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Nothing like a new challenge for the new year!

A new challenge has ensured that 2017’s been an eventful year so far for my family and we’ve still got eleven twelfths of it to go. Fair to say that many of those twelfths are going to be an uphill struggle. I’m not going for the sympathy vote but I’m sure many will empathise if I say that the time has come to move my father from the family home he’s lived in for over 40 years to more suitable accommodation for someone of his age and mobility.

Moving house always features in the top 10 personal stressors and I’d agree because I’ve done it a lot. What doesn’t tend to be mentioned is that organising another’s house move is more stressful than doing your own because you can’t just get on with it. Every decision has to be checked first and you have to try and fit in with someone else’s timetable, even though your own is already pretty full and you’re a 3-hour round trip away from the house you’re trying to pack up!

Anyway, I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty but share with you some of the unexpected positives such a project is bringing. I think I’ve talked to my siblings more since Christmas than I have during the entire past couple of years. Not because we don’t get on, but just because we don’t live on each other’s doorsteps, have our own families and lead busy lives.

It’s brought a lot of laughter, admittedly some of it fairly manic, but when you’re tackling clearing a house where, let’s just say the owner hasn’t been up to date on either their paperwork or their housework, it’s always interesting to see what was going on and how much things cost in 1995 (that’s being a bit kind, we can probably go back to the 1970’s but just haven’t uncovered it yet!).

As with any sizeable project, the only way we can cope is by breaking it down into smaller tasks. The current one is trying to work out what will go to the new property. This has been quite enlightening as we’re starting to see furniture that hasn’t seen the light of day for over 20 years … it’s been hiding under the weight of said paperwork!

We’ve also had a reminder of how technology has moved on as we’ve got a collection of every stage of that journey from a manual typewriter to a brick of a mobile phone. The flip side of this is that some of the kitchen gadgets and crockery have come full circle and are almost trendy again, if you’re into retro!

So, although there’s a very long way to go, what have I learnt so far … well, firstly that the bigger the house you have, the more clutter you can accumulate and the perils of not keeping it in check. Secondly that, however busy you thought you were, a family crisis puts it all in perspective and a surprising amount of your life can actually be temporarily put on hold. Thirdly, how refreshing it is to feel that blood is so much thicker than water and how naturally we’ve all reverted to our initial family unit and pulled together, appreciating one another’s strengths (if either of my siblings should ever read this, just remember it’s early days and that statement can be rescinded!). And finally, that we all surely deserve to let our hair down and have a damn good party in the empty family home once we’re finally done and dusted!

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