Keep Your House Move Hassle-free: Seven Essential Tips
By Sharon Hurley Hall
I've always been a bit of a nomad and with 20 moves in 25 years, I've learned a thing or two about moving myself and my stuff from place to place. Here are seven steps you can take to make move day go smoothly.
1. Upstairs, downstairs
Everything you move has to go through your front door, so it makes sense to have your belongings as close to the departure point as possible. That means getting all and items down from the loft/attic (or up from the basement/cellar) before moving day. Most of the stuff in there you don't use every day anyway and can well do without for a few weeks. Put the in room you can do without for a while and stack them three or four high, big at the base, small ones at the top. (After all, you don't want anything to fall on you>)
2. Clear the clutter
When you're moving things out of the loft/attic or basement/cellar, take the chance to clear out anything you haven't needed in the last two years. Why move what you don't need? The same goes for the garage and for the garden shed. Be ruthless, or you'll only have to throw it away once you've moved. This is also a good time to ‘lose’ that unwanted Christmas or birthday gift.
3. Plan your van
When hiring a van, avoid cutting corners to save money. Spend a bit more and get a van with a tail-lift. That will cut down on the backache and will be invaluable, especially for the larger furniture items. Buy or borrow a heavy duty trolley of some kind and you'll have almost all the bases covered. When booking a van, look for a company that will allow you to either pick it up the night before the move (to get a head start on the loading) or return it the day after (so you can collapse into bed at night without watching the clock).
4. Box clever
Keep packing small and manageable and your back will thank you. The that reams of paper come in (you can get a few from your office) are perfect for packing books, CDs, DVDs, tapes, records (if you've still got them) and other small items. The ones with handles are best.
Check out your local shop and ask them to save the that snacks and chocolates are delivered in. They'll need to be reinforced but they're a good size as well.
For all the mums out there, the Pampers multipack are strong and solid (and they have handles).
Finally, book (the smaller ones, of course) from your local bookshop. These are difficult to get hold of but when you use them you can be sure that your stuff won't fall out mid-move.
5. It's a wrap!
To avoid breakages, wrap your fragile items very carefully. The best packing items are newsprint
and bubble wrap. If you can get it, beg or buy large sheets of unprinted newsprint or ends of rolls from your local printer. If you can't you'll have to start saving your Sunday newspapers (the bigger, the better). You'd be amazed how much stuff will need to be wrapped.
Bubble wrap is also a safe, clean alternative, and if you get bored, you can pop a few bubbles while you wrap. Electrical items are best transported in their own packaging if you've got it, or bubble wrap if you haven't. Sharp knives and toasting forks should also be wrapped so no-one gets hurt. All mattresses should be wrapped, otherwise you'll be sleeping on dirt for years. They're quite heavy, and you'll usually drop at least one corner. Black garbage bags and packing tape are useful for wrapping large items such as these, but even better are big dust sheets from your local hardware store.
6. The name of the game
Label, label, label. Don't just label by where they're going; label where they've come from as well. You'll have a much better idea of where to find that elusive vase for the welcome flowers the new neighbours have brought you, because you'll know exactly where that was in the old house. Label on the top and at least two sides (four if you can't be bothered to be careful about how they're put down). That means you won't have to lift every box to find out what’s in it. Make some signs for the new house (Bedroom 1, Bedroom 2, Office etc) so your move-day helpers will know where each box should go.
7. Essential services
Get together a ‘move day essentials’ box. This should have a kettle and enough mugs for everyone who’s helping you move, as well as coffee, tea and sugar (those packs you get at hotels are perfect) and a carton of UHT milk. A bottle of mineral water is also a good idea, as are a couple of snack bars and a roll of toilet paper. Another essentials box should have your hammer, drill, screwdriver set as well as a few nails, screws and wall plugs. A couple of light bulbs may also come in handy, as will a roll of bin bags and some large dust sheets in case it’s a wet day (you Don't want mud all over the new carpet, do you?)
I've found that planning my move in this way makes it a surefire success. Good luck!