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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 or -- 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding a new house

The adventure of moving home generally starts properly when you look for a new

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

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
-- 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 

* 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 

* 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

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

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

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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