How to organise a house move
Moving? Turn the chore of packing up your home into an organised adventure. By being systematic and creative, you can take the stress out of your shift and make your dream house just that.
1. Classify and unclutter. Use moving house as an excuse to sort out your belongings and get rid of superfluous items that take up space. Give useful items to charity shops or friends and family in need, have a garage sale or auction them online. Use the Four Box method to declutter. Label them “Keep and Use'', “Give Away or Sell'', “Keep'' and “Store'' and pop items into their appropriate homes as you sort through your house.
2. Take stock of your possessions. Decide how you are going to move everything from house to house. If you're doing it all yourself, make sure the van you use is the right size. If it's too small, you may find yourself doing too many journeys, whereas too large can mean problems with parking. Remember to factor in pot plants and outdoor furniture which take up more space than you realise.
3. Choosing professional movers. If you have lots of possessions, hire a professional company. Whether you pay them to do everything from packing to moving, or pack yourself and leave the heavy stuff to them, it's worth reducing the stress. Before you decide whom to use, get at least three quotes, check the fine print in your moving insurance and note when they have discount rates. Book the movers at least two weeks before you move, and make a list of everything that will be moved. Tell them how much furniture you have so they can factor in numbers of boxes and journeys, what time you expect them, clear directions and what furniture won't fit through the door. Make sure you are covered for potential breakages and damages.
4. Make a priority packing list. Don't leave everything to the day before. Get boxes, in a variety of sizes, well in advance from local shops or supermarkets, and save newspapers for wrapping breakables. Buy strong tape, bubble wrap, and self-seal bags for packing small bits and pieces and save old newspapers for lining boxes.
5. Box clever. Use sturdy packing boxes, particularly for more cumbersome items. Make sure they are clean before packing. Don't completely fill large boxes, and ensure the boxes containing items you need the least are loaded up first. Begin at the top of the house and move downwards.
6. Wrap wise. Keep box weight to a minimum and pack heaviest items in the smallest boxes to make carrying easier. Pack the heaviest items on the bottom. Pack important documents, like birth and marriage certificates, together and store in a safe place. Put toxic substances, like paint, bleach and aerosols, into a separate box and keep them away from the rest of your stuff. Wrap each item individually, using tissue or wrapping paper for first layer, and bubble wrap for breakables. Line each box with layers of newspaper and bubble wrap. Use pillows and blankets for added padding for valuables and protecting furniture.
7. Label logically. Pack one room at a time, labelling each box with a list of contents and the room where it will be unpacked. Label fragile boxes and keep boxes for each room together to save time unpacking. Draw up a plan of where the furniture needs to go in your new home so that you don't spend your time moving it from room to room.
8. Plan ahead. Pack an 'essentials' box for your first night in your new home, with at least a kettle, coffee, cups, plates, cutlery and a kitchen cloth. Prepare an overnight bag for every member of the family, as well as toiletries and toilet paper. Other items to keep at hand are a torch, first-aid kit, mini tool kit, pencil and paper, and sealable plastic bags. Finish doing any laundry before you move to avoid packing damp clothes and keep a separate bag for dirty washing.
9. Activate lights and water. Check a month before that all utilities in the new house are in place and that necessary agreements with service providers have been made. In the same vein, make sure that all bonds and rental agreements have been finalised.
10. Notify change of address. If you're staying local you can keep the same box number, but if not, let everyone – from friends and family to official and business contacts – know when and where you are moving. Make a checklist of healthcare providers, financial institutions, service providers, schools, library, sports club, subscriptions and anything else you can think of that will need your new address. Let them know at least a month before you actually move.
11. Stay on the same page. Because moving is high on the Rahe scale of stress, try to allay disagreements and misunderstandings by having mini meetings with the whole family to keep frayed nerves to a minimum.
12. Ask for help. If you have young children, call on friends to look after them on move day so that you are free to concentrate on co-ordinating events.