Moving house is the definition of STRESSFUL. People really are not joking when they say it’s one of the most stressful things you can do in life. Throw in an ill parent, a move across the country and a worldwide pandemic and it’s definitely an adventure!
Because of my parents age and health issues, this move came out of the blue. Meaning it had to be organised quickly and efficiently and most of the physical packing had to be done by me. I’m so grateful to friends and family who have helped out as it’s been a real team effort and something I could not have done on my own. At one point, I really did think I had to pack a 3 bed house and garage by myself. (I already saw myself with a really sore back at this point!)
So, like pretty much any project I undertake, I did my research. Pinterest is a godsend honestly. I don’t know what i’d do if that website disappeared. So here’s what I’ve learned after a month of packing up my parents house:
10 moving tips to keep you calm and organised
- Make lots of lists. List making is the thing that has kept me sane in this process. Lists of companies to contact, what goes in what box etc. I created a master list on my Notes app and shared it with my Dad so that as we pack boxes per room, we number them and write down the general gist of the stuff in the box (eg. ornaments, books) so that when we get to the other side we know what’s in desperate need of unpacking and which room they go in.
2. Don’t be afraid to call in favours. You’ll be surprised how many people reach out to give you a hand. Even if it’s taking the kids off you for a few hours so you can pack or do moving day in peace! I’ve had family and friends helping us throw stuff in skips, packing boxes, driving vans. It’s amazing how much less stressful the situation becomes when it’s a team effort. Make sure to coordinate a plan amongst all who are going to help.
3. Work backwards! When you’re planning your move, think of the things that you’ll need at the other end first. Pack yourself a ‘grab bag’- all of your essentials, medication, clothing, and anything else you might need to save you opening box after box the day you arrive to find stuff. Also, have bedding already made up so that when you get to your new house, you don’t have to wrestle with multiple duvets after a very long day. Make a list of what you’ll need to do when you get there: internet, TV, new schools etc. Start researching what to do about all of it before you begin packing!
4. Set up reminders. Start with the post office to change your address. (Am I the only person that didn’t know you had to pay for mail to be redirected?!) Sign up on their website and they’ll email you a reminder to redirect your post. Use the calendar/reminders app to notify you about upcoming bills to be paid, appointments, deadlines. Moving house is a flurry and it’s very easy to forget what you need to do!
5.Contact multiple moving companies for quotes. We did and had such varying quotes. Some would charge for something, others wouldn’t. Make sure to ask them what it is they actually do on the day. My parents haven’t moved house in over 30 years, and we didn’t realise that they don’t take furniture apart, that’s all on us to do. (Another instance where we have drafted in family members to help!)
6. Use smaller boxes and more of them. I made the mistake of rushing to Amazon and buying lots of large boxes. Thinking that big box = more stuff packed. Not true! They could end up being too heavy to lift or worst breaking through! So we switched to medium boxes for the rest of the house. We only put clothes and other fairly soft things in the big boxes and it’s been much easier! I really recommend going with small or medium boxes for valuable or fragile items. For small things like ornaments, we wrapped them up and put them in very small cardboard boxes so they were even more protected, and then put all of those inside a larger box which packed them out and gave them structure.
7. Pack the inside of fragile items. We shredded old documents and leftover bits of paper and used them to pack out the inside of the fragile items. Then wrap them in bubble wrap. This stops them collapsing in on themselves! We also used socks (clean ones!) to wrap glasses and other fragile items.
8.If you can, take pets and kids to see the new place beforehand. Let them explore their new home! Moving house is a big shock to the whole family. Unfortunately, some kids and pets can react quite badly to the new environment. So turn it into an adventure! (we’ve done this with Albie, getting him used to walking to my parents new house). Also if you can, plug in a feliway item or have things from the old home already there (it doesn’t need to everything, maybe a dog blanket and a few toys?) so that their scent is there.
9. Use money saving sites. Moving house is expensive AF. Especially if you need new furniture or new decor, or are moving a fair distance. To save some money, sign up to TopCashBack (my referral link) or QuidCo (referral link) or use ShopTagr or Honey to keep the costs down!
10. DECLUTTER. DECLUTTER. DECLUTTER. I can’t stress this enough! Even if you’re moving into a bigger house, there will be lots in your home that’s clutter. Purge it with a skip or to the tip! Knowing that you’re not taking useless clutter with you to your new home will put your mind at ease and make the unpacking process easier.