Moving house doesn't have to be a hassle; if you start to get things in order a few weeks before moving day, it'll go much more smoothly. Not sure where to start? Read on…
Depending on how you look at it, moving house can be either a huge hassle or an exciting opportunity to do some essential life laundry. If you fall into the latter camp, no doubt you've already perfected your 'system' and could even add a few of your own tips to our list. But if you're firmly in the former group and break into a cold sweat whenever the word 'moving' is mentioned, take some time to get organised several weeks before you move, and you'll soon wonder what you were worried about.
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Well in advance of moving day, sort out any stored items in your loft, cupboards and sheds and send it off to charity shops or the recycling centre. If it's not useful, it's taking up valuable space in the removal van and creating extra work once you've moved into your new home. If you don't need it, get rid!
Make a list of people and organisations that need to be notified of your move - for example, banks, your children's school, your doctor and dentist. Write a standard letter in a word processing program like Word, which can be copied and personalised with the correct details for each organisation. You can start the list weeks in advance, and keep adding to it whenever you remember someone you've left off.
When you pack, label each box with the name of the room it needs to be placed in at your new home. This will make unpacking much easier once you've moved. Once you're in, stick pieces of masking tape on kitchen cupboards and write on the tape what the contents of the cupboards will be; whoever gets the fun job of unpacking kitchen boxes will know instantly where everything goes (see also tip 10).
One of the first things you'll want to do once you've reached your new home is have a cuppa, so make sure your kettle, tea, milk, sugar and mugs are in a clearly labelled box or bag so they're easy to find once you're in your new home.
Arrange for someone to look after children and pets on moving day. Having them running around your feet while you're loading and unloading the van can be dangerous for them but also for the movers.
You'll need to defrost your fridge and freezer the day before you move, so ask a friend or relative if they've space in their freezer for any food you want to keep.
Consider the buyers of your old home. It's a nice touch to put instructions for appliances you're leaving behind and the timer on your boiler, the phone numbers of your bottled gas supplier and coal merchant, and other helpful information into a large envelope or folder for the new occupants of your old home. If you have bottled gas, consider leaving a little behind so the new owners can have a warm bath after moving in. If it's winter and you have an open fire, could you leave behind a bucket of coal? If you're on metered gas or electricity, could you leave a little credit on the meters? While none of these things will make your own move go any smoother, you'd certainly appreciate these little touches when you arrive at your own new home, so consider the feelings of your buyers. If everyone did this on moving day, it'd be a much pleasanter experience for all!
By the same token, it's good manners to clean your old home thoroughly before you move out. Moving day is stressful enough without having to move into a dirty house, so leave your old home in a state of cleanliness you'd expect to see in your new home.
Many hands make light work, but too many cooks can spoil the broth! If you're able to assemble an army of helpers, that's fantastic - but make sure each helper is assigned individual tasks so they don't all get under each other's feet. One helper's job might be to reassemble dismantled furniture and hang curtains; another's might be to crush empty boxes; another helper's job could be unwrapping delicate items like glasses and ornaments and putting them away safely.
Three weeks to go:
Two weeks to go:
Begin to discard unwanted items from cupboards, attics and sheds.
One week to go:
It is important that you take care when moving into your new home. You will probably need to carry several items during the move, which, if done incorrectly can cause injury. The golden rules of manual handling are: