Moving is no fun, but you can ease the pain
MOVING house is like visiting your dentist. You know it is coming up. Logic says it’s ‘‘for the best’’, but the mere thought makes your teeth clench.
‘‘Moving your home is like getting married; there is a lot of build-up to the big day,’’ says Catherine Gambrellis, chief executive of national moving company Two Men and a Truck. ‘‘ But if you have done due diligence and picked the right people, things tend to work out.’’
We have compiled expert tips and tricks to help keep your home move stress in check.
Scout removalists: If you will need one, get at least three quotes and start six weeks out if possible.
Australia’s removalist industry is unregulated but some operators have formed the Australian Furniture Removals Association, offering insurance on goods in transit and encouraging high standards of truck, equipment and training.
De-clutter: Is it time to farewell your ugly wedding vase or dusty encyclopaedia set?
Every item moved costs in transport and/or storage, and means needing bigger houses, says Bonnie Black from Little Miss Organised.
‘‘Start by pulling everything out, putting back only what you use or love,’’ Ms Black says. ‘‘Items can go into keep, rubbish or donate piles: do not have a ‘maybe’ pile.’’
Renter Claire Dimitroff, who will have moved for the fourth time in less than two years by Christmas, offers this nifty tip: ‘‘Put all clothes hangers backwards in your closet and if they are still backwards after six months, it is time to sell, donate or ditch.’’
Hire/buy boxes and start packing: The earlier the better. Start with the least-used room and leave the kitchen until last.
If a DIY move, use linen for packing fragile items, Ms Black says.
Move in batches: If moving locally and your new home is vacant, start moving small items ASAP.
‘‘ If you have started moving clothes and soft furnishings ahead of time it can really save you precious time on the big move day,’’ Ms Dimitroff says.
Name a ‘‘first night’’ box: Put remote controls, toiletries, scissors, packing tape, favourite toys, cleaning items and medications – then store it somewhere safe – so you are not panic-stricken trying to find domestic essentials on the first day in your new home.
Measure up: Draw scaled versions of your furniture and new home on pieces of paper. Cut out the ‘‘mini’’ furniture and move it around on a page to work out what fits where.
‘‘It sounds lame but if you can design where everything goes in the new house before you get there and have the movers put it straight in place, it saves time and money with the movers, and I even print my drawings before so it’s easier for everyone,’’ says long-time renter Berlinda Fortin.
24 HOURS TO GO
Tape drawers/cupboards as emptied: ‘‘It is also a good visual cue to see what is left to do,’’ suggests homeowner Tom Mason, who has moved more than 20 times, including to the US, UK, France, Germany and New Zealand.
Confirm booking: Double-check your removalists and/or mates are all ready to go tomorrow.
Check utilities: Make sure electricity, gas and water supplies will be operating from your first day of home occupancy.
BIG MOVE DAY
Turn off the fridge: Unplug the refrigerator early to give gases time to settle before it is lifted.
Unplug appliances: Save time/ money by winding each cord and securing with tape. Repack each in original box wherever possible. The more you can do yourself, the more money saved if paying professional movers.
Stock to plan: DIY movers should pack all boxes and furniture logically, Ms Black says.
‘‘Keep all the boxes for one room together, labelling them numerically (i.e. kitchen 1) in order of importance and use. Create a list of boxes; it shows in one glance any missing boxes at the other end.’’
Kitchen first: A working kitchen helps a newly moved family settle quickly, so unpack that room first. Wash and clean items that have been wrapped in newspaper.
‘‘The kitchen may take a while but once it’s done, no matter how disastrous the rest of the house is, you can always prepare a healthy meal to give you energy,’’ Ms Black says.
Make bed next: ‘‘Put your beds together complete with sheets, doonas and pillows because when you’re completely wrecked from the big day, it is a huge relief knowing you can jump into a comfy bed,’’ Ms Fortin says.
Outsource food/drinks: The logistics of moving mean you won’t have time or equipment to prepare your own lunch and moving house is hungry work! Ask loved ones to fetch all-important tucker or, if moving further afield, order home-delivered nosh.
FIRST 48 HOURS
Check for damage: Items occasionally break, no matter how much care has been taken. But don’t wait too long to check if covered by insurance.
‘‘Often a policy gives you 72 hours to make claims resulting in the move so it is imperative you identify damages quickly,’’ Ms Gambrellis says.
Unpack and flat-pack boxes: Many movers offer standard-size recyclable rental boxes for rent and will return to collect them soon after the move.
Make your home ‘‘home’’: Melissa Donnelly is about to move for the ninth time since 2008. One of her top tips is ‘‘work out what makes your home feel right’’.
‘‘Is it your jasmine candles, a bunch of flowers in a vase, some picture on the wall? Whatever it is, do it in the first 24 hours . . . adding some homely touches suddenly transforms the new space into your home.’’
Source: Oneflare analysis of more than 4000 job postings 2012–2013