Letti’s guide to moving 🏡

I’m pleased to say I can finally tell you about our new house!

It has a number of similarities to the Arrested Development model home, such as a “Jack and Jill bathroom” between two bedrooms and a door in from the garage. It could also be described as a “high cost, low quality mini mansion” if you were being less generous about it. But really, it’s an absolutely gorgeous house and we’re so glad to move here to start sharing expenses and save up to buy our house.
AND there’s a panic button next to our bed that goes straight through to the police! How cool is that?!

I’m excited to decorate, although my personal interiors style is Jewel-Tone maximalist boho with Victorian Chinoiserie. So it’s gonna be interesting combining that with the tastes of 4 other people.

Here’s some good shit from Pinterest:

The process of moving home, however, suuuuuuuuucks. We’ve done it a few times over the years. Will and me lived for 5 years in a one-bedroom ground floor flat (and Kadek lived in the flat above us!). It was a beautiful time when rent was only £500 a month. The landlord wanted to move back in though, so after a long stretch of calling that place home, it was the end of an era and we had to move out. Kadek stayed for a while but also ended up moving.

So we upgraded to a 2-bedroom entire house nearby, and even though it was a local move, it was almost Christmas and the weather sucked. We were there for about a year when it became apparent that Will’s commute to the job he got in Andover was just too hard. He’d be gone so early and get back so late.

So, right before my birthday, we moved 30 miles away to Andover. Thankfully Will’s boss helped us with a moving van. It was an absolutely exhausting process. We were in that house for about 3 years before we moved again. I loved the house but there were a laundry list of problems with it from the day we moved in, that the estate agent never dealt with, along with all the other problems they caused us (such as using keys to let themselves and random workers in with zero notice).
Despite no improvements to the property’s physical problems, including extensive mould in our bedroom and a lot of damage caused by former tenants, the landlord kept putting the rent up for us. The latest increase was ridiculous considering, again, nothing had been improved about the property.

We’d had plans to move in with some of Will’s family for a while, and as the landlord wanted to sign us onto a three-year term with increased rent, we decided it was time.

 

 

Labels

Using marker pen on boxes is fun, but coloured labels will help massively. A problem we’ve had with previous moves is that all of our boxes and furniture wound up being piled in one downstairs room, because, understandably, the people helping us didn’t know what went where.

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So this time, I invested in a pack of coloured labels. And, I made signs for the doors of each room with them to help people identify where to dump things in a rush.

The instructions for the labels advise not sticking them on furniture because the adhesive is meant to be permanent, so I didn’t want to stick them directly to the doors in the house! Instead, I did the following:

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I stuck them onto a sheet of A4 paper. I didn’t include the Fragile label because there isn’t a fragile room! I also had to stick one on a different sheet.
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Then, I cut out around the labels.
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Add Blu Tack to the back of the paper, and you have little room signs!

Don’t worry, you can still use marker pen on your boxes for further clarification about the contents. You can buy the labels we used here.

Here’s how you can use the labels on furniture:

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Double some tape back on itself so that only a little tab of adhesive surface is left showing. Stick the furniture label to the tape, and put the tape on the furniture. The tape should come off again easily, and you get to use the label without permanent damage.
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On fabric, such as on a sofa, stick a strip of tape down and put the label on top of the tape. It should be easier to peel the tape off of the fabric after the move, so you probably don’t need to create a pull tab.

I must admit I got tired of doing that and stuck them directly to some things I was lazy about though.

And, related to this point:

Put boxes in their final destinations

You don’t want to deal with the situation we had a couple of times, all your things being in one room that you struggle to move through for ages as you work up the energy to sort it out.

Put your boxes and furniture in their final intended places on moving day, it will make your life much easier. Layouts might change a bit as you figure things out, but I promise, it’s much better than dumping everything together.

Unpack all your boxes

Yes, everything. Stuff you won’t need for ages, decorations, camping stuff. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place. If you resign yourself to not unpacking everything at once, do you know what happens? You end up with a guest room full of unsightly boxes. And every time people stay over, you feel embarrassed and think, “I should really sort this room out.” But guess what, you absolutely won’t. I promise. I am someone who loves to organise things but I never wanted to sort out all those extraneous boxes. And neither will you.

