You’ll probably have heard people saying that moving house can be one of the most stressful experiences we can have in a lifetime. I am in the process of moving house at the moment and can truthfully say that, although I have tried not to let the whole process make me anxious or angry, there is something incredibly daunting about the prospect of packing up your whole life in to boxes and relocating to a new pad. Timing is one of the biggest issues; working to a moving date and ensuring everything is done that needs to be is a difficult thing to juggle alongside all the other demands of everyday life. There’s also the question of how on earth you get started with moving all your possessions from one location to another unscathed.
Luckily, with preparation and a little know-how, there are failsafe ways to cut the stress levels down to a manageable level and breeze through the move without breaking anything or pulling all your hair out. Read on for a checklist of my top 10 tips for a stress-free house move.
Preparing To Move
1. Start early and declutter
My biggest tip is to ensure you have plenty of time to get everything done. We always own more things than we think we do. Lots of us own items which we don’t really need or use (let’s be honest here). Starting 4 – 6 weeks before moving day, start to declutter room by room. Be ruthless and get rid of anything you can’t see working at your new house. That could be books you’ll never read again, clothes you never wear or furniture that just won’t match your new decor. Starting early gives you plenty of time to either sell things on eBay or take them to your local charity shop. You’ll be glad you went through this stage before the move as you don’t want the effort of packing things you really don’t want to see in the new house.
Ensure as well that at this stage you’ve booked enough time off of work before, during and after the move date.
2. Decide who will be moving things for you
The cheapest way will be to carry out the removals yourself, which is what we’re most likely to do. You could enlist the help of family and friends, and hire a van or two. You could also hire a removals company to come in and move it all for you. This of course will cost you more money, but the earlier you make the decision between cost or convenience, the easier it will be to plan the packing process. If you decide to use a removals company, you should get 3 quotes from different firms. HouseWeb will contact local delivery companies on your behalf to send you no-obligation quotes after filling out a form on their website.
3. Boxes, boxes and more boxes
Don’t underestimate the number of boxes you will need for the move. I’ve seen estimates that the average three bedroom house will use at least 100 boxes during a move. Ensure you have enough of these, as well as brown packing tape, tape dispensers, permanent markers, labels and box cutters. Davpack sell a huge range of boxes of all different sizes and shapes, as well as all the extras just mentioned. You will need quality boxes like this which need to last a long time. Who knows when you might get round to finally unpacking everything. They also come in different varieties. You can buy double and triple walled boxes, for example, for extra protection for delicate items like crockery. Long, flat boxes are perfect for mirrors and canvasses.
You will also need packing material for inside the boxes to stop things moving around. Newspaper is OK but not recommended as the ink can transfer on to your possessions. Use packing paper which can be recycled after the move, and bubble wrap for more delicate items.
4. Pack strategically
Start off by placing a box in each room. Gradually pack any non-essential items from that room that you know you won’t use any time soon. Ensure that when you pack a box you keep the heavier items at the bottom. For very heavy items, use a smaller box so that you don’t overpack it and make it impossible to lift. Keep dangerous things like bleach and paint cans packed away from everything else.
Keep a list of what is in each box and tape this to the top and the sides of the box. Also add a label showing which room this box should go in to in the new house of what will work where. It also makes life easier if you can decide which cupboards in the kitchen, bathroom and other rooms things will go in and write this on the boxes. This way when you arrive you can unpack tins, bottles and other products straight in to their designated storage area.
A huge tip is to pack one survival box and one box for valuable items. Keep expensive jewellery and important documents like birth certificates and passports together in the valuables box. The survival box is going to contain everything you need immediately in your new house. You should pack a kettle, mugs, tea, coffee, milk, cutlery, plates, loo roll, washing up liquid and a tea towel. Don’t forget toiletries for everyone, towels, a change of clothes, a first aid kit, a small toolkit, light bulbs (in case there aren’t any working in the new house), phone chargers, and fresh bedding. Include some cleaning products as you don’t know what you will find at the new house. You’ll also need them for a quick clean up when leaving your old house.
If you have children or pets, include their favourite items, food, toys etc so they feel settled as soon as possible. A very important item is that bottle of champagne you’re going to open on your first night! Oh, and don’t forget the glasses too.
5. Do some admin
You should set up your post to redirect from your moving date. Royal Mail do this for 3, 6 or 12 months and it is set up online. You will also need to make a start telling people your new address. Reallymoving.com have a brilliant checklist you can download from their site for free. It’s a comprehensive list of everyone who will need to know your change of address, from your electricity supplier to your optician. You can tick these off as you go along.
You should also make a checklist of the items you told the new occupants you were leaving behind, and another list of the things you expect to find in your new house. For example, you may have agreed to purchase a washing machine from the sellers or some of the fittings.
It’s also a good idea to make a food delivery order to arrive on your first morning in your new house. This will be one less thing to worry about. You can carry on with the unpacking without having the distraction of going out to the supermarket.
The big day has finally arrived and the next chapter is about to begin! Make the transition easier with these tips for moving day.
6. Boxes first, furniture last
When packing up your removal van, put the majority of the boxes in first and the furniture in last. Just ensure you keep the valuables box and the survival box to go in very last. When you come to unpack at the other end, you will have your essentials and your valuables immediately to hand. The furniture can then come out without hundreds of boxes blocking access and getting in the way. You can then take the boxes in to the house and put in the rooms written on the labels.
7. Last minute checks
Have a last look around your house, go through the checklist of items you are leaving behind and make sure all is in order. Have a clean up and put the cleaning products in to the survival box for use at the new place. Read your meters so you can inform your utility companies (perhaps even take photos of them to avoid any inaccuracies).
8. Get the important things done first
When you’ve said goodbye to your old place and arrive at the new place, you can start to unpack. Once everything is out of the van and in to the house in its designated place, make up the beds. This way, when you are absolutely knackered later on, you don’t have to bother doing this late at night. Get children and/or pets set up with their rooms and their familiar items quickly. If your cats are particularly prone to stress in new environments, you can get a product called Feliway which releases synthetic pheromones which are proven to reduce stress in cats.
Go through your checklist to make sure everything you were expecting to find is there. Read the meters so you can pass this information on to your new utility suppliers. You can also have a quick clean up with the products you brought in your handy survival box.
The First Few Weeks
When you’re firmly ensconced in the new home, and the move was hopefully as stress-free as possible due to your packing prowess, there are a few more things to do to ease in to your new surroundings.
9. Get to know the space
As tempting as it is to get everything you own out of boxes and on to shelves immediately, my advice is to wait a few days or weeks. This way you get to know the space around you and how you use it. You might decide that the room you were going to set up as an office doesn’t work at all. This could be due to the layout or the lighting, for example, and you might feel that you would rather work from another room. It will be much easier to move packed boxes rather than hundreds of items individually from one room to another. You never know how you are going to fit in to a new space until you are there and living in it, and you may need to make intuitive changes.
10. Finalise the boring stuff
Complete the checklist of who to notify when you’ve moved. You can return any post that arrives for the old occupants to the sender . It also might be a good idea to change the locks to make sure you know exactly who has a key to your house. Check the utility bills you receive against the meter readings you took at both your old house and your new one.
With all these tasks ticked off, you get on with the business of living and enjoying your new place.
So there we have it: my top 10 tips for a stress-free house move. If you’re contemplating a move now I hope you find these helpful. Let me know if you have any tips you can add to those above. I would love to know your experiences moving house and what helped you!
*This post is in collaboration with Davpack. However, all words and opinions are my own.
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