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Moving Day

Author: Lauren Coleman

A friend of mine is moving house in the next couple of weeks and asked me to my share my moving day tips, hence today’s post where you all have the joy of hearing my tuppence. It’s now been over three months since we changed address and after the stress building up to exchange I can tell you the day of the move was actually a piece of cake.

As we were at the bottom of the short chain we completed on the sale of our cottage around 9.30am and the sale of the new house went through in the early afternoon. Our buyers weren’t planning on moving in straight away so we had plenty of time to manoeuvre from one property to another. The weather was quite frankly balmy for a December day and so we had a couple of factors on our side. I appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone though.

Have a clear-out

After being introduced to the Marie Kondo method last year, I wanted to hire a skip and throw half of my possessions away. I was hoping preparing to move would give me an ideal opportunity to have a mighty clearout and get rid of the hoards of paraphernalia I had accumulated. However with my Mum being poorly I was spending most of my spare time back in Sheffield so we never got round to the mammoth elimination and let me tell you now, I really wish we had. I’m still unpacking boxes of complete tat which should have been sent to the charity shop a long time ago.

Consider hiring packers

As mentioned above our spare time was sparse during the autumn so my ears pricked up when someone in the office mentioned hiring professional packers through the a removals company. A google search brought me to a well-known parenting site usually known for it’s polarising views however on this instance there was no marmite involved. Every single person was in praise of the packers.
I’m not going to lie, it’s not cheap. I still can’t afford a new sofa because of it but it was without a doubt the best grand (and a bit) we have ever spent. James worked from home the day before the move and I went off to the office. Nine hours later I returned back to our cottage to find most of it neatly packaged in boxes with James still typing away on his laptop.

Bring in a friend

My super friend Ellie offered to help us with the move and it was fab to have someone to throw in a bit of elbow grease as we completed the final clean of the house. She undoubtedly made the day far more breezy and thanks to the packers/removal men and all their handiwork, we spent most of the day chatting. As Ellie had recently relocated she also understood it can be a bit emotional and very patiently waited in the car while we said goodbye to the old house and got a bit giddy embracing the new. Sadly she’s not available for hire but I strongly advise bringing in the troops to spread the load.

Last out-first in box

In our case this was a large wheelie suitcase housing all the essentials we needed to keep back until the last minute which would be immediately needed at the new house; practical bits like cleaning products, bed linen, towels, loo roll and the absolute utter essentials – champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly.

Keep fed and watered

I nipped to Waitrose the night before moving day to stock up on sandwiches, fruit, nuts, nakd bars and water as I knew we needed to keep our energy up all day. I’m prone to getting ‘hangry’ and wanted to try my best to avoid this for everyone’s sake. The day obviously ended with an obligatory takeaway (not least because we had a gaping hole for an oven).

Do you have any gems of wisdom you’d like to add to get a stress-free moving day? Any tales you’d like to share of when the big move didn’t quite go to plan? If you’re not quite ready for moving day then do visit us here and take a gander at our archives for features on selling houses, exchanging contracts and buyer basics.
Oh and another thing, I’ve noticed lots of comments on our Instagram post about the wallpaper in the middle picture above. It’s the graphite version of Prestige Textiles polka dot wallpaper which you can buy from John Lewis. You are most welcome.

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27 thoughts on “Moving Day

  1. Good timing Lauren – we undertake our biggest move yet in 2 weeksish from Manchester to Speyside in North East Scotland. We’re already here living between b&bs & self catering until we exchange & complete on theee most beautiful house (very excited trying not to jinx anything!) – luckily we have a relocation package and have been able to have professional movers & PACKERS. This is the first time we’ve had packers so I’m very relieved. I have had time to do some clearing out but like you my dad is seriously ill and i spent a lot of march in Scotland with my folks! Testing times. I’ve tried my best to clear as much to the charity shop & tip
    Plus we’ve sold our dining table, billy book shelves, dressing table, sofa etc so we can choose new or second pieces for our new home that’s less ikea and more 19th century home.
    Thanks for the reminder on food that’s key! Also to add if anyone has pets ….. pop them into kennels/cattery a few days before & after as it can cause distress. Our cat did amazing in the drive up! Thoroughly enjoying the views out of the window!

