Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones you can achieve. From the moment settlement goes through, it’s a whirlwind of activity — measuring up rooms for new furniture and blinds, scouting the neighbourhood for your new favourite cafe, sending out invites for the housewarming party…And then it dawns on you. You’re going to have to move all of your stuff.
There’s no getting around it. Moving house is a painful process. But there are some steps you can take to make it a little easier. Start now for a smoother, more pleasant moving day.
1. Start early
Settlement is usually around six weeks from when your offer is accepted. Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing your things. The earlier you start, the less panicked you’ll be in those final days.
Begin with the things you don’t need to access as often but want to keep. Memorabilia and hobby equipment, out-of-season clothes, ornaments and paintings can all be safely packed away early. Anything that’s tucked away in an attic, basement or shed is fair game, too.
If you have a spare bedroom or second living space, designate it as the store room for now. Everything you pack can be stashed in there while you continue to use the rest of the house. A garage or shed is also a great choice as long as it can be securely locked.
2. Get rid of as many possessions as possible
If you were selling a property as well as buying a new one, you’ve probably already started the decluttering process. But there’s always more you can get rid of. The time between settlement and moving day is ideal for selling or donating all those unwanted items you’ve been meaning to shift for a while. After all, the less stuff you have, the less you have to pack!
As you pack, have bags ready for ‘donate’ and ‘toss’ piles alongside your packing boxes. You have to go through everything anyway, so it’s easy to see which things you can do without.
3. Pack the things you’ll need first in a special spot
The day you move will be long and tiring. The last thing you’ll want to do is unpack several boxes just to find the kettle and the teabags.
Instead, pack a suitcase or two with the things you’ll need on your first day and keep them separate. These might include your toiletries, pyjamas and a change of clothes, any electronics you use regularly plus their chargers, easy snacks, coffee or tea making equipment, a towel and some bed linen. If you have kids, make sure their favourite toys or blanket are easily to hand as well. Sleeping in a new place can be scary for small ones, so familiar objects can help.
Pack the suitcases in your car when you move, so they’re at hand even before the removalist trucks arrive.
4. Keep snacks handy
Moving can take all day. Even if you’re hiring removalists, you’ll be helping carry things out to the truck and into the new house. You’ll also be cleaning the old place. You won’t be able to stop and cook yourself a meal, or head out to a restaurant, so make sure you have supplies to keep your energy up. Stockpile things that are easy and quick to eat, like a muesli bar, banana or some pre-packed cheese and crackers.
And keep a large water bottle at hand: moving is thirsty work.
5. Leave the cleaning supplies to last
Whether you’re currently renting or selling an existing home, you need to leave it as clean as possible. Ideally, you’ll leave enough time after emptying the property to scrub it down thoroughly. But you can’t give it the going-over it needs if your mops and sprays are at the bottom of a box!
Designate a plastic tub with everything you’ll need and make sure it’s somewhere well away from everything else.
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate! Even if you’re just toasting your new house, make sure you leave time to stop, take a breath and recognise what you’ve done.