12 tips for a harmonious house move

If you’d like to rob your body of all its energy for a month and stretch your stress levels to their limit, you may want to consider moving house. The thought of moving is enough to put knots in any well-meaning person’s stomach because in a nutshell, if you’re not getting paid for it, moving house just isn’t fun at all…

I’ve moved house so many times in my lifetime that I could write a book on the topic. Yes, I consider myself a professional house-mover!

Here are the reasons I’ve moved just while I’ve been with my hubby of 14 years:

Life in the city

The rented shop for working from home

Hubby and I decided to move in together so we left our respective rentals and shared living scenarios.

The nice apartment

We decided to split the business from our home and found a nicer apartment in a leafier part of town, which was modern and low maintenance. This place was on the third floor and we got sick of going up and down the stairs. It also felt too pokey and we missed having a garden. We moved our stuff out of that place using a pulley from the balcony and swinging items into the truck below. Job done!

The leafy cottage

We moved up the road into a gorgeous little house with a pretty little garden and garage for hubby’s tools. We liked that little place. It really was ‘us’.

Life in the bush

The van

We got sick of the city rush and decided to ditch the city for life in the Aussie outback for a while. We moved into a van for two months while we travelled across the Nullarbor to Kalgoorlie.

The donga

We moved into a caravan while we looked for jobs.

The mining cottage

We got jobs and since the town we found jobs in only had two available rentals, we were forced to take one of them without even looking inside it! That house was awful and depressing. I nearly whited out on the first night as the tradies had left the windows open and I was horrified at the site of five large bush roaches in the bath! Hubby and our real estate agent had to bring me back to life.

The better mining cottage

After six months, I couldn’t get out of that lease fast enough and we moved around the corner to a cuter mining cottage so that I could enjoy my pregnancy.

Life in the country

The place near the park

After having our first born, my midwife told us about some great jobs going for my hubby closer to home (Victoria), which hubby applied for and got. So we moved back to Victoria to a quiet country town and rental with a nice deck overlooking a park. That house was quite nice and we liked it except we decided we were sick of renting and it was time to buy a place, which we did.

The duplex

We moved into our first home (a duplex), with horses over the back fence, with a slight view of the Grampians. We happily lived there for almost three years while we renovated and I wrote a book!

Life near the beach

The beach pad

Then we decided we wanted to move back closer to family in Melbourne so we ditched country life for life near the beach. We found a great little rental on a hill with a shed big enough for hubby’s stuff. He loved it and preschool was just a walk to the end of our street, which was perfect. Then, due to our expanding businesses, we decided we needed more rooms for office space so we moved up the road into a four-bedroom home. That house turned out to be horribly hot in summer so while on a walk with my new bub I found an amazing ranch on a 1/3 acre with the best garden ever! We just had to have it.

The ranch

We loved life on the ranch near the beach until winter came and it started to rain heavily inside. The landlord would only ‘patch’ the roof resulting in more rain in the house. Then he put the rent up and we decided we didn’t want to pay that.

The house with a pool

So then we found a house with a pool, which the kids really loved as we moved there in time for summer. But that house turned out to be the house of horrors – and included a mouse plague bigger than we could handle. Yuk!

Our present family home

Finally we decided we were sick of renting altogether and went on the hunt for our second home to live in – the one ‘we’d settle in.’ After looking at 35 houses we finally settled on our family-home-to-be.

Finally! A happy ending and we’ve settled! Hurrah!!!

So yeah, 13 houses in 14 years. Simply – we’re too exhausted to move again.

Moving is financially, physically and emotionally draining

Anyway, no matter how often I’ve moved, the event is still highly stressful. I’m fast at it now in terms of the practical side of moving house, but change is stressful and emotionally draining on top of other life pressures. There are new neighbours to get to know, new friends to make and different surroundings to get to know. There’s much more to a move than the actual move itself.

Then there’s what happens before a move

But before moving day other stressful events may have occurred. You may have looked at a multitude of homes, missed out a home you wanted and forked out large sums of money in vacating your old home or buying a new property. Whatever your situation – moving house is just a part of a larger life picture and that’s why making the actual move as stress-free as possible is important.

