Moving House The average person moves house several times in their lifetime. Moving for a job, more space, or a change of scenery, its one of the most stressful, and rewarding times for the majority of people. From moving a few doors down, to across a continent, moving house is one of the most important things, and sometimes the hardest to organize. From collecting supplies -- buying boxes and tape, to packing your house up, cleaning and moving to your new home, its an adventure for all involved. Small and home offices are also usually quite interesting to move -- a new area for local clients and a nightmare for people that run services online, so its important to plan accordingly and ensure that you've made plans to cover yourself during the move. Your small office may be the last thing you actually pack fully, but you can start by cleaning through your paperwork and ensuring everything you've got has storage -- if you run a craft business or have a hobby that takes up space, its always good practice, as soon as you've heard you'll be moving, to start clearing and boxing up your non essential supplies. It takes careful planning to move house, but you can do so via the web at http://movingplan.com or http://helpiammoving.com -- two great sites that help you plan your move and give you an idea where to start. Most importantly, you need to start planning as soon as you know you're moving -- so that you're as organized as possible. Whether you're selling your house or moving due to a new baby, need for more, or less space, because you're renting and need to move on, or are going to let your own house and move into another one -- moving can be stressful....but it can also be a lot of fun. Five Top Packing Tips 1) Boxes are a staple for moving because they are usually quite regular sized, easy to carry and if taped together correctly, rarely fall apart. Regular sizes are important for maximizing your van space and ensuring you're not wasting areas in your transport that could otherwise be filled. On the flip side, bags can be compressed anywhere! It is possible however for bags to be mistaken for rubbish. 2) Bags are good for items like clothing, and bedding, and when you've ran out of boxes to pack anything. Teddies and soft toys work well in bags -- edged objects, or items that are likely to be too heavy to carry in a plastic bag would probably work better in boxes. Bags also work well with linens. 3) Whilst packing, it's important to maximize space -- and pack your biggest objects first, and fill space around them. Books are easiest to pack, odd shaped, awkward items such as ornaments and other items are the worst to pack, and both types should go in boxes, as should dishes and other objects that are considered fragile. 4) Mark all boxes and bags (if you can) carefully -- it makes them easier to find things in, and to sort into rooms without having to break them open. This will all help in your new house. Always remember to mark bags you're using for belongings clearly so that they don't get mistaken for rubbish -- or buy completely different bags for your rubbish and your belongings. 5) While it may only take you a couple of weeks to pack, it can take eight weeks -- or MORE to unpack at the other end -- so though you're 'just boxing items up for a couple of days' remember that you may not find it for up to two months, or perhaps more. Arranging Storage Sometimes, there isn't enough room for all of your belongings -- and arranging storage, on top of moving can be a blessing in disguise -- or a nightmare. So you need another, convenient, cheap option for your furniture. Storage companies are basically large warehouses or lockups that you can rent -- and range in size from a box room to an area large enough to store a complete house. Storage is great if you're needing to move out of one house before your other hoese is ready -- or when you've sold your old house but haven't finished arranging the new one. It saves the you having to work out what to do with your things. It's also a good idea when you have too much furniture for your new house, and no where to store it yourself -- and while garages and basements are great for short term storage, they aren't protected, in some cases against the elements, nor, possibly insured against accidents, such as fires or flood. Garages and basements also, while accessible, may also need to be used for other things. It is possible for your belongings to be damaged in storage, but highly unlikely -- you'll be given a list of belongings that you're checking in -- and you should check at that time that everything is secure, sealed and stacked or placed well. If you're moving long distance, its always good to research, throughly, by phone and if possible, in person, how much access you'll have to your furniture, and belongings, and what sort of notice you need to give -- you'll also need to work out what is going into storage and how much space you'll need for it all. If you're unsure of storage companies, and you're using a removal company -- ask them -- they may have a group of storage companies they deal with, and offer you a better premium than you may otherwise get. It also means that you've got less research to deal with. Rental contracts When renting a house, you have to consider your own rights and needs before signing that lease. Leases protect tenants and landlords rights alike -- these rights are laid out fully in any lease you sign. Leases are considered legal contracts, so its important you know what you're signing and what you're giving up. Your lease should contain your rent details, and how much grace you'll have if you have problems paying. Your lease will also detail who your landlord is and give you contact details for them. You'll need to consider what your lease should cover -- whether you're allowed pets or to redecorate. It should outline what your responsibilities are to do with the house -- whether you'll be responsible for the house -- whether you'll be required to keep the garden, if you have one -- what bills your rental cost covers, what taxes and fees to do with the house you'll be required to pay and how long your lease is for. A short hold lease is 6 