10 Feb 2014
Moving house is one of the most stressful things you endure in life. Yes we’ve recently bought a house, but we used a government scheme to help first-time buyers to take a bit of the bewilderment out of appointing solicitors and doing whatever research we would have needed to do to find a mortgage. Basically the government helps you with the deposit, you buy the house direct from the developer, they appoint solicitors etc., and there are only four or five mortgages available to you. So the part that has actually caused me the most anxiety is not the waiting around for solicitors or about getting the money together, rather it’s the packing and unpacking. So here are my top tips for moving house.
1. Pack cupboards and drawers first. There’s nothing more depressing than sitting in an empty house for weeks on end while you’re finishing the packing, or waiting for those infernal contracts to be exchanged. Start with the things you don’t normally see anyway. We started with our spare room, then the wardrobes leaving the essentials, then the kitchen and bathroom cupboards, leaving our big bookcase where we display most of our little artisan bits, so that it still felt like home right to the last minute.
2. Pack according to room. If all your bills and passports and work documents live in the study then pack it for there, if some of the more important bits are in the living room then pack them for the living room. Don’t just label the box ‘paperwork’ and expect things not to get lost.
3. Be ruthless with what you need to sell. What you have in this house probably will be redundant eventually in the next. Take the sofa obviously, and the bed, but you don’t really need a free-standing bathroom cabinet if the house already has shelves in there, at least for the moment while you’re deciding how to decorate.
4. Tidy the room you will be living in first. Again, there’s nothing more depressing than sitting around boxes waiting to be unpacked. Our first job was unpack the DVDs, then put the lamps in and the bookcase, then sort the kitchen out. Everything else went into the spare room, waiting for payday so that we can buy the furniture we need to make a study room.
5. Budget for take-aways and eating out and thanking the people that helped you move. Especially if you’re moving from rented to bought you’re likely to have an overlap where you’re not really living at either place. So a budget for not really eating properly is essential, for about three weeks this year we were living on take-aways, sandwiches from convenience stores, McDonalds and eating out. And of course, the best way to thank the people that helped you – a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant.
6. Try to enjoy it. Don’t fall out at Ikea, don’t get annoyed about paint colours, just remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and in a couple of months your house will be that lovely little nest you want to make it.