These are my top 12 tips for a headache-free house move

  1. Definitely consider a removalist company. While your well-meaning friends might offer help, you’ll have to help them move when their time to move comes. That’s fine if you are up for that and you have the time. You may wish to weigh up what your time is worth and consider possible injuries that could occur during a move. During one of my last moves an entire bookshelf was blown off the truck and smashed to the ground. If anyone happened to be standing there, this would have caused someone a major injury. There are many Australian removalist companies just like SQUAREpeg Movers you can rely on who can help you avoid disasters like this. P.S I liked that bookshelf!
  2. On that note, make sure you never move with children in tow. Always arrange babysitting, as adults are too busy to watch children at all times during a move. If something like the bookshelf above happens – the result could be disastrous. Have your safety hat on at all times.
  3. When looking for a new home it can be really competitive. People go to extremes to bag a rental in a saturated market. Did you know that people offer 3-4 months rent in advance to get a property? Consider having the application ready for submission before you even view the property and consider offering rent in advance to make sure you are the winning applicant.
  4. Always declutter your home whether you are planning on moving or not. This is good practice because when and if you ever move, you will have already discarded all superfluous stuff in your home. Getting into a constant decluttering mode is a great habit and you will more than thank yourself if you ever have the displeasure of a moving day.
  5. Start picking up boxes from supermarkets the minute you know you are moving. This not only saves time but money –as you won’t have to purchase the boxes. This way you can get started on the arduous moving task ahead of time. If you work full-time and are very short on time definitely consider a professional packing service. Since moving is stressful enough – you will have piece of mind knowing your goods will be packed properly and not broken in transit. Also remember that your time is money. So if you are earning a lot it is cheaper to hire a packing service than you taking the time off to do the task yourself.
  6. Leave leeway in your moving schedule. I always pay the extra week’s rent and leave a week’s overlap. This way I don’t have to go back to the previous property on moving day when exhausted to clean. That is no fun at all. If you leave a week in lieu you will also have time to deal with any final jobs requested of you by the real estate agent. And note: If the real estate agent contacts you about anything after your move – do everything via email. If any problems occur you’ll have a paper trail to cover you.
  7. Organise food for moving day. Whether you are getting friends to help or you have brought in the professionals it is nice to have food on hand for those helpers and you will definitely need food for stamina. Moving house is very physical and stressful – so don’t let hunger ruin an already difficult day. Also stock up on fizzy drinks for movers for a quick sugar hit in the afternoon when everyone is fading.
  8. Try to clean as you go. As removalists move items out of a room, follow them with your cleaning products, broom and vacuum. Try to get each room as clean as possible shortly after the items have departed. This way when you get back for your final clean you will only have half the clean to do. At that time you will need to focus on bathrooms and toilets etc, so you will need energy and stamina to get those areas completed.
  9. Try to have the actual moving of all items done by around 2pm in the afternoon. Yes – start early so you can achieve this! Then at the new destination unpack boxes as they come in. While this may seem extremely hard work – it is well worth. I’ve found that if those boxes don’t get unloaded straight away, it is easy to get back into life by Monday at which time, those boxes could hang around for months waiting to be opened. Firstly, it isn’t that nice living with a bunch of boxes and secondly life will be easier day to day as you won’t be trying to find your belongings every time you want to use something. Enlist the help of a group of friends to get your unpacking done ASAP.
  10. Before moving day get the keys for your new home a day early. The day before take over all the small stuff in your car. This way on moving day you will only have to move the big stuff. This is a big time saver because often it is the small items – like clothes on hangers that can be a headache. Hot tip! Leave those clothes on their hangers and hang them directly back up at your new home.
  11. Definitely move and make up beds first before anything else. You will all fall in a heap at the end of the day and the last thing you want to be doing is finding sheets and making beds!
  12. Have dinner sorted or arrange for takeaway. Fish and chips or pizza is a great way to end moving day! As everyone will be starving and you won’t have to cook.

Bonus Tip!

Finally, to coordinate your entire move, use a checklist or house moving app in terms of what you need to do and when. Make sure the system you use offers phone reminders to keep you on track daily with tasks in a calendar.

This post was in collaboration with SQUAREpeg Movers.

Do you have a moving horror story or something to share about your last home move? Share your thoughts in comments below.