months, and other leases can last longer. An average of around a year is a good length, though it all depends on how comfortable you are with the idea of possibly moving again within 12 months. It should also detail how long it renews for, when it renews. You'll need to ensure your notice period is a fair one -- and get information on how that will work. Its always a good idea to make sure your landlord is responsible for any breakages, such as the heating, boiler, or plumbing -- and that you are only responsible for minor breakages, if at all. Optional additions to your lease might include whether you're responsible for window breakages, and other minor things -- and whether you need to take out insurance to cover your property or whether that's included. The most important thing to remember about your lease is that you should be completely satisfied with it, and that it doesn't put you in a position that's unreasonable, or unmanageable. Good leases give you the power to live in the home comfortably, without paying the major bills, and those leases are also usually the most acceptable for both tenant and landlord. Preparing your old house for sale If you're selling your house, you have to do several things to ensure its ready for a smooth and easy sale. You can hire an estate agent, interior stager or complete sales teams to sell your house -- or you can do it yourself. Houses are considered to be easiest to sell when they are clean, tidy, free of clutter, and the walls are neutrally toned -- some sites and experts suggest painting your walls white, others suggest that you should paint them with pale, neutral, matching colors. If this isn't possible, it is important to make sure your walls are clean -- removing clutter and cleaning woodwork and painted walls, can give your room a much needed lift. If you're de-cluttering, you can also begin packing whilst doing so, but considering some houses sell up to three months before you're planning on moving OR up to a year after you've moved, its also important not to plan to sell straight away, unless your house is in a highly sought after area, and you've got a good, competitive price. If not, you might be in for quite a wait on selling your house -- and you also have to find a new place to move to yourself. Estate agents, and Realtors do a great job of selling houses, but in an ever increasingly competitive market, you have to do very unique things to sell your house -- it has been reported that some people are offering new cars, or paying the tax on your house for the first year of your stay in the new house. The housing market is always expanding, but you can't sell just anything -- dilapidated houses can't simply be considered 'fixer uppers' and all houses for sale have to meet ever increasing stringent codes -- or have new owners that will fix these to meet those codes. Buying Boxes Boxes and bags are the staple for moving -- whether you're using plastic boxes and under bed storage containers, or getting cardboard ones -- using suitcases, or black and plastic bags, you'll need to consider how many you need and allow for extra. You'll also need newspapers, paper, packing foam and/or bubble wrap. You'll also need tape, a marker pen and if you get them, stickers to mark your boxes. Buying boxes and containers from hardware stores or supermarkets is a good way to get sturdy, reusable containers for your new house, but may not prove to be cost effective if you've got lots of belongings. Boxes are a good, cheap alternative to plastic containers and can be bought from websites, along with tape and stickers to mark your boxes. Boxes are a great way to pack things into regular spaces and makes them easier to carry. You can also get boxes from supermarkets, and sometimes from recycler and on Craig's list. Some removal firms also supply them if you're using their vans, or their moving men, or provide them if you are letting them pack for you. Packing clothes into suitcases or bags means that they are easy to transport, and easy to fit into spare spaces in your transport, but you need to make sure that the bags or cases are sturdy enough to contain your belongings well. Cheap bags are no good if you need to use two of them or they burst when you pick them up. Snagging risks are also something you'll have to consider, as anything sharp might cause tears in your bags. Containers should all be stackable to get the most use whilst moving -- or should be placed in front of your boxes so that your space is maximized whilst the move is in progress. Moving further than a couple of streets Sometimes, moves take us hundreds of miles from our home town -- to new states, countries or continents. These moves are harder to plan for, and require much more stringent assessment of belongings, so that you can afford the move itself. Long distance moves are harder on families who are used to supporting one another -- you'll often find that your phone bill increases and that you'll have more problems adjusting if you're moving away from familial support -- if you're moving TO your family though, you can be sure that things may get easier -- if a little nutty. Moving back to one, or both families guarantees that your life will probably be filled with help -- or interference, depending on how you view your family's input -- either way, its worth it, once you find clear and consistent boundaries. The move itself should be planned the same way as you would any other move -- but remember, the more you're moving, the more petrol you'll need. A 400 mile move MAY end up costing you the same as renting a van in the UK -- a move out of the country may be cost prohibitive, and it may be easier just to sell everything and start fresh when you get there. A long move such as over several hundred miles may also change schooling arrangements, or your job -- uprooting over a distance of hundreds of miles can lead to new opportunities -- or the loss better ones back where you were -- so you have to carefully evaluate what you want from your life, and whether it would be best served by moving to a whole new part of the world. Moving to a different country or continent may leave you with language to consider -- do you