Packing up for a House Move

Moving home boxes

Moving house poses some unique challenges, but it’s possible to hugely reduce the stress of moving with careful planning and organisation.

Once you have a provisional entry date for your new home, it’s important to set aside time each week to pack up your belongings in an orderly fashion…

A moving story

Firstly, contact a few removal firms and invite them round to give you a quote (not an estimate) for how much they’d charge to relocate everything you own. More conscientious companies will lend you storage containers prior to moving day, in the form of collapsible cardboard boxes or large plastic tubs with lids. Hiring these makes more sense than buying them. Never pack things in bags or black sacks, since they don’t stack and do tear and split.

Boxing clever

If your chosen removal firm doesn’t supply cardboard boxes, source them from an online retailer or freebie sites like Gumtree and Freecycle. Purchase several rolls of parcel tape, a bale of bubble wrap and a pocket-sized notepad. Write a unique number on all four sides of each box, or use sticky labels if the boxes are on loan. Whenever you put something in that box, write it down in the notepad and give each box its own page. Keep the pad handy – it’s amazing how often you’ll need to find something that’s already been packed.

Work inwards

Before tackling specific rooms, clear out every cupboard, attic and outbuilding. Be ruthless about throwing things away – if it’s been untouched for a year, it can probably be donated to a charity shop. Car boot sales are great for flogging bits and pieces, and the upcycling community embraces many unwanted old possessions. Start by packing items you can live without temporarily, like books and DVDs. The kitchen is usually a last-minute job, but planning meals in advance helps to use up as many store-cupboard items as possible. Frozen or refrigerated foods should also be run down to the bare minimum, to minimise wastage and avoid transporting (or binning) half-finished jars and packets.

One room at a time

Allocate room-specific items to each box, and write on your pad which boxes belong to specific apartments. Asking the removal men to take boxes of cutlery and crockery into the new kitchen makes them easier to unpack. Write ‘Fragile’ in large letters on every side of boxes containing delicate items, which should be wrapped in old newspaper, tea towels or bubble wrap. Place light objects on top of heavier ones to standardise the weight of each box. Once it’s full, seal it at the top and bottom with parcel tape and stack it in a neat tower. It’s also advisable to take handles off drawer units and buy plastic corner protectors for sharp-edged furniture, so they don’t get damaged in transit.

First among sequels

Make a ‘first day’ box with any items you might want straight away at your new home. Suggestions include kitchen and loo rolls, cleaning materials, pre-made sandwiches and tea-making equipment. Transport this box yourself, so if the removal men decide to knock off for lunch en route (which they often do), you’ll be able to start making your new house a home…

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