Some of you may have realised that part of the reason for my silence and sporadic posting schedule on the blog was due to me moving house. The timing of the move was such, that it was smack in the middle of a very busy period at work, not smart planning on my part, and the impression that I could be more efficient than I really was. This was the first time I was moving house and I swear, it will be the last! I don’t think I could put myself through all that stress again 😛
But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and for me, it was some tips to help anyone planning to move house. I read up on tips before I planned and executed the move, but I was still left unprepared, and so will you. But there are some things I didn’t know, and that no one tells you, that I think are practical enough to share.
If you have moved house and have your tips to share, please do! It’s too late for me, but it’ll definitely help someone else! 😀 If you plan to move, ask your questions and someone will find you the answers! 😀
Get a professional mover
Yes, you can rent a lorry or a van and grab some friends and attempt to move your worldly possessions from House A to House B. But if you can afford it, I highly recommend hiring professional movers. These are people who are in the business of moving and will know how best to wrap large or delicate items, provide you with packing material and if necessary, know how best to transport bulky and delicate items.
Some movers even help you pack, especially for cross-country or international moves. But sometimes, if you have a lot of stuff you plan to bring along, it might even be useful to have them pack for a move across town. Someone I know used Allied Pickfords for an international move and I saw just how efficient they were in packing up items, and then, unpacking so everything arrived safely.
I couldn’t get Allied Pickfords, but I got a local company called Happy Movers. They didn’t do the packing for me (I opted out of it) and they are a very small outfit but they got the job done fairly efficiently and the 5 workers they sent seemed to know their way around things, and even in packing items like glass cabinets, which they padded and wrapped with blankets and film. They helped me dismantle some cupboards to take along and then set it back up. They were ok although not without hiccups, but when they were working, they knew what they were doing which is what I appreciated. Professional movers are a little more costly than doing it yourself, but on moving day, all you have to do is sit back, point out what is to be taken and let them do all the heavy lifting and work.
Start packing at least 1 month before your moving day
Don’t leave it till the last 2 weeks like I did! Start off with the easy bits like the kitchen. You only need a few bits of crockery and cutlery to get through the weeks till the move, so you can start packing up the rest, like pots, pans, crockery etc. The kitchen is usually the easiest place to start. The bookcase is the second easiest.
Tip: When packing books, pack them spine facing upwards. This takes up less space and you can fit more books in a box.
Divide your rooms up into sections and aim to complete packing a section a day. You will live in a mess for a while, but it will cause you to panic less as the day draws nearer, and believe me, 1 month just flies by!
Clear out the clutter!
This is also a good time to clear out things you may never use again. So, have a bag or box for useable items you can give to charity, and another bag to be binned. Be ruthless and brutal! If you haven’t used/worn an item for a year or two, what makes you think you’ll use/wear it again? Sadly, it’s a fact. I discovered some items I’d forgotten I had and since I’d never missed it, I figured, I didn’t need it. It was also a good time to clear out old and expired skincare and makeup. Some, I had totally forgotten about!
Don’t get packing boxes that are too large
If you are getting packing boxes, I find those that house electrical items are best because they are sturdier, and can hold heavier items. Some electrical shops may be willing to give you some flattened boxes, if you ask. It’s tempting to want to get a huge box e.g. for TV or washing machine, to pack all your stuff into. But resist that temptation, because while you can fit a ton in there, it will also weigh a ton and be hard to move. Instead, use smaller boxes like those for microwaves or small ovens. It’s easier to carry and pack.
Collect smaller boxes, bubble wrap, newspaper, tape and string before packing
One way I packed my breakable items to minimize and avoid breakage, was to wrap them up in newspaper or bubble wrap and then pack them into a smaller box before packing the smaller box into the larger box. This way, the item is insulated and there is less pressure placed on it. I found this useful especially for packing crockery especially plates and bowls. This was the time when all the packing material and boxes I’d collected over the years from all my online orders came in useful 😛
Also, having smaller boxes to organise within a large box is actually easier to handle than it is to pile everything higgledy-piggledy into the box. I said it was like playing Tetris 😀
Packing fragile items into a smaller box works for makeup as well, for those of us with a large cosmetics collection. Pack it full so it doesn’t move and you minimize incidences of breakage. I’m happy to report that none of my fragile items broke in transit, which pleased me plenty!
