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Moving? How To Pack & Unpack Without The Dread And Horror. Part 1. Planning.

Moving house is massive. It’s a whole job! A project manager would come in handy right? Well guess what? That’s YOU!

Smart packing for your move will save you HOURS of work and avoid so much stress (you could do without those few extra grey hairs right?) So let’s assume you’ve decluttered like a mother (Yes that’s a thing. Mother’s are spectacular declutterer’s in my experience) BEFORE packing.

The Tidy Lady

Audit your new house.

Work out what you and your family are going to need in the first few days and the first couple of weeks. Working out what needs to be unpacked first is a life saver. Hopefully you get a chance to view the inside at least once before moving in. This is when you plan your moving day kit and prepare for the steps below.

Give each room in the new house a name.

Label your boxes accordingly and label the doors to each room too. This makes it so much easier for anyone helping to put the boxes in the right place. You can use masking tape, or big Post-its on the doors. A big sticker or big piece of packing tape and a permanent marker is all you need for the boxes. Big labels are good, small labels not so much.

Plan furniture placement.

Think about the location of the larger pieces of furniture, shelving or appliances that will be going in each room. They need to go in first and if you can get the moving people to put them in the right place first time, it’ll save you doing yourself an injury later on.

Make a mental map or a rough sketch of the floor plan of the house with the spot for each piece clearly marked. Someone will need to direct the movers, either in a briefing when they arrive or as they unload. Check that the larger things will fit through doorways, stairs and elevators. Also think about exterior access.

Assign a spot in each room for boxes.

They need to be out of your way when they’re being moved into the room and when you’re unpacking them. The last thing you need is to be tripping over boxes as they’re being stacked, and you need to move around a bit when you’re unpacking.

Prioritise your boxes.

You’ll have things you’ll need pretty soon after you move in, and things you probably won’t. You can be smart with coloured labels or use plastic boxes for the important stuff (you can always reuse or resell them). You’ll have Essentials, Important and Not Important for each room. For example, the kitchen:

  • Essential: Kettle, toaster, plates and bowls, cutlery.
  • Important: Blender, pots and pans, rice cooker.
  • Not Important: Crystal trifle bowl, cake pans, gadgets.

You don’t have to list everything in every box (unless you want to).

If you want to, you can use

  • Big stickers, these make it super easy to locate the list.
  • Write directly on the box.
  • Take photos of the contents.
  • Write it on a piece of paper and pop it inside the box.
  • Keep a numbered list of the contents on your phone or notebook and just number the boxes.

An alternative is to just write a general description on the box. This is especially handy if you’re mixing things up a little. It’s a really good idea to write in the same place on every box, it saves hunting for it.

Keep younger kids out of the house until you’re ready.

Arrange care and sleepovers. The longer the better, but if you can only manage a few hours, make it during the actual move and unpacking of your Essentials boxes. It’s just safer that way and you can concentrate. Older kids can be assigned jobs including unpacking their own stuff.

Takeaways are your friend.

Do NOT feel guilty for feeding your family on takeaways over your moving days and nights. This includes the nights before and after the actual move. No one gets a medal for exhausting themselves during one of the most stressful life events.

Get help.

There’s also no reason you should do everything yourself. If you can budget for help it will make the whole process so much faster, smoother, and less traumatic. You’ll avoid the irritation and mortification of unpacked boxes cluttering-up your lovely new home six months later.

  • Hire a mover with a good reputation. They are worth every penny.
  • Ask your family and friends for help. Yes, it’s a big ask, but some of them might be very willing to help out with a bit of the effort.
  • Get an unpacking service. Ask your movers or Google it. They are worth their weight in gold.
  • Organise a storage unit. Beware the Storage Black Hole, it costs money. It may turn out to be the ultimate decluttering tool. If there are things still in there in six months time, maybe you never needed them in the first place.
  • Hire a Professional Organiser to work with you. We love this stuff.

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