Monday, April 27, 2015

Moving to France? How much 'stuff' to bring?

We are always being advised on the home decorating pages that the secret to a happy life is to 'de-clutter' our lives and with that, our house or apartment. Moving permanelty to France offers a golden opportunity perhaps to put this into practice - but with a few cautions.

French homes are generally smaller than their British or American counterparts and the first rule when you have found your dream property is to decide how much of it will fit in - or not. Doorways and openings may be narrower and awkward, and if your home is in fact an apartment, in older buildings there may be no lift; and even in some newer ones, it may not be large enough to transport furniture above the ground floor. Some buildings offer (basement) storage as part of the apartment but this is not universal, if you find yourself with a surplus of furniture.

I have noticed the increased use of mechanical hoists to transport furniture to the higher floors of apartment buildings, provided there is wide anough access through a window.

It used to be the case that some electrical non-French electrical appliances were unsuitable for use in France - fast-boiling kettles could bloswa sensitive French fuse, and there is the problem of compatibility, with fixed plugs that do not suit the French socket outlets. French electrical wiring is completely different, with no equivalent to the well know 'ring main' used in Britain, as well as individually fused plugs.

Weighing up the coast of transporting your furniture from Britain, you may find it is cheaper to leave somethings behind and buy new replacements when you get here. There are branches  of IKEA in many of the larger towns or across the border in Spain, and huge retail chains such as Fly, Maisons du Monde, Conforama and BUT: and specialist electrical goods retailers including Darty and Boulanger.

If you find you have more 'stuff' than you have space for, there are storage facilities available such as Home-Box that rent lock-up rental facilities short term - for example if you are between moves.

If you decide you have items to give away, almost anything is welcome by charities such as Emmaus, who will repair and re-cycle most things, and help support the homeless.