Moving Home 101

Private Property South Africa
Adrian Goslett

Whether it’s down the road or across the country, moving homes can be a rather daunting experience, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Moving to a new home is something that most people have experienced at least once in their lifetime. For some, the move could have been rather easy with little or no problems, while for others it could have been enough to make them want to stay in their current home forever,” he says.

Goslett notes that the difference between the two kinds of experiences is preparation. He shares some tips on how to make moving a more organised and hassle-free experience:

Keep an inventory

According to Goslett, most moving companies will require a list of items that need to be moved before they can provide a quote on their services, so homeowners will need to compile an inventory of their possessions. “This is so that a moving company can determine the amount of space required for the move. It is also helpful to make lists when packing boxes so that the homeowner knows exactly what is in each box. Having a list with the number of boxes and contents of each box will make it far easier to determine whether items or boxes are missing,” says Goslett.

He notes that the more specific a homeowner is with their inventory and box labels, the easier it will be to find certain items when unpacking. Using labels on boxes such as winter jackets, for example, is far better than just labelling the box as clothes.

Allocate an area as a packing base

“To avoid frustration throughout the packing process, keep all necessary items such as a marker pen or box tape in an allocated central area,” says Goslett. “This way everyone who is packing will know exactly where to find anything related to the pack, such as any lists that have been made, scissors, labels and bubble-wrap.”

Make sure there are enough supplies

Rather have too many supplies and boxes on hand than not enough, as this can delay the packing process. “More often than not, homeowners will need more boxes than they initially think,” says Goslett. “Moving companies that sell boxes will normally take back any unused boxes and provide the homeowner with a refund, provided they are still in a good condition. If a homeowner gets the boxes for free from a supermarket, it is simply a matter of taking the leftover boxes to a recycling bin.”

He notes that as a rule of thumb, homeowners should have approximately 10 boxes set aside for last minute items that can only be packed on moving day, such as bedding, clothes and cleaning supplies. Other supplies that will be needed will be the box tape and packing paper or bubble-wrap. Goslett says that homeowners should take care when wrapping items in printed newspaper as it could strain the item with ink.

Pack unnecessary items first

There is no use in keeping out items that are not used on a regular basis, so these can be packed ahead of time and put out of the way. “Anything that is not essential up until the day of the move should be packed and ready to go. This will give the homeowner a good indication as to how much more needs to be packed and it will save them a great deal of time. There is no need to keep winter clothes out if the move is happening during the summer months, and duplicate items can be pared down to only the bare essentials,” says Goslett.

Keep similar or matching items together

Pack items that are used together in one box, such as an appliance and its detachable parts or book with bookends. If a piece of furniture needs to be dismantled, place all the screws, bolts or small parts into re-sealable plastic bags or envelope and tape it to the item the corresponding item. “Another option is label each bag or envelope and place them all into one box along with accessories such as remote controls, extension cords and Allen key. Be sure to mark this box clearly so that it can be easily found,” says Goslett.

Co-ordinate boxes by colour

While the homeowner may know which box needs to go into which room, it is likely that the movers won’t. Goslett explains that an easy way to resolve this problem is by designating each room in the new home a certain colour and marking each box or item with a sticker of the corresponding colour. For example, all bedroom items will be marked in blue and kitchen items in red. By putting a matching sticker on the door post of each room, movers will know the destination of each item or box.

Personal and important items

Goslett advises homeowners to pack a bag for each family member with all of the personal items that they will want immediate access to when arriving at the new home, such as cell phone, toothbrush or pyjamas. “It also advisable to have a box or bag that contains all valuable items that can be kept with the homeowner at all times. This box should also include important documents such as birth certificates, banking records and identity documents,” says Goslett.

Check your insurance

According to Goslett it is a good idea to phone the insurance company and check before the move what is covered by your homeowners’ insurance during the move and if you require any additional insurance from the mover. Also find out what is required in case of loss, as some insurance companies may need receipts, appraisals or photos of valuable items.

“Although moving can be a stressful exercise, with the right planning and organisation it can be a far more bearable event. Knowing that you are as organised as possible to make the move as smooth as possible can make it an exciting experience that everyone can look forward to,” Goslett concludes.

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