Moving house is as stressful as it gets. All the sorting and logistics to do, not to mention moving an entire house of “stuff” to another, less familiar house. Moving everything and everyone, children and pets included could be a recipe for disaster and stress overload if not organised properly.
The last thing you want to happen on moving day is to be faced with an empty, unfamiliar house, and piles upon piles of boxes which you have no idea what’s in them.
It would be easy to get daunted and run for cover – and I don’t blame you as after all, you just want to feel settled as soon as you can – but there are ways to stop this happening and create a much easier and enjoyable first day in your new home…
The basics of moving easily is to ensure that you have a good idea at all times where things are. You want to be able to move into your home and make it work for you right from the start, and as such you will need a plan of attack.
Here are my top tips to help make move-in day a day to remember, for all the right reasons – and it all starts before you get there!
Things to do before moving day
Tip #1 – Declutter
It sounds like the last thing you would want to do before you move house, but actually a good declutter can be a great thing at this time.
If you declutter every part of your home (and I’m talking about the loft, the garage, and the shed in this as well as the rooms inside the main house), then you get to grips with what you have.
You can see what you are going to be moving into your new home, and really decide if you need it at all any longer.
All too often we get blind to the things we have around us – so having a new beginning like a move tends to help us focus on what’s got to go.
If you need any further encouragement to do this, then financially it will really help you during a very expensive time. After all – you are paying a removals company to move everything you have (and possibly pack it as well) – so why pay to move things that you don’t really need…
Tip #2 – Plan what will go where
After a good declutter you should have a great idea of what’s in your home and what you will need to move into the new home.
A great tip here is to sit with a plan of your old house and a plan of your new house (a quick sketch of the floor plans is just fine!), and firstly write down what you have in your current house:-
When you have this list of items for your old house – start to transfer each category to the new house, and see what you end up with in each room.
It may well be that you are moving to a house with similar rooms, and if thats the case then this will be really simple – but often what happens here is that you start to see any potential issues before you’ve actually moved the stuff around.
For example – you may be moving to a larger kitchen with dining space in it – and so are planning to use the dining room as a home office. However, looking at the plan, you have LOADS of dining room stuff and it won’t fit in the space you have thought you would house it.
Seeing where things will go will help you to start the move in your head, and solidify (or change) plans as you start to visualise things much more clearly.
TIP – This is a great idea to do for larger items of furniture, where you want to know exactly where to put them when they arrive – as otherwise you will spend a lot of time and effort and stress trying to move everything around after the removals company has left.
Tip #3 – Colour code the plan
This is the fun bit!
From Tip #2 you will have created a rough plan of where you want things to be moved to on move-in day if possible. Now you need to make that a reality.
I find that colour coding can really help to do this quickly and easily.
I use sticky dots on my floor plan of the new house and colour code each room a different colour.
Then I go round the house and colour code the items I want to move into each of the rooms.
TIP – Either colour code the actual item if someone else (the removals) are packing for you – or if you are packing yourself then you can colour code the packaging only.
TIP – Give the removals company a copy of your colour coded floor plan of the new house so that they can easily see what you want in which room. This will save so much time as you don’t have to stand by the front door telling them where to put each item as they bring them in – you can be getting on with other things.
TIP – You could also stick a coloured piece of paper on the door of each room in the new house to make it even easier to move things in
TIP – Large items of furniture can be tagged in the same way, making it less likely that items will be moved into the wrong room – leaving you (hopefully) with less to move by yourself.
TIP – Colour code both the side and the top of each box so that when they are stacked you are able to see what room they are for easily.
Tip #4 – Take labelling one step further
By this I mean that it’s all very well and good having a pile of boxes in each room that now belong there, but how do you find the things you need straight away vs. those that can wait if you don’t have time to unpack everything immediately?
The trick is to pack an “essentials” box(es) for each room and label it with a star or something so that it’s clearly visible. This means that you know that opening just those boxes will ensure you have what you need first open and ready to go.
Things to do on moving day
Tip #5 – Keep the essentials and important stuff with you
On moving day itself, you don’t want to run the risk of not being able to get your hands on what you need when you need it.
You may be delayed actually moving in, and trying to find sleeping items and toiletries etc… in the dark in an unfamiliar house is the last thing you will want to be faced with.
As such, try and pack your own car with all your essential items – things like:-
- Bedding and a blow up bed!
- Kitchen essentials box with tea bags, coffee, milk, cups, biscuits, bottle of wine and corkscrew – and the kettle of course! – at least you can make a drink as soon as you need one!
- Kids essentials box – kids want to feel at home in a strange home as quickly as they can – so get them to pack their favourite toys, teddy, a blanket, nightie/pj’s etc… so that they can settle in and at least sleep in their familiar things if you don’t unpack everything on day 1.
- Pets essentials box – pets will feel very confused at this time, and so the quicker you can familiarise them with the house, the better – pack things like food, water bowl, snacks, bed, favourite toys etc….
- Clothes – a change of clothes for everyone for the following day so you can get going!
- Toiletries for everyone
As soon as you arrive at the new house, you can at least have all the basics to hand – and out of the way in the car until you need them. If the removals are delayed/break down etc… then it won’t be a complete disaster as you can camp out together with bedding and essentials – it could be an adventure!
Tip #6 – Prioritise
Now you have got all the boxes in the right rooms in the new house – it’s time to work out what you should do first.
This is where overwhelm can still set in if you’re not careful.
Prioritising can really help with this as you want to be sure that you don’t spend 3 hours on day one unpacking all the best china. You are better off spending time on what matters, and what can get you and the rest of the family up and running as quickly as you can.
My list of what I would do first would be something like this:-
- Furniture is roughly in the right place (this means I can have somewhere to put my stuff when I start to open boxes)
- Curtains are up in bedrooms
- Essentials boxes are unpacked from the car (see Tip #5)
- Essentials boxes for each room are unpacked (see Tip #4)
- Start to open the rest of the boxes, starting with the most used rooms first (kitchen, bathroom, utility, bedrooms, living areas, storage areas)
At least then you are more likely to be able to function as quickly as you can, and are less likely to run out of time for the important stuff. You could work as far down the list as you can and then leave for another day.
Tip #7 – Use momentum
Although leaving boxes for another day is very tempting when you have done so much already on move-in day, the trick is to keep going with unpacking while you have the energy and momentum from the move itself.
Leaving boxes for too long means they are likely to become invisible to you after a while, and you may find that you still have them there after months!
TIP – the only exception with leaving items in boxes is if you are planning to redecorate straight away – leaving the less used items packed safely away in that room makes sense.
If you are moving house in the near future, then I hope that some of these tips and tricks will help you to make move-in day a day to remember, for all the right reasons!
The trick is to plan as much as you possibly can – so that you simply have to follow the plan when the time comes.
This can save so much stress, time and energy on move-in day – and will enable you to get started on living life in your new home that bit faster.