‘Yes it’s moving day!’ or ‘help it’s moving day’ – which one do you want to be?

Moving house is not something the vast majority of us do very often, so the learning from your mistakes mantra, unlike with most things in life, is actually very difficult to apply here.  It is also not a prescriptive process, it is very individual and can have many different nuances.

There is however one very simple, potentially dull (but don’t let this put you off just yet, do keep reading!) poignant word that, if embraced full heartedly, will really truly help you – the P word, yes, planning!

How much ‘stuff’ have I got?

Prior to welcoming your buyer through the door and long before you’re itching to Get The Keys to your dream home, you really need to be, wait for it, forward planning (yes there’s that pesky P word again!).  To be totally honest, ideally before you’ve even put your house on the market, you should really have a good bash at sorting through your current nest – you will be surprised at how many skip runs, charity donations, auction websites, free cycle, car boots, you can actually engage in when you do this.  I am realistic here however, you are probably only reading this blog because you are about to move, and the act of moving seems to be something many of us react to rather than plan for.  We plan for the sale of our house, we plan for the buying of a new home and we are forever dreaming about living in the new pad and planning the many parties we will have there, we just don’t really focus on that step in the middle, moving day!  If we did however, we could really help everything go much more smoothly and before you know it, you could be living that new dream life!  So this is the first consideration of any move, have a sort out. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you will do this post move at the other end, you won’t….you really won’t!

Who is carrying me over the threshold?

So now you’ve had an initial sort out, it’s time to make your next choice.  Who will you trust to carry all of your worldly things into your new abode?  Will you use a removal company and if so will you use their packing service? Will you move yourself?  Only you will know how practical any of this is for your circumstance (cost, logistics, time, manpower).

Quick TIP – If you and the rest of the chain are able to move on a day other than a Friday, removals can often be a lot cheaper – check with your solicitor on what options other people in the chain may be open to here.

Quick TIP – Yes another! Do not assume all removal companies are the same, talk to friends, business associates, parents on the school run, neighbours, see if they can recommend anyone.  Also don’t go with the first firm you talk to, do talk to a few and make an informed decision.

Below I hope will provide some great pointers that you can apply to which ever option you have selected.

I only need a few boxes…hmm…and I can pack the night before hmm

Underestimating the amount of things you have and how long it will take to pack are two of the biggest errors many people make.  Answer to both, a lot more than you think!

You should start packing as early as you can, try and think of a methodical approach too so it doesn’t feel daunting.  Some people start at the top of the house and work down others start in rooms they don’t use day to day and eventually packing up the key rooms at the end.  Do what works for you, but most importantly do it!

With regards the number of boxes, the goal of moving house is not about the number you can squash your things into, it is not the same as packing for a trip to Italy where, if you try hard enough, you really could get another pair of shoes into your suitcase!  This is your life, you need to pack smartly, don’t overfill boxes that could damage items or make them too heavy to lift, you should also pack in an organised way to help you when the exciting time to unpack arrives!

Fab TIP – Before you start packing, allocate each room in your new home a number.  When you pack a box label it with both the contents and the corresponding number in your new home the box should go in.  When you arrive to unload the boxes in your new home, run round like a mad person and stick the numbers on the doors in your new house (some blu tack and paper, a post it) then, as you unload, the boxes get distributed accordingly – seriously this is a great tip and you will not regret it, the P word at its best!

Love this TIP – Clothes, long gone are the student or travelling days when you squashed everything into bags, you can get wardrobe boxes and if you are anything like me, you will show them to everyone because they are so simple yet so amazing (eek, I think I may need help!).  Please do consider these, there are plenty of buying options online and if you are using a removal firm they can discuss these with you.  Also if you have lightweight clothes in drawers you may be okay to leave these in, again this is something that should be discussed.

Breakables – the obvious is these need to be packed with great care and attention but you need to think about how you can help protect them prior to this.  You might be comfortable in using your own bedding and towels as these can offer really good protection for your state of the art home cinema, but perhaps not your most luxurious ones in case they get damaged!  Some simple bubble wrap around your gorgeous coffee cups goes without saying (and can act as a great distraction for children when you are unpacking at the other end!).

Useful TIP – a box with a few things that you hopefully won’t need but if you do then you will forever more be known as the King or Queen of packing –  when you can lay your hands on a first aid kit, pen, torch, headache pills and maybe a small tool kit, wow!

Sentimental items – your photos digital or otherwise, your childrens’ first paintings, your signed <<insert any cool yesteryear band name>> album, your first concert programme – not going to confess what mine was as sadly not cool enough for this blog! But seriously, these can’t be insured against and it does happen.  My own parents lost nearly all my baby photos in a house move many years ago, yes it did mean that upon meeting my future husband we didn’t have to go through the ‘let’s get the baby photos out’, it is sad though, so don’t let this happen to you.

Important documents – bank books, passports, birth certificates, etc these need to be packed safely and stored safely at the other end.

Chargers/cables/remote controls – packing these in one box and labelling them individually is often a good approach.  The number of people who can’t find the TV remote control for days after they have moved house, and obviously with today’s technology, this is often the device needed to actually tune the TV eeek *breathe*!

Hazardous goods – bleaches, cleaning fluids etc should all be packed separately and labelled in a box accordingly so they don’t damage anything and they don’t harm anyone moving them.

Top Tip – Pack an essentials box, you will need this as soon as you arrive at your new home!  Kettle (with the lead!!), tea, coffee, sugar, squash, milk, bottled water, cups, plates, utensils, pack of biscuits (definitely essentials on a house move), toilet roll, hand towel, cloths, washing up liquid, soap.

Great Tip – Treat your first night in your new home like a mini break! You are never going to get straight on Day 1, just accept this and pack an overnight bag for you all.  Also ensure you have all your medication to hand – both regular medication or medication you may need in an emergency.

Insurance – yes dull, yes hopefully pointless, one of those things that most of us never need to think about but if you do then you will be thankful that you have it!  Check your content insurance policy to see if you are you covered for any damages and breakages during a move and when you have sorted this, you can forget about it!

Dismantled furniture – if there are pieces that need dismantling a really good tip is to put all the screws and parts in a freezer bag and tie it to a piece of the furniture (we still have a piece of furniture in the garage that we can’t do anything with as the bolts and screws are in a bag (but I put the bag somewhere safe, rather than attaching it to the furniture, yes I have learned the hard way!).  Also if it is a complicated piece to rebuild, maybe take photos on your phone as you dismantle so you can rebuild with your very own personal manual!

Prior to moving day I would suggest you have a word with any current neighbours who may be impacted by the moving vehicles and general hustle and bustle.  It is also a great way to meet the new neighbours at the other end. Either prior to moving day or on the day, having a quick word to apologise for any disruption in advance, giving them time to may be move a car if you are about to block them in will really pay dividends in the long run.

Lastly the final and most vital piece of advice – decide what you would like for your first supper in your new home!  Seriously do not underestimate this!  You don’t want to be trying to work a new oven, find a local pizza delivery number or your nearest fish n chip shop and you also don’t want your first meal to be from a terrible place!  When the removals have gone or you have unloaded the final box, you will really want to sit (probably on the floor!) and take it all in.  It really will have been a very busy day even with all the planning (the P word again!).  I suggest you have an idea of where you want to get supper and pop (now that is a great P word!) that first bottle of fizz!  Here’s toasting to the happy and exciting times ahead, congratulations to you!

I would love to keep adding to this blog so if you have any hints and tips of you own please do get in touch, email me greer@getthekeys.co.uk or visit us at  Get The Keys and please feel free to comment on the blog.

Happy Moving!!

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