speak the language that is predominant there -- and if not, can you learn it? If you can't communicate, you'll find it harder to do many things we take for granted. Hiring a company to move you Hiring a company to move you is something that you may want to consider if you've got enough money to do so, and can't afford the time to do it yourself, or its impossible for you to pack and move. Moving companies offer several great reasons to hire them -- with different levels of service. From companies who will show up and move you and your belongings to companies who will pack, clean and move your belongings from place to place. There are also more and more 'complete' package companies springing up, designed especially professionals -- allowing them to move to their job, without the hassle of it all. These companies do it all -- from finding a suitable house within your price range and requirements, to packing you and moving you in. Some even unpack at the other end for you. You'll need to check any company out thoroughly before hiring them -- each company should be vetted to your satisfaction, with viable references, if possible. You should also search for any complaints or comments about them online, and see what comes up. These recommendations should also contain information on whether they were prompt, priced fairly, or added additional costs. You may also want to ask the company themselves for references, and information on when their cheapest and most expensive times are to move. You may find moving midweek to be far more cost effective, as weekends always carry a premium. The company you eventually choose to move you will want to come out and inspect your home, to work out what they will be moving, and to provide you with a quotation, so you may want to de-clutter before they arrive -- they will take an inventory, in some cases, with you and decide what your quotation will be. These companies will also provide you with a complete overview of their insurance -- review it carefully so you're sure of what they cover and what you're liable for, should the worst happen. Small Office Moves Moving when you work from home is a slightly more complicated -- the home office is doubly hard to move -- you're moving your work place AND your house. So what can you do to make the move easier? Moving your home office, like any other move, is all about packing the non essentials -- if you aren't using your printer much, go ahead and box it, and some paper up -- keep it handy so that you can pull it out and use it if you need it. If you do use it, but not your USB, or other parts of your computer often, consider packing them away as soon as you can. You can also take this chance to clear out or decide whether anything is needing renewed. Got cartridges of ink that you want to recycle? Take them back or get them refilled as soon as you can -- then pack em away -- its one less job to deal with -- and it will save you money if you use them to be refilled (if your cartridge supports that) You'll also need to consider how you'll fulfill your duties whilst working from home -- will you be able to work on your laptop? Or will your Internet connection be completely non-existent for the next month, whilst you close down one house and settle into a new one. You'll also have to consider shipping issues -- if you collect items regularly, you'll need to make arrangements for them -- if you've got stock that's regularly sent to you, what will happen in the 'grey' area between your old house and new house, if there is one? Moving your home office can be frustrating, and tiring, but well worth it in the long run -- that corner you claimed in a rush when you started working from home could become a well planned nook in your new house, with a little imagination. Finding a new house The adventure of moving home generally starts properly when you look for a new house. Moving home, though stressful can be a very rewarding experience, but its important to keep several things in mind when moving. These can include the welfare and comfort of your children, the support structure you'll have when you move (are you moving nearer your family, further away from your family?), ease of commute to your job, schools and more. Children usually feel moves the most, as they often find it hard to settle into new environments and like, above all else, security, and safety. If the move is in relation to a family separation, it's important to include them in the process where at all possible, and ensure their voices are heard when picking a house. Often you can research amenities, such as local shops, schools, leisure areas and more online, which may ease the burden of investigating all of that personally. Highly rated amenities should make it easier to choose between two areas, but its also important to consider what you're looking for in an area. Your job too plays a huge part in picking a house -- can you easily travel to your place of work, and more importantly, is the area able to offer a similar job, should the worst happen? You can also balance isolation and city life with what you prefer -- if you prefer a quieter pace of life, its better to move to a town, though you may find that houses further out of cities may cost slightly more. But you will obviously find that the houses give you more room, including -- possibly -- a garden. With all the choices you may have to move houses, the best decision you can make is one that leaves you satisfied, and gives you the closest to your perfect match of needs and wants as you can find. Before moving anything in Before moving any of your belongings into your new home, its important to make sure that everything is as it should be. You may have had a list of repairs you expected -- or this may be the first time you've seen the house empty. Take some time to go around with a notepad and check all of the sockets for obvious signs of wear and tear and look for damage that you might be otherwise liable for. Ensure that any cupboards are empty, free of damp, mold or bad smells, and keep a close note of what where the electricity, water and gas stopcocks are. While doing this, you'll also be getting a feel for where you can place