Updated: Feb 5
Moving house can be a daunting prospect, from sorting through your belongings, finding a removal company and deciding where all your belongings will go in your new home.
Having moved house ourselves and helped many clients through the process we have found that a methodical, organised approach is definitely the least stressful. So here are our top tips for achieving a stress free move.
Before even putting your house on the market, we strongly suggest that you start with a really good declutter. Not only will this help you attract the right buyers and get the best price for your property, but it will also help make the move itself much simpler.
Remember, this is not only about making your current home look spacious and uncluttered is it also about the fact you do not want to be unpacking things in your new home which you no longer need and you certainly do not want to be paying packers to pack and move them for you.
If the thought of this overwhelms you, just take a breath and take one room, one cupboard at a time, remove unwanted items to a shed or garage location until you can take them to a charity shop or get them sold. Remember, sorting and decluttering is not something you can complete in a day, so do small amounts each day, clear up after each session and you will get to the end quicker than you might imagine.
So, your house is sold and you have a move date to your new home. What will you take and where will it all go?
Walk into each room, list the furniture, larger ornaments and pictures. When you have listed all these things, sit down with the floor plan of the house you are moving to and decide what furniture you will put where. You can be as detailed as you choose here, by taking measurements of furniture and rooms. You could even cut out the scaled shapes of the furniture and move them around on your floor plan until you are happy, although this may be a step too far for some of us!
If there are any large items you have decided not to take with you, you could ask family and friends if they would like them, sell them or give them to a charity shop (many charity shops will collect large furniture items).
You should now be at the stage where everything that is being packed are things you really want to keep.
If you are doing the packing yourself, always remember that it takes longer than you think, and you will need lots of boxes. Your removal company should be able to estimate how many boxes you are likely to need and can usually provide them, plus paper, and tape. You can also buy removal boxes on ebay or from local storage companies, or sometimes you will find people giving them away on Facebook or local selling sites.
Make sure you start packing in plenty of time, starting with the things you use less often. Clearly label each box – remembering that labels like “miscellaneous” are not easy when you are looking for something specific!
If you have packers to help you, that does take away some of the stress. The removal company will normally send in a packing crew a day or two before the actual move. Be aware that professional packers work VERY quickly and will pack anything they see – so if there is anything you do not want them to pack, make sure it is clearly labelled. Again, ask the packers to ensure they label all the boxes clearly, stating the contents and the room it will be going to.
If you are labelling boxes Bedroom 1, 2, 3 etc it is good to print on A4 paper the names of the rooms and you can then fix them to the door of the appropriate room in the new house. This saves any confusion.
One of the things we always find helpful is to have a small box of essentials, one for the kitchen and one for personal things. These boxes can go in the car to the new house with you and wouldn’t get packed until the morning of the move.
The kitchen box would hold things like, kettle, coffee, tea, milk, biscuits, a small amount of food such as readymade sandwiches, a few mugs, tea spoons, cutlery, plates and bowls for just your family members, kitchen roll, tea towels and a hand towel.
The personal box would hold things like, toiletries, loo roll, phone charger, laptop & power cable, change of clothes, note pad/pen, keys/spare keys to cars and the new house. You could also put a clean set of bed linen for each bed inside a pillow case to be packed alongside these things so that you can quickly make up your beds on arrival at the new house.
On leaving your old house, remember to leave it as you would like to find it – as clean as possible, with loo rolls and lightbulbs left behind, and maybe a bunch of flowers or bottle of wine for your buyers.
Simple things to remember when you arrive at the new house :
When the removal crew arrive let them have a copy of the floor plan you made, and before anything is unloaded from the van it’s worth walking round the house with the head of the crew so that he knows which room is which and where the bigger items of furniture will go.
Be aware that removal crews do this job every day, and they do tend to work very quickly – in fact the speed at which they bring things into the house can be overwhelming. Be prepared for this, try to relax and let them do their job, they are the professionals.
You might like to assign one person to check off bigger items as they come in and direct the crew where to put them, and another to take care of any children or pets. In our experience offering plenty of tea and biscuits helps to keep everyone’s energy levels up during what can be an exhausting day.
Your priorities on day 1 are to make sure that you have something to eat and somewhere to sleep. Everything else can wait.
Ask the crew to help you assemble any beds, and grab your prepacked bedding so you can get them made up as a priority. To take the stress out of suppertime – see if you can get a local takeaway number or perhaps a kind friend or relative may pop by with a casserole.
Before the crew leave, make sure you do another walk round with the head of the team and make sure you are happy, and that you know what happens next – for example will they be back to collect the boxes when you have unpacked them?
In terms of unpacking, our advice is take it slowly and methodically. Tackle the rooms in order of priority – the kitchen would be a good place to start. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so just focus your attention on the rooms you use the most, like the living room and bedrooms.
As you unpack a box, fold it down flat and put it somewhere like a garage or shed. Keep one of the bigger boxes to contain all the packing paper – you can stand on it to scrunch it down. Seeing the number of boxes going down day by day gives you a great sense of progress!
As professional organisers, we have lots of experience of moving house ourselves, including internationally, and we have helped many clients through the process from start to finish. In fact it’s one of the aspects of our job that we enjoy the most.
We can help at any stage of the journey, from decluttering before the move, to staging and styling your home to sell, through to unpacking and setting up in your new home. We are very happy to work in collaboration with your estate agents and your chosen removal company. We can also recommend professionals who can help with getting you settled in your new home from handymen to curtain makers.
One thing that many clients find helpful is to ask us to unpack and set up the priority rooms, especially the kitchen, living rooms, and bedrooms. Most removal companies will only unpack to “table top”, meaning that they take your belongings out of the boxes but don’t actually put them away for you. We take that one step further, by actually helping you plan and decide where everything will go, and finding homes for all your crockery, pans, cutlery and food. This means you have a fully functioning kitchen from day 1, saving you an enormous amount of time and stress.
Similarly we can have your living room looking cosy and organised in just a few hours, giving you somewhere to relax and enjoy the process of settling in at your leisure.
If you’re planning on moving home soon, we wish you luck and every happiness in your new home.
If you would like to have a chat with us about how we might be able to help, do give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Sue & Claire