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Movers and Shakers

'Pack all the chargers and remotes in one box': 8 homeowners share tips for doing moving day right

Plus a few mistakes they’ve learned from along the way.

MOVING INTO A NEW place is exciting, but it’s also stressful, hectic and at times overwhelming.

Packing, purging, cleaning, and then unpacking into a new place that’s a new size or shape can be an exhausting process, physically and mentally.

Likewise, the process of putting your own stamp on your new home takes time – and that’s true whether you’re choosing a new build with everything ready to go or an older place that needs work.

My husband and I moved from Houston, Texas, back to Dublin two years ago with a baby and a toddler. Having learned from our mistakes with previous moves, we decided to stay at a family member’s house while renovation work was taking place. This gave us the time to move our boxes and furniture in slowly, and to have the important stuff unpacked by the day we moved in.

It wasn’t a perfect situation – making design choices for a space you’re not living in yet can be agonising – but it worked out well in the end.

The above worked for me, but everyone’s situation is different. To get a broader perspective, we asked eight homeowners to share their tips for doing moving day right, based on the mistakes they made themselves…

Preparing for moving day

1. Don’t move during a big life event, if you can help it: My husband and I moved house when I was eight months pregnant. I would not recommend moving during another big life event. Having our belongings between two houses caused me to worry about leaving things behind or not being able to remember what needed to be moved when. If you’re an expectant mum and the moving date can’t be shifted, sit down first and write out all the tasks that need to be completed. Or, even better, if you have the means, let someone else move your things and you just list out where everything goes.

- Kelli

2. Send the basics in the first box: We moved internationally and my husband was due to start a new job almost as soon as he arrived. The first container that went over with him had plastic dishes, tea towels, cutlery and so on, to take some of the stress out of the first few days. I also kept lists for each container so if one went missing, we knew exactly what it was.

– Evin

shutterstock_1358953445 Shutterstock / Pixel-Shot Shutterstock / Pixel-Shot / Pixel-Shot

On moving day

3. Invest in moving boxes that you can actually carry when full: Be realistic about what you can carry in a box – a series of smaller boxes are better than a few big boxes that are going to be too heavy. I also think it’s worth it to buy (rather than scavenge) boxes so that they’re all the same size.

- Felice

4. Put any ‘critical moving day items’ in a box – and carry that box yourself: We’ve learned the hard way that you need to dedicate a box to the critical moving day items like scissors and box cutters, plus anything that you really don’t want to lose like important papers, phone chargers and remotes. And then you need to self-carry this box. 

– Megan

5. Keep your breakables with you: Looking back now, I wish I had packed breakables in my car, not in the van. I also wish I had started packing a bit sooner, and had purged half our stuff pre-move! We have so many things that have moved between five houses and have never left the boxes! 

– Rebecca

6. Try to offload old furniture before you move in, not after: When we sold our home, the people who purchased it offered to buy some of the furniture too. I said no because of the sentimental value (it had been our first home!). I figured I’d make it work. But here we are a year later and still trying to offload them as they don’t work in our new space. You’ve got to think with your head, not your heart!

- Triona

shutterstock_442232368 Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia / wavebreakmedia

Putting your stamp on a new place

7. Don’t try to make all design choices on day one: I’ve lived in my apartment for three years, and I’m just now starting to make bigger decisions like new floors, paint colours, kitchen counters, etc. Not out of laziness, but because I wanted to see what was first a need and then a want, and how those would actually fit design-wise with my apartment. My decisions are more informed and so they cost less!

- Ericka

8. Think about quality as well as price: We bought cheap internal doors on advice from the builder because he said they’d look amazing painted. Guess what? They don’t. Buy cheap, buy twice.

- Esme

More:  ‘Folded towels are a waste of space’: 9 storage mistakes most people make – and how to fix them>

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