Moving house can be a hugely stressful affair. It would seem you have a million things to do, from finding a reliable (and preferably reasonably priced) mover to trying to stay sane while packing your lifetime's worth of possessions into boxes. To help ease your transition, we put together a guide of "what to dos" before, during and after your move so you can always stay on top of things.
1. DO YOUR MEASUREMENTS
Measure out any your existing furniture that you are planning to move with, then look at the dimensions of your new home. Can they fit in with the space? If not, you might have to sell or give them away. Check to see if your furniture pieces can fit into the lifts. If they don't, your movers might have to take the stairs and depending on the floor you are staying on, that can add significantly to your moving expenses.
Take stock of what you have. Before you start packing away your things, it's best to do a declutter session to throw, sell or donate things that you don't need or want. Decluttering takes time, so give yourself a couple of weekends and don't rush the process. Start with general items that you have the least attachment to and then go on from there. A good place to start? Your closet.
3. FIND A MOVER
Once you have a good gauge of what you are planning to bring along to your new place, it's time to source for a professional mover. Some tips:
- Take recommendations from friends and family or read the online reviews.
- Get quotations from at least a couple of service providers before deciding. Sounds too good to be true? It probably is.
- Have them come down to your home to do an on-site evaluation and measurement and get your quotes in black-and-white.
- If you have pets or items that require special care when moving, such as fish aquariums, fine art pieces or pianos, ask if they have experience dealing with them and if there any additional costs involved.
- Ask your mover if there are any other hidden costs to be aware of. This can include additional costs for using the stairs instead of the lifts, for extra packing materials like cling wrap, extra labour hours that may be incurred due to unforeseen circumstances or for disposal of unwanted furniture.
- Try to negotiate the number of trips you will have to make to and from your new home so as to minimise costs.
- Inform your movers at least 2-3 weeks in advance to increase the chances of you securing the date and time you want.
If you are just looking to move a couple of boxes or smaller pieces of furniture, you might want to handle the moving process yourself. In this case, consider hiring a van or a lorry just to transport your things over to your new place rather than a full-fledged mover.
4. START PACKING
Most movers will provide packing materials such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Some will provide unlimited quantities, while others charge for extras so make sure you ask. Once you've consolidated your packing materials, it's time to sort out your possessions.
Start with items that you haven't used for a while now and save everyday items for the last. You will want to keep your everyday items in separate boxes so that they can be unpacked quickly.
As you draw nearer to moving day, make sure your laundry is laundered and ready to be packed. You will also want to cut down on purchasing perishables to minimise things you have to move.
Separate delicate, breakable items from ones that can be thrown around. And label the boxes clearly so your movers will know what needs to be handled with care.
Colour code your boxes and your furniture based on the room it goes into to make things easier for the movers and yourself when it comes to unpacking your items in your new home. This also helps to make things more efficient during moving day.
Consider also moving valuables yourself. While most movers do provide insurance, the coverage might not be adequate to sufficiently cover the cost of your valued items if they get misplaced or broken in transit.
Save a couple of spare boxes in case there is any last-minute packing. Make a final inventory of all the items that you are planning to bring along (triple count the number of boxes!) and share this list with your movers during moving day.
5. MISCELLANEOUS TASKS TO DO
- Do a thorough cleaning of your new home, including the insides of cabinets, so that you can store your items upon arrival. If your home is newly renovated, consider engaging a professional cleaning service for a deeper clean.
- If you are currently renting, make sure to give enough notice to your landlord as per your rental contract.
- Condo dwellers: You will likely need to submit an application (and pay a deposit) to notify the building management if you are moving into a condominium apartment or moving out of one. Most condos also don't allow you to move in or out during a weekend to minimise disruptions to the rest of the residents, although some will permit moving activity up till 1pm on a Saturday. Do check with the individual condo management for more details.
- You should have already activated your utilities prior to your renovation. If not, do so before moving in so that you don't run the risk of not having electricity, water or gas.
- If you can't live without WIFI, consider setting up the internet in your new home in advance so that you can be immediately connected when you move in.
- Update your home address with the essential people so that your mail gets to the right place. These can include your employer, mobile phone providers, financial institutions and credit card companies, insurance companies, organisations you're involved in, and subscription services like the newspaper.
- Rope in (or bribe) friends and family to help with moving day.
The big day is finally here! Get up early, because there are lots to do.
Clear out the fridge: Place whatever that's left in a portable cooler.
Furniture dismantling: When the movers are dismantling your furniture, ensure that any bits and bobs such as screws are properly attached to the larger furniture pieces so that they don't get lost during the move.
Pets and plants: Best to leave them with a friend/family member or a boarding service prior to moving day to minimise disruptions and only bringing them into your new home once everything is settled. If that can't be done, consider transporting pets and plants yourself, rather than having the movers do so.
For pets, you will want to leave them in a separate room away from the movers while the moving is taking place. Have someone accompany them if you can. You don't want them to be startled by all the strangers moving in and out of the house.
Give them food and plenty of toys so that they can occupy themselves until you are ready to move them to your new home.
With plants, pack them securely in crate boxes that are preferably lined with waterproof sheets so that the vehicle you are transporting them with doesn't get too messy from the soil and water. Spritz their leaves with water to ensure that they don't get dehydrated during this transition period.
Pack essentials: Pull out a luggage or a holdall to pack essentials that will get you through this day. Essentials include: toiletries, snacks, cleaning supplies, bedsheets, change of clothes, phone charges, baby essentials, toys or something to occupy your children if you have them, as well as stationery like penknives, tape and markers.
At your new home: Station a trusted friend or a family member at your new home to make sure everything is placed in the right rooms.
Final check: Do a final check to make sure everything has been moved over to your new home. Don't forget your valuables! Turn off the power and the main water supply so that you don't accidentally chalk up extra utility bills.
AFTER MOVING IN
You've had a long day. Unpack your luggage of essentials and the perishables. Everything else can wait. Get well rested and don't start unpacking the boxes until after refuelling and recharging.
When unpacking, don't rush into it and stress yourself. Unpack the boxes with the everyday essentials first and take your time with the rest.
Armed with your inventory list, go room by room. (Ideally, you would have colour coded your boxes based on the room they were supposed to go in.) You might want to start with the kitchen first as this is usually the most important space in the house. Don't empty your boxes all at once, since it will only overwhelm you and clutter up your space.
Take your time to reassess your items again as you unpack. Ask yourself if you really do need them. Keep items you are unsure about in the boxes and come to them again after a couple of weeks in your new home. You might want to consider throwing them out or giving them away then.
Once you are all settled in, get started on organising your house warming party!
This article was first published in Renonation.