Moving home is one of the most stressful things – especially when you have kids. Chaos is inevitable, but hopefully these tips will give you some food for thought about how you can plan and execute a move without your blood pressure suffering or the kids ending up in time out. In the last ten years I’ve moved a total of four times, so I’ve gained a bit of savvy into the process of moving house. Our final move will be coming in the next 6 months, as our brand new (hopefully for life!) family home is in the midst of a complete top to bottom renovation. Then it’ll be time to pack it all up once more and put these essential tips for moving home into action.
1. Ask independent shops if they have any cardboard boxes
If you’re buying boxes to move then the price can add up. Who knew cardboard boxes could be so expensive? The thing is, I run a small retail business and I’ll tell you now – getting rid of boxes costs us money! We have to pay business rates for recycling, so that means all of the boxes that come in weekly cost us money to send back out again. Independent and small retailers feel this the most, and you might be pleasantly surprised if you go to your local retailers who have regular deliveries and ask, about how many sturdy cardboard boxes you can get completely free of charge.
2. Pack one room at a time and label boxes
Pack up one room at a time and keep those boxes together, so that they end up being moved at the same time, making it easier to find them at the other end. Label the boxes really well with what’s in them, as you’re not going to have time to unpack everything at once. This means you’ll be able to easily see what’s in the box before you start rummaging around looking for the toaster or your son’s favourite toy.
If the kids are getting bored, let them draw pictures and decorate the boxes how they want to! This also helps them feel involved.
3. Let the Kids Create an Open Me Box and create a Survival Box
Label one box OPEN ME and let the kids pack their favourite things into that box so they have what they want on the first night. This gives them something to and makes them feel like they’re helping and to adjust to the idea of moving.
You should also create a survival box – the stuff you will need on night one even if you are too exhausted to pack. Things like scissors to unpack everything else, your nightclothes, some food, toiletries and toilet paper! iF you’re putting furniture together, make sure the tools and bits and pieces are in this box. It’ll be a bit of a mix-up of stuff, but think about everything you need to survive night one AND to unpack the rest of the boxes and that’s the survival box that needs to be guarded at all costs!
4. Use a removals company
This is a big one. No matter how efficient you think you are, the reasons for using a professional removal company are extensive. Removal companies will provide the van, load any heavy furniture, equipment and boxes for you – storing it in the best way for it not to get damaged in the move. They’ll drive everything at once to your new place and then unload and even pop things into the correct room. The employees will be experienced at lifting and arranging and trust me – that makes a big difference. They’ll also be experienced with the area, so getting a company that specialises in a specific area, such as removals London, is worth it. If you try to do everything yourself, you’re going to be exhausted and out of time. I think this is the one thing that is worth spending extra on as it really makes a big difference.
5. Using moving time as a chance to declutter
You don’t want to move stuff that is just going to end up sitting in a box for the next 10 years as you didn’t really need it. I have boxes in the attic from the last move and I really should have cleared them out before packing them up. This is a great opportunity for you to declutter, make a bit of extra cash or donate to charity. I’ve written up a guide for how to declutter the children’s wardrobe, but it can apply to most things really! Get rid of what you don’t need or aren’t likely to use again.
6. Set Realistic Goals
Make sure your goals and plan of attack is realistic. There is always something that takes longer than anticipated, so if you can give yourself a bit more breathing room then do. Having an overlap of a few days or a week from one home to another really helps if your two homes are within comfortable driving distance as it means the pressure to do everything in one go is off, but if you’re on a tight timeline or moving across country, book a cleaner to do the final house clean once you’ve moved out – it’ll save you hours of hard work.
7. Make sure you stop to eat and stay hydrated
This is important but a lot of people forget in the business of moving day. You need fuel for what is going to be a physically and mentally exhausting day. Make sure you get up early enough to have a good breakfast before you leave and take time to stop and have lunch in the day. Takeout for dinner is usually a good idea, or you could bake something in advance and freeze it, ready to be popped in the oven. Buy bottled water in advance and make sure you drink extra.
8. Plan somewhere safe for the kids and pets
For the actual move, you don’t want children or pets underfoot. There’ll be a lot of heavy lifting and and small fingers and feet (or paws!) can easily get in the way. Plan for a relative, friend or child minder (or kennel) to have the kids and pets for the day. You’ll have a lot more peace of mind and be able to focus on the task rather than worrying about them.
However, because moving can be stressful and upsetting for children, have a family meeting in advance and let the kid’s make some decisions. This goes hand in hand with the open me box. Older children who are responsible may prefer to be there.
9. Research the new area thoroughly before moving
Make sure you’ve fully researched the location you’re moving to if it’s a different area to where you’ve just left. Not just which is the best school or how far is the commute to work, but where’s the nearest place to buy bread and milk, where can you get a coffee before your coffee machine is unpacked, or where’s the closest playground for when the kids wake up the next morning and are excited to explore. Involving the kids in this research can help them feel excited about the new opportunities and less sad about leaving their old area behind
10. Be aware of your plastic usage
Traditionally moving home has used a lot of plastic as a protective layer. It’s not uncommon for massive amounts of non recyclable bubble wrap to be used, and some people will wrap their entire furniture in plastic wrap so nothing gets broken or scratched. Of course you don’t want anything to get damaged – but part of my journey on this blog is sharing ways you can be more eco friendly, and cutting down on plastic is a big part of that. Be careful of bubble wrap that claims to be recyclable, check with your local council first – a great deal isn’t actually recyclable!
Cardboard boxes are recyclable, and using boxes that are too flimsy or the wrong size as broken down packing material is a great eco-friendly option. There are also some really good bulk options online such as this recyclable cushion paper – just buy a few big rolls and you should be set.
I hope that these 10 tips for moving home have helped you planning your next big house move for the family. I’m not looking forward to our massive house move soon especially with a toddler, but I know that by being organized and following the above it’ll be as smooth a transition as possible for my family.
This is a collaborative post.