Now, I’m not going to claim to be an expert in moving house, BUT I have done it more than my fair share of times. I have a few friends who are currently or about to move house, and I thought rather than give each of them my wealth of experience individually, I would share my knowledge with everyone. That way I only have to say it once. So, here you go:
My Top Tips for Moving House.
Get started on your packing as early as you can.
Contrary to what you might think, you can live for a few weeks without all your trinkets and DVDs and books and whatnots lying around the house. If you make a start on these sorts of things, you might look like you’re rocking the student chic lifestyle, but it’ll mean you aren’t doing the last minute panic packing.
Try to pack a room at a time – and label label label.
Assign one box to one thing or room. Label that box with what is in it. not only will it help you move each box to the room it needs to go to at the other end, but it will also mean that you don’t have to open every box to find that specific thing you needed three hours ago. I tend to label the box in big capitals with the room name and then a bullet point list of what is in it under that. Also, I label every side except the bottom of the box. That way, you know which side is down.
Pack yourself a first week suitcase.
Depending on how many clothes you need, how much you eat, and what you’ll be doing for the first week, you may not require a whole suitcase. If you’re moving a family, you may need a minivan. Either way, have changes of clothes for the first week, toiletries, bedding and basic food supplies (for me, this is breakfast food and coffee) in a single carry case. That way, if you pull up sore and tired to get more sorted straight away, you can at least survive without rifling through your well organised boxes for essentials.
Get your supplies and get plenty of them.
Don’t think you’ll ever want to do anything with all those local newspapers? See packing tape on special a month before you’re planning to move? Got a friend who is offering boxes but you’re not sure you’ll use them just yet? Boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape and newspapers might cramp your minimalistic decor, but they never go off. Set aside a corner of a room to pack them into. You don’t know exactly how much you will need until you get started. Trust me, it’s much better to have too much of the stuff than having to unpack boxes that have already been moved, just so you can finish packing away the place you’re moving out of… Believe me. I’ve been there. It’s not fun.
Got friends? Enlist their help. Thank them with food.
While we would all like to have professionals move all our belongings (and really, who wouldn’t like to have someone else come in, pack, move and unpack? Yes please!), it’s not always a choice, especially if you’re moving on a budget. Get a bunch of friends together with the promise of a chill-out and hang-out session at the end of it all. A barbecue and drinks is nice and easy (and minimal dishes to wash afterwards), or going out for dinner (though this is only good if you have the energy) works too. It’s a nice way of saying thank you to everyone that helped you out, and also means that dinner for the first night in your new house is sorted.
Talking about teamwork, have multiple teams.
If you have enough friends, try and have two teams in transit (one coming, one going) and a third to help clean the place you are leaving as rooms are emptied. This may seem like a luxury, but you’d be surprised at how quickly things get moving with just a little organisation to the teams. Depending on the size of the rooms of the place you are vacating, you may only need a cleaning team of two or three people. Make sure everyone knows the route to and from both houses, and that mobile phones are charged in case of emergency.
Make sure everyone is well hydrated and snacks throughout the day.
Moving furniture and boxes is hungry and thirsty work. Fainting and the “hangries” are not good things when there’s work to be done. Make sure there are cups (better yet, remind everyone to bring along a water bottle) and access to water is clear at both ends. If it’s a full day of moving, make sure everyone stops around meal times to replenish their energy.
Start making it a home right away.
The bedroom, bathroom and kitchen should be the first three rooms you get to some semblance of normality when it comes to unpacking and settling into your new home. These are the rooms that you’re going to need as full access to as soon as possible. If you’re like everyone that I know, you’re not really going to be able to take too much time off work to move, so the next morning is probably going to be a race to get ready. Make sure you have everything you need out and good to go for the morning. You’re going to be tired and sore. If you have a favourite picture or vase or decorative element, put it up somewhere. It doesn’t have to be put where you feel its final placement will be, but just somewhere that will work for now until you begin sorting things out.
This is not a fully comprehensive list of tips, and I am sure that everyone has their own tips that they use to make moving house a better, less stressful experience for everyone involved. I’d love to hear them, so share them in the comments below.