Lessons Learned in Moving House

Dear Readers

The feature image says it all! I hope you’re having a good week and you’re managing to find joy in this very strange world. What are you looking forward too? What are the new and interesting things you are doing right now?

For me life is really simple…Pack up a whole household! Never again will I say that I have a minimalist existence….RUBBISH! I have tons of stuff and then I find more………..Marie Kondo has not visited this house!

I have 21 sleeps until the BIG truck arrives to scoop up my worldly goods and unpacks me in my new, even smaller home.  I’m a reasonably organised person so there’s a plan of what I need to do and when…not quite a Gant chart but close! I don’t have the budget, nor do I want to hand over the total pack and removals to a  large removals company who whoosh in and pack everything for you and decant it all at the other end.  But it doesn’t matter what you do in life there seem to be lessons learned at every turn of the corner. So at the mid packing stage this is what I’ve learned so far………

  1. Secure at least 1.5 times your original estimate of boxes and wrapping

Buy second hand if you can but in Corona times this can be difficult. Bubble wrap is a climate disaster so use towels, sheet, duvets etc where you can. Cushions are great packaging but inevitably you will need some material like bubble wrap. Compostable biodegradable wrap is available but its very expensive. Corrugated bubble, Greenwrap and Indented kraft paper are available but again an expensive alternative. You can find these at www.ecoenclose.com

My way of managing my conscience on this one is to gift all my packaging to family who are also moving house. They will then sell/ gift all the packing materials on to another family. At least it’s not single use. Any cardboard boxes that are damaged will end up as mulch on my new garden.

Some tips

  • Most boxes will go into the garage until I am ready to arrange the contents in the house. It’s a good idea to keep boxes out of the house until you are ready to thoughtfully decant the contents. Garages, carports or the back verandah come in very handy. At least three quarters of all my boxes will be stored in the garage for a slow unpack. Security is a consideration and you may not be able to stagger the unpack this way.
  • Use a labelling system. I had a few coloured manilla folders left over and cut them up for labels. Unless the box has a coloured label it goes to the garage at the new house.  A box with a yellow label will have Bathroom written on it. A box with a red label has BEDROOM 2 written on it.
  • Tape cables to the electronic devices.
  • Don’t take clothes off the hangers. Just wrap a large tough garbage bag around the hangars and lift 10 hangars off and into the car in one go.It helps if hangars are all the same size.
  • Use suitcases on wheels for heavy items.
  • Clean out the frig and washer well before removals day in case there’s any water seepage.
Colour code labels for different rooms

2. Dealing with Service Companies

The operating principle here is ” The computer says NO” and ” No our systems don’t allow us to do that!” Organising Disconnect at this address on this date and Connect at this address on this date seems a reasonably simple request. But alas it’s taken 4 days of calls, waiting queues and reworking information.  Some insurance companies have very clunky systems so you can’t set up cover on the new house more than a week in advance. ” We’re the Sales department not the Service department.”  ” They are just contractors we use. You can’t contact them.”

Australians will know the problems with the National Broadband Network (NBN), this took 2 days to sort through.

My tips are

  • Have all the information at your finger – tips especially your customer number and the exact name of the plan you want to set in place
  • Calm yourself and always start the call with charm and grace. This may soon disintegrate!
  • Changing service plans with utilities, telephone, insurance etc is best done 1-2 weeks before you move. That way you won’t end up having to sort out why you were billed twice! Certainly in country Victoria this would work.
  • Check the service connections in the new house. The section 32 on my new home said it did not have a telephone line at the house. I spent a day trying to source other options and the cost of running a telephone line to the house. In conversation with the current owner we found there was actually a line to the house she just didn’t use it and used a mobile ” dongle” instead. Getting these details right at the start of the process can save you a lot of time.
  • Stay on top of text messages, emails and phone calls from companies. Many messages are standard  Do not reply. We don’t want to engage with you. Keep a record of the date of your conversations and who you are talking with.
  • If you can, take one service at a time until all arrangements are confirmed. Then tackle the next service provider.

3. Stagger the move

Moving house demonstrates that you really are older than when you moved house 10 years ago! The wear and tear on our bodies needs to be acknowledged and managed. Where possible stagger the move. You may be able to negotiate to ” rent” the house for a week before settlement so that you can move in and then take artwork, mirrors and other fragile items slowly over a week. Your solicitor can quite easily create a letter that acknowledges this is not an ongoing rental agreement. It last from date until date for the amount of…. This has been the arrangement when I have moved house twice before. Unfortunately it’s not possible for this move but I am able to bring across a trailer full of things a few days before the move and store them in the garage. A very kind gesture by the current owner.

On my removals day September 18th the removalists arrive at the “old” house at 7am to load. Meanwhile 2 settlements will be electronically conducted by my solicitor. I’ll clean the old house as the rooms are emptied. Then the truck heads to the storage unit and empties this facility. At lunch time I’ll pick up the key to the NEW house. The truck drives 2 streets away and after lunch the big truck is unpacked……. 2 settlements. 2 moves. 1 day…. I’ll sleep like a baby at night!

4. Enlist friends with trailers

You don’t have to do this alone! I was staggered by the amount of ” stuff” stored under my house. I’ve managed to reduce  the amount with give -aways and trips to the tip but clunky things like wheelbarrows, hedge trimmers and all the gardening paraphernalia may be more easily transported in a trailer than with your cream linen sofa! Friends are helping transport clunky items.

5. The Everything Bag

Set aside a bag which travels with you in the car. It contains all the little essentials you may need in the move. Scissors, a stanley knife or two, tape measure, cleaning products, blu tak, dishcloths, screw drivers, hammer, paper, pens, snack tubs of trail mix, water, first aid kit. Also think about a First Night Bag with toiletries, clean clothes, sleepwear, medication.  Food essentials and pet bowls and food also need to be accessible.

6. Start Early

I started packing 6 weeks before the move so I can factor in rest days when my back is sending messages that it’s had enough. Each week there was a particular focus starting with the least used items. The guest room was packed up in week 6. All ceramic decorator items were packed in week 6 also. Week 5 saw a major clean out and pack of the storage under the house and also a documents clean out and pack..except for current documents. Memorabilia and collections were also packed in week 5. I’m up to week 3 and there are rooms like my bedroom were all is packed except 3 weeks of clothes and 2 sets of bedding. all the wall art is packed and cupboards and wardrobes empty.

7. Pets

Gracie the cat has been feeling a little unhinged as boxes take the place of her known territory. I’ve kept her things in place like her favourite fur rug, food bowls, litter tray but she’s a little tetchy so extra cuddles and treats are the order of the day. She’s booked into the cattery for a week over the move so I can organise the new house before she arrives. She will need to be house bound for 2 weeks in the new home before being allowed out into the garden.

8. And finally…….

If you’re a home decorating fanatic like me it’s hard to not be able to start work on the new house. So I’m gently treating myself to little adventures in homewares stores and sourcing ideas online. Covid -19 restrictions doesn’t help! With an eye to future adventures the frustration with service companies and endless boxes is softened with planning a new garden and sourcing kitchen companies, pricing appliances online and generally planning a lot before the move. It’s the start of spring so my new trees and specialist plants have been ordered for delivery once I have moved in.  Appointments with Kitchen designers have been booked and a landscaping team I have used before are booked in for 2 weeks after I move.

It was great fun finding a stunning ceiling pendant lamp reduced from $130 to $35 which I simply had to have! Let the fun work begin!!!

The future calls and with the blink of an eye I’ll be in my new home.



28 August 2020 | Life-Style

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