They say moving home is one of the most stressful things we will face in life. The good news is there’s actually quite a lot you can do to de-stress the whole process – and at least moving does have a clear end in sight.
Here’s our list of top tips, with thanks to all the past clients who have shared their experience with us.
Enjoy your new home!
1 | Give yourself time
A friend of mine once went on one of these corporate team-building exercises run by the Army, and while he’s never again had to build a raft out of assorted bits of flotsam; or romp up a mountain; he does value one piece of advice they gave him…
The six Ps: ‘proper planning prevents * poor performance’. (The sixth P is an expletive the army inserted before ‘poor’, but you get the gist.)
Like everything else, planning your move in plenty of time will be the major factor in taking the stress out of moving day. Create a check list, and stick to it.
2 | Use the professionals
Now this one is dependent on a few other factors: is this your first move? Do you have more than the contents of the wardrobe in your current bedsit to consider?
If the answers here are No and Yes, then professional help could be a great investment.
There are several online sites now to compare competitive quotes, and the more you have in furniture and possessions the greater the appeal of a professional removal company.
Always check the small print, but for a neighbour of mine who moved recently, it was a no brainer. With three children to pack, move and unpack, the removal men became his heroes.
Two vans arrived before 8am on packing day, and four men began methodically packing away their family life, box by box. They were done by dinner!
Everything was stored securely, and everything was fully insured – as they’d packed it themselves.
At the other end, the firm unpacked everything – barring the boxes we all move from loft to loft and never open: ever. Which takes me to my third point…
3 | Declutter
Whether it’s your first move, or you’re a seasoned professional, there is always an opportunity to declutter your life pre-packing.
This isn’t just a new age mantra, but seriously, what is in those boxes you have up in the loft?
If you haven’t looked in them for more than 6 months, then almost certainly you’ll never need them in the future. So check them out one last time, and either bin it, donate it or hold a ‘garage sale’ and flog it – and feel the euphoria!
4 – 8 | Tips if you’re doing the packing
4 | Label properly (also see tip 8):
The consensus here is to write on the box what is inside; which room it is to go to; writing 'FRAGILE', or 'HEAVY', if these apply; and for the uber-efficient, colour code your boxes for even faster processing as you unload everything with the ubiquitous ‘man with a van’.
But don’t try and cut corners. Never think you can get away with just the colour code! When you have 10 identical boxes in the spare bedroom/study of your new flat, and no idea which one to open first, you will regret those few minutes you saved today.
5 | Buy sandwich bags
Not to keep your energy up on the day (see tip 12), but bags of various kinds can be lifesavers.
Sandwich bags: perfect for wires, cables, Allen keys and/or screws from specific bits of furniture, and jewellery.
Storage bags: great for coats and clothes (keep them on the hangers for an even faster transfer).
IKEA bags: handy for books, DVDs and so many other things that don't necessarily need boxed.
Vacuum bags: allow you to suck the air out with the vacuum cleaner, to make them smaller. Perfect for bedding, pillows and towels.
6 | Buy boxes with handles
Some say "don't buy boxes", get them for free at the supermarket. These people have never moved anything more than their weekly grocery shop.
Buy good quality boxes, which you can always use for storage after the move.
Boxes with built-in hand vents are worth every penny when you are climbing stairs at your new home.
If your boxes don't have handles, you can cut some out on the sides... but make sure they are not too close to the top, which will make it less likely to tear at the wrong moment!
7 | Don't overload boxes
If you're packing heavy items, check how much the box weighs when it’s only half full, or use smaller boxes for heavier items like books. Try to keep the weight balanced, and write 'HEAVY' on the lid to remind yourself not to try that one on your own at the other end.
8 | Invest in a proper tape gun
A tape gun saves so much time when sealing boxes, and can usually be bought in most big supermarkets. You’ll thank yourself for your foresight.
When you're in the supermarket, buy some Sharpies and sticky-backed labels too, to make the labelling faster.
More tips for everyone
9 | Take photos before you disconnect anything
Neither Siri, nor Alexa can help when you get to your new home and try to remember exactly how the TV, DVD, satellite box and gaming console were all connected. So take a photograph.
And label the cables as you disconnect everything, so you know which goes where.
10 | Write a 'Change Of Address' list
For the techies, use the notes app on your phone (there's a 'make a checklist' tick button you can use, and it syncs with iCloud) and write down all the people and places you need to confirm change of address with. Here is an example (not exhaustive):
11 | Take photos of your final meter readings
Taking a photo of your meters gives you proof of the reading on the date you left, and it’s less likely you’ll lose your phone than a Post-It, or back of an envelope.
If you’re leaving rented accommodation take photos of your empty flat when you finish cleaning, to cross-reference how it was left with your Schedule of Condition.
12 | Make up an 'essentials' bag, document box and ‘survival' box
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a charger, important document, set of spare keys and not knowing where to locate them in the sea of cardboard. So make up a bag with your ‘essentials’.
Also, pack things you are going to need first in a single ‘survival’ box. This can include a box cutter, kitchen paper, bin bags, cutlery, the kettle and some mugs, as well as tea, coffee, milk, sugar (you’ll be parched when you get there), loo roll – and perhaps a sandwich, in the last of your sandwich bags.
Keep all your essential paperwork together in one box: passports, house deeds, wills, insurance certificates, birth certificates, driving licence, prescriptions. Don’t put this one into storage – and take photographs of everything, just in case.
Last thing is budget
Take control of your budget from the start, and ensure you can cover all the important costs: final bills on utilities, professional fees for conveyancing, surveys and the disbursements. These are the ‘extra’ costs your solicitor will itemise on their bill, along with their time, and they include searches for bankruptcy; planning restrictions or applications that might affect either property; drainage and environmental searches; money transfer fees; and land registration fees and/or stamp duty (if applicable).