Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally Settled and Flat Moving Lessons Learned

It's been two weeks since Simon & I have moved in together, and I think it feels like we're finally settled. One of the biggest lessons I've learned since moving flat here in London? Once you're out, there's still work to be done. And, because of the 'work to be done', you actually will never be able to stay in your rental up to the date your contract expires. Here's what I mean...
When renting here, you go thru an 'inventory check in/out' process. This is where an independent agent comes and makes note of all of the furniture (if applicable), scratches, dings, working condition, etc...of everything in the flat. The checkin is to make note of all of these things, and the checkout is to make note as well-and compare to the checkin. The things that are different-and not associated with 'basic wear & tear' you're charged for. Fair enough.

But, to get ready for said check-out, you have to have the place professionally cleaned (at your own expense)-and perhaps repaired (though, we didn't damage, so that wasn't a problem...), so in all actuality, though Sarah & I had our flat until the 27th of March, we actually needed to be out at least 3 days before that so that the cleaning/check out could happen. Hm. I've paid for 3 days of rent (which, at £735 a week, comes to £315, or £157.50 per person. no small beans...) for a flat which I won't be able to use.

Rubbish, as the Brits would say.

The other big learning I've had? Hindsight 20/20...though it was nice to have my furniture here the first year, as a 'safety blanket', I look at it now and think, 'Pain in the Ass'...Here's what I mean...

Though Sarah & I rented our flat unfurnished, the greater likelyhood is that flats here are furnished (odd in its own way, as far as I'm concerned). The flat that Simon & I moved into? Furnished. Fortunately (and rarely...), we have an attached garage, so storage isn't an issue. Swapping things out, and getting my "American Size Queen Bed" (aka a King in the UK) up to the second floor (or First, according to the Brits..) was a horrible experience. Luckily, the mattress is bendy. Unfortunately, the boxsprings aren't. It wouldn't fit. But, not so surprisingly, the Brits have found a way around this: Box Springs that come in two pieces (halves) that you then link together. Half of a queen box spring will easily fit up our stairs. A whole wouldn't. Whew. But, that means that for the next year (or however long...) my American Queen Boxsprings are sitting in the garage unused, and wasting space. And of course, we then had to bring the two twin beds that were up on the 2nd floor (now I understand why there were only twin beds on the 2nd floor...) down to the garage and store them as well. Lesson learned.

My #1 piece of advice for anyone thinking of moving here?...As painful as it may seem (we all like the 'comforts of home'-especially when not at 'home'), leave the big stuff at home/sell it/give it away/whatever. It just makes no sense to bring it, when keeping it will likeley mean extra expense, effort, annoyance, need for more space (which also brings about extra expense, effort, and annoyance... :)).



  1. Congrats on surviving another move in London! Thanks again for maintaining this blog - I arrived in London from San Francisco last week for my "tour of duty" for work, and I've been going through exactly what you've been describing since last year. It's nice to know others have been through it!

  2. Hi Shannon,
    Sorry for the delayed response (gotta love getting the four day Easter holiday in the UK...). Hope your trip here went well. Let me know if you've any questions about what you say/heard and I'll be happy to provide any commentary that I can.

  3. Shacking up, huh?! Congratulations to officially graduating to "Living in Sin"!

    Can't wait to see you this summer!