In 2020 we all spent more time in our homes. With working from home becoming the norm and entire families sharing space for a lot more hours, it makes sense that you might consider moving in 2021. Priorities have shifted and we all value that extra space for home working or a spacious outdoor area to enjoy on sunny days.
As a professional organiser, I help clients in their moving home journey by offering practical support throughout all stages – from hands-on decluttering of kitchens, bedrooms, living areas, attics/garages and offices to packing and organising belongings for their next house move.
After moving quite a few homes – including my own last year, I have put together a handy guide to keep you on track with your next home move. Here are my tips:
Love or hate them, whatever your relationship is with spreadsheets, when it comes to moving home, a checklist is your best friend. When our family moved house last year, I created one simple but comprehensive checklist of all the tasks we needed to do. It was my one reference point to ensure that I didn’t forget anything and I could see at a glance what still needed to be done. The checklist included four basic columns – What, Where, When, Status.
Some examples of things to include in the early stages of moving home can be:
– Sell unwanted items on Gumtree
– Get three valuations from estate agents
– Check the details from your home insurance to see if the policy covers the transport of items during a house move. If it does, then it is possible that you won’t need to take pricey insurance offered by moving companies.
“It was so helpful to have Kate at the ‘unpacking end’ of the move. Particularly in the kitchen, where she helped to reduce an alarming pile of boxes to something much more manageable. She was a huge support in making the new house feel like home in a very short space of time.”
– Liz Napier, Edinburgh
Why pay to move items that you no longer use, need or love? Doing a thorough declutter in advance of a house move is time well spent and means you have less to pack, transport and unpack. It makes even more sense in advance of marketing your home, as a tidy, decluttered home will also be more appealing to potential buyers.
Start with the usual storing corners of your home: loft, basement, garage or under the stairs.
Look out for boxes of items that haven’t been unpacked from your last move!
Items from garages, attics and sheds that you intend to keep can potentially be packed well in advance of a move.
Progress to categories of items that are off-season, outgrown or that you are not likely to need on a day to day basis at this time of year. If storage space is limited, consider temporarily moving items off-site. easyStorage* will collect and store items and then deliver them safely to your new home when you’re ready – all for the fraction of the cost of traditional self-storage. For more information, or to request a quote visit http://www.easystorage.com/redeem – if you use the code KATE25 you will get an additional £25 off!
“I simply couldn’t have downsized without Better Organised’s help. The thought of undertaking this project on my own was overwhelming, but Kate came in and quickly and methodically got things sorted, including my brain! I’m delighted with the way she organised everything and will certainly call on her services again.”
– Pamela Young, Bearsden
Before going out and getting boxes and packing materials, I recommend doing a quick walk round of your house to get a rough estimate of how many boxes you will need. Open every cupboard and drawer and gauge how many boxes or bags you think you will need for the contents and take a note of the total. Don’t overthink it – a visual assessment will be enough to give you an indication of the quantities required.
Keep exceptions in mind
Bear in mind that your removal firm will probably be able to supply wardrobe boxes on moving day, so you won’t need to account for hanging items, as they can just be lifted straight into the wardrobe boxes.
Remember sheds, garages and attics. Some items in garden sheds and garages won’t need packing materials – barbeques, bikes and stepladders can all be lifted straight into the removals van.
Creative and budget-friendly packing
Be creative with your packing. You can use suitcases, overnight bags, holdalls, storage bags, suit carriers, stacking plastic storage boxes and various other resources that you already own!
To inventory or to not inventory
When labelling boxes, assuming you are going to be unpacking the items yourself at the other end, I don’t necessarily recommend you do detailed inventories on each box. If that’s your thing, then by all means stick to it, but in the interest of expediency, you can get away with the name of the room that the box is going to and a simple description that is meaningful to you i.e. ‘living room – items from sideboard’, rather than listing all the individual contents.
New beginnings are exciting but can be stressful too. What anyone who survived a home move will advise you is that you keep your kettle readily accessible as soon as you are in your new home. It makes sense to prioritise unpacking the kitchen and bedrooms as sustenance and sleep will be your top priorities after a long day of work.
Prepare an essentials box/overnight bag with you, with enough clothes and toiletries to last a couple of days.
When we moved, we just scooped the bedding that was already in use into big blue IKEA bags and took them in the car with us, so that we knew we could get beds made up quickly. This probably comes down to personal preference, but I reckoned that putting fresh bedding on could wait a couple of days (and it meant that all the bedding that wasn’t in use could be packed up in advance of moving day)!
Before unpacking kitchen items, use post-its to plot out where things will live and then roughly assess whether the spaces you have allocated for each category will be sufficient. If not, switch the posts-its around until you think you have a layout that is practical and realistic, with the most frequently used items in the most accessible areas.
Don’t lose momentum! I have helped clients unpack boxes up to two years after they have moved into a property, so my two main tips are to get started and keep going. Just doing a bit each day until everything is unpacked will mean you can relax and get settled into your new home.
And remember, an extra pair of hands is always available. From practical, hands-on support, to transport of items to charity, recycling and clothing banks, to sourcing suitable storage or filing, I am one phone call away. Simply get in touch and I will be happy to discuss your own home move. Discover more about my services here.
“After moving house and shoving things in kitchen cupboards I asked Kate if she would like to help me reorganise the muddle one Monday morning. What a great job with contents organised and labelled in storage containers. Everything is easy to find in an orderly fashion. I am hoping she can spend another morning soon as we work our way through re-organising the house. Kate is a joy to have around and really good at organising. We now have empty cupboards after a good declutter and we are both over the moon with our new cupboard space. We are still rejoicing when we open the cupboards. You are a miracle worker x”
– Gillian Machaffie, Bearsden
If you’d like to read further, make sure you check my blog post on better organised downsizing and a further Q&A on moving house like a pro.
My best wishes,
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