As you know, I recently moved home from a little flat in central London to a much bigger house in Hertfordshire. As well as all my belongings (and I have lots!) there was also the boyf’s things to think about, as well as everything for our two small businesses. So it was no easy thing packing and prepping for our move, and no easier on the move day itself and once settling in. But I think we did make it just about as painless as possible, and I’m pretty pleased with how it all went really.
So, as my ‘how to’ for this week, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I used to make things go as smoothly as possible, in the hope that you’ll find it useful to stow away these bits of information for your next move!
- Ordering boxes – As much as it might seem possible to collect up all the boxes you need, I really would recommend buying some. Whilst we did manage to get hold of some from local shops and friends, the problem there is that you have to make do with whatever size you’re given….and that can mean you’re packing things in the wrong order or in the wrong boxes. There are lots of websites that will sell you packing kits designed for homes of all sizes, including the tape and marker pens and whatnot. I’d say it’s best to go with one of these mixed bundles, so you have several box sizes from the start, so you can box up books in smaller ones (so you can actually move them!) and lightweight things in bigger ones. Once we got a big delivery of boxes I felt much easier in packing everything and could really get through it.
- Other wrapping materials – Some of the package deals online will give you tissue paper and bubble wrap too. I’d say it’s well worth having some bits and bobs like that, but I actually mainly used things I’d been saving up instead….. Any jiffy bags, bubble wrap, tissue paper, newspaper and plastic carrier bags are worth hoarding in the run up to a move, as all of these work well to wrap things in and pad things out. I also have a big stash of canvas totes which are great for wrapping delicate things in too.
- Box labelling – There is nothing more annoying after a move than looking for one little particular thing, and to have to open a dozen boxes to find it. Whilst most boxes can just be labelled by the room they’re going to, I found that detailing the key items in each box in pen on the top was really handy. I wish I’d done it more in fact, as there were rather more ‘misc’ boxes than was helpful!
- Colour coding – I’ll admit it, if there’s a chance to colour code something, I’m all over it. But I have to say, my nifty colour coding trick for moving works a treat! To save you and your movers from having to read your scrawl on each box before plonking it in the right room, why not allocate a colour to each room and label your boxes to suit?! For example, I decided the kitchen would be green (because the vegetables live there, which are green, obviously), and so each box destined for the kitchen got a green sticker, and then on the day I stuck a big green sign on the kitchen…..the moving men then just had to chuck all the green labelled boxes in the room with the green label! I did the same for the other rooms, which was especially helpful in the move to a bigger place because it would be hard for the moving men to know which room is which in some cases (when they are empty at least!).
- Moving men (and women) – And on the subject of moving men…… I have moved a few times just using friends’ cars or hiring vans, then doing all the lifting myself or with a team of friends bribed by the promise of take out. As I’ve grown older and lazier though, and as my collection of ‘stuff’ has increased, I’ve decided I’d much rather pay some burly young men to do all the lifting for me. For my past two moves I’ve used the Anyvan website to get competitive quotes from local moving firms, and it’s been brilliant both times. You just fill in their online questionnaire to explain how much stuff you’ve got, and what access is like, and then stacks of firms come back with quotes. We got some truly bargainous deals this way, and for the most recent move we had the most perfect moving men you can imagine. Well worth the small spend!
- Last minute boxes and bags – You know how it is, you feel all prepared and ready, the van arrives and you start loading it, then you realise there’s a whole cupboard of ‘last minute’ stuff that’s been completely forgotten and you have nothing to pack it in. Having a few stray bits and bobs is inevitable, so I like to keep a small and a large box spare, as well as some big laundry type bags and a few carrier bags or totes. ALL of my spares got used in the last move, so I’m glad I’d thought ahead!
- Very Important Box – As well as those last minute bits, there are also the things you know you REALLY want not to lose at the other end. Things like the kettle, tea bags, bedding, scissors, and cleaning products all need to be within easy reach when you arrive to your new place. I like to have a special box for these bits, and make sure it’s easy to spot because it’s a different colour or has ‘THIS ONE’ scribbled all over it with dozens of arrows.
- At the other end – Whilst you’ll be all excited to arrive at your new place, and want to start the unpacking frenzy, take the first few minutes to have a really good look around. I’m yet to move into an appropriately clean place, and have found all sorts of issues when moving in. It’s easier to spot stuff before all your boxes are stacked in every room, and if you’re renting and have the agent or landlord there to hand over the keys, it’s worth going through the inventory with them. Things will always come to light later, but before you start unpacking your precious treasures it’s worth checking the place is OK first.
- Kitchen and bedroom first, living room last – The temptation to lay out your sofas and scatter them with cushions so you can have that well deserved rest will always be strong. But, as soon as you make your living room all cosy and nice, it’s hard to want to get back up and start working on the rest! Whilst a first night take out is a must for me, I like to get my kitchen sorted first so that I can at least make a cup of tea and throw some cereal in a bowl the next morning. And of course there’s no greater disappointment than making your way to bed after all your hard work, only to find it still needs to be built, the mattress is in another room, and your duvet is nowhere to be seen. So, ensure you at least have everything to hand for bed time, or ideally get it all sorted earlier in the day.
- There’s no rush – So now you’re in, and you can live in your new place, sleep there and cook there…..but there are still boxes EVERYWHERE! I find this really stressful, and hate living in amongst the disarray of a move. But, rather than getting all wound up by it (like I did this last time), remind yourself that there is no rush to get your little trinkets out and find homes for all your books etc. The last bit is the most fun bit….making your home. So take your time, move things again and again, and enjoy it.