any furniture, how to get it up any stairs or even just into the house. Note down any damage or concerns you have to be discussed with whomever you're dealing with -- its important to have these notes before moving anything in so that you can get the problems remedied as soon as possible. If you're letting from a landlord, he'll give you a list of any fittings, fixtures and furniture he's leaving -- its very common nowadays for landlords to leave 'white goods' -- kitchen appliances, such as the fridge, freezer, washing machine and cooker. If you're letting, your landlord should also give you contact details, emergency repair numbers and any paperwork pertaining to these emergency repairs that you may need. You may also want to get bank details or arrange a good time to come and collect rent. Any final paperwork can be signed now, and then you can start making your new place your own. You should also ensure that the central heating and boiler are working correctly and collect any manuals for these from the previous occupant -- these manuals will save you a lot of frustration in the long run. Booking your Van Unless you're moving a very short distance and can do many hops in your own transport -- or if you're moving with a group of people (such as in the Military), or your family has access to a suitable van, its important to book your van as far in advance as possible, to allow you to ensure that you get your van. You can collect quotes online based on your move date and expected destination -- and the phone and confirm and discuss these quotes if necessary. During this phone call, you can also ask about anything you've got concerns about, if anything. You'll need to decide whether you're moving yourself and just hiring a van, or hiring a van and moving team. Or even hiring a company to take care of it all, from packing to moving you to your new home and arranging your belongings so that you can unpack. You may also need some basic information on the amount of items you want to move, the sizes of your bulky items, and whether you'll be moving into a house that's up stairs or an elevator -- and what access you have, as some companies charge premiums for this if you're using their team to move. Access includes whether its a long way to your front door, or if parking is readily available, or conversely, difficult. Booking your own van can be pretty straight forward -- once you work out how large a van you need. An average four bedroom house requires around a ten tonne van, but some families have less belongings, and some have more, so its important to judge carefully and ask around rental firms for their opinion. You'll may also have to pay a deposit on your van so you should take that, and your petrol requirements into account -- so that you can budget accordingly. These may or may not be included in your final price for rental, so you may need to look closely at each quote before deciding which one works for you. Booking a Removal Company When booking a removal company, its important to do so as far in advance of your move date as possible -- removal firms who do all of the packing and moving for you expect to be able to come out and assess your belongings, for insurance and van/person ell cover. It's important to de-clutter, or have a guesstimate of how much you'll have de-cluttered before you move so that they can give you an accurate quote. If you overestimate the space you need, you'll not get a refund, and find that space is wasted -- especially, if you book a larger van than you require. Too small and you may find that your belongings don't fit, or that you get charged extra. You also might not get to move that day, if they have to unload one van and reload another, or book another transport for your belongings. Allowing a company to pack your belongings isn't without risk, so before you hire a removal firm be sure to check their credentials and references thoroughly. You'll have items you don't want them to pack -- make sure you pack them yourself, or tell them, clearly what you expect them to pack and not pack. Its always good to take an inventory before allowing anyone to come in and pack your belongings -- and if you can, take photos. Most companies provide insurance and are consummate professionals, but some can cause more damage than the cost of hiring them, and its important to have redress when moving belongings. Their insurance should be carefully examined to make sure it covers everything -- this will also give you an idea of what they will and won't pack -- and what extras (such as mattress covering) they'll provide. Companies can come in and pack your house in as little as two days -- so its important to know what to expect and when to expect them. You will want to stay and watch them packing (and possibly pack some of your own things) so make sure to allow for that when planning your move.
De-cluttering before packing to Move De-cluttering before packing is an important aspect of preparing to move -- because it allows you to decide what you'll need for the new house, what you'll have room for, and what you won't. The most important thing to remember when de-cluttering is that you'll be making room and getting rid of emotional baggage, whilst lowering your moving bills. An average four person house requires at least a seven tonne van to move, whilst a house that doesn't de-clutter might need twice that! De-cluttering can be considered essential or heartless -- but either way, moving house is one of the best times to do a proper de-clutter -- in fact sometimes, its the only 'spring clean' that some people do. And while its always good to hang onto things of sentimental value, do you really need a newspaper from 1985 with an article about something that you needed to follow up within a week of the printing? Get rid of any papers that you don't need (though keep all important documentation) -- consider donating any magazines, books, old toys or clothes in good condition to a local charity -- or sell them on Ebay or similar, to make some cash. These donations and sales make mental and space sense -- you're not wasting perfectly good items you will probably never use again, and you could sell the