Moving house. It’s said to be one of the most stressful things we can do, but most of us will do it on average seven times over a lifetime, mostly before we reach 40. It then takes up to six months to settle in a new house before it starts to properly feel like home. While moving house is never going to be a completely smooth process, we’ve put our favourite hints and tips into a guide to help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls.
- You can’t start too soon! Your moving date may feel like a comfortably long way off, but the time will go in a flash. If you’re anything like the rest of us, you probably own a lot more stuff than you think you do! Start early on by packing up non-essentials (such as winter clothes if you’re moving in the summer). The more you can do early on, the less you’ll have to do at the last minute. Alternatively, many removals companies offer a packing service if you really can’t face it.
- Depending on how much you have to move, there are various options for removal companies. You can book a large company with lorries, or just a ‘man and van’. Try not to be tempted to reply on family and friends, though – you won’t be insured if anything gets broken, friendships will get frayed and people may back out at the last minute, leaving you stranded.
- Get organised and label each box as it’s finished. A colour code works better than written labels, as it’s much easier to spot quickly – for example, boxes marked with a green sticker go in the kitchen, blue in the sitting room.
- Plan where furniture will go in the new home before you move. If your old sofa won’t fit through the new living room door, do you have a plan? You may have to take the door off its hinges or even take a window out. If the sofa is on its way to needing replacing, is it really worth paying for it to be moved?
- Create ‘secure’ and ‘essential’ boxes, and keep them with you in your own car. In the ‘essentials’ box you might put the kettle, teabags, UHT milk, remote controls, phone handsets and everything else you’re going to need immediately. In the ‘secure’ box, pack important paperwork such as passports, and valuables such as jewellery.
- When you walk in the door of the new house, the first thing to get straight is the bedroom. Moving is a tiring business, and you don’t want to be trying to assemble the bed or looking for the sheets at midnight. The bathroom and kitchen should also be high on the list – everything else can wait.
- One job not many of us want to tackle when we first move in is the cleaning. Ironically though, the best time to do it is before you start unpacking, while the rooms are still empty of furniture. Think about arranging for a professional cleaning company to blitz the new, empty house while you’re still moving out of the old house – it could be money well spent.
- If you have pets, try and arrange for them to be looked after by a friend on moving day. Animals can become stressed and unsettled during a move, and playful pooches can find lots of opportunities for mischief in packing boxes!
- Remember to collect up all the spare keys to your old house from friends, family and neighbours so that you can hand them over to the new owners.
- Inform everyone who needs to know of your change of address. Top of the list is utilities providers, but there’s a whole list of other organisations including your bank, insurance company, doctor and vet.
And finally – enjoy your new home!
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