8 Dec 2012

planning a house move

My parents have been house hunting for over three years now and having helped them through the long and arduous process (I have enjoyed it, though!), I feel now is the perfect time for me to write this post. Having put in offers in several houses during these three years, and with each house buy falling through (mostly due to our change of heart, if I'm honest! We are a seller's nightmare, it seems.), we have finally found the house of our dreams. I know, I know; looking at our track record, what's to say we won't pull out of this one?

Well, to put it briefly, this house is in a far better area than the others, the price is right, it requires a little bit of work (which is ideal for us because we want to be able to put our own stamp on the place anyway) and it is within a decent commutable distance of London. Anyway, we are now in the process of preparing for a house move and I thought I'd do a post on this. I won't be posting much about moving with kids but some of the advice can definitely be applied to any move.

The main sections of this post are: preparing for the move, utilities and packing.

 Once everything finalised and the contracts have been exchanged, this is the time you'd want to start the bulk of the preparation. By now, you should have an idea of your move-in date for the new house.

This is when you should be decluttering your house. To be honest, you could even be doing that before the exchange of contracts! Any household items that are broken or defunct should be taken to a recycling centre and any items you no longer use could be sold on eBay/Gumtree or put on Freecycle, or donated to local charity shops.

Due to so many false starts with my family moving, I have been selling my old clothes/belongings on eBay for the past two years and have got rid of a lot of clutter already. However, it's never too late to start! If you are an eBay newbie, Caribbean Princess has done two posts about it (here and here) and I have also done a post on tips for selling on eBay.

Moreover, the last time we moved house was eleven years ago and combined with my father's love of hoarding, we have amassed a lot of clutter.

The key here is to start early (cliched as it sounds, starting early really does help reduce the stress of an event, which has 'stress' written all over it) and be organised (but being readers of my blog, you would already be quite organised :-) ).

Next, changing addresses, sorting out the utilities in your current and new house and also, arranging when/where you will pick your new house keys up from.

Some companies require a month's notice for termination of contracts or even moving a contract (I'm looking at your, internet service providers) and so, it is best to also do this early! Also, these companies need to know of your new address too!

A basic list of these companies are:
- the TV licensing authority
- internet service provider
- mobile phone contract provider
- gas/electricity/water companies (if necessary)
- banks and building societies where you may hold accounts/mortgages/loans with
- DVLA (if you are in the UK)

A more complete list can be found here on the Homebase website.

Once you get to your new house, you'll have to make sure water/gas/electricity is all turned on and if not, get that sorted.

Finally, the most stressful part: packing. Try and obtain boxes free of charge from somewhere. Supermarkets are a good place to start or even your workplace! Same with bubble wrap; instead of shelling out for rolls and rolls of the stuff, why not try a supermarket? The fruit aisle has an abundance (I speak from experience here - I have no shame!) as does the vegetables aisle. They will only throw it out anyway so you might as well take it for a better cause, right?

When each box is packed, make sure you label it with what room it goes in, or even better, what is in it. That may seem excessive but once you get to your new house, this will prove invaluable.

Now, choosing a removal company. See if you can obtain recommendations from family and friends and even if it means paying a bit more than the cheapest company, a company with a recommendation is better than going for the cheapest one and then finding stuff missing/stuff broken in transit. It is also important here, to take an inventory. Even if you just count how many boxes and what labels they have, that is a start. It's sad that we live in a world where we can't trust anyone anymore but it's better to be safe than be bitten by the dishonesty bug.

Although this concludes my somewhat basic guide to house moving, this link here provides a more thorough one. This link also has a useful checklist and timeline for moving house.

Basically, my tips are as follows:

1) Start early by decluttering and by packing away things that are not currently in use. (We recently took down our greenhouse in anticipation of our move.)

2) Sort out your utilities. And remember to change your address! Changing it a few days before is better than a few days after, especially when it comes to a TV licence!

3) Start packing.

4) Find a removal company.

5) Arrange for a time and place for the pick up of your new house keys.

I've watered down a lot of the house move but that is because I only wanted to mention important tips. There are many more I could have included but for the sake of keeping this short(ish) and sweet, I have narrowed it down to five tips.

I hope this has proved useful to some of you :) I will probably blog again about moving house after the actual event so sit tight!

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