    1. Oh Sarah, this is so exciting! Hope the final move goes without a hitch and you do a big supermarket stock up!
      Lots of hugs to you and your dad x

  2. Yes for packers! Why had we never used them before!? I’m never moving without them again…. And do wish I’d plumped up the extra £200 for unpacking if just to remove all. The. Cardboard. In. The. World!

    1. So true Jo. I think we had ninety boxes or something ridiculous – that’s a whole lot of cardboard!

  3. Definitely get packers! We moved house 4 weeks ago and had never used either packers or a removal company before but they were incredible! Someone came in on Thursday and wrapped and boxed up everything and the next day everything was moved into the new place without fuss. They even dismantled and rebuilt furniture so we all had proper beds to sleep on that night.

    My only other tip is if you have a kid, get rid of them for the day! We were lucky that nursery would take our 21 month old for the additional day that week and by the time we collected him we had managed to sort out the bathroom and his bedroom enough that his routine wasn’t too badly affected and his surrounding felt somewhat familiar which I think really helped him settle into the new house.

  4. Great tips Lauren. Packers sound amazing, but I have to admit I’d be torn if it was a choice between that and a new sofa – I might be tempted to do the donkey work myself so I could sink into a lush new piece of furniture!

    On a separate note, are any of those nakd bars actually nice? I tried one once (can’t remember what flavour) and thought it was disgusting, in fact I binned it. I think it was the texture I didn’t like.

    1. Ha ha Tracy – it was either fork out or don’t get to see my Mum so I chose to stump up the cash 😉
      I’m a big fan of the cashew cookie bars but then I’m a bit fanatical about cashews…

  5. Great tips – and agree with all of that! We were too tight to spend money on packers (though I was tempted – in our case the new sofa won as it was desperately needed) but definitely get a removal company. De-cluttering beforehand I find a must, as is keeping essentials separately. I would also add that it’s so much easier if you label boxes clearly with bedroom, kitchen etc.

    I also second packing of pets beforehand, we dropped the dogs off at my in-laws a few days before as our teeny one-bedroom was stuffed with boxes to the ceiling! The cat and I travelled last and via train so he moved in straight away 🙂

      1. Not in the UK! You can have any smaller pet and cats in a basket. With dogs, I was told you can take a maximum two per adult, although occasionally only one of us has taken all three dogs alone and we never had a problem (they’re small-ish though). They have to be on the lead though. Ours are all well used to travelling as we used to go back and forth to the in-laws for weekends by train so they got used to it from puppy stage. The car wasn’t overly impressed to go by train but we don’t drive and it was too long a journey to go by cab!

        1. Thanks Maike – my mum was just asking me the other day about taking dogs on trains. Maybe Reg will be able to experience the joy of London Midland soon 😉

  6. When we last moved we were already living in the area so we hired a van and it was only a few minutes drive between the two properties. We could probably have moved everything in two trips but because of the short distance I did a couple of extra trips and started by taking the big furniture first and pretty much setting up the layout in most rooms, then taking the essentials (kitchen, bathroom etc) and doing a bit of unpacking before shoving all the remaining boxes in. I know this isn’t practical for most people but with a short trip it really made things a lot easier than being overwhelmed with everything all at once.

    1. Hi Claire, we did the same as you the time before last, we hired a van and did it all ourselves as both houses were minutes apart.
      The whole sale nearly fell through the day before so I only had about 80% off the packing done when we completed at 4.30pm (and we were both at work!) I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed in my life!

