Take the pain out of packing by starting early. First have a good clear out and take unwanted clothes and household items to the local charity shop. Stagger your packing – start early by boxing up items you won’t be using until after the move, such as some of your books, kitchen items and clothes. Label each box with the room it is going to end up in using large white labels and different coloured marker pens for each room – living room, kitchen, bedroom etc.
Fill one box with all the things you’ll need as you arrive at your new home, including a kettle, cups, coffee/tea and biscuits, cloths and cleaning products – and a menu from your new local takeaway for your first night. Label this clearly and take it with you in the car on the day you move.
New home, new furniture
Moving home is a great excuse to treat yourself to some new furniture. Your old furniture might not fit – size or style – with your new home, and moving house is a good time to think about investing in a new sofa suite or upgrading from a double to a king-size mattress. Perhaps you didn’t have a dining room in your previous home and need to buy a new dining set.
Make a check list of what’s staying and what’s going – don’t forget to think about accessories such as curtains and lighting – and find out what’s being left behind by the previous owners. If you’re remortgaging, adding a couple of thousand more than you need will have little impact on the monthly payments and will give you some useful capital for new furniture and accessories, paint and wallpaper.
When ordering furniture, make sure the company offers flexibility on delivery dates or you could find yourself sitting on deck chairs and sleeping on a blow-up bed for the first couple of weeks. At Furniture Choice delivery is free to most of mainland UK and you can select the delivery date to suit you at check out.
Moving with children
Moving house can be a difficult time for children, especially if they’ve only ever lived in your current home. They may be moving away from friends and having to start at a new school, or the move could be prompted by a new baby, bereavement or divorce, bringing an extra emotional dimension.
Try to involve your children from the start. Take them to see their new home early on and show them any positive features of the neighbourhood, for example parks and play areas.
Give them as much say as possible when it comes to choosing and decorating their bedrooms (see our article on Ideas for Children’s Bedrooms). Invest in a new storage bed, such as a sleep station or cabin bed with drawers and shelving for their toys and books and take the time to sit down with them to plan the colours or theme to their new room. Give each of your children a small budget to choose something new for their bedroom – it will help them feel involved.
In an ideal world, it’s best to build in a couple of weeks or more to prepare your new home after the previous owners have left so that you can clean, decorate, hang curtains and get carpets and ovens professionally cleaned.
In the real world this isn’t always possible, so decide which rooms to prioritise. You may want to move into the spare room while you decorate the master bedroom or get your children to share while you sort out their bedrooms.
Make a list of all the utilities and other companies you need to alert to your move and arrange post redirection for six months to give yourself time to get organised. If you’re moving into an empty property, the estate agent will usually let you borrow the keys for a day in advance of moving – and they are unlikely to object to you bringing along a mop and some Mr Sheen.
If you have a four-seater sofa or a corner suite and you’re downsizing to a smaller home, check that your furniture will fit through the doors and into the available space. The same goes for dining furniture and beds.
If your children’s bedroom is tight on space or they have to share, why not take a look at bunk beds or sleep stations. Use an online room planner to try out different options for laying out your rooms. It will help you work out where each piece of furniture will fit and whether you’ll need to invest in new items, such as swapping from a three-seater sofa to two two-seater sofas.
It’s moving day; you’re packed and ready to go. If it’s a weekend or holiday, see if you can get a friend or relative to take the kids out for the day. Make sure you give them time to say goodbye to your old home and give yourself space to do the same.
On arrival, check round the empty house to make sure nothing has been taken out that was part of the sale and nothing has been damaged since you viewed your home. Take meter readings for gas and electric and check that the water is on and the central heating is working. Whether you’re hiring a van or using a removal service, make sure there’s somewhere convenient to park outside both the property you’re moving from and the one you’re moving into.