Moving house can been incredibly stressful, expensive, and mentally and physically exhausting. I’ve done it twice in 8 months.
We made a huge move from Adelaide to the country in April 2018. My husband got a new position at work and his employer arranged for a removalist to move us 5 hours away. We have been renting while familiarising ourselves with our new town and I have been impatiently waiting for a house to buy. After months and months of waiting and being glued daily to realestate.com.au, we finally found our new home.
It is a dream come true for me. Having always lived in the suburbs, we never had a block bigger than 650m². We now own a lovely, bright little house on 2.5 acres, only 10 minutes out of town. But first things first, we had to pack. Again.
For our first move, I was able to source our moving boxes from Gumtree. A business near the city had placed an ad giving away boxes, you just rocked up and if boxes were there, you could take them. We had over a month’s notice for moving so were able to swing by daily and was able to source enough for the move without having to purchase any.
Unfortunately, the rental property we were in wasn’t big enough to store our empty boxes once we had unpacked so we had to source boxes again. Our new town has a great recycling centre so we popped by and asked if they had any boxes or newspapers we could use. They said they were happy to put aside boxes and newspapers for us and within a week, we had enough clean boxes that we were able to pack everything we owned.
Note. If you’re unable to source any boxes from Gumtree or a recycling centre, try an IGA or business in the industrial district. Think of any local business which would bring their goods in clean, sturdy boxes and ask if they wouldn’t mind keeping them for you. Make sure you’re available to collect them quickly, as they’re unlikely to want them cluttering their premises for too long. Give yourself as much time as possible to source them for free, and contact as many places as you can. You’re more likely to get 5 boxes from 10 different businesses a day than 50 boxes from 1 business.
When it comes to wrapping breakables, skip the bubble wrap and use newspaper. In the suburbs we received a free weekly newspaper, we collected them from friends, family, neighbours, work mates anyone we could think of. This move we collected 2 large bundles of clean, unused newspapers from the recycling centre.
Next comes packing. I cannot stress this enough – start as early as you can. I guarantee it will take you longer than you think. Pack away all the non-essentials, things like the good china in the dresser, excess toys, the bits in the garage, books, DVDs, extra clothes etc. Dismantle the swings, trampoline and anything else outside to make transporting easier.
For this move we hired the largest truck we could using a standard driver’s licence. It was a Budget truck, $80 a day and we did all the loading and unloading ourselves. It took us 2 days to move but realistically, we should have given ourselves an extra day. Between me, hubby, and Mr 11 (he helped for the first day then lost interest) it took us 6 trips to move all our belongings. We have never been so tired or knackered in our entire lives. It definitely made us consider living a minimalist lifestyle! A move we made 6 years ago cost us $1,700 using a removalist. This last move cost us a total of $160.
Here are a few handy tips we’ve used over the last year:
- Give yourself as much time as possible to pack. It is surprising how long it can take, and how many “last minute bits” there are.
- Always ensure your box is full before taping closed. Any empty space can allow the items to move and this can cause breakages.
- Keep soft items to use as fillers. Things like cushions, teddies, coats and everything in the linen cupboard. If a box starts to feel too heavy and it isn’t full yet, use these items to pack around the items and fill in space.
- Removalists don’t always pack your boxes “right way up” in the truck, they pack them to fit however they can. If you have a box which shouldn’t be packed on its side, write “this way up” on the box.
- Books can be extremely heavy if packed all together. Use the small boxes where possible.
- When packing the pantry foods, check every lid and container is securely closed. Any items that may drip if not kept upright, place in a freezer bag or similar and tie closed. This way if it does drip, it’ll be contained the bag.
- Label everything really well. Identify the room it is to go in, and a description of the items. I guarantee you won’t remember which box has the toilet paper unless it’s written on the box. Also write “heavy” and “fragile” on the box where necessary.
- On the topic of the toilet paper, have an “essentials” box. Keep it with you if you can, and pack anything you’ll need right away. Things like toilet paper, hand soap and towel, mugs, tea and coffee, the bottle opener, beer and bubbly (definitely essential), dog/cat bowls and food.
- Be careful with the hazards. If you’ve engaged a removalist, they may not be able to carry certain items such as methylated sprits or the bbq’s gas bottle. Check their policy prior to moving day as you may have to find a spot in the car for these items and take them with you.
Moving can be both fun and tedious for children. They’re inquisitive and love being part of the action, but can tend to get underfoot. Look at filling their backpack with little things that can keep them amused and occupied for the packing and moving. Things like a colouring book, stickers, books, puzzles, and don’t forget their favourite teddy. Electronic devices can also be a good distraction, things like a Nintendo DS or portable DVD player if you have one, or a game on your mobile phone. Just don’t forget to pack the charger, and always have plenty of snacks ready!
When you get to your new home, it will be chaotic. Boxes will soon pile everywhere and you will wonder how on earth everything will fit in. If possible, have an area to pile the “I don’t know where it goes” boxes to keep them out of the way. Then slowly start working your way through. Take your time. If you get around to unpacking the last box within 12 months, you’re doing well. Most people have at least one box tucked away that never got around to being unpacked.
And finally, a piece of advice my Nana gave me regarding moving. She said the first thing you should do when you arrive at your new home is to make the beds up. As after a busy day of moving, the last thing you want to do at 10:30 at night when you’re utterly exhausted is to assemble the beds. Best advice ever.
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