Make yourself a master list (or lists)
Even if organisation and planning isn’t your strong suit, a list is a must to get your family to their new house. And you’ll find there’s nothing more satisfying than checking things off when they’re complete.
It’s helpful to divide the list into two sections: ‘who to contact’ and ‘what to buy’. On the first half, write all the organisations you need to get in touch with. These include your bank, credit card companies and insurance providers (car, health and home), Centrelink/Medicare, your super fund, your utilities, Internet and Australia Post (to organise your mail redirect).
Also get in touch with any organisations you have a membership with, such as loyalty schemes or museums. These often get forgotten.
Once you’ve done the move, it’s much easier to set aside a couple of hours to run through the list and get everything switched over to the new address at once.
Next, you’ll want to get onto your removalists, it’s stating the obvious, but so many leave this until the last minute. Once you’ve exhausted the list of who to contact, make the removalists your next priority.
If you’re contemplating doing the move yourself, you’ve got two options: a) don’t (it’s often way more hassle than it’s worth), or b) get a large van that you or someone you know is happy to drive. Moving by car, public transport or Uber is courting disaster – unless you can distil your family’s entire life into a few boxes. In which case, good on you.
If you’re unsure of the best removalists in your area, ask friends for recommendations. If you’re happy to sacrifice the annual leave, it’s worth booking them in for a weekday. Weekends can get booked up, particularly during summer, and you also have the weekend traffic to consider (which, when you’re paying your removalists by the hour, could end up costing more than you planned).
The rest of your list should be all the practical items for actually completing the move. Number one is obviously boxes, plus packing tape and marker pens to label your boxes by room. Also consider whether you’d like any wardrobe boxes you can hang your clothes in directly. (They can save you heaps of time when it comes to packing and unpacking).
Get your connectivity sorted
Did you know nearly a third of Australians say waiting for the their internet access to be reconnected again is the most irritating thing about changing address?
It’s not hard to see why. We often take things like cable TV, phone connectivity and broadband coverage for granted. And when we’re disconnected, we really struggle. But looking into switching over too late could mean you end up living in a place with no internet or home phone connection for a period of time, or in an area where your phone doesn’t have strong broadband coverage.
If you want to get a picture of your internet connectivity and phone coverage before you move, you can search for interactive coverage maps online. These allow you to enter your new address to check what kind of broadband speeds and technology are available, as well as the level of mobile phone coverage you can expect.
The type of technology used to connect your broadband varies depending on your area, street – and even the building you live in. This could mean you’ll need to change your broadband plan.
What’s the difference? ADSL connects broadband to your home through existing phone lines and cable offers broadband by using fibre-optic cables designed to deliver super-high speeds. And the NBN? Although similar to cable, it provides broadband through a combined network of high-speed cables, satellites and phone lines.
If your new address doesn’t have the broadband technology you want, you’d rather not wait weeks to get connected, and you’d like the freedom to move your internet with you wherever you go, there’s an alternative option to consider: plug and play solutions like Optus Home Wireless Broadband. Using 4G mobile technology to connect your home broadband, all you need is a SIM card and a plug-in modem to get yourself set up. You could end up with your internet up and running before you’ve even unpacked your first box.
Just as you’ll need to give your mobile, home phone and internet provider advance notice of your move, the same goes for subscripton TV if you have it. Your current method of delivery may not yet be available at your new address, so you may be asked to change or upgrade your technology and pay additional connection costs.
Declutter your life
While the process of moving house has its downsides, you can turn the experience into a positive one by using it to declutter your home and your life.
Even if you’re moving to a place with masses of space, it’s always a great exercise to get rid of the things you genuinely don’t need.
Start a few weeks before you move, especially if you have young children. This will ensure you take the time to sort through your items instead of panic-packing everything all into a box the day before.
Rule number one is to be ruthless. There are various schools of thought as to how you go about decluttering. Renowned tidiness guru, Marie Kondo recommends holding every item you own and determining if you should keep it based on whether it summons a feeling of joy within you. If it doesn’t, it’s for the bin. If it does, then it survives another house move.
