How to Move House: The 10 Essential Steps You Cannot Miss!
I am excellent at only a few things in life and moving house is one. Since the day i was born (and counting only houses and apartments I have lived in for more than 6 months) I have moved 22 times. I have moved as short a distance as the next street, or as far away as another continent. I like to move. I am a gypsy at heart.
So I can tell you how to move. I am an excellent mover and I will give you the most important piece of advice first so if you don’t make it to the end of the article you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
The number one most important thing to do when you move is:
GET PROFESSIONAL MOVERS
Now if you have a penis (and possibly if you have a vagina) you will not like or even agree with that statement. Some of the more uninitiated out there might even say, “If you get professional movers then what’s left to do?”
PLENTY – please read this list I know what I’m talking about!
Let me tell you that if you plan properly, you will be able to move with the minimum fuss. But get professional movers. Even if you don’t – you still need to do these other things. But get them. Ok let’s start.
Step 1: Work out what you can get rid of
You don’t want to move anything you don’t need. Start now. I come from a family of ‘chuckers’. I like minimalists and there is no need to bring stuff to your new house that you don’t need. Things to get rid of: old clothes, shoes and accessories. Old crockery and cutlery. Old birthday cards and dusty knick-knacks. Old books. Old cameras, cords and batteries. Make way for the new stuff.
Step 2: Get proper boxes for the love of god
Like skipping paying for a professional moving guy or two, skimping on your boxes is a false saving. Good, new boxes keep your stuff in good condition. They allow you to pack more efficiently and stack your goods more efficiently too. Higgledy-Piggledy boxes in mismatched sizes and shapes will depress and confound you in the long run. Nice new boxes are the way to go. In Australia we have two main kinds: tea chests and book boxes. Many places will even deliver them. Plus you can often on-sell them when you have emptied them to get some of your money back. No brainer!
Step 3: Think of the extras
Look at your couch and your mattress. Are you intending to store them for more than 24 hours? Then you need to wrap them. No, no, don’t argue with me. You do. A plastic wrapper for your mattress will only cost you a few dollars and it will keep it nice and clean. You can normally buy these from the same place you get your boxes. It’s a small cost that is worth it. The only thing I personally think is a waste is buying butchers’ paper or plain wrapping paper. Newspaper does the same job. Start collecting newspaper now. Collect more than you think you will need.
Step 4: Make a list
Pack sensibly. Obviously all your kitchen gear goes together and all your bathroom stuff goes together. Shoes all in one box, or two if you’re like me. Or three if you’re like many of my girlfriends. Here’s another tip for you: MAKE A RECORD of what goes INTO THE BOXES. Yes! I know! It’s a great idea. Get a notebook and number all your boxes. On each page write what is going in the box. Make the list detailed: TV remote/plugs for TV/red lamp/new DVDs/power point cables and aerial. That way, when you have moved and all your stuff is everywhere, you can consult your list and know which box your aerial is in. Simple!
Step 5: What do you need first?
Another trick I invented is to have a couple of cheat boxes. These are the ‘emergency’ boxes that you will open first. In one, put two sets of plates and cutlery, your dish brush, tea towels and glasses. Put in a sharp knife, bottle opener and cutting board. You will need these things in your new home. Consider adding your favourite saucepan or frypan. In box two, put all the clothes you wear most often, plus some of the things you use most often: your iphone charger, your book, your hair brush…whatever those things are. Clever, huh?
Step 6: Buy proper tape and markers/pens
As with boxes, don’t skimp on packing tape. Buy more than you need and use it liberally, because if you run out you will be more annoyed than St Annoya on the Annual Feast of Annoyingness. There is nothing worse than having to spoil your packing flow to dash to the local supermarket and pay three times the amount you would have at the boxes shop. Please note, if you are planning on reselling your boxes, sometimes they want you to make sure that you only write on the packing tape, not the boxes themselves. LABEL every surface with a number. If it’s box 11 – then the numeral 11 needs to appear on all 6 sides of the box.
Step 7: Light things in big boxes, heavy things in small boxes
Got it? All your drinking glasses will go in a big box. All your books will go into small boxes or you will give your movers a hernia. I won’t go on about this point and don’t bother arguing with me. Just do it. Stuff crumpled up bits of newspaper in all the gaps as cushioning. Line your glassware boxes with old towels or tea towels.
Step 8: FIND A MOVING COMPANY
Sigh. OK I can tell you won’t listen to me. Please listen to me! I have moved so many times that my moving guys know me. If you do your research, you should be able to find a good deal. In Sydney where I live, you should be able to get two guys for just over $100 an hour. Don’t go for the big companies, find the smaller companies. Can I just say one thing to convince you? IF YOU FOLLOW ALL MY OTHER STEPS SO FAR then your move will be quick and easy. It’s when people don’t pack properly that their costs get blown out. My awesome moving guys always tell me how great I am at packing and what a pleasure I am to move. I may not be able to do the lifting myself, but I know a thing or two about efficiency. If you are in Sydney – use my movers. Here they are.
Step 9: At your new house
Get your movers to place the correct items in the correct rooms for you. Check this before you let them go. Give your moving guys a tip. They will look after you next time too. NOW – you need to organise your living space so that you can access your stuff. What do I mean? Well, let me assure you that you are probably going to be living out of boxes for a few weeks or months. Some people still have stuff in boxes a year or more after moving. For me, it’s normally about 6 months before I have a house running as I want it to. It takes a while to work out a place’s quirks.
Step 10: Sensible stacks
This is where your careful packing has come in handy. Make sure that you stack your boxes neatly when you get to your new house. Spend at least an hour or two making sure that you have access to every room and you don’t have to step over or trip over things. Put stuff you will not immediately need on the bottom, stuff you need first at the top. If your new house has crap everywhere you will feel depressed whereas nice, neat, organised stacks will be easier to live with.
Now when I told you that I am a really excellent mover, you didn’t believe me, did you? But you can see from this list that I really know what I am talking about. I try and try to give this advice to my hapless friends who move time and time again – but they refuse to listen. If you ignore all my advice – for the love of god – just get professional movers. Once you’ve hired a truck, bought the petrol and gifted your buddies with a case of beer, then you haven’t even saved much cash. Particularly once you break that glass coffee table!
Photo by Kaptain Kobold thank you!