5 lessons from someone who just moved house


I moved into my new place last week, so the excitement and anxiety that comes with a move is still fresh in my mind.

At the end of the big day over a Maccas burger (because I didn’t have the energy or cookware unpacked to prepare a home cooked meal, sorry Mum!) I proclaimed, ‘I’m never moving again!’.

This wasn’t because it was a particularly bad moving experience, it was just a result of all the hassle and stress that comes in the lead up to packing up and moving your entire life from A to B.

While moving is no one’s favourite activity I found you can save yourself a lot of time, headaches and money if you go into moving day well prepared.

In hindsight if I could redo my move here are five pieces of advice I wish I was savvy to beforehand that would help minimise some of the stress and uncertainty that commonly comes with moving house.

1. Be prepared.

Stock up on packing tape, fragile box labels, bubble wrap, permanent markers, scissors, bags and boxes. Moving companies will charge you extra for using any of their packing materials (even the tape they use on their moving blankets) on the day.

Take your furniture apart the night before or the morning of the move. This is key to keeping your moving time and fees down. Don’t wait for the movers to arrive before you wrap up your mattress/couch, empty the fridge, clear out your dresser drawers, dismantle your bed, dining table, outdoor setting or TV unit. This all eats up precious time they will charge you for to just wait around before they’re able to start loading.

To make unloading extra speedy and easy on the movers clearly label boxes with the room that their contents belong in. It’s also a good idea to put your garage remote, car and house keys onto a neck lanyard to wear on the day, so they don’t get misplaced in all the clutter and moving chaos.

2. Expect the unexpected.

Even with the best preparation in the world, having booked the mover months ago and boxed up all your stuff days in advance, you can’t control everything come moving day. Maybe the moving truck gets a flat tyre on the way, the movers are double booked or in my case three hours late because they had to make two trips instead of one for the client beforehand.

Be prepared for all sorts of delays and hiccups on moving day by keeping a book, magazine, laptop or iPad handy so you have something to occupy your time while you wait for the moving truck. To be super productive set aside a basket or bag of cleaning products, dusters and the vacuum so you can get started on that extensive vacate clean checklist.

3. Set expectations.

When moving you’re in a vulnerable position with the stress of leaving all your possessions in the hands of strangers, so it’s easy to get pressured into over paying the movers just to get on with unpacking and settling in. If you feel as if you’re being taken advantage of, stand your ground and pull up the booking confirmation email from the moving company if there are discrepancies between the hourly rate outlined and the final cost given to you.

Better yet, print out the email confirmation with the agreed upon rate, the deposit amount you’ve already paid and any extra costs. Most movers will charge you a fuel levy and an additional fee for using toll roads. Make sure you advise your crew beforehand if you don’t want them taking toll roads, otherwise they’ll spring this extra cost on you at the last minute.

Also check whether they accept credit cards as payment or if they’re cash only. Note: Sometimes they can slap you with a surcharge if you pay by credit card. So always visit the ATM prior to moving and get back up cash in case it costs more than you expected.

For an example of what to expect, my one bedroom apartment took three and a half hours to pack up, transport and unload at the other end with two moving men and a 5-tonne truck.

4. Have the essentials handy.

Have your phone close at hand as the movers will typically call you to confirm when they’re on their way. Don’t forget to set the stopwatch as soon as they arrive, so they can’t add extra time on to your bill.

If there are hold ups on the day you’ll want to make sure you have everything you’ll need to be comfortable while you wait. Make up a bag of snacks and a water bottle to keep hunger and thirst at bay. Freeze a water bottle overnight so you’ll have a refreshing cold beverage within easy reach on the day. Hold onto your bluetooth speaker, and your phone and laptop chargers so you can recharge and listen to tunes on the go. Also, keep a roll of toilet paper, hand soap/ sanitiser and a toolkit handy.

5. Be alert, but not alarmed.

Once the movers are there it can be tempting to sit back and relax for a bit as they do all the heavy lifting. But it is smart to keep an eye on them as they pack and unpack to watch out for any drops or scrapes, especially when they’re moving valuable and delicate items. You may even want to move your most valuable and easily breakable items (like computers, TVs, game consoles, jewellery, vases etc.) yourself, to prevent damage or theft.

Take notes and photos of any dints, scratches or nicks on large furniture and appliances before the move so you’ll have proof if any damage occurs during transit. Be sure to check that the moving company you go with has insurance that will cover and compensate you if your valuables are damaged.

One last thing to remember is to pace yourself come moving day. Perhaps a better way to look at it would be as ‘moving week’. Don’t feel as though you should do everything that comes along with moving to a new place (packing, unpacking, organising, cleaning the new house, the vacate clean, grocery shopping etc.) all in the one day, otherwise you’ll get stressed and burnt out.

For more strategies for a smooth transition to a new home take a read of our guide to finding the right moving company, 10 things to do when moving to a new home and your moving and packing survival kit.

Happy moving!

The homely.com.au Team

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