Keep calm and don’t panic – expect hiccups
Ok, easier said than done, but it’s important not to panic or lose your temper when something goes wrong, as will happen. On my moving day, the movers were about an hour late because they got lost. It took all my self control not to explode! I did complain to the owner, but I also realised that there was little else I could do. They were already late, and being nasty wouldn’t have served any purpose. Ultimately, the job was done within time, and the workers were apologetic and quick to wrap up the big items and pack and transport them.
Eat breakfast on moving day
I cannot stress this enough! I didn’t, which was a mistake on my part. I did have a bun halfway through and I didn’t have much of an appetite, but lunch was very late and this was only because I wasn’t moving too far away. If I had moved to a different suburb, or a different town, lunch would have been non-existent. So, be sure to have a hearty breakfast, lots of coffee and be sure to have bottles of water on standby. You will need it.
I didn’t really want to trouble people and thought I could do it on my own, which was a mistake. I did not have a lot to move, but even then, small items that you accumulate over the years take up space and need to be packed, cleared or tossed. At the last minute, I enlisted the help of my family and the adage that “many hands make light work” is never further from the truth.
If you have a family and friends network you can call on, do so. Give them instructions on what to pack and where everything needs to go and you’ll be done before you know it!
Label your boxes
The movers provided me with labels but if you don’t have them, don’t fret. Take a big fat black marker and label the side of the box with where the box is to go e.g. Kitchen. Master Bedroom, Study etc This helps your movers (or friends) identify where your boxes should go when you arrive at the new place and minimises confusion. It also makes it easier when the time comes to unpack, because everything is already in one place.
Tip: Label the side of the box with the location it is to be put in, not the top. Your boxes will be stacked and you won’t be able to see the top of the box, but you will be able to see the sides.
Also label each box briefly with what is within e.g Skincare, Makeup, Bowls, Pots, Microwave etc. This helps you quickly identify the contents of each box without having to open them, and it makes unpacking faster too.
Make your bed at your new home before unpacking
If you are fortunate enough to have access to your new home before moving in, go in a day or two before and make up your bed (if you aren’t bringing it along) If you are bringing your bed along with you, then the first thing you do when everything is delivered, is to set up and make up your bed. Unpacking will take you a while, and you will be exhausted from the long day of moving, so a made up bed means you have somewhere familiar and comfortable to sleep in when the time comes.
Pack an overnight bag for when you arrive at your new house
If you are fortunate enough to be able to move things into your new place before moving day, and live close enough to do so, do it. If not, pack an overnight bag with a change of clothes, pyjamas, toiletries, skincare and underwear because you may not have time to unpack by the time you get to your new home. At the very least, by the time you get to your new home, you will be able to have a shower and a change of clothes, because believe you me, you will be a hot sweaty mess 😛
Take a day off before moving day, and a few days off after moving so you can unpack
Take the day off before moving day, if you are working. There will be a lot of last minute packing to do, no matter how efficient you are, and you will need that time to do it. Similarly, take a few days off after moving so you can set to your unpacking immediately. I timed my move for about a week before we had a long public holiday here, where I took the opportunity of the 4 day weekend to unpack and clear up. You must unpack immediately or you will end up not doing it. As it was, it took me all of the 4 day weekend to unpack and clear up. Expect it to take longer if you have a whole houseful of things, or many people to unpack for.
Bonus Tip: Make a “Change of address” list
I started monitoring my mail 3 months before my move, and every time I got a letter (or bills… mostly bills 😛 ) I’d make a note of it. 2 months before my move, I started notifying all the people of my new address. The long lead time is to ensure that you don’t miss any important mail (or bills), and it gives you the time to get all the mail notifications you will normally receive. Some are easy, you can just do your change of mailing address online, but some may require you to call in or write a letter or fill out a form so do all that before your move. If you have to, apply to relocate your internet service before your move as well. I lived without internet at home for about a week before the move, but at least by the time I was in my new place, there was no downtime trying to get internet, and we all know how important that is 😛
So these are the tips I have for you for moving house, based on my most recent experience. I don’t want to ever do this again 😛
Do you have more practical tips to share for moving house? Are you planning a move and have questions?
Do share your experiences, whether with movers, packing, or just executing a house move in general. It’s actually a huge project and like all big projects, needs a lot of preparation. So, your tips will be most welcome! 🙂