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The moving home checklist

By Emma Smith

Moving into a new home may be exciting. But the move itself is rarely fun. So to help you keep your sanity and take the stress out of moving day, we’ve developed this checklist of everything you need to do.

Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting – and most stressful – things we ever do. But moving day usually runs a whole lot more smoothly if you’ve laid the groundwork and prepared properly before it’s time to go. We’ve developed this checklist of the 13 things you need to take care of in the month leading up to moving day.

Timeframe: One month before your moving date

1. Sort out your removalists

Good removalists are often in demand, especially on popular moving days such as Saturdays. So be sure to do your research and comparisons and book in your preferred removalists as soon as you can.

When you’re asking a removalist for a quote they should be able to give you a reasonable guide of how many boxes you’ll need and how long the job should take, based on the size of your property. You should always make sure your removalist carries appropriate insurance too, just in case something goes wrong.

2. Book your cleaners

If you’re ending a lease or selling your current home, you’ll generally have to make sure that your current property is in a decent state to hand over to the next occupants. So now’s the time to book in your cleaners so that they can do one final clean once your belongings have been removed.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the home you’re moving into will be professionally cleaned too. So ask the selling agent what preparations have been made.

3. Start culling

Chances are that a lot of what you have you won’t want to take with you. If you begin sorting out what you don’t want to take to your new home now, you’ll give yourself enough time to give it away, sell it or throw it out.

4. Go through the pantry, fridge and freezer

Culling doesn’t just apply to your keepsakes, clothes and furniture. It also applies to your food. Throw out what’s out of date and start eating what’s not so that you have less to move. Your fridge and freezer will spend some hours unplugged and in transit so the less perishables you have the better.

Timeframe: A fortnight before your moving date

5. Get packing

If you haven’t sourced boxes and packing tape, now’s the time to do it. Your removalist may be able to give you the boxes you’ll need. Alternatively, you can often rent or buy quality boxes from storage companies.

There is an art and science to packing, so it’s always best to give yourself time to do it properly. Generally, however, you should:

  • Organise your boxes by room and label them clearly. Use colour coding so that you can immediately identify what goes where.
  • Wrap each item individually and line each box with paper. Use bubble wrap for anything that’s breakable.
  • Pack heavy items at the bottom and put very heavy items in small boxes. If you use large ones your removalists may have trouble moving them.
  • Prepare for the worst and pack each member of your family an overnight bag. That way they’ll always have a change of clothes and toiletries even if something goes wrong with the move.
  • Pack important items and documents together. Keep them in a safe place – preferably with you.
  • Pack a box of ‘essentials’ that you know you’ll need once you arrive. This could include a kettle, snacks, plates and utensils. Keep this separate from the other boxes you’re packing and take it yourself on the day of the move.
  • Set aside any dangerous or explosive items such as gas bottles. Your removalists won’t usually deal with these. You’ll have to move them yourself.

6. Or enlist outside help

If you’re time poor or if the prospect of packing seems too daunting, you can always enlist the help of professional packers. They promise to save you time and cut down on stress by taking all – or some – of the packing process off your hands.

The downside, of course, is that this will add to your moving costs and give you less control over your packing. So do your own cost/benefit analysis and see what comes out on top.

7. Sort out your insurance

It’s important that you have your new home and contents insurance in place before you move in.

So now is the perfect time to call your insurer and swap your policy over to make sure that it starts the day you move in. When you do, check that your policy covers moving day itself. Some insurers will make this standard, while others will make you pay something extra. Alternatively, some qualified removalists hold a financial services licence which means they could offer you the chance to take out moving insurance through them.

8. Change your address and transfer utilities

You don’t want to be without phone, internet, cable TV, water, electricity and gas when you get to the other end. So make sure you call to have your old services disconnected and your new ones connected by moving day. You should also notify your local council about your change of address and arrange for Australia Post to redirect your mail.

9. Make arrangements for children and pets

If you have children or pets, you may want to make sure they’re not around when it comes time to move. After all, you have a lot of work ahead of you and the old saying that you should ‘never work with kids and animals’ often takes on a new meaning with moving day.

If the children aren’t at school or daycare, it may be wise to arrange for a babysitter, relative or friend to look after them. The same goes for any pets.

Timeframe: One week before moving your moving date

10. Start dismantling

Removalists generally charge by the hour. So the last thing you want to be doing is dismantling all your furniture once they’ve arrived. You’re much better off starting now.

Take apart your beds and sofas, your bookcases, shelves, and any other furniture, and add them to the growing pile of goods waiting to be moved.

11. Get your house in order

You’re no doubt hoping that the owners of your new home make your transition easy by leaving you instructions for how everything works. So try to do the same for the people who’ll be coming into the place you’re leaving. Collect all of the manuals and instructions for appliances and leave them out for the next residents and get back any spare keys you may have lent out.

12. Tie up loose ends

Unless you want to be paying for things you’re not using, you should cancel your deliveries and subscriptions. You should also confirm your removalist and cleaner and make sure everything is ready for moving day itself. If you need to sort out parking arrangements for the removalist truck, don’t wait. Do it now.

You should also be on the home stretch when it comes to packing.

On moving day itself

13. Close up and move on

Now that the big day is here it’s time to close up and lock the door behind you. But before you do (and before the removalists arrive) you should empty the contents of your fridge and freezer into an esky, check every last cupboard and shut everything down.

Once you’ve collected the keys to your new place, open up and check that everything is clean. Once your fridge has arrived put your contents inside it. Then work on unpacking for the areas you know you’ll use over the next few days – the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom.

If you have children it can be a good idea to unpack their bedrooms, just to help them adjust. And, because you can almost certainly guarantee you’ll be tired after a day’s packing, be sure to set up and make your bed.

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