When you’re moving house there can often be a great deal of uncertainty involved, especially if you are in England and involved in a chain. It can be difficult to know exactly when to pack up. If you do it too soon you can end up leaving yourself without essentials for an extended period. However, if you leave it until very late, you may find yourself in a last minute dash to get everything packed up for your onward move. As with everything, the trick lies in good planning and organisation.
Sort your stuff into categories
Allocate categories to all your possessions, for example, consider what you will definitely need in the next few weeks (essentials), what you might need (desirables), and what you can relatively easily do without (extras). Now pack accordingly. Pack the things you need least first, and keep going until all your belongings are packed.
Create a moving-day box
Additionally, you might find it helpful to have a last minute box, we call it a “welcome pack” to take with you. This is useful when you arrive at your new house, which most likely will be bare. We include a kettle, mugs, tea bags, personal toiletries and a change of clothing. We also take a cool bag with things like sandwiches and juice (and a bottle of fizz!). Plus we have a basic tool box with us as it can be very frustrating to be unable to fix simple things just for the lack of a basic screwdriver. If you have children, you may also want to pack their favourite toys or something to keep them amused and help them to settle.
Make an inventory of everything you pack. In the unfortunate event of something going wrong, this will be useful for making any insurance claims. And if everything goes smoothly, you’ll find it invaluable to know exactly what is in each box so you don’t have to go rummaging through various boxes desperately looking for some item you’ve suddenly realised that you need.
Each box should be clearly marked with a number and the room for which it’s destined. The removal people will then do all the carrying of heavy items to the correct rooms. This can save you a lot of heavy lifting!
Use sturdy, stackable boxes
Good packing boxes are readily available to buy online and from specialist companies. Most self-store companies also sell them. It’s also worth keeping an eye of places such as Freecycle and Preloved because people quite often give their moving boxes away, especially if they don’t have room to store them.
Make sure that the boxes are strong enough to be stacked. Stacked boxes take up a lot less floor space, which is also a plus for getting your stuff into the removal van.
Pack the boxes sensibly
Don’t overload the boxes and they are more likely to become damaged. Additionally, the removal guys won’t thank you for making their lives difficult with over-heavy boxes. Books can be very heavy, so I either use the smallest size of box for them, or I put books, evenly-distributed on the bottom of a larger box and then top it up with bulkier but lighter items. For example, I might put my cookbooks on the bottom and fill up the box with lightweight Tupperware containers or kitchen cloths. Avoid leaving boxes unfilled. Full boxes are stronger, so pad them out with packing materials if necessary.
Think about decluttering
As you pack, ask yourself whether things are really necessary. Do you really want these old shoes you haven’t worn for years? What about the waffle maker that’s been at the back of the cupboard since a week after it was bought? You might even be able to make some money by selling some of your unwanted items on eBay or Preloved.
If you’re moving the contents of your loft as well, ask yourself if it’s really necessary to move unwanted stuff from one loft to another. It’s a good time for a big clear out!
Finally, don’t stress about it. Try to relax. Even when there are unforeseen problems, things usually turn out all right in the end.