Moving house: sanity saving tips

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As exciting as it is to move to a new home, it can also be stressful and fraught with potential peril. The secret is in the planning.

All hands on deck
It’s often left up to one person in a household to do most of the packing prior to moving day, but if everyone does their bit, no-one need feel overloaded. As well as having them pack their own room into boxes, give each child a section of the kitchen to take on as their own.

Make it easy on pets
Pets will know something’s up when the routine changes and the house starts filling up with boxes. Don’t forget to leave room in your car for your pets when you make that final trip, and be sure to set up a water bowl as soon as you arrive at the other end. All that anxiety can make a pet thirsty!

Prep plants
If your pot plants can cope, keep watering to a minimum during the week before you move to make them lighter and to reduce mess. Plastic-lined boxes are the way to go (or a laundry basket!). If you’re moving interstate, check that you can bring your plants with you without violating any laws.

Protect artwork
If you’re packing up your house yourself but plan to get movers in to take your stuff from A to B, check how they plan to pack up your artwork. If their approach is to wrap up paintings in old blankets that have been lying around on the floor of the truck, it might pay to shop around.

Measure furniture
Assuming your furniture is going to fit in the new house may not be wise. Measure both your furniture and the space you intend it to go ahead of time, and don’t forget to double-check doorway dimensions to avoid moving-day disappointment.

Pack a bag of essentials
A bag that contains everything you need for the first few days after you move will mean you don’t have to waste time sifting through countless boxes when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Help kids of all ages pack what you know they’ll need. Left up to them, you may find a bag full of toys instead of clothes at the other end. Whatever you do, make sure that favourite teddy is within reach at bedtime.

Tape drawers shut
Damage to furniture is always annoying, and you don’t usually discover the dents and scratches until the removalists are long gone. Use packing tape to stop drawers sliding out when they’re picked up and loaded into the truck, and put ‘fragile’ stickers on any of your most prized possessions.

Don’t scrimp on boxes
Moving is expensive, there’s no getting around it, but one thing you shouldn’t try to save a few dollars on is the number of boxes you buy or rent. Lamps and other odd-shaped valuables should have their own box and be well protected with scrunched up white butcher’s paper.

Take advantage of an empty house
That time between when the previous residents move out and you move in is the ideal window in which to get work on the house done without the hassle of moving furniture around. If the floors need sanding and refinishing, now is the time. Does the place need a paint? It’s a whole lot easier when it’s empty.

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