name The Well-Travelled Postcard. I’m so pleased I held onto her collection of postcards, even if they mostly sit in a box waiting for the annual house-move when I look through them again. Among her collection are postcards I myself sent her from my 4-month trip to Asia in 2008 and it hasn’t half got me thinking about how much has changed in the last 7 years.

        Every time I move house, the collage of postcards and artwork adorning my walls gets updated with new destinations that I (or occasionally my friends) have been to. Ultimately I had thought I might keep the decor in this new flat a bit more minimalist and avoid white-tack (so studenty) but now that I’ve put up the postcards in my bedroom it feels infinitely more like home. I’ve big plans for the design of the rest of the flat, with feature walls, murals, bus blind artwork, antique tiles and entire wall world maps all on the drawing board.

        Before all of that can happen, we’ve got a loft to build first, which is slightly daunting but quite exciting too (and hopefully a good investment!). It has all of a sudden got very grown-up, but my postcards are a great reminder of the past and I’m so thrilled they also have a place in the new flat too.

September is a pretty classic time of year to be moving house, so good luck to everyone else that is house-hunting and unpacking their own treasures, it’ll all be worth it in the end!

5 Comments »

  1. so funny to see all the memories coming back to the surface when one moves isn’t it? we’re moving next week and I was thinking of writing a similar article actually, I don’t have postcards but do have lots of little tokens from each country we visited, and in particular a pretty heavy collection of earrings from the world now!
    good luck with the loft, that sounds very exciting, will you post more about that?

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    • Did you write a post about moving house in the end? I probably won’t write about the loft conversion as it won’t be relevant for the majority of my readers, who are more interested in travel than home renovations! But it should be an “interesting” process, if not very stressful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • you won’t believe me but since we moved, this is my first evening at home with internet. Really need to work on the blog (I miss it!!) but I also have sooo much admin behind…I didnt move to the Sahara desert, no, just Hackney, but we’ve basically changed providers 3 times and been really unlucky. I am planning an article on the new house still though, but it may have to wait until Christmas unfortunately. Did you get rid of the very last box already?

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      • Oh wow that’s bad luck! And I am the same, I am very behind on my blogging… And in actual fact I have now moved out of my flat in London! Since I wrote the last post, I’ve decided to take 6 months sabbatical from work and I’m abroad now. So all my things are now in the attic of my flat and my postcards have come down again (sob sob) so that the girl moving into my room can put her own stamp on the room. How quickly things change, and it was definitely emotional to take the postcards down again, so soon after putting them up!

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  2. Congrats for the move! 🙂 I came to live in London in the beginning of this year and I moved two times! First I was in Fulham, then I moved with a colleague in Chiswick and now I am preparing to move to Islington with a boyfriend! 🙂 I am starting to feel very comfortable in London. Now I will for first time use the services of a moving company (http://islingtonmanandvan.com/) because I am really tired of moving my stuff by myself in this busy city! Thanks for the post! Have a great time at your new place! 🙂

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