Once the euphoria of buying a new home has worn off, the task of moving all your possessions from your current home to the new one may seem daunting.
Moving house involves more than just packing your belongings into boxes and hiring a removal firm to take them to your new home. In the midst of packing and arranging changes of address, it is all too easy to forget essential tasks that are necessary for a smooth transition from one property to another.
The most effective way to ensure an easy move is to draw up a checklist detailing all that needs to be accomplished in the weeks or months before the removal firm arrives.
- Start by listing all the tasks that need to be completed as they come to mind.
- Next, use a weekly planner – which can be downloaded online – to allocate the various tasks to specific days. If more than one person will be involved in packing and getting ready for the move, be sure to specify who is responsible for each task.
- Put in the deadlines for each task. For example, the task of packing books can be spread over several days with a deadline date clearly marked on the planner.
Inevitably, you will find that new tasks crop up that weren’t in your original plan. However, it should be an easy matter to slot them in on your planner.
Some essential tasks, such as organising the removal firm, must be finalised well in advance.
Get quotes from two or three companies as each is likely to offer different terms of service. Some firms will want to visit your home to draw up their own inventory of items to be moved, whereas others will be happy to quote according to your inventory. Make sure this accurately reflects your belongings so that you don't have any nasty surprises when the removal firm refuses to move items that aren’t part of the inventory.
Remember to arrange insurance for your belongings in transit during the move. Most removal firms offer this service, but it is usually cheaper to arrange this through your regular household contents insurance company.
The week before the move, confirm moving-in times with the previous owners of the new home, as well as the location, time and date with the removal company.
As soon as you know you will be moving, start collecting boxes to pack your belongings in. Your local supermarket may be prepared to let you have discarded boxes, but you must check that they are clean and dry. Packaging companies sell new boxes of all shapes and sizes that are ideal for moving and are not prohibitively expensive. Some removal firms supply boxes on request and will also pack for you at an additional charge.
Start packing items you will not need for the next few weeks as soon as possible. Label each box clearly with the room they will be moved to in your new home. Number boxes as you pack and keep a list of what is in each box.
Carry out any minor maintenance and cleaning jobs.
It’s best not to have pets around on the day of the move, so make arrangements as to where they will go well in advance.
A month before the moving date, notify all relevant companies of your change of address to allow them time to update their records. The list would include banks, insurance companies, SARS, credit card providers and shops where you have accounts.
In the final weeks before you move, remember to cancel services to your existing property after the moving date and arrange to have them installed at your new address. These would include water, electricity, telephone, DStv and internet.
Arrange to have your post and newspapers forwarded to your new address.
Take down curtains and blinds as soon as possible.
Ideally, most of your belongings should be packed a week before the move, leaving only the necessary everyday items.
Pack essential items such as a kettle, mugs, coffee, snacks, clean towels and toilet paper in a box and keep it with you so that you can quickly unpack it when you arrive at your new home.
Everyone in the family should pack a bag with items such as a few sets of clothing, toiletries, valuable jewellery and any other personal items.
Keep personal documents such as identity cards, passports and insurance policies in a safe place with you and make sure everyone knows where they are.
Once the removal firm has taken all your possessions out of the house, do one last walk through to ensure that nothing has been left behind.
Check inside cupboards.
Make sure the water and electricity are turned off.
All windows and doors must be secured.
Leave a note with your new address for the new owners so they can forward any mail.
Then, hand over your old home’s keys to your estate agent and go off to start the next phase of your life in your new home.
Moving can be made easier and less stressful by having a good checklist in place. The guidelines listed above are worth considering.
Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer