Moving on Up…

Ah, the dreaded flat move. We’ve all been through it, collapsing into the mouldy sofa you’ve single-handedly lugged through the Meadows and up three flights of stairs. While there’s no way of avoiding bruised shins and back ache there are some tricks that can ease the pain of moving.

1. Organise

Plan the shit out of it. Know when your lease ends and when your new one begins. Far too many of my chums have failed to synchronise their dates and but for some accommodating friends they would be homeless hoarders drowning in suitcases bin bags and boxes. Flat hunting in Edinburgh is notoriously ruthless, as landlords and estate agents (the bastards) try to arrange your lease in such a way that it is not available in August. You can’t blame them really, the sheer economics of that month is heaven. The population rises to threefold that of the rest of the academic year, the city swarms with tourists all more than willing to part with their cash and pay top dollar for any old flat. If you can’t arrange your lease dates to overlap or at least merge then make sure you have a place to crash, otherwise you might just find yourself asking for spare change on Nicolson Street (and probably procuring a dog in the process).

2. Clean

Clean your flat. This is the only way of getting some of your deposit returned. Let’s face it, you probably won’t get your full deposit back. You can sure as hell make sure that you will next time though. Take photographs of every decrepit crevice in your new flat and upload them to an image hosting site or e-mail them to your new landlord as soon as you move in. As for your current place…

How to cheat at cleaning:

  • Polish anything shiny, estate agents are like magpies and will be distracted by sparkly things. This means Brasso & Window Cleaner are actual investments.
  • Leave the windows open for a few days before move day, students produce and odour that repulses adults, and bullshit you never smoked in that flat, you’re not kidding anyone.
  • Coca Cola will lift most burnt food from pots and pans
  • When removing your Che Guevara or Reservoir Dogs poster (don’t deny it, you unimaginative looser) heat up some straighteners or iron and put it against the spot where the blutac is underneath before you tear it off. This will take the blutac off the wall whilst leaving the paint.
  • Limescale in the kettle – the water in the ‘Brugh ain’t that hard but in certain places you might need to fill your kettle with white vinegar and boil, this should do the trick.
  • Paint over stains you can’t be bothered cleaning, but do so well in advance – the smell is conspicuous.
  • Put baking soda on your carpet before you go to bed and then hoover the next day, save on Vanish Carpet Shampoo (because apparently upholstery is worth it too)
  • Play music while you clean, I find Chaka Khan tremendously motivating
  • Promise friends beer if they help you.
  • Get your mum to help. A friend in Marchmont got her FULL deposit back thanks to the meticulous helping hands of her mother.

3. Throw Stuff Out

You don’t need all that stuff, all those club night posters and first year text books have to go. Sell what you can and dump the rest. Far too many people end up hoarding a small empire by fourth year, making every move more and more awkward. Guys, that collection of beer bottles is impressive and all but it smells super nasty. Ladies, I know you love shoes but pumps in a rainy city have a shelf life, when you find them crispy and having to keep them outside the window it’s time to let go…. you can do it. If you’re moving as a whole flat, find a friend with a car and go to a car boot sale, there’s one every Sunday in the car park of the Omni Centre by St. James’. Alternatively, put all bulky things up online a few weeks before. Have other fools take on your crap and  make some cash.

4. Logistics

The actual move is going to be painful regardless of how you do it. Give yourself a whole day and just get it over and done with. If you have a car/mate with a car them boom, you’re pretty much sorted. Getting everything up and down stairs is hell but there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’re only a short journey away you could get a cab, but when you call make sure you tell them that it’s a moving job, how many suitcases etc, they’ll send someone out who won’t be cranky about it. If you happen to have breasts don’t be afraid to use them to get some help, cabbies are a simple breed, putty in the hands of a damsel in distress. For larger jobs of furniture and the like there is the Man with the Van. There are plenty online and in the Yellow Pages (old school retro hipster points), don’t be afraid to negotiate, the given rate can always be lowered. Shop around, get a few quotes from the larger companies, then offer a reasonable price to some others.

5. Inventory

Scrutinise every last detail of the list. Any omissions, regardless of how petty they may seem will come back to haunt you. There’s no point in trying to argue with Grant management and the like saying “but it was like that when I got here”, you don’t have a chance.  They will make you pay for any breakages, stains, missing items, superfluous items, cracks and scratches. Make sure everything that they say is on the list is actually in the flat. Note any additional details and DO NOT SIGN until they have acknowledged your changes. Check that every appliance functions, not just by turning them on, but by using them. Check the temperature of the fridge, make sure the cooker works, boil the kettle etc. Make sure the windows are clean, if not let them know. You won’t be expected to clean/fix anything that was dirty/broken when you moved in, as long as you let them know in writing, prior to signing the inventory. There are certain arbitrary things that you only really notice around a month after you’ve settled. Be sure to look out for ridiculous things before you sign, things like drains, fill the sinks and see how long it takes for them to empty. Blocked drains are annoying and smell, you don’t want to get trench foot for the shower. Tell your estate agent to get it fixed.

6. Admin

You might not get that much post as a student, but plenty of people and organisations need to know where you live. You can get this service from the Post Office, but you will have to pay a fee. Alternatively, call/email everyone you need to and inform them of the changes. So who needs to know?
  • Uni
  • Student health centre
  • Virgin Media / Sky etc…
  • Your Bank
  • Memberships – movie rental, gym, chess club
  • Subscriptions
  • Your JustEat.co.uk account
  • Your mother

7. Furnishing

If your new flat needs some more junk (which it probably doesn’t you’re just excited about a new opportunity to hoard stuff) there are cheap ways to do this.
  • Ikea is not as cheap as you think it is. Have a look through the catalogue on online before you go, only get the stuff that you need.
  • Poundland is great for smaller goods that you didn’t’ realise you needed
  • The bargain stores on Nicholson Street are full of cheap products, most of which are reasonably good quality. They have a decent range of decorative items that you can pick up for peanuts, they might not be John Lewis but you’re a student anyway.
  • Every now and then there is a poster sale in Teviot/Potterow, you’ll find all the usual generic stereotypical posters here, they’re cheap, and cover any holes in the walls.
  • Freecycle is a great shout for random stuff, from sofas to coffee machines to freeview boxes. You’ll have to pick it up but it’s all free.
  • Gumtree has probably the largest selection of everything you need for your new flat. They have a freebies section but if you’re willing to part with your cash you can get some investment pieces. You’ll also find any jobs in your new area.
  • Morningside boasts at least seven thousand charity shops on one street, as does Forest Road, Nicolson street and some in Newington. They’re a good spot to find random stuff and will fill you with inspiration for your new place whilst warming your soul with goodness.

Best of luck with moving house, it’s tedious and time consuming but has to be done eventually. At the very least you have one thing to look forward to. After the skin on your hands start to peel off with cleaning products, and you’ve reminisced the past looking at old photographs from the box under your bed, you will settle in. All that is left to be done is have a house warming…

Thanks to the best house mates ever for an amazing year x

Written by Special_K, University of Edinburgh

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