Nine Tips On How to Make Moving Easier

As of Saturday, we have officially moved out of the little two-bedroom unit located in the outer suburbs of west Melbourne, and into mum's house. We're not completely moved in yet, as we've got way too much stuff to unpack and put into storage. We're almost done, though, and it shouldn't take us too long to have our bedroom sorted out. We moved back to mum's house because we wanted to save up for our first home. Not a surprise, really, as many young Australians are doing that these days. More often than not, in order to save up for a first house, we have the option to either rent further out from town, share a place with others or move back in with the parents.

Been there, done that.

I hate moving, hate it with a passion, and I scoff at everyone who complains about having to move for the first time in several years. "No, you do not understand, I despise it - try moving houses every damn year!" We've moved five times in as many years, and the bitterness towards moving house just increases with every move.

It's expensive, it's exhausting and it's exacting on my stress levels! The amount of tape, bubble wrap and heavy lifting that I have to go through is insane, and every year I wonder how the hell we have so much crap. And whether I should just throw everything out and start anew, because damn it, moving sucks! Half of me just wants to burn everything to a crisp before we move into our first home and start anew.

Rant over.

Over the years, I've figured out the best ways to minimise the stress, frustration and exhaustion that comes from moving house. And because of how many times I've relocated, I think it's safe to say that I am seasoned in the (horrible and hateful) art of moving, which is why I thought that this post would come in handy.

1. Don't trust anyone to move furniture safely
Either expect it to be scratched up like there's no tomorrow (a la my fridge of yesteryear and my vintage coffee table) or watch the movers like a hawk. Or, better yet, do it yourself because you know you'll do a better job of it, and if something happens, then you have no one to blame but yourself. I usually set aside blankets and doonas for this reason, and I even wrapped my new fridge with a blanket before putting it on the truck.

2. Book things in advance.
Know your dates and plan ahead. There's nothing worse than leaving the booking of the moving truck until a few days before the move, and having to fork out a shit tonne of cash for something bigger than you really needed, or not being able to book anything. We went with Thrifty, as they usually have the cheapest single-day rates. We also bought insurance for the rental truck, so that we didn't have to pay the excess if anything were to happen to the truck. It's much less stressful this way, not having to worry about damaging the vehicle.

3. Declutter first before packing
This time around, we knew exactly how much time we had left to move, so I made it a point to get rid of crap that we did not need. We plan on having an energy and space-efficient home and that means getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff and keeping things that did double duty. A coffee machine that eats up single-use pods? Toss it, because it's awful for the environment. Get rid of all the clothes that are ratty, holey or hasn't been worn in a year.

4. Stock up on all the packing material before you start
Nothing's worse than running out of tape and leaving boxes filled but open and no way of stacking them without causing damage. Scour Gumtree, Trading Post and even local buy/swap/sell pages for free moving boxes. I also grabbed a couple of sturdy boxes from the skips at the local shopping centre, because I needed them quickly and couldn't be stuffed looking online. Have plenty of tape on hand, as well as old newspapers and a roll or two of bubble wrap. If you have any of the reusable shopping bags you can get from the supermarket, use those to pack DVDS, books, clothes, soft toys and things that aren't breakable. Also, blankets, towels and sheets make great packaging material.

5. Play Tetris
By Tetris, I mean properly working out the best way to make everything fit inside boxes and minimising space wastage. I see so many people wasting space, and boxes themselves, because they just shove them in there and call it a day. Tetris is all about slotting things into place in order to win as many scores as possible, and that is the best way to pack your stuff. It also ensures that nothing rattles around in the boxes and break on impact. Stack plates upright to prevent breakage and wrap glasses and mugs individually with newspaper or bubble wrap. Stuff gaps in boxes with soft things like socks, scarves, towels and even small soft toys. Use suitcases to store clothes.

6. Pack your bags
Pack a bag with a couple of outfits, toiletries, pyjamas, and even a small makeup bag if you need to. This is to take the stress out of figuring out where something, in particular, is the first few days after a move. I had work on Thursday, and I packed all of my essentials for my work day, so I didn't have to do it on Wednesday night. I ended up not going to work, after all, as I'd hurt my back and my ankles were killing me after helping someone push his broken-down car up a hill and around a corner. Not fun at all when it's wet and cold, the wind so biting you had to grit your teeth.

7. Have a break
Nothing boosts morale halfway through the day like a hot and satisfying meal, followed by a cup of tea. I threw an entire packet of spinach and ricotta pastries in the oven, and it was exactly what we needed after braving an entire morning of moving heavy furniture in the rain and chill that nips at every exposed flesh. After that, we were considerably more alert and in a much better mood for it, and things were finished in no time.

8. Clean as you pack
If you're renting, no doubt you have to return the property to the state that you received it. I found it a much better use of my time to clean each room as I went along, namely the kitchen, bathroom and the laundry. Leave the floors till last, and take out the rubbish every week to be collected - this way, it doesn't overflow and you're not stuck wondering if you have to take them to the tip to be disposed of. I'm actually really fond of using diluted Sugar Soap to clean everything, even the oven. It just makes easy work of grease, dirt marks on the walls and even shower scum.

9. Plan meals in advance
Or don't cook at all. If you really need to cook, try to make use of what's in your pantry or the refrigerator. Use Taste to input ingredients that you have in order to find recipes, and it brings up the best ones to try. To be honest, it's so much easier to heat up whatever is in the freezer, like ready-made meals and finger food such as spring rolls. Or grab takeout for the last few nights so you don't have to wash dishes. I packed the kitchen a week in advance, setting aside plates, bowls, trays and pans that I planned to donate, as well as glasses and a few mugs that were being taken to mum's place.

Another suggestion that I've got to make is to mark out your days and break all of your tasks down to a few jobs a day. This way you're not rushing to do everything in the last few days, and you're not overwhelmed by it all. It also gives you an idea of where to start for each day, and that really helps to get you into the mood of working smart.

Oh, and don't forget to drink a lot of water. Very important, water.

Do you have any tips of your own that you would add to this list?



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