Saturday, 29 August 2015

Van-quishing the packing!

By the end of the day we'd achieved a huge amount.  As well as tagging Tea, the third section of the container was sectioned off.

Given our exit date was just two days away, I (finally) started packing the caravan.

Our summer clothes were stashed under Erin's bed.  I was able to fit lots of stuff in there, which was definitely heartening!

We also pulled up our carpet tiles from inside the house and I took some of them into the van to add more insulation over the green foam mats.

Although we are booked into a caravan park for a few nights after leaving here and there'll be power for a small heater,  I firmly believe the more warmth the better!

Tea Tagged!

There was a fair bit of rigmarole involved in readying Tea for sale.

It took a while for Nick to obtain a Property Identification Code, which then enabled him to purchase an ear tag and the tag applicator.

Seemingly it doesn't matter if you have one cow for sale or a much larger herd, the process is the same.

Once the tag arrived (with applicator), we needed to "apply" the tag to our cow's ear. Yep, no-one was keen to take on that mission.

There was a diagram with some  basic instructions to detail the correct method of application.

The theory was simple but we doubted Tea would just stand still for her ear piercing - and we were right!

Armed with a large bowl of apple pieces, we set about tagging the cow. Thankfully, the process went far more smoothly than expected, though we were pleased of Nick's excellent rope-tying - and his forethought in wedging Tea between the gate and the fence!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Misc-ing in action!

Next Monday is our exit date.  There is lots of chaos at the moment. I've lost track of how many boxes have been packed.  I do know "misc" has been used often in the labelling!

Our old caravan door was collected on Saturday.  Tanya mentioned that when she moves, her boxes have detailed index cards taped to the top, fully describing the contents within!

As you can see, every space is being utilised. The wardrobe marks the end of the container's third division.  It's not yet ready to be sectioned off, which is just as well cos there's quite a lot left to pack.

I'm using our dining table as a packing area. It needs to be cleared -very soon!  A bookcase is also set for inclusion in this current section. Fortunately, it's almost empty.  Almost!

Our fridge will be in the fourth/final division. (We'll use our Engels while in transit).  It's the last of the big things.  Fingers crossed all our magnificent culling pays off and everything we want to take will actually fit in the space available!

And then there were two ...

We're definitely over the packing but the packing definitely isn't over.

Nick finished the second section of the container on Saturday.  It's baffled and strapped in.   That's the half-way point.

We've started moving stuff in for the third section, which is set for completion today.

Two smaller lounges will be donated, as will our older-style TV.  The washing machine has developed issues while here and it won't be packed either.

It's just as well those items were planned to stay behind.  Space is running out and there is still a lot of other stuff that does need to come with us.

Summer clothes are stashed, for storage in the van (cos we're not sure how long it will be before we can access the packed container).

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


It's 14 weeks since we received the Notice to Vacate - and there are just 12 days left before our exit date.  We've worked very hard these past few months.


Chucking stuff.
Donating stuff.
Gifting stuff.
Selling stuff.

Too.  Much.  Stuff.

Our op-shop donation box tally rose to 40 this week.  (And yes, there's yet another box being filled by the front door).

Polly visited yesterday to collect the remaining vegie garden soil.  We were chatting about culling.  She asked what was in all the boxes.

This is what I can remember: beads, bed linen, board games, books, bottles, buttons, cake tins, (blank) canvases, CDs, clothes, cookie cutters, cosmetics, craft supplies, crockery, cutlery, DVDs, facial steamer, fabric (quite a lot of fabric), framed prints, glassware, handbags, light fittings, magazines, puzzles, sewing patterns, shoes, shoe laces, shoe racks, serving dishes, stationery, toys, utensils, wool (Erin estimates about five garbage bags), zippers ... and much, much more.

Close to 40 larger items have been sold or given away.  We've found appreciative new homes for the caravan gas stove, the old van door, a filing cabinet, a 44-gallon drum, a mattress, Nick's archery target ... the list goes on.  (Five pair of prescription glasses are set for delivery to one of the local optometrists, so they can be utilised by patients in developing countries).

