Moving house is an inevitable part of our lives and can be very stressful without a little planning. There is a lot to consider, whether you’re moving across town, to a new town/city or even to a new country and each will require a different plan of attack. We hope the following tips will take some of that stress away and make your next move a whole lot easier.
- Plan to start early
One of the easiest, quickest and most foolproof ways to reduce the stress involved in moving is to plan the move early. Leaving things to the last minute will ultimately result in things being forgotten and unnecessary worry. Start writing a list of the things you need to get done before moving day and add our top tips to your list.
- Consider the pros and cons of using a moving company vs. moving yourself
This really depends on how far you are moving, how many household items you need to move and what help you might have from friends and family on moving day. Having a moving company take care of the entire process from packing to moving to delivery (and even unpacking in your new home) is certainly appealing but it also comes at a price.
If you’re confident of being able to move all your household effects yourself and have given yourself plenty of time to organise the move, this is also a good (and cheaper) option.
- Clear out and declutter before you move
Planning your move in advance will give you the opportunity to clear out any items that you no longer use or need. This can save cost, if using a moving company, and means that you won’t end up with boxes of unnecessary items that never get unpacked at your new home.
Consider donating goods to neighbours or to charity stores (many will come and collect) and perhaps have a garage sale or list any items of value that you no longer need on Trade Me.
- Essentials first
Right before you pack up your household items, consider what essential items each family member will need for the first few days in the new house and pack those into bags and keep separate from the packing boxes. This way you’ll have all you need close-to-hand when you first arrive at your new home. Also remember to keep all important documents and valuables with you rather than packed away with general household items.
- Packing considerations
Give some consideration to a zero-waste move if appropriate. What do you already own, or can borrow, that you can pack things into? Baskets, bags, suitcases. Source boxes from local shops/supermarkets and save boxes from previous purchases. Wrap delicate items in clothes, tea towels, face cloths, blankets or newspaper (and remember to recycle again after you’ve finished unpacking). Moving companies typically wrap in plastic wrap to ‘protect’ furniture and they also use a lot of excess packaging material that possibly can’t be recycled such as bubble wrap and polystyrene so it pays to ask if they offer other environmentally friendly alternatives.
Pack and then unpack the kitchen first — particularly important with little ones — so that no one goes hungry throughout the moving process! (Bonus tip: if you go with a moving company, the ‘strongarms’ you’ve entrusted with your prized possessions will be very appreciative and perhaps even a little more careful with a stomach full of snacks and cool water.)
- Plan where things belong in the new house
If you have access before moving day — take photos, measure spaces and assign cupboards for your items. As you pack, number and label your boxes and try a colour coding system (along with a manifest) that makes it easy to know which boxes belong in which rooms in the new house.
- Cancel and arrange insurance
Cancel insurance, including house and contents, at your old address and rearrange cover at the new address. Also check that your household goods will be covered in transit from the old house to the new.
- Switch utility companies
Take a final reading of your electricity and/or gas meters on the day that you leave your old address and make sure you record readings at your new property. Take all the hassle out of ringing around utility companies by using a free service such as Moving Hub. They can arrange connections on your behalf and will organise quotes for anything else you might require. Paid for by the suppliers that you choose to connect with, this really is a service worth checking out.
- Change your address
NZ Post offer some great free services for people moving house including postage-free change of address cards that you can send out to anyone within NZ, a mail redirection and a change of address service that can update your personal information with whole host of NZ organisations. Pay attention to how long these last before assuming redirections will be permanent.
Don’t forget to also cancel or redirect your newspaper delivery if you still receive the good ole fashioned paper version.
- Clean/repair your house and tidy your yard before moving out
Save time and do a deep clean/tidy (including the stove/oven) at least a week out from moving. That way you won’t be faced with a huge clean on moving day or having to go back and clean after you’ve moved. If you’re renting, take photos of the clean house, recent repairs and tidy yard for proof and to facilitate the refund of your bond.
Use the last few days to run down the food stocks in your refrigerator so that you can give it a good clean and don’t forget to defrost your freezer the day before moving.
- Clean/repair your new house before you move in
If you have access before moving day it’s a great idea to get in and give the house a good clean so that you can move furniture into place and stock cupboards as soon as you walk in the door. If you’re renting, take photos of anything that doesn’t look clean or is in disrepair so that you have proof for your landlord of the state of the property before you took over the tenancy.
- Kids and Pets
And finally, it’s not that we think kids and pets should be treated the same (?) however, it’s important that you make allowances on moving day for both. Consider asking friends or family to take care of little ones (or schedule the move for a school/day care day) and think about putting pets into boarding houses for a few days so that you have time to spend with them in the new house to help them acclimatise. We’ve all heard the stories of the cats travelling miles to get ‘home’ after being displaced, so considering their well-being is crucial at this time.