If I never again had to deal with stuffing my last two plates in a carrier bag and opening my wardrobe to find a pile of unpacked pants…I’ll probably be moving house again net year, bringing my grand total of moves up to sixteen. In the past month I’ve packed up and cleaned down two houses. It is not fun. The next time I call my Mum I’m going to have to ask her how she managed it with two toddlers running around, as well as making sure nothing gets lost or left behind, and restoring the house to perfection. Apparently moving house rates in the top five most stressful life events, and I agree! Like anything though, practice takes perfect, and I’ve had a lot of practice.
I’m not going to give a comprehensive guide on ‘How to move house’, with all the bits like ‘Phone your bill companies’ or ‘Don’t leave anything behind’. But here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up the make the whole ordeal run the slightest bit smoother. Unfortunately lettings agencies are coming up with new ways to be completely ineffectual everyday, so there will never, ever be a smooth house move. Things will get lost, (things will get found!), there is always a stain under the sofa you never moved, and there is always more stuff. Here goes!
-When it comes to packing up and moving on, start at least a couple of days in advance. Box up anything you don’t use everyday. Photoframes, Pikachu figurines, books. Packing always takes longer than you think, because there is always more stuff. Always.
– Don’t buy packing boxes! Go to a local giant supermarket and ask where they put their boxes. You should be allowed to take them.
– Don’t overfill boxes. Remember you have to carry them, even if it is only to the van. Check the bottoms aren’t going to fall out either. Packing tape is a good buy. (Especially if you move a lot.)
– Have a plan. Start packing in advance and leave plenty of time to clean/take the rubbish to the tip/bleach the suspicious stains on the carpet. Checking behind the sofa in the last ten minutes ‘just in case’ and finding out where Hammy finally rested…not fun.
– Find out if there’s anywhere you can store your stuff so the house is empty when you clean it. A close friend’s, (for close, read nearby), or the garden – but check the weather! Alternately, hoover a room in the house, then use it for storage.
– Plastic bags are your friend. Black bags and recycle bags are very useful. Not only do they store rubbish, they’re also good for stuffing duvets and coats into. Carrier bags are good for the last few items hanging around (there is always more stuff) like those spare tins in the cupboard, or that screwdriver you weren’t sure was yours…
– Buy in cloths and sponges in advance. There will be wiping.
– Make a cleaning playlist. Whatever gets you moving. We shook our asses Groove Armada style and I scrubbed the kitchen to Shpongle. Dancing aids productivity. Fact.
– Did I mention there’s always more stuff? Don’t forget to check wardrobes, cupboards and drawers. I left my favourite jacket ever behind in my last but two house and forever regret not sliding back that wardrobe door. Tear.
– Make a box or bag of immediate needs for the new place. Kettle. Tea bags. Loo roll. Fluffy slippers. Your SATC poster. Whatever will make you feel most at home as soon as you arrive.
– Don’t get stressed! Break everything down into manageable actions. Pack clothes. Check. Wash up. Check. Load stuff into van. Check. (If only…)
– If you are in the enviable position of not having to cart your life across country, the help your friends who do have to! They will love you all the more, and you may even pick up a few bargains. I’ve picked up a good set of speakers, a green guitar, shelf full of beans…all this and more, for wiping down a few surfaces.
At the other end…
Moving into house isn’t quite as stressful as moving out. I find it fun to descend upon a blank canvas. I’ve been in my new house a whole day now, and my clothes are still in their bags, yet my desk is set up, and I’m testing some stencils on the wall…Others might have different priorities. I suggest:
– Unpacking your stuff as soon as possible. You’ll feel more at home with your own belongings around you.
– Or making a fort out of the boxes and refusing to come out unless there are fairy cakes involved. And tea. (I fully intended to do this, but the urge to decorate came over me.)