You'd think there'd be nothing left.  Er, no.  Not yet.  The house is definitely emptier but there is still a fair bit to sort, cull and/or pack.  I keep hoping that very soon there'll be next to nothing left!

Nick moved more furniture into the container today.  Two tallboys from our room and a filing cabinet.  He and I have moved some clothes into large duffle bags.  Our camping fridge stands are being used as impromptu luggage stands.

My plan is to pack our summer gear into cheap zipped storage bags, then stash them under Erin's bed in the caravan.  I'm starting to ponder what else could go into the van - and how it might fit!

Sunday, 16 August 2015


Nick and I packed more boxes last night - and still needed extras this morning to finish the first container section.

We were up early and had achieved a lot before taking a break and heading back into Bunnings.  After eating more sausage sangas (this time helping the CWA coffers), Nick and Vaughan were in charge of plywood selection.

Erin and I scored a bargain small heater (for the caravan) and a plastic box to house important documents while we are in transit.

Given the current state of chaos, I'll start filling the (brightly coloured) box with anything we might need easily over the next fortnight.

We met at the workshop area.  The ply sheets were a smidge too tall for the container, so we watched a very nice man trim them to size.

Once home again, Nick overlapped two sheets and enlisted Erin's aid to hold them steady while they were bolted along the join.  The "baffle" was tied down firmly - and now we are ready for the next section.

Nick has already started moving the first of the next items in.  The lounge and our beds are tagged for inclusion.

We've already started using our camping kit in the kitchen but now we'll be sleeping on our camp stretchers and using our camp chairs too.

It's been a big day.  As well as assisting the container packing, I've prepared Vaughan's clothing for a school camp - and tried to keep other household tasks semi-controlled.

We're going to indulge in some Chinese takeaway tonight.  I reckon we deserve it!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Strap in for the ride!

Erin and I were out this morning. We came home to more of Nick's good work (larger pic in the top collage).

We admired his fine efforts, then all headed into Bunnings for extra supplies and some research .  Of course, we consumed a few fund-raiser sausage sandwiches while there - just to help out!

Although we bought a few specialised moving boxes at the end of 2012, we generally use free resources.

We've scored some excellent boxes this move.  One lady gifted a huge box of white packing paper (which is a definite step-up from newspaper) - as well as wardrobe boxes!  How flash is that?!

We have a stack of newspaper also. Vaughan's teacher subscribed to one of the newspapers due to a special promotion. Rather than get issues per classroom, she received enough papers for every student!  It's not a big school but even so, there were many more newspapers than expected!  Bonus for us (because there are no local papers delivered here)!

I discovered last night that Bunnings have a range of moving/packing supplies.  The store we visited had a few other items not listed on the website. They were heavily discounted but even so, not much use to us.  I bought mattress covers though.  Naomi mentioned them the other day and I thought it might be novel to try some!  There were also pre-cut "moving blankets" but ours are of higher quality felt and only cost a few dollars more per similar size.

Nick selected some tie-down straps and priced sheets of structual ply.  Once the current packed section is complete, it will be secured in place with a "baffle" of the ply, firmly strapped using the tie-down points at the top and bottom of the container.  That's a mission for tomorrow!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Close to our chest ...

We've moved often, so are experienced packers - of boxes!  When you think about it though, a shipping container is just a box on a much, much larger scale?!

Nick started organising the end section of the container this morning while Erin and I were out. When we returned, he enlisted our aid to shift a large chest. Once (almost) in place, the chest was filled with many "fragile" boxes.

The chest is quite heavy even when empty, so required concentrated effort to shove into it's designated corner.  It's tucked in nicely now, using one of the felt pieces we cut.

You can't tell from the photos but various boxes are packed around the base of "Stumpy".  He's the protector of them all!

Several smaller cupboards will be packed into the same end section.  I'm thinking some more "fragile" boxes might be stashed within one of them.  I've been packing our everyday mugs and glassware this afternoon.  Hopefully the box I've chosen will fit nicely onto it's intended shelf!  We all have our favourite mugs but I've decided much of our other everyday crockery can be donated and we'll pick up replacements when we are settled again.  In the meantime we'll be using our camping or caravanning kit.

We donated another box today, bringing the op-shop tally to 38.  Erin re-organised her packing and was able to dispense with two boxes but I packed three, so the current score is 58 packed!  It's trickier to keep track of our other donations but the process of re-homing particular items is a pleasant diversion from packing.  When in NSW we were emergency WIRES carers.  There wasn't really a Victorian equivalent, so we've donated some of our surplus gear to the Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network, where it is set to be used by a possum carer!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Keeping score ...

We made significant progress today - hooray for us!  Moving our beautiful stump table was just the start of the day's achievements.

Nick dismantled a large desk and carted it's parts to the container. Erin set about wheeling boxes from the house, using the trolley.  She started with one and worked her way up to groups of three or four!

Once in the container, the boxes were grouped into "heavy" or "light" sections.  By the end of the day there were quite sizeable collections in each area.

Our packed box tally currently stands at 57, versus 37 donated to our local op-shops. (We've donated a lot more than that, via FreeCycle/FaceBook).

A lady collected 12 empty foam boxes today.  She managed to fit them in her car, along the back seat with a couple strapped into the front passenger seat!

I mentioned that at the end of 2012 we had 50 foam boxes (as well as many other varieties). 

All our culling has meant that 20 empty foam boxes have been given away!  But wait, there's more - or less, as the case (er, box) may be!  

Another 9 boxes have been given away, filled with various donations. 

That's right, I now have just 21 foam boxes - and may be able to reduce those even further! That score definitely warms my heart, even if Bandit might be a bit cooler in his sleeping chair!  


I became very ill in the early hours of yesterday and spent the day in bed. My family checked on me often - from a distance! I'm up today but not necessarily at my best.

Recovery aside Nick had planned to shift our stump table, so a group effort was definitely required.

Over the years our various removalists have eyed off "stumpy" warily but he's more awkward than heavy - probably weighing in at a bit over 200kg, which is less than one might expect. The new dolly is rated to 450kg, so was well up to task.

It took the three of us to manoeuvre the stump table onto the dolly. In truth Nick did the hard work.  Erin and I held the wheeled base still.

Once on wheels, shifting the big tree stump was easier, accomplished with good humour and Bandit's barking! It's a great start. If the three of us can manouevre that, we are doing well - particularly in my low-energy state. "Stumpy" is a daunting piece of furniture, so he is a good one to start with to move (hah!) our motivation along!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Counting the years ...

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago. Well, I celebrated early and then spent the actual day in contemplation.

Birthdays are good for reviewing life and I took some time to appreciate all that my younger self had come through ...

I've mentioned this is our 7th move in 10 years and that every one of those moves involved acute stress, aside from the move itself.  I added all the notice periods the other day and the total was 400-plus days. That didn't include the couple of houses that were on the market before the notice periods kicked in - and I didn't bother trying to work out how long we spent unpacking/settling in the next house(s). I reckon it could easily be 18 months to 2 years of the past 10 that we've spent preparing to move, moving and recovering afterwards. That's a fair whack of life, eh?

The lead-up to this move has been a little easier as we've been able to (mostly) concentrate on - moving.  The lack of other drama is definitely novel and has enabled us to be pro-active about our current circumstances.  Rather than just find and secure another house locally, we've given a lot of thought about where we'd really like to live - and how to set about getting there.

"There" isn't a specific destination.  It's somewhere that offers opportunity for us to live happily in a home of our own, preferably with some space and freedom.  Warmth would be good, too!

So.  We'll pack all we can into the shipping container.  Our favourite furniture pieces will go in first.  Hopefully we've culled sufficiently for everything to fit but we may have to prioritise further.

