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One student’s take on moving house

Meld Magazine

Mon Nov 28 2011

moving house

MOVING house can be a commonly-occurring nightmare for international students in Melbourne. Emily Quak shares her anecdotes about packing everything up…again.

I’M NO stranger to packing up my life.

I moved house three times back in Malaysia with my family. Then when I came to Australia as an international student, I spent the first three years in student housing where I had to move out at the end of each year – even though I was coming back the following year.

Recently, I bought a brand new apartment with my sisters. I was exceptionally excited at the thought of moving in. I’d dreamt of having my own perfect home ever since our second move back in Malaysia when my parents wouldn’t let me decorate the new living room (well…I was 14).

But now that I had my own apartment, I could do what I liked. Little did I know that moving house wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

First came the estate agent from hell. We requested an early termination of the tenancy on our old apartment, which met with a cold response and a halfhearted commitment to post an advertisement seeking new tenants – which we would have to pay for, of course.

Then out of the blue, a mere three days after we’d held the first open inspection of our apartment, we were told we had two weeks to pack up everything and get out.

And so ensued the mad rush that was packing and arranging a moving van on such short notice. This was all done student-budget style, mind you, so we didn’t have the luxury of calling in removalists or anything of that sort.

As if our lack of funds wasn’t enough, I had to do most of the work myself – in between finishing a stack of assignments for my legal training course – because my sisters were in the middle of exams.

I spent hours on the phone with all the separate utility companies trying to arrange the disconnection and reconnection of everything.

I had a particularly harrowing experience with one company employee, who insisted I had to have his company’s service in my new apartment no matter how many times I told him that I had just called up for a quote and couldn’t afford the monthly fees he was asking. When he finally conceded that I did, in fact, have the right to decide whether or not I wanted to sign up, he told me to do my research before calling so that I wouldn’t disappoint myself or them in the future.

Refusing to get upset, I put all the bad experiences with estate agents, moving vans and utility companies aside and prepared for the best part of moving house – furniture shopping!

One weekend, the whole troop marched on over to IKEA and bought what I imagine to be at least a third of their floor stock. I had strong ideas about what I wanted for the living room and for my bedroom, and though a few concessions were made, we ended up with some pretty stylin’ furnishings.

Assembling our purchases, however, was an entirely different story. To this day my TV unit is still upside down, due to something that went wrong while I was putting it together that I never did quite figure out how to fix.

Despite all the hard work, I was still super excited when moving day finally arrived. Our new building manager (who couldn’t go home until we’d gotten all our stuff in) gave us a 4.30pm deadline for the move – a difficult feat to achieve given one of my sisters and I both had exams that day and had to dash away to them in between ferrying boxes.

But between the three or so trips we made back and forth, we somehow managed to move everything into the new apartment by 4:30pm…well, almost. The last load was delivered at 4.45pm, something our building manager seemed less than pleased about.

Now, almost two weeks on, I am completely taken by my new place. We’re all moved in and almost settled, save for a couple of boxes that need to be moved down to storage.

The new apartment is so comfortable that I know the moving nightmare will soon become a distant memory….so long as the building manager doesn’t hold a grudge over that 15 minutes, that is.

Do you have any moving house horror stories? Share in the comments box below.