“We would have never found the place,” said Bernd, the German removal man sitting next to me in the van. “All the road signs were in Gaelic; it was getting dark and we had no idea where we where!”
Bernd recalled the time when his company transported a German householder’s belongings to a remote place in Ireland, where she had decided to spend her retirement. Without being able to speak a word of English and with their map reading skills tested to the limit my German removal company had proven they could master even the most challenging house move. I was getting rather worried finding the village barn where I was going to store my belongings would not be much of an adventure for them.
As it turned out, finding the barn wasn’t the problem, getting up the narrow drive was. Sitting on a garden bench outside the old barn, I watched them manoeuvre the lorry forwards and backwards for the next half hour. The actual emptying of the lorry was child’s play after that!
Moving home in Germany is very expensive, indeed the few miles from my little village to the barn cost me 2000.00 Euros, as much as it would have cost me with a UK removal firm to transport my household goods all the way from Wales to southern Germany. Labour costs in Germany make moving house very costly, perhaps one of the reasons why the labour market is less flexible – people prefer to stay put once they’ve moved to a place.
The other reason why moving house in Germany can be expensive is that obtaining free cardboard boxes is virtually impossible. One cannot just go to a local supermarket or newsagent to ask for discarded boxes. Everything in Germany is being recycled – a cardboard box that once held cans of dog food or washing powder is invariably on its way to some recycling plant before one has a chance to ask. Most German removal firms offer therefore green, recyclable boxes either for sale or for hire – at a high price.
Stackable boxes are a must when moving house, irrespective of self-drive van hire or removal company lorry. Sturdy green, recyclable boxes that can be reused time and again are the best option for frequent house moves and for long term storage – irrespective of where the house move takes place. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to reload several times, because the awkward way in which things are packed prevent a fully loaded van making one tour and one tour only.
Finding the village barn may not have been much of a challenge for my German removal firm, but carting my awkwardly shaped belongings up the narrow staircase in the barn certainly was! For long term storage it is imperative to take up as little space as possible by stacking items upwards and to keep belonging safe and dry. Next time I shall certainly invest in green, recyclable boxes when moving house again.