Moving house can be an exciting time, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Whether you're leaving for university, moving out of your parents' into your own apartment, moving in with someone, relocating for a new job, upsizing or downsizing, you want the the move to be as easy and painless as possible.
I'm currently in the process of moving house myself, which is why I was inspired to write this post. My husband and I have finally bought our own place after renting for the past eight years. As we've been packing and sorting things out, I've come up with some clever tips and tricks to make the process run more smoothly.
Most of these tips are for packing, but I've also thrown in a few other things you need to remember to do when moving home.
1. Declutter first
Before you start packing, go through your possessions and get rid of anything you no longer use or don't want to take with you. There'll be less to unpack later and you won't have it taking up space in the new place. There's no point in dragging it all with you just to donate it when you get there or shove it in a cupboard to be forgotten. Give it to a charity shop or sell it to make a little extra money.
2. Start early
Packing always takes longer than you expect so begin as early as possible. This will save a mad panic as your moving date approaches. Start with the things you don't use very often and save the things you do use until the day before or the day of the move.
You want a fresh start, so make sure the things you're taking with you are nice and clean. Dust your ornaments, wash your dirty clothes - you'll have enough to do in your new place, you don't want to be washing piles of laundry as well. If you're moving out of rented accommodation you'll also have to clean it before you leave if you want to get your deposit back. And when you get into your new place, give it a good scrub. Even if it looks clean, I like to have the peace of mind of knowing for sure.
4. Don't pay for packaging
Never buy cardboard boxes when you can get them for free. Supermarkets have deliveries every day so it's worth asking if you can have some of the boxes - they're usually more than happy to give them to you as they'll only be throwing them out anyway. Get more than you think you'll need - you will be surprised at how quickly they fill up and you'll quickly realise you have more stuff than you thought. Also use any boxes, baskets and bags you already have lying around and pack your clothes in suitcases (why bring an empty suitcase and waste a box by filling it with clothes?). Roll your clothes instead of folding them and you'll be able to fit more in.
You also don't need to buy bubble wrap - you can wrap breakable items such as plates, glasses etc in clothes, towels, tea towels, blankets and, if you have a bag of plastic bags under your kitchen sink, use them as padding between items. It's also a good idea to put toiletries in carrier bags in case they leak during transit.
5. Pack effectively
Put lighter items in big boxes and heavier items in smaller boxes, otherwise the box might not be able to hold the weight of the items and fall apart when you pick it up. If you have a mixture of both heavy and light items in a box, keep the heavier items at the bottom so they don't crush everything else (it's also easier to carry a box packed this way).
Use a marker pen to write on the outside of the boxes which room the items came from (kitchen, bathroom etc) and bullet point a few of the items inside. This way, if you're looking for your plates you'll know where to find them rather than rummaging through ten boxes just marked 'kitchen'. Don't forget to write FRAGILE on any boxes with breakables in them.
6. Make a moving day survival kit
Pack an overnight bag full of things you'll need to be able to find easily on moving day. This includes toiletries, phone chargers, some bottles of water, toilet paper, any important medication, cleaning supplies, bed linen, nightclothes and a change of clothes for the next day. It'll be a long, busy and tiring day and being able to grab these things without hunting through loads of boxes will help a lot.
7. Keep paperwork safe
Put all your important paperwork such as birth certificates, passports, wills, house deeds and insurance papers together in one box or file. You could also scan them to make digital copies in case anything happens to them during the move (it's a good idea to do this anyway, in case of a fire, flood or burglary. You could lose your hard copies at any time so it's sensible to back them up).
Also, remember to change your address with everywhere that has it, and get your mail forwarded to your new address for the first few months in case there's anywhere you've forgotten to give it to. Don't forget to update your driving licence with your new address, too.
8. Decorate mindfully
Once you're all moved in and settled, you'll probably want to put your own stamp on the place and start decorating as soon as possible. It's exciting but don't just go out and buy everything pretty that catches your eye. Decide on a colour scheme or aesthetic beforehand (mine is 'minimal' - no surprise there) and only buy things that fit into that. Use Pinterest for inspiration and make boards for different rooms to give yourself an idea of how things will look.
If you take one tip away from this post, I hope it's to be as organised as humanly possible when moving house. Start early, make lists, get rid of anything you don't need and pack effectively so you can get to the things you do. Happy moving!
What are your best tips for someone moving house?
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