Think outside the box when moving house

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A survey has revealed just how long it takes to settle into a new home, with the results showing that the average British family takes two years and three months to completely stop living out of boxes.

Furthermore, one in ten of us confessed that we never unpack all of our belongings after a move.

The interiors experts at Hillarys commissioned the poll to reveal the time and stress involved in moving house.

The respondents were asked: “How long after moving house did it take you to unpack all of your boxes and completely settle into your new home?” to which the average answer was 27 months.

What is more, 10 per cent of respondents said they never unpack all their boxes which begs the question as to why we spent our time parcelling possessions up and carting them to the new house in the first place.

Apparently, our spare rooms, garages, sheds and attics house the items which remain unpacked.

These include vases, ornaments, clothing, shoes, accessories, crockery, keepsakes, photos and artwork.

Having moved to our current house ten years ago, I can attest to this.

There are some boxes in the attic which haven’t been examined in the last decade and the contents of which we couldn’t hazard a guess.

This is despite my approval, if only in principle, of the craze of extreme decluttering to improve your life and my complete agreement with lifestyle experts who advise jettisoning any possession that hasn’t been used in the last year.

Books with titles such as the Life Changing Magic of Tidying and Top Tips to Joyfully Declutter Your Home have sold in their millions.

Presumably many of these copies are now mouldering in the sheds of the nation.

Tara Hall, spokesperson for Hillarys, said: “Moving house is recognised as one of the most stressful things you can do in your life – the worst part is there can seem no end to it all.

“After a troublesome move, you might feel too exhausted to properly unpack and it can be tempting to hide the boxes away so they’re out of sight and out of mind.”

She advises against this. “Living out of boxes is never a good idea.

“You might forget what you have and buy replacements, plus you’ll be surrounded by stressful reminders you still have work to do.

“So once you’ve moved in, take a short break and then unpack everything and get things in order.

“If you can’t find a space for something, throw it away or donate it to charity.”

Such a clutter cleanse can bring peace of mind, but the survey also revealed another downside of moving.

Respondents were asked if the stress of the move had affected their relationships with their nearest and dearest.

The answers were eye-opening: nearly two thirds stated they had fallen out with their partner, more than half exchanged cross words with family members and a third had considered pulling out of the move altogether.

I find this reassuring that my family are completely normal but it is enough to make me stay put for another ten years.

And it is certainly opening a can of worms to get the boxes down from the attic and suggest that the vinyl collection, sports equipment and photographs of people whose names we no longer remember could be offloaded.

Better to keep the peace, and the boxes.