really good condition items in a variety of places. You could hold a yard sale, or garage or even a car boot sale -- or if you have enough time, auction them online, either via a recognized site, or through your own website, if you have the know how -- getting rid of the things you don't need is both very freeing and releasing, and can actually generate you some extra money for the move. You could even sell off surplus office, or craft supplies, if you have them spare, making your home office move leaner, and easier. Cleaning Tips One of the most annoying things about moving house is the cleaning -- and removing stubborn stains and marks is one of the hardest things to do when prepping your house for a move. Its always important, when using these tips to spot test and ensure that you won't be doing more damage than good. You should also always take your cleaning items with you -- a box of your most commonly used items or a checklist can save you time and effort in the long run. Some of the most common stains and marks can be removed with ease -- with every day household items. Scuffs and marks on woodwork can be removed with a pencil eraser -- these marks, from shoes, wheels, or rubber bumping against things are hard to remove any other way, but come off with ease with a rubber. Toothpaste isn't just great for cleaning teeth -- you can use it to remove stubborn ink, crayon, or scuff stains from any surface -- be careful to test it on wallpaper first in an inconspicuous place. You'll have to remove most of these stains from walls before painting as they can show through several layers of paint. Toothpaste is also good for removing crayon from radiators, or glass -- just rub lightly with a non abrasive cloth, or for tough stains, leave to sit for up to one hour before scrubbing gently. You can remove unwanted paint from most woodwork by carefully scouring with a brass scourer -- not too hard though, or you'll scratch the other paintwork. Scum stains, dried toothpaste and lime scale come off with liberal application of an oxy based paste -- you can get any 'oxy' based cleaner (one that fizzes and heats up the water slightly) in most supermarkets. You can remove moldy or damp smells just about anywhere with bicarbonate of soda. Simply apply to the smelly area (or leave a tub open in a cupboard or fridge) and the smell should be vastly diminished or gone within 24 hours. The same goes for activated charcoal, or a few drops of vanilla on a cloth. Baking soda is good for a whole month, so can be used continually, not just for cleaning for a move. If you're washing textured walls, use a nylon sock to do so -- it means you won't leave fluff in your wake -- and always wash walls from the bottom up to avoid streaking, applying any cleaning solution you're using (once tested to ensure paint, or wallpaper fastness) in small patches whilst you're cleaning. You can remove wax from carpets, floors or curtains simply by using an absorbent cloth and a hot iron -- the wax should stick to the absorbent cloth and peel away easily. Finally, don't mix cleaning products -- most contain either ammonia or bleach and when combined the fumes are deadly. Care should be taken when cleaning any are that has been spot treated with a different solution than you are mopping with, because not only are some mixes deadly, but others can react with one another and cause spotting, or ugly marks. Painting, and Decorating Painting, decorating and other ways to make sure your house is in a good condition to sell. House selling has become a very competitive market, and though people are desperate in some areas to buy a house, its important you take care to ensure that the you've done all you can to make your house as attractive, safe and saleable as possible. It is said that the average house buyer has no vision -- which means you need to make their 'envisioning' themselves within the house as easy as possible. Dark paintwork is a definite turn off -- as are stained, worn or smelly carpets -- both of which need to be taken care of. On the latter, you could offer an 'allowance' or remove a fraction of the house costs for carpets -- or, if you can, invest yourself and replace them, to allow a possibly higher sale price. Walls should be painted off white, or antique white -- or possibly very pale and pastel shades if you're planning on redecorating -- you may have no option if your walls are stained, marked or damaged. Its also a good time to ensure that everything that you've been meaning to repair is taken care of is actually done -- a faulty stair tread, banister or fence in the garden may only be a minor annoyance to you, but can be a danger to anyone looking at the house. Its hard to sell your house without help, but one of the biggest tips you can take to ensure your house sells is to make sure you've removed your 'imprint'. Looking at the house impartially, remove anything that screams 'my personality' and 'my personal space'. Things like photos, pieces of unique artwork, and ornaments and more can be removed before people come to view the house. Remember -- they want to buy the house, not feel how you lived there, so if you haven't finished boxing up your non essentials by the time you start showing them the house, its time to consider whether you really need the clutter still unpacked -- or whether its time to put it in the bin. A Final Checklist Just before you move, you should go through the following checklist and ensure you've taken care of everything on it: * Have you arranged new utilities for your new house? * Have you taken final meter readings and phoned them in -- or will phone them in on the first day the utilities are open? * Have you informed your bank, mobile phone and any other companies who regularly bill you at your old address of your new address? * Do you regularly contract a gardener, milk delivery, maid service or other third party service that you need to cancel? Have you arranged a mail redirect? * Have you turned off the gas, water and electricity, if asked? * Have you stopped all utilities, and informed any tax or local authorities of your move so that they can adjust your final bill and have it forwarded to your house? * Is