Described as one of the top ten most stressful life events, everyone will experience moving at one point in their life, however big or small (voluntary or not).
Although there is always a thrill in packing up and starting something new; along usually come some of the frustrations in getting the job done.
Coming from a family that has moved house well over 15 times, along with 8 moves since I left home, I can share with you a few tips and frustrations that have reared their ugly heads along the way:
1) Be organized!
A lot of people know I can be somewhat of an ‘Anal Retentive Annie’ (I need to be careful how I word that, as I once told my native French husband that I was an ‘Anal Annie’ which does not necessarily mean the same thing everywhere.. oops… and eww). So yes, being organised can sometimes be a bit of a curse, but during a move it can be quite the talent to have. Know what items you will be moving, to where and when well before the D-Day. The last thing you want is to find yourself frantically throwing old slippers in the ‘kitchen’ box and your new stainless steel wok in the trash!
2) Make a list
Yes, lists help. Ticking off boxes gives you a sense of completion and knowing what items you will be packing and which boxes they will go in will shave off precious hours of your time and make both the departure from the old, and arrival into the new home a lot more relaxing.
3) Colour Coordinate
(Useful when you are using a moving company or have people helping you). This may sound a bit too much, but have a colour assigned for each room at the new place. Place coloured stickers on each box and in the new home, place a matching sticker/ paper on the door of each room. This way the movers know where to place which box without having to decipher your handwriting or bug you every 5 minutes with question: “Hey lady, where’s this one go… it says cooking pots?”(dur)
4) Pack in advance where possible
You’d be surprised how much cr*p one can accumulate (even in a short time). By packing ahead the things you don’t need anytime soon (eg: books, seasonal clothes, extra towels, sheets etc) you can get started and have an idea of what lies ahead. Of course, there is the risk you get too excited and pack way too much, leaving your husband coming home to a half empty house having to dig in the boxes for clean socks and the dog is drinking water out of a salad bowl…
5) Fragile Stickers don’t always help
Make sure you have good and reliable movers with preferable some kind of insurance!
Because wrapping it all in ‘fragile stickers’ and using some cheap, local guy with no insurance because ‘it’s all good’ will leave you sitting in a pile of bubble wrap, sobbing like a puppy, because the bastard threw your piano down a flight of stairs (or at least that’s what it bloody well looked like). Placing a ‘I heart Movers’ stickers can sometimes help –Tip: This also goes for baggage handlers at the airport)
6) Treat your movers well
Do you need professional movers or will you be bribing some very nice friends with a few cases of beer or free babysitting? Regardless, always show your appreciation for the help (paid or not). Offer refreshing beverages (even a snack break). Very helpful when your new place doesn’t have a lift and the house is on stilts with one narrow set of stairs as the entrance.. eek! Safe to say the beers helped.. a lot!
7) Keep your important documents with you!
Something always gets lost during a move (I have two boxes full of CDs and books floating around somewhere in the world) and it would be smart to avoid a situation where your passports, birth certificates and that signed poster went missing.
8) Label your boxes
What are the main items in a box, which side is up and what is the designated room? I’d also suggest not too label anything as ‘Grandma’s Jewellery’ or ‘Valuable Coin collection’.
9) Use luggage as storage
Why pay for more boxes when you have empty suitcases handy? Fill that sh*t up with clothes etc.
10) Use zip lock bags for small items
Items such as spare keys, screws for furniture, small electrical parts for the TV, stereo etc can all be stored in zip lock bags. Attached them to the piece of furniture in question and goodbye are the days where your end table wobbles because one leg is shorter than the other..