Moving house is often cited as one of the most stressful things you can do. Not only does it break you out of your cosy familiar routine, but the uncertainty of relying on others for a sale to go through is enough to raise your anxiety levels sky high.
Moving house is never going to be totally stress free, but the Habitats team have put together some of their most trusty tips for making sure that your house move is as smooth and surprise free as possible.
Lean in to the stress
It sounds a bit contradictory to advise you on stress-free moving by first telling you to accept the stress but bear with us. No matter how well you prepare, you cannot control everything, and accepting that is half the battle. You could plan your entire move down to colour coding your moving boxes and folding your pants a la Marie Kondo, but that doesn’t stop something in the moving process not going exactly to plan. Once you know that you’re at the mercy of many people in the process of moving, you can relax into accepting something less than perfection and have your plan B ready to go.
Give yourself plenty of time
Time is key when moving house. As soon as you have an offer accepted, you should start thinking about your move. Order your packing materials, call your utility suppliers to let them know you’re moving, start eating your way through the contents of the freezer...
If you’ve accumulated a lot of ‘stuff’ whilst you’ve been in your home, then this is a perfect opportunity to give yourself the time to work through your belongings. Giving yourself this space to really do a sort through of years' worth of stuff can actually make the de-cluttering process fun. Take yourself down a rabbit-hole into a world of memories that your belongings might trigger for you and, with time on your side, you can decide what you can’t bear to be parted from, and what you should have chucked years ago.
Write yourself a checklist
Have you ever woken up in the night worrying about something you might forget in the morning? Having a house move checklist is going to give you a better night’s sleep. If you know you have everything involved in your move written down, you know it’s just a case of methodically working through that list, without the risk of anything slipping through the net.
There are some brilliant house move lists online, including everything from confirming a move date, to who you need to contact to let them know you’re changing your address. We love the Post Office list, because who’s more organised than a postie right?!
Take it room by room, day by day
When time is on your side, you won’t have that awful feeling of just shoving everything you can in boxes and worrying about it when you arrive at your new digs. The luxury of time will allow you to pack in a methodical and hassle free way. You could take a top-down approach – start with the loft, pack up, then move down through the house. Alternatively, get the room you’re dreading over with first and each room from then on will feel easier than the one before.
The way you pack is going to be a total game changer. Simply just having good packing materials at your disposal is going to help you tremendously. Get yourself some sturdy boxes, tape, pens and labels as a starting point. Then take it up a notch and become the Jedi Master of packing. Box clever. Keep clothes on hangers and use cardboard wardrobe boxes so you can literally just pick up your clothes and hang them straight up crease-free the other end. When you take apart furniture, put the screws into labelled freezer bags and tape them to their item of furniture so they don’t get lost. Make sure your bathroom essentials are plastic wrapped to avoid any nasty leakages. Take photos of fragile items in case you’re using a removal firm and things are broken in transit.
Pack a moving day box
On that note, make sure you have a box for moving day that contains your absolute essentials. Corkscrew, wine glass, chocolate? Ok, more like a change of clothes for you and the family, important documents, kettle and tea bags, loo roll, phone chargers and essential medications. If you have kids, don’t forget this might be a tough day for them too. Pack their favourite toys so that when you arrive at your new place, they have something that immediately makes them feel at home.
We all lead busy lives, and so sometimes it’s better to invest in some outsourcing to make life a little bit easier.
One of the most obvious services to outsource is your packing and moving. A removals firm can be pricey, but if you’ve used the Habitats platform, you’re likely to have saved thousands in the moving process anyway, so you could have a bit of spare cash to spend on this little bit of luxury. Prices from removal firms can vary wildly, so make sure you get a few quotes so you can make an informed choice and go with a reputable firm so you know your belongings are in good hands.
If you have pets, it might be worth sending them on a little ‘vacay’ whilst you’re in the depths of the house move. Same with kids – they don’t need the upheaval of moving day, and you sure don’t need them under your feet on such a physically and mentally demanding day – so ship them to their grandparents or friends, and just try and remember to pick them up at some point.
Think about new home essentials
When you arrive at your shiny new home and turn the key in the door, you will inevitably feel a well-deserved sense of smugness at finally getting to this point in a very long journey. Now imagine the sense of satisfaction if you’ve gone a step futher. You contacted the previous owners weeks ago to get curtain measurements so you’re not spending your first night living in a goldfish bowl. You’ve already arranged to have the internet sorted. You’ve found the perfect takeaway place for your first celebratory meal after a long day. Imagining yourself on day one in your new home will give you the chance to anticipate what you might need to arrange before you get there.
Be kind to the newbies
Finally, paying it forward to the people moving into your current house is the perfect way to leave your house with a warm fuzzy feeling. Leave them a card welcoming them in, put all the keys in an easy to find place, and make sure all of the manuals to your appliances are present and correct. Doing this will cement your reputation as a good egg, and it’s also the cherry on top of a great sale.
There’s no doubt that moving house is an exhausting and all-consuming business, but the stress factor doesn’t have to be through the roof. If you’re about to move, we hope these Habitats hacks will give you a helping hand. Give yourself the gift of time, be kind to yourself and lower your expectations, and think beyond just the packing box. Happy moving, and we hope you love your new home.