It has been already more than a week ago but I don’t want to withhold you the cumbersome process of how we got all the things for our new, empty home. The idea was to hire a van for three days at a special discount of 69$ per day. At the end we extended the lease to four back-breaking days. James fetched the van, a white Toyota Hiace and picked me, my backpack and two cooling bags full of food and a double air mattress up at the hostel. We proceeded by loading James’ stuff from his current accommodation as well as my trolley which I had stored at his place several days ago in the car. Next stop was Daniels house. We compressed the things which were already stored and handled some more furniture in the back of the car. We drove to our home in Milton and unloaded everything in the double garage. What we still needed was a lounge, a dining table, chairs, a washing machine and a fridge. It was out of question to afford this equipment new. A fridge of our desired size and a 7 kg washing machine easily cost 700 $ each. We researched online on platforms like gumtree and looked into addresses from salvation army stores, second-hand shops and garage sales. One time per year, inhabitants of Queensland (maybe in other Australian states, too) are allowed to put old furniture on the pavement without paying for it. A truck takes the stuff to recycling companies or shops which resell. This procedure is called kerbside collection. For every suburb is another date scheduled which can be refered online. We started early short past 6 am on Saturday to get the best deals, cruising from one garage sale to the next one. James’ Ipad supported us with maps and acoustically with location plans via voice control. The GPS signal had a slight delay. Sometimes we missed a motorway exit or interpreted the instructions wrong. And sometimes that cute thing of technology had no clue that we couldn’t turn right or left due to a construction site. Uncountable times we drove in circles around our goal of destination or had to head back for kilometres. At our first garage sale stop we ended up with wrapping paper, children’s books and a boardgame! 🙂 I am a passionate lover of all kinds of strategic board and card games and Quarto is a modern classic (a more complex version of 4 in a row). Its regular price is easily 30 €. I got it for 3 Australian dollars – a real steal. Even if you don’t play, it is a great scenery set to put in a shelf or on the dining table. During our cruising around I noticed again how hilly Brisbane is. Some streets look like they are meant to be huge ski jumps apart from their unwinterish look (I know…”unwinterish” did not exist…but now it does! 🙂 ). A couple of stops further, I read on a cardboard message in front of the garden fence that the “garage sale” (some houses don’t have a garage but it is still called garage sale) will take place on Sunday. A pity because it was Saturday morning. When we saw two other guys knocking at that door we decided to give it a try and asked the girl if we could have a short look on the stuff they would sell the upcoming day. She agreed and we entered a really messy house. We couldn’t walk down the entrance hall straight. Everywhere stood boxes, clothes and furniture in our way. In the living room were two tenants still sleeping on a big coach. It was obviously a share house of half a dozen students in their early twentieth who didn’t care much about tidyness and design. However, for us it ended up successfully with two big coaches for 150$ and a 30$ IKEA wardrobe for James. It was hot and the van already half full. We sweated a lot before everything was stored in the Toyota. The next day we drove the long way up to Noosa where James had stored his belongings before he had moved to Brisbane. For Australians 130 km distance are a stone throw but on a hot summer day 1,5 hours of car driving can be exhausting even if there is an aircon in the van. I don’t remember if it was Sunday or Monday after we had stored some more full van loads in our garage which became more and more crammed. We were still lacking in white goods like a washing machine and a fridge. It was announced that in Carindale, a suburb of Brisbane, should be a kerbside collection so we zigzagged literally through every street. What we found was rather disappointing: many fans, broken laundry racks, old CRT TVs and filthy fridges. Again, instead of stumbling upon things we urgently needed I discovered a keyboard and an appropriate stand. At home I figured out that the power supply unit was broken but Daniel provided me with another one he could spare. I was very happy about that catch and terrorized James for a while with the 100 preprogrammed melodies featuring some of the most famous songs of the last 300 years. Highlights are pathetic versions of Ricky Martin’s “Livin la vida loca” and Chris Isaac’s “Wicked game”. Playing around with the dozen Yeah/Ugh/Kick it/Go! samples of the DJ function is funny as hell but probably unbearable for all kind of live forms in a radius of 10 metres. Daniel supported our house with an old fridge which were okay for the very first days but for four to five persons it is definitely too small.
We keep out eyes open and hope for a lucky deal. During our kerbside surfing we risked to transport a good-looking washing machine in the van without being able to test it in advance. Too bad, it did not work. James called different hotlines and tested why the valves for letting the water into the machine were blocked. We afforded a replacement for these valves but it still didn’t function. The next part to replace would be the electric control panel which costs about 150$. We are not sure if it is worth it because nobody can give us a guarantee this will turn it into an assiduous machine operating for years .
The best things happen when you don’t search for them. On Monday, November 26th, we moved some further stuff from Daniel’s flat to Isaac Street. Still in Balmoral we saw a massive dark brown dining table and four chairs at the kerbside. Our van couldn’t fit in anymore but we were mesmerized by that beautiful ensemble. James and Daniel hid the precious furniture behind a house and picked it up later. Piece by piece we got nearly everything we were looking for. Apart from these stories we negotiated with a huge Arab guy in a luxurious student apartment about his bed and fridge, bought a desk somewhere else which we will maybe sell again, inspected a handful of expensive salvation army shops and fetched a queen size bed Asian style from a women with a lung transplantation in progress who walked around with lots of cables and a rack holding a bottle of oxygen. Moreover we enjoyed two shopping sessions at IKEA. It is simply impossible to leave that store with empty hands. We were in need of a fourth tenant or more likely a couple but our ad on gumtree had no promising response so far. We changed plans to furnish the master bedroom and lease it short-term at Airbnb, the world leader in travel rentals. Initially we just thought about a bed, a simple desk and a chair… – costs exploded when we finished our haul with a triptych picture, 2 bed side tables, 2 bed side table lamps, 2 sets of linen, quilt covers, 2 pillows, a mattress protector, a huge mirror, a desk, a desk chair and several minor interior. Most of the stuff was slightly damaged and therefore discounted but it was still an investment which will be hard to amortize. Regarding interior design it was totally worth to have invested in tasteful furniture. After we reduced the price of the rent we quickly leased the room for one night to a young French couple and since yesterday to a Spanish couple for a whole month. After four days I felt worn out but work didn’t end having put things in the garage. We are still busy with cleaning and assembling and discussing what will be placed where. Today’s weather forecast predicted 39 °C and breathing the air of sauna temperature whirled around by the ceiling fan made me instantly believe it! To see how James empties one box after each other, trying to store everything in his small room, int the kitchen or in built-in shelves makes me feeling unburdened to have only a trolley and a backpack in Australia. In the last weeks I have learned to appreciate the value of a very limited amount of material possession and to withstand the seduction of buying new odds and ends all the time! Having said that…I will proudly introduce you in my next blog post to my new bike, increasing my independence from public transportation. 😉
Good night and to my friends in Germany: Please catch a snowflake for me and ship it asap! I really need something to cool down. It is midnight and still nearly 30 °C hot!
Melting greetings from Brissie