  7. My top tip after far too many moves (some when I’ve been heavily pregnant) would be first thing to do is make your bed! After a day lugging boxes when you can slide into your nicely made bed you’ll be so glad you took the time to do it!
    Another top would to keep your removers happy. Bacon sandwiches, lots of tea and coffee. Ours went out of they’re way to help us out and I put that down to ‘positive motivation’ (& the tip my friend gave me of giving them a bag of beers to begin with saying ‘these are for you, just Incase we forget to give them to you later!’ )

  8. My main tip would be not to move when six months pregnant – I did that last time and spent most of the day on the ‘naughty sofa’ having been sent there by my husband, mum or mum-in-law for lifting anything heavier than an empty shoebox!!! Plus it was torture having to watch my husband attempt to put together flat pack furniture – that’s usually my job!!!
    I second getting someone to help – we just enlisted the help of family as we only moved about 4 minutes away, but I would definitely try and factor removal men into our budget if we moved again – and whichever sort of help you have, labelling boxes with where they need to end up in the new house is a really good idea which has been mentioned above – in my case this meant I could at least unpack things which were already in the right room!
    I always like to have some photos/pretty stuff handy to make a new place feel like home straight away, along with the necessary picture hooks etc. And actually that was the one thing I was allowed to do whilst pregnant, at least until I started climbing ladders!! x

    1. Having the pretty stuff to hand is such a good point Amy. The first thing we did on the Saturday morning was go to the local garden centre to get wifi and buy flowers! x

  9. Buying a ‘project’ meant no extra cash for packers for me (also not sure I like the idea of strangers going through all my worldly possessions!).
    If diy packing, my top tip is to buy some coloured parcel tape from Amazon and colour code the boxes for each room (yellow for kitchen etc), plus adding a giant red X on sides for anything fragile.
    My colleague had a nightmare when all her carefully labelled boxes ended up in all the wrong rooms (eg. the heavy box of pans on 2nd floor!) so was keen to idiot proof it!

    1. I made sure I packed my smalls myself Sarah 😉
      Coloured tape is such a good idea. I wish we’d had thought of that. The house we moved on wasn’t yet empty so most of the boxes had to go in to one of the bedrooms hence still finding kitchen stuff amongst my clothes….

  10. We moved on a hot day last summer, I did refreshments for the moving men and gave them beer money for the end, made a box with champagne flutes, tea towel, loo roll, candles and matches, two plates and cutlery. The best thing we did was hire professional cleaners for the house we moved in to and I printed labels for the doors of the rooms so the guys knew where to put everything.
    A lovely friend arrived in the afternoon with flowers, a homemade cake and her marigolds and on the day after our move both of our sisters arrived with their husbands to help unpack and build beds (& a BBQ!)
    We genuinely had such a happy move, even the removal men said they had never met such happy people on moving day – totally due to being organised & significantly helped by sunshine & good people.

    1. Awww Mrs R, this sounds so idyllic! What a smooth move and sometimes it’s all in the attitude (and the organisation ;))

  11. In your circumstances I totally get the packers but I’m a massive control freak and would have missed the opportunity to haves good clear out so actually quite like doing it myself. I did 5 moves in 9 years then last 10 years in one place when I swore I wasn’t doing it again!!

    1. Our removal med put up the beds and I made sure I had clean bedding to hand as well as kettle etc. Though I don’t recommend a job interview /and/ trip to IKEA the day after moving day for marital harmony!!

  12. My tip would be to get to your nearest bargain store and stock up on cleaning cloths/detergents/wipes/sprays. I’m not in the slightest a neat freak but, despite cleaning our flat to the sparkliest it ever was ready for the new owners to move in, when we got to our new house (on the same day) the previous owner clearly hadn’t attempted any form of cleaning, it’s not what i wanted to do on moving day but i spent 6 hours in the kitchen scrubbing and mopping whilst the removal men brought in the boxes and my husband unpacked. Every single shelf of every cupboard was grim and someone else’s dirt is just gross!
    On the up side, the previous tenant left some gold wedding rings in one of said grim cupboards which we notified our estate agents about several times offering to return them (we gather he had divorced) after 6 months of us trying to chase them and no reply we pawned them for over £300…which i class as my payback for having to clean all his muck! But yes, bargain cleaning products were a must for us!
    Oh, and know where your microwave is (or buy one if you don’t have one already)- we were starving on the evening, no knowledge of local take aways, an oven that we had no idea how to use (and i wasn’t willing to use until i had bought industrial strength cleaner) and a microwave left in the house that was so grim we sent it to the skip, cue an 8pm trip to tesco for a new microwave and 2 pasta ready meals.

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