So, in the few days after moving, unpack them with everything else. Even if the contents end up in a storage cupboard or in the attic, that’s better than living around them forever.

Organise your stuff while you unpack

Not to go all Pinterest on you, but you really need to organise your stuff, sooner rather than later. If you bung things haphazardly into cupboards and drawers, you really will not organise them later, despite the intentions you may have at the time.

So get those shelf inserts for your drinkware cupboard, separate drawer items into little plastic baskets, get things up on S hooks, use binder clips to hang frozen food bags from freezer shelves the first time you are loading everything in your new house.

Go on a shopping trip a couple of days after your move if you need to get things to help you get organised, moving is exhausting and you will not have the motivation to sort your things out if you leave it any longer.

Have an “unpack me first” box

Fill this with various essentials that you might need to grab on moving day.  Things like snacks, bottled drinks, toilet roll, handwash, batteries, torches, tealights, lighters, scissors, pet bowls, the kettle, duvet covers, light bulbs, the router, chargers and USB cables, extensions sockets, bin bags, tools, important documents, and, undoubtedly, Dettol wipes or similar disinfectant wipes.

You WILL touch something gross and sticky in the process of moving house. It just ends up happening.

Pack a personal bag for keeping with you

Obviously you don’t want to lug it around while you are moving things, but it needs to go over to the new house when you do. It should contain things like toiletries, contact lenses, medication, your laptop, your phone charger, anything delicate or valuable, a couple of days worth of clothes and underwear, and anything you need to wash or to go to sleep.

Organise your pets!

Make sure you know who is watching which animals and who is going over to the next house with them. You need to start keeping outdoor cats in before moving day (what a disaster if you move house and they haven’t come in yet!), you need to make sure dogs don’t run out while furniture is going out the door, you need to make sure there are no breaches in the garden fence before you let them outside at the other end.

Cats might be better off being kept inside one room until they calm down, whereas dogs will likely want to sniff all the new floors, but still shouldn’t be allowed to get out in the chaos.

At the time of writing I’ve not had a cat before, so I’m not an expert, but the internet offers a variety of opinions as to how long outdoor cats should be kept inside the house after moving, ranging from 2 weeks to 1 year.

Smaller pets will definitely need looking after, and probably should be transported in a carry box instead of their main enclosure. You don’t want there to be too much room for them to be thrown around in a vehicle. They also should probably go with you in a smaller vehicle, instead of in the moving van.

Get beds and bowls out for cats and dogs so that they can start to feel at home.

 
For my snail, Jupiter, I carried him on my lap in the front of the car in his little carry box. We kept some large bubble wrap that came in a package a while ago, and taped that around his big tank. The tank went in the rear of the car. I left the soil in the locked tank so that he would have a familiar smell to go back to and would know it was the same tank after being moved around so much, but I put the tank accessories inside another carry box so that they didn’t smash around.

Because Joop is an exotic snail, he needed to have his heat mat and thermostat plugged in as soon as he arrived at the new house. You need to consider whether your own pets have these sorts of needs, and get their environmental controls set up as soon as possible, even if it’s likely that their tank may change location in the future.

Moving house with fish or seahorses is probably a lot more arduous, I haven’t had fish since I was a kid though so I have no memory of what you’re supposed to do!

Make sure that a couple of people are doing a big clean

Some people will be going back and forth with boxes (unless you can get everything in a van in one go!), one or two people will go over with the animals and sit with them until everyone else arrives, but there also need to be people staying in the house until the end to make sure each room is up to standard.

See pages 2-3 of this checklist to learn what needs doing; this isn’t an estate agent we’ve ever used but it’s probably safe to assume that they all expect a similar standard of cleanliness. Even if you haven’t been renting, it’s still good to clean to this standard.

 

My personal advice is:

After the shed and the garden, start removing boxes from the upstairs (if applicable) rooms at the back of the house. Clean each room as it’s emptied. Move to the front of the house, and then repeat downstairs. That way, there’s less distance to cover each time someone comes back for another box.

