Make moving home stress-free

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23 Nov 2012

You have found the perfect home. It has everything you could possibly want and you can't wait to move in and have 'your own place'.

It is always easier having friends and family help you move, so if they haven't already run for the hills, recruit a few for the day.

Moving house is supposed to be an exciting, fun experience, but can end up being rushed and stressful. If you take the time you need, and do everything efficiently, there is no reason why moving day shouldn't be a breeze.

Preparing for the move

If you are single and moving for the first time, chances are you won't have too much stuff, and you will only have to hire a van to help move the bigger items. However, if you have an entire family moving, you may need to call in the big boys.

Do a lot of research when hiring a removal company. The last thing you want to do is hire a rogue mover and have your exciting day end in tears. Get as much information as you can and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions regarding the companies moving and packing policies.

Moira Luyckx from Elliott International recommends that first-time movers complete a pre-move survey and discuss any specific needs with the moving specialist hired for the day. She says you should also point out any items that may require additional packaging for protection during the move, such as cabinets or coffee tables with glass panes.

Moving house can be confusing for children, so let them help you unpack and move furniture. You are moving as a family, so share the experience.

Bradley Du Chenne, Senior Executive of Dial Direct Insurance says one of the most important things on your moving ‘to-do’ list should be to contact your short-term insurer.

"You should contact your insurer at least four weeks before the big day to make sure your household insurance covers your goods while they are in transit, because 'anything can happen'."

Luyckx also urges movers to complete and submit all the relevant insurance documentation well in advance, so if there are any mishaps along the way you will have enough time to sort them out before the move. Arrange all your utility transfers and change of address documents and have copies of everything tucked away safely.

Du Chenne suggests keeping receipts or copies of receipts for the large items like the TV and fridge, as well as items small in size but big in value like cameras and jewellery, just in case something happens during the move. He says you should try keeping items such as cell phones, jewellery and valuable clothing like leather jackets together in one box so they are easier to find.

Tip: Start packing as early as you can. If there is furniture that you need to dismantle and won't need until you move, save time and take it apart before the moving day.

It is important to keep your energy up while you're moving furniture and unpacking boxes so make sure to have a cooler box full of snacks and water ready.

Everyone has their own system of order when it comes to moving, but you may find the easiest thing to do would be to start at the 'top' of the house and work your way down. Du Chenne suggests making a list of all your household contents and upgrading it once you have moved and replaced anything.

Numbering or colour coding boxes and listing the contents saves you time when unpacking, and will also alert you to anything that has disappeared during the move. Keep all the boxes from one room together and do not fill large boxes to the brim, as you will struggle to carry them later.

Tip: Have extra boxes for last minute packing, secure boxes with strong tape, line them with newspaper and wrap fragile items in bubble wrap.

Use the opportunity of packing up your house to throw away anything you don’t use or which happens to be broken. It is the perfect time to clear the clutter and start fresh in your new house.

How to cope with moving day

The day of the move will undoubtedly be long and stressful, so it important to remember to keep your energy up. Try having a cooler box packed with bottles of water and energy drinks, as well as a few light snacks, so you can replenish your energy throughout the day.

Moving can be very traumatic for your animals, so make the transition as smooth as possible by giving them something familiar to play with, like a shirt that smells like you or their favourite toy.

Double check every room and look in all the cupboards in case there is something that has fallen out of sight and could be left behind. Also ensure all the lights have been switched off, all the plugs are off and all the taps are firmly closed before driving away from your old home.

Tip: If anything happens to your possessions while they are in transit, contact the claims department of your insurance company immediately and lodge your claim telephonically.

If you have recruited a bunch of naive friends to help move the process along faster, then make sure they pack the vehicle correctly and secure all the large items properly. However, if you have hired a removal company, make sure you are present during the pack-up and delivery process to ensure the boxes are put in the correct rooms.

Unpack the essential living spaces first, like the lounge, bathrooms and kitchen as these are the rooms that will be used the most during the day and nothing is more awkward than someone needing the toilet paper you can't find.

Moving with pets and children

If you think moving is stressful for you, imagine how your pets feel. Most importantly, you want to ensure that you animals are safe, secure and comfortable during the process. Cats should be put into cat carriers and dogs should be secured with a lead.

Make sure you have packed your animal's food and bowls in the car you will be travelling in and that they are top of the heap for easy access.  During the moving out process, put the animals in a room and get a friend to sit with them to keep them calm.

Try to set up the furniture in the new house before your pets arrive, as this will make them feel more comfortable because of the familiarity. Put them together in one room, with fresh food and water, as well as an item that smells of you to soothe them. Get the same friend to sit with them to distract them from the loud moving noises. Once you have settled in, it is a good idea to keep your cats indoors for about a week and only take your dog out on a lead, so they can adjust to the new environment.

Get your children excited about the new house by helping them choose their rooms and put the furniture where they want to, sensibly of course. It is important to include your child in the moving process, let them carry a few things and help unpack.

Also, help them unpack their room as much as possible, so they have things to entertain themselves with when they get bored of helping you with the big stuff.

Get them comfortable in the new area by playing the tourist. Make plans to go on outings around the area, take pictures and ensure them that just because you've changed locations, doesn’t change the dynamics of the family unit.

Moving shouldn't throw your life into disarray, it should be an exciting, happy event. And once all the commotion is over and the boxes are folded away, you can sit back and appreciate the fact you have your very own place. – Victoria Taylor

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