The container is set for storage and at the end of the month after finalising our tenancy here, we'll spend a few nights in a caravan park before taking on a semi-local house-sitting position till the end of September.

After that?  We're not sure just yet.  That's more than six weeks away and anything might happen in that time.  Of course, we'd much prefer some exceptionally good happenings!

It felt good ...

I culled more stuff over the weekend.  Lots of bottles and jars were given away.  (I'd been saving them for jam and relish-making - as well as packaging for our home-made gifts).

Given we'll be in transit for a while, there didn't seem much point carting all that glass with us.

A lady will collect the tall pasta jars tomorrow. She wants them for storing goat milk and offered a sample of goat cheese as a thank you!

I gave away my fire-pit, too. We've had some fun use from it and I'm sure it's new owners will enjoy many good times also. (They're the same couple who bought several boxes of 4WD magazines a while ago).

I'd offered our vegie bed soil to Polly and she was able to collect her first trailer-load on Sunday.  She very kindly took a swag of extra gardening stuff, too - for herself and to share among other community projects.

Nick and I started cutting our packing felt today. It's 1800mm wide and we've cut five squares so far - before remembering Erin has a pair of battery-operated scissors!

Now she's home, the scissors are found. I'm hoping they make the felt-cutting job easier!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Nick's dolly!

We bought Nick a dolly today! As you can see, he likes it - a lot!

Last time we moved (in 2012), we bought a red trolley.  Between it and the blue dolly, moving furniture into our "new" container should be easy peasy!

That's right, we'll be packing the container ourselves.  I was somewhat daunted by this news initially but after pondering the logistics for a while I'm more comfortable with the idea.  Sort of!

Seemingly there are YouTube videos giving instructions in container packing!  How hard can it be?!  Heavy stuff on the bottom ...

Norm gave us a few pointers on packing yesterday.  After stopping at Bunnings this morning (and enjoying an early sausage sizzle) we ventured further to buy a roll of packing felt.

The felt is now safely stashed in the container.  It will probably be cut into more useable lengths before being put into service to protect various furniture while being transported/stored.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Containing our excitement?!

Today was busy and we achieved a lot. The former Fox-proof Fowl Fort was delivered to a private animal rescue shelter in the morning.

Deb greatly appreciated our help and we are very happy the fence is being put to good use.

Nick had cleared out the hire container earlier in the week.  How good is that?!  MT as Super Hubert would say.  (As an aside, Super Hubert used to perform at the Newcastle Show many years ago)!

We bought a shipping container on Tuesday night.  The hired one had made one trip from England before being delivered to us.  We couldn't afford the same level of quality but ours is guaranteed water-tight and vermin-proof - which is all we need.

Norm rang after lunch to give me two lots of good news - firstly that he was on the way with our container and secondly that he was the same truck booked to collect the hired container!

We tidied the vegie garden a bit while we waited.  All kinds of things have sprouted after the rain and Tea enjoyed a feast of unidentified greens!

It's 12 weeks since we received the Notice to Vacate.  It was a shock initially but we rallied and started scheming to make the move one that benefited us as a family.

Dramatically reducing our possessions is a significant part of the plan and we are well on track to achieving that aim.  We've now donated 37 boxes to local op-shops and increased our packed tally to 53!

Lots has happened behind the scenes in the past week or so.

Most importantly Erin's van was collected - and we received a bonus jar of home-made relish from the lovely new owners!  We waved them off last Thursday.  The van is set to become extra accommodation on their property, about 55km North of here.  (The caravan cash funded our container purchase, so that was a nifty swap-over).

We hand the keys back at the end of the month.  Our Plan A stalled during the week.  Rather than lock ourselves into another rental lease we are opting to live in transit for a little while.  Plan B is to pack the container with all that hasn't been culled and book a couple of nights in a caravan park after leaving here.  

I created a Mindahome profile during the weekend and we already have a preliminary house-sitting booking from 2 to 30 September.  All is clicking into place nicely at this stage, so fingers crossed for our next adventures!