Don’t forget to do a last look around at each room, open all the cupboards, poke your head into the attic even if you don’t remember putting anything up there.

 

Keep these things behind during the move to use as a cleaning kit:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bin bags
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Carpet Fresh foam
  • Sponge
  • Mop
  • Multipurpose liquid disinfectant or floor cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Paint tester pots for touching up scuffs
  • Air freshener spray

 

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You can also use cheap dishwasher tablets dipped in hot water to scrub off stubborn filth; this sounded like one of those things from the internet that would probably be nonsense, but I tried it myself on our opaque brown oven door and was pretty astounded when I ended up with clear glass!

If you have more time before handing over the house, you may be able to go back and do more, but ideally, you’ll want to get it all done beforehand, because you’ll be quite exhausted setting things up at your new place, and you will definitely lack the motivation to go back.

Also, don’t forget to have things like dishwashers disconnected before moving day, and reconnected at the new house.

It’s also a good idea to do a bit of a move-in clean; hopefully you won’t have to do too much of one if the last resident cleaned to a good standard, but give surfaces and cupboard shelves a wipe down with Dettol before placing your things down.

Do some advance preparation

You probably aren’t in a position to start moving as soon as you are handed the keys, and this can actually be a useful thing, as long as there isn’t too much distance between your old and new place.

Try to visit the new house before moving day and do anything you need to do. For me, this was putting temporary labels on doors to rooms as mentioned above, and also spraying the walls and floors with Indorex, primarily to prevent my dog getting Flea Allergy Dermatitis, but also to help kill dust mites and spiders.

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I will do what I can to prevent my dog going through this again!

It’s also a good idea to bring a tape measure over and start thinking about where large furniture items and pieces of wall art can go.

You can pack some valuables with your clothes to protect them

I have had much success in the past with wrapping candlesticks and wax tart burners in my clothes to avoid them breaking. Rolls of bubble wrap run out so quickly when you’re packing, so if you put some things in the centre of a box of clothes, you can save time that way. Obviously don’t let them all clang around together!

Hire an actual van and don’t attempt to do everything with a friend’s car

Just trust me on this one.

Unpack your previous junk drawer contents into an organised “utility drawer”

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I haven’t quite done this yet, but I did get some fabulous drawer organisers for putting things of different categories into.

Plan properly

I actually goofed a lot with this move. I scheduled way too many tasks for each day and made myself physically ill trying to do things when I should have known when to stop. There were also things that couldn’t be fit into a day, so they would go over to the next day, which impacted that day’s tasks and so on.

Only schedule a couple of tasks for each day, starting far enough out from your move that there’s plenty of time. Otherwise it’s stress ahoy.

Add personal touches as soon as possible

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Unless I’m camping, where it’s part of the appeal that everything is so extempore, I get surprisingly psychologically distressed from not feeling at home. Some of the first things to get unpacked here were my nazars, hamsot, and general hanging things, to help my brain get used to the fact that I live here.

It can also help to get out things like picture frames, posters, mirrors, and flags, and start placing them around rooms where you think they might be able to go. Get your bedroom as comfortable as possible when you have the time, and make sure that things you need are to hand in the living room and kitchen.

Tape screws to the furniture they belong to

We were good at this the last time we moved, but this time, I was too ill to help Will unbolt the bed, so I wasn’t there to remind him to tape the fixtures to a part of the frame so they wouldn’t get lost. As a result, we wound up accidentally leaving our bed screws in the old house! This is definitely not what you want when you just want to get your mattress off the floor and have a comfortable sleep.

Utilise ziplock bags

For things like the washing up liquid, handwash, toiletries. You don’t want them to leak all over a box or onto the first day’s clothes packed in your personal bag.

 

 

 

There’s definitely more to moving than that but, in general, those are my tips for moving. Moving house is apparently the most stressful thing you can do second only to getting a divorce. It sucks. But hopefully before long we’ll have a completely unpacked and organised house.