There are essentially two broad categories of house movers. There are those who wave the removal company off, close the front door of their new abode and collapse, exhausted, amid a mountain of unmarked boxes, wearily reaching for the pizza delivery menu and proceeding to unpack piecemeal over the next few weeks (or even months).
On the other side of the equation, there are those movers who – much more sensibly – prepare, pack and unpack in an orderly fashion, thereby rendering the house move as painless and efficient as possible. If you aspire to falling into the second category, read on for a breakdown as to how you can achieve this.
The key is to be organised and plan ahead: the more work you do before moving, the less there will be to do afterwards. There might be no way to make moving house fun, but we can definitely make it less stressful by working through a set of logical steps.
1. Hire a removal company
First things first. You need a removal company that you can trust to take meticulous care of your belongings and who will deliver each item of furniture or box to the correct room. This means that you can focus on getting settled into your new home without putting your back out from all that heavy lifting!
Get quotes, do some research and read through testimonials from previous customers. On moving day, check that all your boxes and pieces of furniture have been unloaded from the van and that nothing is damaged or missing before the removal van drives away. If you do discover any breakages, make sure you take photos and contact the removal company as soon as possible.
2. Unpack your essentials first
Secondly, unpack your ‘essentials’ box or boxes. This should have been the first box out of the removal van, or should have travelled with you in your car. Inside it, you should have packed whatever you are likely to need overnight (so think medications, electronic devices and their chargers, nightwear, a change of clothes, towels and bedding) and also added in kitchen and bathroom essentials (kettle, tea and coffee, milk and sugar, breakfast items, toiletries, basic cleaning equipment etc.). This way, even if you are too exhausted to do any further unpacking once you have closed your new front door on the outside world, you still have the basics with which to make a drink, get to bed and get dressed into clean clothes in the morning. Hopefully, there won’t be too much cleaning to do, but if necessary, you will also have a basic cleaning kit in your essentials box to have a quick whizz around.
3. Don’t forget the children and the pets
If you are moving with children and/or pets, ensure you have a plan for them to be safe and entertained while you are busy unpacking, even if that means leaving them in the care of a trusted friend or relative. Depending on their age, children might be keen to get involved and make their new space their own by helping to unpack and arrange their own things. Pets may feel unsettled in their new environment and should be left somewhere safe, quiet and secure with food, water and familiar bedding.
4. Start unpacking
Once you’ve done any essential cleaning and got the basics under control, you can then begin to work through the rest of the property at your own pace. Hopefully, you will have labelled or colour-coded all your packing boxes with their destination rooms (and maybe you even inventoried them if you’re super organised), so it will simply be a case of working through room by room, unpacking them as you go along.
5. Don’t forget the ornaments
Go for function over form and leave decorative items such as ornaments, paintings and photo frames until last; you can put the finishing touches to your new home once all the basics are in place.
6. Keep necessary rooms clear
Remember that if you are having any new flooring or carpet laid in any rooms, it would be best to try and keep those rooms clear of boxes and clutter. In any rooms that are to be painted or wallpapered, keep the boxes and furniture in the centre of the room so that they can be easily covered over with a dust sheet.
As a general rule of thumb, provided that you have the basics under control in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, you can take as long as you like unpacking the rest!