Lessons on moving home

Picture by Jenny Downing (Creative Commons)

Picture by Jenny Downing (Creative Commons)

Having previously given an account of my recent move, I wanted to summarise some of the things I’ve learnt. The narrative was written mostly for my own benefit, to get it off my chest, though I hope it was at least of some interest to you. In this post, I hope to be beneficial to others. Though some aspects of this may seem promotional, I was not asked to write this nor did I receive any remuneration for this post.

1. London estate agents have far fewer scruples than those of Sussex. They will take your money and then do as little as possible to earn their management fee. Some (Foxtons) will just about laugh in your face if your requirements are reasonable. That said, however, the Sussex estate agents with whom I am dealing are not beyond fabricating allegations in order to procrastinate about the return of the deposit.

2. Take you biggest box and do not fill it when you start to pack. You will need this for all the kitchen stuff that you will need right up until the last moment (kettle, pots & pans, crockery, cutlery, etc). You might also want to have another box on hand for “stuff” which fits into the following category: it will never be packed properly in advance, you may or may not need, but which you daren’t throw out, just in case; so it’s best to take it with you.

3. When you visit a new property for a viewing, take a tape measure with you. Ensure that you’ve measured all of your furniture first and check that it will fit. As I was downsizing, I moved all my things around to ensure that it would fit in the new property.

4. Most removal companies can’t cope with having anything as little as two weeks’ notice. Aussie Man & Van were really good. Anything that wasn’t packed in boxes they did themselves, quite quickly. They disassembled and reassembled the flat pack furniture, with nothing broken or damaged in any way. The only downsides I had were that their initial quote was given excluding VAT and their driver was spotted using a mobile phone while driving. But, overall they did a good job and I would recommend them.

5. It’s a good idea to leave behind some cleaning equipment so that you can do a thorough clean of the old property after it is cleared of furniture. However, don’t leave everything behind. I faced a quandary when I realised I had to do the washing up in the new place but didn’t have so much as jay cloth or washing up liquid to do it with.

6. Leave behind at least one loo roll. The incoming tenant will really appreciate it.

7. Don’t try to unpack everything at once. Do the essentials and then try for just one or two boxes per day thereafter. It’ll take time, but you will get there.

8. The Royal Mail redirect service is really good. Fill in the form, present the right ID, pay £50 and they’ll send on your mail to your new address for a year. Unfortunately, the previous tenant in my new flat didn’t do this, so I’m going to have to have contact the landlord soon to ask what they want done with the mail. If I’m not to forward it, I’ll have to write “Addressee no longer lives at this address, please return to sender” on each and every envelope.

9. In the new place, I’ve found it’s best not to dictate where things go, but to simply let them find their place where they can be easily found. This might sound a little odd, so I’ll expand. I put things down a lot and I forget where I put them. Usually I’m lost in thought, thinking about something or other; some might call this absent-mindedness. Instead of trying to force myself to put things in a specific place, I think where do I naturally put them down? Then I make a space, a home if you will, for them. For example, the place where I naturally go to look for mugs is not the place where I initially put all the mugs. Plus, the spot where I dump my tea towels when they’ve been used (but don’t quite need a wash yet) is different from the one I had envisioned (envisaged?).

So those are my tips. Do you have any handy advice to pass on for moving home?

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