While buying a new home can be one of the most exciting life events that you can do, moving is generally looked at as one of the most dreaded activities that we take part in. Anyone who has made multiple local moves—and tried to bribe friends and family to help out—knows that you might have better luck trying to get blood from a stone than getting someone to help you move. This situation is usually the result of the almost universal hatred of moving that most people possess. There are some basic (and logical) things that you can do to make your move smoother and less tramatic.
Before you start
- Stock up on boxes, packing tape, and markers! Also useful is newspaper or newsprint for packing fragile things. Don’t forget garbage bags, ziplock bags, & masking/painters tape.
In the weeks before the move
- Take the time to assess if you really want to move things, if you don’t relish the idea of moving something it might be a good idea to donate it to charity or sell it. If you haven’t used it or worn it in years, get rid of it. Disclaimer: this advice does not necessarily refer to heirloom items or fancy dress clothes.
- Pre-pack items you don’t need for the next month. It is often easiest to start a move with out-of-season items.
- Arrange for your change of address at the post office
- Pack heavy items in small boxes. You only have to pack a large box full of books once to realize that this is an important way to pack!
- For any items that have small parts, use ziplock bags to put the pieces in. You can use painter’s tape to tape the bag to the item it goes with; the adhesive in painter’s tape is less likely to damage the finish on your furniture or appliances.
- Save the boxes and Styrofoam that your new electronics come in for moving them in. While not everyone has the space to store things like that, it’s well worthwhile when it comes to moving if you can transport your flat screen TV in its original box.
- Mark each box for which room it belongs in your new home. It’s far easier to unpack a truck quickly when you know where the boxes go. For rooms that you have multiples of, make sure you specify which one you mean. For example: master bedroom, main floor bathroom.
- Make a sub-list of items on the box so that you can easily find things. For example: Kitchen – cutlery & gadgets, Bathroom – hair dryer, curling irons, hair products.
- Pack vital items together to cut down on the number of boxes you need to open the first day if you’re exhausted from the move (which you will be). A kitchen essentials box with your coffee making (& drinking) equipment in it is highly recommended; an essential bathroom box is likewise a good idea, include a roll or two of toilet paper, soap, shampoo, brush, toothpaste and brushes, and any other vital items.
When you get to the new house
- Before you unpack anything, set up your bed. Figure out where the best spot for the bed might be and get to work putting it together. Unless you have a monstrous bed frame, it should be relatively easy to change the spot if you decide that you don’t like it later. Don’t be lazy about putting sheets and blankets on the bed either; moving is hard work, so having a good night’s sleep in your own bed is a really great reward at the end of the day.
- Unpack each box completely. It can be really hard to unpack in a home full of half-empty boxes, so try to unpack complete boxes and then flatten them and move them out of the way. This way, you actually feel like you’ve accomplished something instead of having to negotiate around a house half full of stuff and big piles of boxes.
The more organized you are in your move, the less amount of stress it will cause you and your helpers. So the next time that you need some help moving, the easier it might be to convince people to come and help you.
Krista Kehoe, Calgary real estate agent & REALTOR®