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Moving With Less Stress (To France Or Anywhere)

Volume XXII, Issue 28

Adrian Leeds' Paris apartment with posts holding up the sagging ceiling

I know exactly what you’ve been going through, if you’re one of those making the move to France, or moving to anywhere. I’ve been in the same apartment in Le Marais for 27 years, so when the reality hit that I’d have to move out—every single little bitty thing—for a year or more in order for the structural work to be done, the panic set in. This has given me sleepless nights for more than three years, ever since the cracks in the walls became so acute that they could no longer be ignored.

“According to a study of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll, 64% ranked moving as one of the most stressful life events.” (Source). I can attest to this!

Perhaps you’ve followed the saga, and perhaps not. Past Nouvellettres® tell it all. It all started in 2021.

And here’s more

And more.

And I can bore you with even more, if you want to see it all.

The point is that it’s come down to the wire. It’s a long sad story, but my lawyer mis-negotiated for me. I asked him to negotiate with the Syndic (managing agent) for a move to a new apartment in September, AFTER the Olympics (so I could more easily find an apartment), and let the work begin in October. That seemed logical to me. I had September scoped out for the move and more apartments would be available at reasonable rates.

Clearly he misunderstood my request and was very proud when he announced that he had negotiated for the work to begin in September! This meant having a hard time finding an apartment, moving in the middle of summer, in the middle of the Olympics in Paris. And, in the midst of what I was hoping would be a relaxed summer with my daughter taking trips and enjoying our time together.

I was not happy…and he knows it. But, it was too late. I had to punt. Good fortune came my way when I found an apartment available at the beginning of July just around the corner. It not only suited us well, but wasn’t too much more expensive than the allotted rent sanctioned by the Syndic and Copropriété (rent control rates) as part of our mediation. Here’s the Nouvellettre® about finding the apartment, if you care to read even more.

The apartment building for Adrian Leeds' rental apartment

The apartment building around the corner

The thought of the move created many sleepless nights. Just imagining how I was going to sort what would go to storage, what would go to the new apartment, what would get tossed out and how it would all happen was one of the most stressful experiences I’ve ever had. Alprazolam (Xanax) stayed close at hand to keep out the negative vibrations coming along with such thoughts swirling around in my head. (When taken in small doses, and NOT regularly, Xanax is amazingly affective. It’s a miracle drug for which I am eternally grateful!)

In order to have the time to make the move and still have a life, I booked the apartment the moment it became available—actually two full months before the work would begin, and secured it for almost 14 months, just in case of work delays, which tend to happen. The copropriété is never going to pay for the extra months, but I needed peace of mind at just about any cost. The plan was then to get the keys in early July, make the move the week before Bastille Day and the week after Bastille Day, allowing for that one day of rest and a bit of fun.

Adrian Leeds' new rental apartment in Paris

Many of you reading this know exactly what I’m going through. I hear it all the time—about your down-sizing before moving over and how hard that can be. When you’ve lived in one place 27 years, you accumulate A LOT of things, most of which you never use or care about over time, but never throw out or give away. We are all guilty of this and I’m as guilty as anyone.

I hired a few people to help me get it all done: a couple of assistants and a guy who could do some heavy lifting. My daughter reminded me that we have 70 steps to our apartment and that I’m no longer a “spring chicken,” that having some muscle might be worth it. She was right.

The team made themselves available every single day for however long they were needed. That was a godsend and worth every penny. We created a strategy—that was imperative. Once we got started, taking one room at a time, and moving over bits and bobs while putting them in place along the way made a huge difference. The stress quickly melted away and just the physical exhaustion took over. The box of Xanax went back into the drawer.

I’m in the midst of it as I write this. The strategy was this:

• Prepare by getting bags and boxes in which you can pack up your things—mainly unbreakable items, since the moving company will insure only what they pack. The moving company provided us with boxes, but I armed us with big plasticized zippered and handled bags that are colorful, lightweight, sturdy, large and impenetrable.

Bags filled with items for moving or storage

Take it room by room and focus on that one space. Don’t try to do it all at once:

• Physically sort the items: 1) moves to storage 2) moves to new abode 3) gets tossed out. We literally shifted clothing from one closet to another so that one closet was going to storage and the other was going to the apartment.

• Mark it for the movers to make it easy. We put little sticky red dots on anything that was going to the apartment, leaving everything else for storage. (Amazon has lots of colored stick-ons to choose from!)

Adrian Leeds' items marked with red dots for the move to her new apartment
• Move yourself in advance only the really personal things you don’t want the movers’ hands on (jewelry, plants, etc.) and the few things you need immediately in place. Then put them in place! Don’t let them pile up—if you can help it—so that unpacking is less of a chore.

At this moment, there are bags and boxes neatly organized and marked. Anything with a red dot on it goes to the new apartment. Anything that does not goes to storage. The beds are made at the new apartment and towels are on the racks in the bathrooms ready to be used. The housekeeper is going in on Saturday before we formally move in to give it a serious cleaning. That happens the week after Bastille Day when in one day the moving company we’ve hired expects to do it all!

Boxed and labeled items from Adrian Leeds' bedroom

Meanwhile, we’re making our lists of the little things we want to buy to make our new home more of a home—like the home we’ve had for all these years. It won’t be the same—it will be different, but different is okay, as long as it’s just as nice. The one thing missing in this apartment that I cherish is a bathtub, but for one year, I can survive that. I may even come to love the showers. But one thing for sure, the many bottles of bubble bath of different scents don’t need to move with me—they will go into storage with everything else we can live without for one year.

I’ll keep you posted.

Special notes:

• To all of you who have to deal with stairs…learn how to roll your suitcases up and down so you never have to break your back. And the movers may use a lift through a window rather than maneuvering the stairs!

Moving lift used to move items into an apartment in France

• If you want help making your move to France from abroad, we recommend you consult with our International Moving Specialist! Be sure to visit our website to learn more.

You may be exempt from paying French duties and taxes when you import your personal belongings. When you move to France from another EU country, there are no particular customs procedures that need to be observed. You may be exempt from paying duties and taxes when you import your personal belongings if you stay in a non-EU country for at least one year and then wish to transfer your primary residence to France. Your personal belongings are exempt from duties and taxes if you have used them privately for at least six months before the transfer of residence, regardless of how you acquired them, inclusive of tax or tax-free. The exemption does not apply to certain specific products, so be sure to check the official regulations.

To be exempt from the duties and taxes when you move your belongings to France:

– You must transfer your property to France within 12 months from the date of transfer of your residence.

– You may import your property all at once or in several stages. In the latter case, the inventory provided to French Customs for the first import must include all belongings for which an exemption is being requested.

– You may not divest yourself (sale or rental, loan, pledge, etc.) of any exempt belongings within 12 months of the date of their entry into France.

A bientôt and Happy Bastille Day!

Adrian Leeds expressing frustration and streeAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Whitney CubbisonP.S. If you want a BIG laugh, be sure to watch the recording of Tuesday’s Après-Midi in Paris with Whitney Cubbison, author of Will There Be Wine?. She had us all laughing hysterically as she regaled us with her stories from the book and in real life. Read the report and see the session on YouTube.


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