Claire Thompson
January 12, 2022

Ten Tips Towards Taking the Pain out of Moving Home

easyStorage offers ten practical tips/steps toward making your home move successful rather than stressful.

Moving home can be right up there with divorce for creating stress. So take a deep breath, here are a few tips to help make life easier.

1. Start at the end

Think about your moving day and work a plan back from there. Think who’ll be enlisted to help and warn them as soon as possible, including the removal company etc.

Some people work from a list, some from spreadsheets – whatever your preference take time out to create a detailed plan with dates. Be realistic. After a day at work, anything more than an hour or two of planned packing may simply prove impossible, especially if children or pets are involved.

Think about the layout in your new place when planning. Does it mirror where you are now? If so, packing by room may well be the easiest for you, no matter what the declutterers say. If not, try packing by category e.g. clothes, kitchen equipment etc.

Think about what you’ll need as you move in. It will probably include the kettle, cleaning equipment, things to sleep in and on. Keep those things for travelling with you to the new place rather than in a van or lorry. As you collapse into a heap with your takeaway pizza, you’ll be glad you did. Put this in your plan.

And think hard about children and pets. You don’t want to lose them or have to deal with tantrums or unpacking whilst you’re moving. They’re stressed too and have less control over things than you do. Could they stay with someone? It will be one less moving day stress. Book them now!

There are things like fridges to defrost. Do you need some cool bags to tide you over? If washing machines or dishwashers need ‘unplumbing’, plan this in and, again, book help as soon as required.

Is all this planning slowing down the packing? Better to do it now – these jobs will take longer and be less productive, possibly even more expensive, the later you leave them.

2. Book the removal itself

Removal companies can shape your experience of moving, so it’s important to get it right.

If you choose a removal company, make sure that you research them well and read the company’s list of services carefully. Go through the fine print, including refund, insurance or damage policies. Some companies don’t lift certain items or things that aren’t packed a certain way. Some provide boxes in advance. Some will pack for you. Some ask for full payment several weeks early, some on the day. Schedule this into your plan.

Incidentally, never assume that movers will be able to do your dates – make sure you book well in advance. Even if it’s provisional because you’re waiting on completion dates for a sale, the good ones will be able to help and advise you. If you have flexibility over moving day, you may be able to get a deal on a weekday rather than a weekend move.

If you plan to move yourself, book the van well in advance. Check what you’ll need in terms of documentation to be able to take the van, including any identity checks. Confirm any deposits or hidden costs like a mileage cap.

Certain items like antiques or pianos may need specialist movers. Make sure you have that discussion with your movers and book accordingly.

You don’t want any nasty surprises on moving day, or worse still to have to ask someone to step in at the last minute to drive the van because you can’t.

3. Services

Make sure you know when you need to tell people to cut off services. Internet providers, for example, may need a month’s notice.

Redirecting mail can be booked in advance, but prepare some stamped envelopes to leave behind for anything that slips through to be forwarded.

Have a pad in a very prominent place with a pen beside it ready to note any meter readings, and to make a note of when redirection services or cut off services were booked. Don’t let their admin become your headache!

Don’t forget to add these to your plan.

4. Prepare to pack

Gather together an array of boxes of all sizes, bubble wrap/blankets/paper, tape and other accessories. You will always need more than you think, and can always sell on any excess. Don’t leave yourself short, which will cause frustrations and delays while you go out to get more.

You will also want bin bags for rubbish and bags to take things to a charity shop. (I use different coloured bin bags.)

And make sure you have stickers, including ‘Fragile’ stickers, and marker pens at the ready to write onto boxes. If you are reusing boxes, make sure the stickers are large and clear so that there’s no confusion.

Have a ‘workstation’ area set up for packing, and a place to start putting packed boxes, ready for loading. Make it an area that’s easy to clear, like a spare bedroom or dining room. You can usually do without these for a month while you’re moving. But if you don’t have that luxury, simply clear a space. If it’s the end of a living area, try and create a barrier between you and the packing, for example backing a sofa onto it. It will mean you’re not staring at the mess whilst trying to get some much-needed downtime.

Think about your system for marking which room you’re going to put things in. Numbering the boxes for each room (or even overall) will instantly tell you if something has failed to arrive, and you can keep a note of any boxes it’s important to open early on.

And how are you going to identify box contents? Written on the outside of the box? Written on a piece of paper stuck to the box? On a spreadsheet?

Knowing these things from the outset will help you have the right things to help you, maybe a printer left unpacked until the last minute, paper and tape, or a mound of marker pens.

5. The attic

If you have an attic or storeroom, make it one of the first places you clear.

It’s here that you will find things that you have hung onto ‘just because’ and here that you will find some easy wins in terms of getting packed. (Think Christmas trees, dressing up boxes, unused furniture and the like.)