everything packed, removed, binned or accounted for?If you are leaving furniture, have you checked that there's nothing in, underneath, behind or on top of it? * Have you fulfilled any items that will ensure the return of your deposit (if you had one?) Is everything packed and clearly marked? * Have you paid, or do you have the means to pay for your new house, if required? * Have you clearly explained, or marked out any repairs required within your old house? * Have you left any manuals that you don't need, for appliances or items you're leaving behind? * Have you transferred things like your driver's license, visa, passport or work permit to your new address? Once you've ensured you've taken care of everything, you can move on to your new house knowing that you're able to continue your life without fear of disruption, identity theft or needing to contact the new occupants of the house with your problems. You'll also be able to relax and enjoy the move itself. Packing Time Most rooms take around two days to pack, but sometimes you also have to do other 'chores' such as repairs, painting, or replacing old or worn items before moving. Some people do that whilst planning to move, others move out and leave their house for a landlord or landlady -- others still move from one housing association house to another. It's important to also remember that you will NOT want to pack your whole house in a week, given the choice. Packing is dull for most people -- it takes a lot of time that you might want to spend elsewhere. And while it, and de-cluttering while you go, is an essential aspect of moving, there are a few things you can do to make the time go faster. Clear out your biggest cupboards first -- you can store boxes and other packed items in there -- and those cupboards may just be full of clutter too -- once you've cleared the cupboards, sweep and wipe down the surfaces and then use those cleared spaces for the boxes you're not using now and won't use until after your move. Pack items you know you won't need first -- it might seem obvious, but packing up and pouting away your winter clothes in summer, or putting away your hobby stuff stored in the bottom of your closet is a must. It means you're not living out of boxes for the duration of your packing, and it also means that you'll be able to store those boxes. Get rid of your children's old clothes and toys BEFORE you pack -- its easy to pack around small children, harder to sneak their favorite outgrown things into the bin whilst they aren't looking. It's important to remember though that space wins over sentimentality, every time, and if you're going to keep something ensure its for the right reasons. Packing might take a while, but remember, if you're organized and mark your boxes while packing, your unpacking won't take nearly as long. Packing Order Optimal packing order is based entirely on preference. Some people like to pack their living room last -- some like to pack rooms in two lots -- one round to remove the non essentials, and one round to complete packing, others still like to pack where they can, when they can. Deciding on what's unimportant and can be packed first is a good place to start. After de-cluttering thoroughly, packing any books, and out of season clothes, you can start deciding on a packing schedule. Your packing schedule should take into account any redecorating or repairs you want to undertake -- and should also allow for anything you need to use. These essentials should be packed over the last day, so don't leave out too much -- or you'll find it very difficult to finish packing in time. Wardrobes, your garage, and shed can be packed as one of your first tasks -- if you don't use your garage and its secure, you could then store any boxes there, or in cupboards. Books, videos and DVD's are a good place to start, leaving your essentials out until you are about to move. Packing your bedrooms, toys, and clothes should take place over the four weeks preceding your move, but you may want to consider packing as much as you can and keeping out only essentials. Home offices should keep only the times they need to complete and fulfill orders over the duration of the move -- and pack anything that you don't use as often. Packing your dishes, cutlery and cooking utensils is probably best kept for last, alongside any of your home office materials you use regularly -- over the morning of your move if you can -- as is anything like shampoo, toiletries and work uniforms and equipment you use for your work. Packing might take over four weeks, but its worth it Packing Fragile Items Fragiles are some of the hardest items to pack. From ornaments to dishes, antiques, photos and lights, you'll need to consider what you're packing, and how best to transport them. Large photos, framed items and paintings other wall based items are easiest wrapped in bubble-wrap and then placed carefully in a safe place -- they'll need to be monitored carefully when moving, as anything falling against them could cause serious damage, tear or break them. By far and away, the most awkward items to move are computer monitors and TV are the hardest to move -- unless you've kept their boxes, you'll find it very difficult to either fit them into a box that you have acquired, or find that you need the boxes for other things. These can be wrapped in sheets or dust covers and placed, with padding around them, in the van once the boxes are in. Most removal companies bind layers to stop them from shifting or falling, so you can secure your monitors, and computers in the same way. Fragile items, such as ornaments and dishes can go in polystyrene bead lined boxes, or be packed in bubble wrap, but its important to remember that this will cut down on the volume of the items you can fit into the box, and its still no guarantee that they will survive the move. Careful packing does minimize the risk of things being broken, but one of the only ways to actually ensure that you have no breakages whilst moving is to take them with you, or, if hiring a firm, allowing them to pack. Newspaper is a great buffer item, but remember, the ink may rub off when you're in transit, giving you another chore at the