If the thought of that particular technique doesn’t summon any feelings of joy, another to try is the one-year rule. If you haven’t worn or used something within the timeframe you set yourself, get rid of it. There are some obvious exceptions. You may not want to rush to the nearest charity shop with your wedding dress, but the bottle of mystery holiday liqueur that’s moved house with you (unopened) three times is a definite candidate for the garbage.
Another upside of decluttering in advance is the potential reselling value.
If you’ve got furniture you’re keen to sell, Gumtree and eBay are probably the quickest and easiest way to find potential buyers. Even if your item isn’t in the best condition and you just want to get rid of it, putting it up as a free item for the buyer to collect could save you a trip to the tip.
When it comes to clothes and some of the smaller household goods, it’s easier to try a charity shop or sale. If choosing the latter, you may want to head over to an organised market in your area (keep your eye out in the local press for your nearest) or hold your own garage sale. The success of these is largely weather-dependent, so check the forecast before committing.
Micro-manage your moving day plan
Ever moved house only to discover your sofa won’t fit through the front door (while it’s mid-way through)? Or to find there’s nowhere for the removalists to park outside your new apartment building?
The key to avoiding unexpected surprises like these is to research as much of the move as possible. A quick pre-move visit to your new street (if it’s in the same city) to check the parking and access, and bit of measuring and calculating could save you time and money.
If you’re moving to a large apartment block with lifts, it’s well worth checking with your building manager, concierge or body corporate if any other unit moves are happening on the same day – especially if you’re on one of the higher floors. It could slow your move right down if your removalists have to compete for lift space (and it could cost you more in hourly charges, too).
If you have access to an underground car park that the removal truck can use, double-check any height restrictions in advance, or the removalists could wind up having to park on the street and carry things much further than they bargained for.
The same goes for narrow laneways and and properties without allocated parking. If you’re moving to a house on a busy street, it’s a good idea to park your own car in a space outside the night before to guarantee a spot for the removalists.
To avoid having to abandon your sofa in the garden or taking doors or windows off their hinges at the last minute, plan your rooms in advance. There’s not much worse than disassembling and reassembling anything from IKEA.
This can be involved as you want it to be. If you’re short on time, grab a copy of the floorplan from your real estate agent, measure up your big pieces of furniture and sketch them in to your floor plan to scale with a pencil and ruler to see if they fit.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a designer? Use free web apps like floorplanner or roomsketcher to play with your furniture to not only see if it fits, but to work out your preferred layout. It can be pretty handy to show the removalists a detailed plan of every room to guide where they put things.
Start transitioning your kids for the move early
Moving house can be unsettling for children – no matter what their age. Even babies will react to a sudden change in environment. To minimise tears and sleepless nights, have a plan for how you’re going to transition your little ones into their new home.
Telling people you’re moving with a baby is often met with a raised eyebrow or two and a sharp intake of breath. But in reality it can be lovely to introduce your child to a new home and a new room.
However, they don’t need to be there during the house move itself, so organise in advance to leave them with family or a babysitter while the heavy lifting and unpacking is going on.
When it comes to your baby’s room and toys, pack up their things last and plan your move so they’re among the first things to unload. If you can, try to arrange their new room so the pictures, mobiles and furniture are in similar positions.
For an extra welcoming reminder of home, you could also choose to not change their bedlinen when you move, and instead keep on the sheets they’ve been sleeping in for a few nights while they settle into their new surroundings.
Moving home with a toddler or older child is a bit of a different proposition. The great thing about moving with a child who’s old enough to understand what’s going on is you can get them really excited about their new room and home. Show them pictures and take them to explore it if possible. Also plan a trip to the local park to get them used to the new neighbourhood.
When it comes to moving day, encourage your child to pack their favourite belongings in a special moving box that they can decorate and unpack when they arrive. (It’s also a lovely surprise to sneak a ‘moving in’ present into their box to unwrap when they get into their new room).
As with most things when it comes to children, a few changes they can handle, but too many at once becomes overwhelming. So think about what else is happening in their lives around the same time as your move. Try to avoid moving too close to the arrival of a new baby, the start of daycare or school, or family holidays.