Having just moved house, a move which took 5 burly men (plus me and the dog) and 2 lorry trips, I’d love to share my tips and lessons learned to make your next move as painless as possible…(Did I mention this was our 6th move in 3 years)?!
If you haven’t worn, read, used, enjoyed or even thought about it in over a year, you probably don’t need it! There’s probably plenty of clutter forgotten about in the the loft, shed or garage, so get started there. Plenty of items could be sold to raise valuable moving funds. I am a huge fan of gumtree (the UK version of Craigslist), to shift things in a hurry. There are no fees, you don’t have to wait for the auction to complete and there are plenty of eager local buyers. It’s fun meeting people, helping them load stuff into their car and pocketing some crisp notes. Clothes, small items, books etc can of course be donated to charity shops. Recycle old magazines to your local dentist or gp surgery, or you if you have a collection of back issues of a particular magazine you may find a very grateful recipient will come and pick them up via freecycle.org. Think of all the space and energy you are freeing up for your new home. It’s the perfect time to clear the debris of the past and move forward to a new phase of your life. Create space for new hobbies, new outfits, new life experiences.
If decluttering feels overwhelming and you just can’t get in the right frame of mind, call a registered decluttered at The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers to help you get unstuck.
A few weeks before move day, arrange a final viewing of your new home and measure rooms, doorways etc to ensure large items will fit. What’s the parking situation, will you need a specialist company with a hoist to get a piano or large sofa through upstairs windows?
It’s very tempting to pay extra and get the removal company to do this part, and certainly if you have a large family or lots of fragile or valuable items it may be worth it for the peace of mind, and insurance. If you’re going to DIY, or haven’t moved for some time, the number one tip is to overestimate the number of boxes you will need, by about 500%!
You may look at your bookcase, sideboard, desk or dressing table and do a rough calculation of the contents filling 10 boxes, but you need to bear in mind that you can’t take a large box and fill it with hardback books, that box will need a forklift to pick up! Delicate ornaments, glassware, crockery etc will also need a lot of padding, packing and wrapping so as well as weight considerations, factor in the additional space taken up by packing materials.
Apart from strong boxes in various sizes, you will need:
- 2 tape guns, (get a box-assembly competition going) and several packs of tape
- Bubble wrap
- Industrial size roll of plastic wrap
- Packing paper
- Coloured masking tape, (check out Gaffatape) or stick down some bright Post-It notes. Pick a colour for each room, ideally, or at least ‘upstairs’, ‘downstairs’ and ‘outside’.
- Black marker pens
- Pen and paper to compile a box inventory
- Some motivational music to get you packing at a good clip, rather than nostalgically flicking through photo albums (plenty of time to do that after the move!)
Brainstorm a list of who to notify of your new address. Provide final meter readings for gas, electricity and water. Notify the council, your bank, the DVLA as a priority, or use the Royal Mail’s service that will notify everyone for you.
Those brown packing boxes are a bit, well, dull and ‘samey’ aren’t they? Use bright (neon ideally) Post-It notes taped onto each box by room, or better, use a bright stripe of neon masking tape around each box. You will need one on the top and at least one on a side. This way you can see at a glance where to send each box.
Have a master list, printed (and emailed to yourself), of each box numbered with details of contents, especially if you’re putting things in storage.
Boxes- small, compact boxes about (30×45×30) are ideal for books, but try and mix up hardbacks and paperbacks to distribute the weight evenly.
Wardrobe boxes with a hanging rail are a godsend, but being so tall and thin, they are not the strongest, so don’t fill with your heavy winter costs, leaving shirts and summer clothes in another.
Larger boxes are going to be useful for bulky items, think lamps, trays, small kitchen items, but again, balance this out with larger lighter items. Use towels, sheets and jumpers as additional padding to save on bubble wrap.
maybe it’s just me, (I have a slight obsession with scent and smell, and will be a perfumier in my next life), but I really like to get some nice smells going in a new home. Sometimes there can be too much of a reminder of the previous occupants, so it’s great to replace that with your own scents. With the rise of allergies and with the environment in mind, I am not a fan of those automatic aerosol things that puff in your face as you walk past. Instead, use uplifting essential oils such as geranium, rose, lemon, bergamot for scents that will have a powerful influence on your mood, energy levels and state of mind without any of the harmful chemicals.
Keep food, water, pet’s and children’s essentials handy in the car.
Charge up all phones the night before, swap numbers with removal men in case anyone gets lost. Keep important paperwork etc all secure and out of sight in the boot.
Lay down dust sheets or removal blankets to lay down in the hallways and stairs, you can’t expect the removal men to take their boots off as they go in and out!
So you’ve got all the boxes in, and have just about carved a route from front door, did I mention to have a thermos ready or the kettle and tea making supplies, you will want that early on? Agree with family members that bedrooms will be unpacked and prepared first, so no one trips over a box when as soon as they get out of bed in the morning. Create as much of a sleep sanctuary as possible, and begin to tackle other rooms if you have time and energy.
10. First night:
Prepare an overnight bag for each family member, with a change of clothes, toiletries and bed linen. Using a transparent storage box, prepare the essentials – a kettle, mugs and tea bags so you can have that vital cuppa as soon as you have a minute to sit down. Plan on everyone’s favourite take out for dinner and polish it off with a bottle of fizz to celebrate.
Bonus Tip – Celebrate!:
Toast to many happy years and new memories to come!