other end. You can get white "newsprint" paper from most box suppliers, which is considered to be best for packing and wrapping fragiles. One month to go At one month out, you should consider booking your van. This is important because the longer you leave your bookings, the harder it may be to get an affordable moving company. This also goes for moving, if you're allowing a firm to pack and move you. Packing firms may also need plenty of warning to be booked, so ensure you investigate this fully before committing to booking them with a month of time. You may need to book them sooner., or may have a little leeway. Booking at one month in advance (or more) also means its easier to collect and decide, impartially on the quotes you collected in the previous weeks. These quotes may have seemed a long way off, but at 30 or so days until you move, it may seem like a long way off, but depending on the size of your house it may be no time at all. If you're moving house and booking a firm to help you, you may also want to consider booking a cleaning company to come in and clean behind you. They can clean your house, after your belongings are packed and have professional methods for removing stains, marks and other tricky marks on walls, doors and carpets. Even if you're moving yourself, you may need to hire a professional cleaning firm to fulfill your contract with your landlord. At one month to go you should also start investigating utilities and other things that will transfer with you -- moving is a good time to take advantage of any offers that you might get with your phone, electricity, Internet or gas. Taking advantage of this now may not make sense, but in the long run it means you can investigate your options and make an educated decision on your utilities and other billables. Three Weeks to go At three weeks to go, you'll hopefully have finished packing your cupboards -- you'll be able to start packing any non essential belongings and put them away too. If you're painting any rooms, its a good idea to try to do so in the next few days, so its all ready, and order any packing supplies you want or need. Ordering as far in advance is important because you'll have the supplies on hand. You can start investigating schools in your new area and list any questions you may want to ask. While considering which the best school in the area is, you also have to consider how accessible it is, whether there's a school or public bus route to take your children there and whether you need to pay for this. Your quotations should be coming in now too, from those that you've requested them from, and they should be making appointments to evaluate your belongings, to decide what size of van you'll need and how many men you'll need to help you move -- or just the size of van you'll need. You should have chosen your new utility provider by now, and have any forms you need to fill out for your bank, so that there's no delays in changing your details to your new home. If you're letting, you should also have a lease by now, with details of what you are going to have to take care of on moving in. Your Internet is also something you should start closing down, and let them know when you're moving -- if they have to come pick up (or move) your equipment, now is a good time to arrange this. Internet service providers have a minimum notice clause, so its good to make sure that you meet this, or you may be over billed, or fined. Two Weeks to go At 14 days out you've got less than 12 days to pack, cause your last two days are going to be taken up by cleaning and packing bits you missed. With two weeks to go you'll probably want to consider telling your mobile phone provider that you're moving, and consider letting your regular clients know that you'll have a new address. Most businesses have items shipped to them -- if your suppliers deliver to you regularly, you will need to contact them to let them know that your address is changing. You may also want to contact your mail provider -- and if necessary, arrange a mailing redirect. Mailing redirects are a great way to make sure you don't lose your mail without having to remember or track your mailings -- you should always confirm with the post office depot in question what this redirection service covers and whether its available to you. They will be able to advise you on how best to take care of this, and probably advise you of anything that can't be redirected, such as parcel deliveries from third party delivery companies. You should never redirect your major bills, such as your bank statements, credit card statements, notices of payments from people -- or anything that can be used as ID -- with the increase of identity theft on the rise, its important to consider what you're going to be leaving behind when moving. You can't guarantee that the people moving in to your old home will forward your billing information or other sensitive documents, so its important to ensure you know what you've got to transfer and keep a list so that you can mark off what you're transferring bills. By now you should also consider paying any deposit if you haven't done so or made arrangements to do so already. From here on in, your move is most probably assured and things should seem a bit more secure. One Week to go Your final week will be filled with packing, rushing, and trying to arrange the last of your address changes. Your bank, credit card, mobile phone and utilities should all know that you're moving and on which date you're transferring to that address -- so all that remains now is to make sure that you have new utilities in your new house and that they have a definite date for beginning. The last week of packing is everything you have left -- with an eye to ensuring that you'll be able to live out of as few boxes as possible and seal the rest. By now, you'll probably find that you've got a lot of boxes stacked in several rooms and will be sick of the whole moving process. But in just over a week you'll be in your new home, unpacking. Your appliances should be checked and cleaned with seven days to go -- you should possibly consider not buying frozen goods at all over the next week, unless you're sure that they