It’s also the place where you’re likely to have kept original packing boxes for things like electronics, which will be a massive help when it comes to packing.

Leave it until last and you’ll have a nasty – even dirty – shock and a last-minute rush to pack and rehome things that could have easily been dealt with early on.

Don’t forget to mark boxes with contents, even those that are the original boxes. It’s a rare move that hasn’t borrowed a box from somewhere or filled an old box from something long since disposed of. And mark which room they are going into, as well as top and bottom of the box and ‘fragile’ where needed.

You haven’t been using these things, so if you’re time-pressed or facing decisions you don’t want to make on top of everything else going on, consider some short term storage to tide you over and allow you to focus on getting out – and in!

6. Start culling!

Go through your things brutally. If you haven’t worn something for a long time, could it be rehomed to friends or through a charity shop?

If things are broken, repair or throw them out now.

There are inevitably things that you’re unsure about. Consider storage for these things rather than inundating your new home and overwhelming yourself with decisions. Give yourself a time limit to decide, for example, two months after the move.

This works particularly well with young children’s toys: they don’t want to part with things at a time when their world is upside down with the move. Showing them that you are putting them away safely means you can tackle the (reduced) emotional and physical upheaval later, and make better decisions for both of you.

Set aside things for sale, but don’t wait ‘til they’re all together – do it now! Upload to that app, Facebook Marketplace, Shpock, Ebay or whatever as soon as possible. The sooner you post them up, the sooner they’ll be out of your way and the money will be in your pocket.

Book your storage ahead of time to avoid any last-minute panics, and put things into storage well ahead of moving day to conserve your energy and to give you a clearer space to work in.. (easyStorage collects from you and will return free of charge within a 10-mile radius, meaning one less thing to worry about.)

7. Non-survival items first

Pictures. Ornaments. Spare lamps. Vases. We use them but can live without them for a while, so start here with packing. It’s one of the most likely areas to find things you can do without and declutter as well, so get packing these first.

Summer clothes in winter; winter clothes in summer; ski kits in June – all of these are ‘not currently needed’, so time for a good sort out and packing session. (With clothes, especially those you don’t need immediately and will therefore unpack slowly, make sure they’re clean and dry to avoid any pongs developing!)

Shoes. Yes, we all need shoes, but some of us have more than others. Unless something big is planned between now and moving day, you are unlikely to need those evening slippers. Pack as many as you can, as soon as you can, clean and dry. Be honest with yourself about what you can manage now and keep the bare minimum for the last minute.

Books. Some of us can’t live without them, but being without them for a month knowing they’re safely tucked away will mean a major job is out of the way.

Don’t forget to mark boxes with contents and which room they are going into, as well as the top and bottom of the box, and anything fragile.

8. The kitchen

The kitchen is a tough one for packing. We don’t want to be left without our latest gadget, but frankly, we may have to if it’s going to get to its new home in one piece.

What do you genuinely need until move day?

Really organised people will go to the lengths of planning meals for the entire month ahead of moving. The advantage in this is that you are left with very little excess and know exactly what you need. The disadvantage is the lack of spontaneity.

You know your circumstances and personalities of all involved better than anyone, but most people can manage with basic cooking utensils and a saucepan set short term.

So, that popcorn maker can be packed. The icing bags can be packed. Baking tins. Cookie cutters. Ice cream scoops. All great to have, but (usually) non-essential and great to get safely packed early on. Once this is done, you’ll have a good idea of what remains to be packed closer to the move date – and how many boxes/what type you’ll need.

It’s really satisfying to do, and your kitchen will suddenly feel way bigger.

Don’t forget to mark boxes with contents and that they are going into the kitchen, as well as top and bottom of the box and ‘fragile’ if necessary.

Never forget the mantra: clean and dry before packing.

9. Packing in earnest

Having got the early packing out of the way, time to start packing in earnest, whether you do category by category or room by room.

Give yourself as much time as you can – sometimes we find ourselves faced with emotional choices about what to keep or part with. Sometimes we’ll just want to stop and play. The more time you give yourself, the easier it will be.

Yes, we’ve said it before, but don’t forget to mark boxes with contents and which room they are going into – including if they’re going into storage - as well as top and bottom of box and anything fragile.

10. Plan your route

An early idea of how long the journey to your new place will take will help you plan, but closer to the move time plan your move route in-depth, looking out for things like roadworks and the weather forecast.

Plan in any stops – you may be glad to stretch your legs, take a toilet break, eat lunch or grab another vital cup of coffee.

For all your storage needs, easyStorage is here to help. For all your packing needs, easyStorageBoxes is here to help. And if you need advice on packing things correctly, the easyStorageBoxes blog has many tips for safe and successful packing:

Happy moving!

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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