Don’t do what I did!
Plot Twist, I know! But learn from my mistakes.
Give yourself plenty of time.
When I’ve moved previously, I’ve always been in&out the same day. It’s generally been a case of moving from a bedroom to another bedroom, and you’re done. But this time, we had four years of crap to contend with. And having just three days of possession of both of the flats was not enough. We used two days to actually move (was supposed to be just one, but… See last chapter!), one to clean the old flat and another just in case. Knowing what I know now, I would take at least a week. Because there’s always stuff that you’ll need to move yourself, despite hiring movers in. There’s the old place to clean, and you’ll still need to clean the new place, because you just never know about the cleanliness standards of the previous occupants.
Reduce stress, give yourself time. But…
Don’t plan on starting to pack too early
We handed our notice in at the end of November 2016, for our final day on 3rd of March 2017. We knew we were leaving the flat, so we thought we’d give our landlord plenty of time to plan ahead. And for us too. The new year is one of the most popular times to move, so we knew that the rental market would be incredibly buoyant at that time. In order to ensure that we get a flat that we like, we gave ourselves plenty of time to bid for flats and perhaps lose them. Little did we know that we’d go for the first flat we viewed…
But that’s not the subject at hand! It’s packing! So, we had a hair over three months to pack our one-bedroom (and box room) flat into boxes, ready to be carted off to our new surroundings. The first weekend was great; we got a good five boxes done, and the plan was to do everything little by little each weekend. Then we wouldn’t have that “final push”, but could enjoy the days directly prior to the move, stress-free.
Then the next weekend came. And the thought was that “we still have time”. We had three months after all. And the third weekend roll around, as did the fourth, and the fifth… While the time tumbled on as the boulder it is, we found ourselves opening these already packed boxes. Once because someone needed their passport, another time because another needed our marriage certificate. The prepwork we’d done had been almost completely destroyed.
We were moving on a Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday night were spent frantically chucking everything in sight into random boxes. You laugh, you think this won’t happen to you because “you’ve got a plan”. We thought we had a plan. But real life doesn’t like plans. Real life kicks you in the shins and tells you it’s okay to leave it for a bit. Remember that in between moves, you’ll still need to cook, eat (so can’t pack most of the kitchen), wear clothes (unless you’re lucky enough to be able to sit around in pyjamas all day), change your bedding (unless you’re a tink. Please don’t be a tink.), shower and generally just..live.
Invest in good packing materials
Yes, banana boxes from your local supermarket might be cheap, but you can’t fit much in them and your stuff ends up smelling like bananas.
I’m a hoarder, and this is my third move in the last eight years. And in this move, we were still using boxes I bought for the original move. Because we’ve got boxes that’ll hold. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, and if you’re vigilant enough, you might get off completely free. If said hoarder-issue weren’t true, I might’ve thought about putting the boxes up for free on a local sale site. But alas, I know that this won’t be our forever home and I don’t want to buy these boxes again. So there they are.
Don’t use inferior tape. We bought some in bulk, and by the time the first box was lifted up by the movers, the last boxes’ taping had already started disintegrating. The last thing you want is for your private, personal possessions to be sprawled out on the streets. She says with experience.
The exception to this is bubble wrap. Don’t buy bubble wrap. Unless you’re sending items out to someone other than yourself, bubble wrap is just pointless. Use your “once I lose weight” clothes. Because we all have those. They’re the stuff that don’t fit, and you still keep them around because “one day”. We shoved socks into mugs, wrapped them in T-shirts and scarves, and saved ourselves a lot of bubble wrap.
And do it with a heavy hand. This is your time. Do you have items that you haven’t touched in years and they don’t have any emotional value whatsoever? Chuck. Do you really need that box for an electric toothbrush that you had two toothbrushes ago? Chuck. And look at your freezer; there’s that bag of corn there from 2010. Are you actually going to eat it? Chuck. I know you quite like having a Wii, but in reality are you ever going to play with it? Give it away.
We tried to be clever. We chucked out a lot of the small stuff. Clothes we no longer needed, books we didn’t read or had duplicates (/triplicates!!!) of went to charity, and we chucked out a good 30 bin bags of pure junk. And still, on Thursday at 8pm we were still on freegle and gumtree, giving away furniture. Before handing the keys at 9pm. Yup.
And this is an important one. There was that one time when I hired a man+van operation online and they were fabulous (EastCoast Movers FYI). They were quick, professional, friendly.
So when I did some quotes this time, I tried to get them again but they weren’t available. So I did some digging. I emailed quotes, and this particular company came in at a slightly higher rate, but had good reviews and was professional and courteous when responding via email. We agreed a time and date; Thursday at 1pm. All was well and good.
So, 1 pm rolls around and there’s no sign. No probs, there’s probably traffic.
1.30 rolls around and I realise I have no phone number for them.
at 2pm, after some hefty Googling, I have a phone number and I give them a phone. “I’m at B&Q” is the answer. Well, good for you. What about my move?
He couldn’t do it on that date, and was unable to recommend another company to do it instead. They showed up the next day and did nothing but complain. About the stairs (which were mentioned in the quote), about parking (mentioned in the quote), amount of stuff (mentioned in the quote, and actually reduced because I wanted rid of them). I have never met such unprofessionalism in my life, and I just can’t believe I fell for it. Fell for the online reviews, fell for the “references” he provided (I’m thinking now it could’ve been family members?), and fell for a complete sham of a “company”.
Don’t hire someone who doesn’t come recommended by someone you know. Just… Don’t. If you can’t get personal recommendations? Do it yourself. It’ll be a lot less worry.
What are your most crucial do-nots for moving house?