won't defrost during the move. Wastage is easily avoided and you can use up all of the items in your freezer without needing to buy more. You may also want to start making a list of any items you'll need when you move to your new house -- anything you've ran out of or will use before the move, so that you can buy more once you're in your new house. You should also consider, if possible, cleaning any rooms you're not going to use much. Give them a through scrubbing -- it will save you having to do it (or hire someone to do it) on the last few days before your move. You should also order any items notifying people of your new address now -- giving them plenty of time to reach you -- or plenty of time to be printed and collected. Two Days to go The last few days before your move will be a blur of final packing, cleaning, touching up, organizing and sleeplessness. You'll probably want to take time off work, if you haven't done so already, and devote all of your time to finishing your preparations for the move. Everything should be in place for you by now -- if not, you should follow up on any loose ends that will affect your first days in your new house as soon as possible. At two days to go, if you haven't got a van with power points, you'll need to start defrosting your freezer. Easier said than done, but it saves you having to clean up water in the van, or worse, damaging your boxes and bags because your freezer has leaked. Any food you're using now should be as minimal prep as possible, so that you can pack any tins, cans, pots and pans you have left over. Final checks with your utilities should also be made -- hopefully, you'll have managed to either transfer or connect a new phone number at your new house, so you can start updating contact details. You should also phone your doctors surgery/local health care provider, or church group to let them know you're going to be at a new address. Many people appreciate personalized notices that their friends and family have moved -- so you should send out the last of those items now. You may also want to consider a 'house cooling' party -- use paper plates and disposable cups and make an adventure of it -- you could even talk your family and friends into some last minute packing/painting help. You can also ensure that any schools, health practitioners or other regular visitors or places you regularly go to have your new contact details, if necessary. Some schools require an address of a new school to release children's records to, so its important, if you can, to give them. Moving Day The day of your move is all about getting you out of one house and into the new one -- if you've hired a company, all you'll need do is oversee them, or stay out of their way entirely. If you haven't, its important to have some strong family members and friends on hand to help you shift everything into your van. Empty one room at a time, and ensure the cupboards (if they are walk in) are also empty -- once its done, sweep, mop or vacuum, and do one final pickup then close the door. Make it clear to the others helping you that sealed rooms are finished with, so that people aren't trailing dirt into rooms that are finished and clean. Moving day itself will probably pass in a blur, so its important to try to savor your final moments in the house you're leaving. You'll probably have many memories, good and bad, there, and full closure on that period in your life is important, so that you can move on. You'll want to keep a couple of boxes, or bags spare and on hand so that you can catch anything that you've missed, that's been knocked into a corner, or essentials that you've kept out for the move -- the latter should be marked clearly so that you can find them at the other end. Keeping your kettle, mugs, coffee, tea, toiletries and baby supplies (if you've got a small child) separate from your packed belongings might be a good idea, as is keeping any essential work, moving, utility or ID documents in a safe place during your move. The latter will ensure that they don't accidentally go astray, or are placed somewhere that you can't find them. You should take a final meter reading, and where appropriate, shut down any water, electricity or gas supplies if no one is going to be in the house for a few days after you. The First few days The first few days in your new house will feel just as if you're still packing -- just you'll be unpacking and making a mess. Its impractical to even try to consider being organized and unpacked within one day, unless you have very few belongings, so you should try to unpack in the order you packed, or as close to it as possible -- placing boxes in or near the room you're planning to unpack may be impractical, depending on the size of the house, but makes things easier. Its perfectly acceptable not to unpack everything in the first few days -- if you've moved to a new area, you may want to (or need to) explore and familiarize yourself with any public transport, local facilities, or shops in the area. You'll need to go out and buy at least the basics -- saving the 'big shop' until you've unpacked your kitchen. You'll probably unpack that and your living room, and if you're not taking long off work, your home office first. Unpacking takes place over six to twelve weeks, depending on your family, and you may find that you have to permanently store items in a garage, basement or attic, because there just isn't the room for them. Most of your utilities should be on and connected for moving -- but you may find that your Internet and phone, cable or satellite take several weeks to be reconnected. In these cases, you should make the most of the change, and unpack as much as you can. After a month or two, your life will be back into its work/life/sleep pattern so consider any break from it, if you can, a holiday of sorts. Once your utilities are all reconnected, you may find you have less time to unpack, so its good to get as much of it out of the way as possible. If you are returning to work, outside the home, after a move, ensure you know your new route to work, and allow some extra time for the journey....just in case.
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