Sharon Hurley Hall is a nomad who has moved 20 times in 25 years. Sharon has lived in England and the Caribbean. She is a freelance writer and editor.
The Great Way To Relocate
Household moving is one of the most stressful things you'll ever do, so why make it any harder than it needs to be? Here are some tips for organizing your move so you don't feel hassled.
If you're going to move you have two basic choices: hire a moving company or do it yourself. Hiring a moving company can be expensive, but at least it means that the hard work is done for you. Moving companies will pack your stuff, load it in the truck, get it to the destination and unload at the other end, while you and your family enjoy lattes and ice cream. This really reduces the stress of moving.
Another option is to do it yourself. Rent a truck, pack it, drive it and unpack it. If you choose this option, you'll want a truck with a tail lift to lift heavy items up and down easily. Another essential for this option is a wheeled trolley which is great for moving refrigerators, washing machines, tumble driers and other heavy appliances.
Start At The Beginning
To minimize the stress of moving and packing, give yourself plenty of time to get organized. Make a plan of what's going where in the new house and treat yourself to a window shopping spree for new accessories. This will add some fun into an otherwise stressful experience.
Does your old house have an attic, a basement or a garage? If so, then the best place to start in planning your move is with clearing those spaces out. Attics, basements, garages and tool sheds are where people put the things that have no other home.
When preparing for a move you'll want to be sure exactly how much stuff really needs to go with you, so start by de-cluttering. Lose the unwanted gifts and the plastic containers you were saving for a rainy day – you're sure to get plenty more of both. Anything you haven't used in the last two years should definitely go.
Consider having a garage sale to shift your unwanted stuff. Anything that's left should be given to charity, given away or thrown out. The more unnecessary stuff you take, the more you'll have to lug into your new home. This can make quite a difference if you're doing the hard work yourself.
Bring It Down
If you've got anything left in the attic or basement after this exercise, it's time to move it to ground level. That's where your truck will be and that's where your stuff needs to be. It's best to find a room you can do without for a few weeks. If you don't mind eating in front of the television, use the dining room to store boxes as you pack them. Otherwise, consider shifting the dining table and storing boxes behind it.
Some moving companies include boxes in their quote; others don't. If they don't you can buy boxes from a hardware store. But you can also get boxes free from local supermarkets, corner stores and bookstores. Go in and ask nicely and the staff are bound to be willing. After all, you're saving them the job of shredding and pulping.
Size matters when choosing your boxes, especially if you're planning to pack items yourself. Boxes should be a size that you can carry easily. Although big boxes seem a good idea – after all, you can get more in them – smaller boxes are easier to carry. This makes a difference when you get near the end of moving day.
Aside from the boxes, you also need to think about packing materials. Best choices are bubble wrap and clean newsprint, both of which can be bought from any stationery shop or hardware store. Bubble wrap is great for wrapping your delicate items (ornaments, mirrors, pictures) and you can have fun popping the bubbles as you pack. Remember to leave some of them intact to protect your stuff. Newspaper is good for wrapping other items. Crockery is usually safely wrapped in newspaper, provided you use enough sheets.
If you're doing the packing yourself, remember that every empty space is a wasted space. Socks can be used to stuff cups and glasses, towels can provide insulation between photos and pictures – you get the idea. Think creatively about how to use your stuff and you'll make the most of every square inch. This could make quite a difference to the size of van you need – and to the cost of shipping.
Whatever you do, don't skimp on the packing tape. Silver packing tape, brown packing tape and masking tape are all useful. You'll also need a marker pen for marking items and labeling boxes.
Don't Forget To Label
Whether you're using movers or moving yourself, you should label every box. The trick is to write where it came from as well as where it will go. Putting where it will go will help movers or friends put boxes in the right place. Preparing signs for the new location will help that go smoothly. Putting where they've come from will help you remember what's in them, because you'll know where everything was in the old house.
If you're moving a short distance, unplug the fridge at the last minutes, secure any open items (such as milk and juice) and then plug it in again as soon as you get to your new home. Do NOT open the freezer. If you keep the door shut, the food will stay frozen for up to 12 hours, which is long enough to reach your new home and plug in the refrigerator again.
If you're moving a long way, then you'll need to eat all the perishables. That's not really a hardship as you'll like all the food you have.
When you're moving, you'll need some essentials. Take along a hammer, drill, screwdriver set and a few nails, screws and wall plugs. These are things you always need and they can be hard to find among the other stuff you've moved. Add in a couple of light bulbs and some garbage bags for disposing of packing material. And that's not all – another essentials box should have a kettle and coffee mugs, spoons, tea, coffee, sugar and a couple of snack bars. Swap the tea and coffee for a cooler with cold drinks if it's summer. This will save having to look around for supplies when you reach your new location.
Follow this advice and you should manage a stress-free and successful move. Have fun!