Seven days to go: how to get organised for a move

  1. Ask trusted friends to help you pack and move. If you can, find someone to look after your children on moving day.
  2. Call your power company, phone company and landlord (if applicable). Don’t forget any paid TV services you use.
  3. Start picking up or buying boxes and packing materials. If you’re sourcing boxes from the supermarket, banana boxes are great – they can hold a lot of weight and come with lids and handles. Remember your suitcases, baskets, plastic storage containers etc as well. Be wary of using rubbish bags (in case they get accidentally thrown out). If you do use them, ensure you label them carefully.
  4. Take a note of any large or unusual items you’ll need to move – pianos, lawnmowers, treadmills etc – so you don’t get stuck trying to fit them in a station wagon at the last minute. Don’t forget to include hallways, cupboards, the garage and outdoor storage such as sheds or greenhouses. Work out how they’re going to be transported. For example if you’re not using a moving company, you may need to hire a trailer. Most garages have trailers for hire, so source one ahead of time. If you’re using a moving company, let them know about anything that might need special attention.

Six days to go: where should I start?

  1. Start with packing your suitcase of essentials for the family and your moving day essentials box. Being this organised from day one means you won’t spend your first evening in your new home (or your last night in your old home) hunting through boxes for your toothbrush, toilet paper or phone charger. This is your only task today, but do it right and you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Five days to go: what should I pack first when moving?

  1. Here’s some advice: start with the kitchen. It will take the longest and be the fiddliest room to pack so put an entire day or evening aside. Keep the items you’ll need until moving day to one side. Include a plate, set of cutlery and glass or mug for each family member, and any pots/pans you’ll need. This is not the week for nutritious, slow cooked meals for your family. Time is of the essence. Grit your teeth and be prepared for a few evenings of takeaways.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of packing materials to hand. Use towels, tea towels and other similar items – even socks and pillow cases – to pack your fragile items. If you have people helping, give them each a specific job or task to do. One person might go through the high cupboards; another might pack your china set. Assign a corner of your kitchen for unwanted items and put someone in charge of getting them to a charity shop.
  3. There’s an art to packing boxes. Put heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter ones on top. Fill empty spaces with bed linen, blankets or clothes. Use large boxes for lighter items, small boxes for heavy items such as books and medium boxes for everything else. Your focus should be packing what’s in front of you, not packing similar items together.

Four days to go: bedrooms and other packing nightmares

  1. Once you’ve done your kitchen, it’s time for the bedrooms and wardrobes. Believe it or not, you have time to sort your belongings into three piles: keep, throw out and give away. Focus on finishing one room at a time before moving onto the next. If you have helpers, get them to work alone while you help your kids.
  2. If you can, have someone working just on your hallway cupboards or storage area. If you don’t, do these once you’ve done the bedrooms. Getting even one of these rooms or areas packed in the first few days of your week will boost your morale and mean you have less to do at the end of the week.
  3. If your kids are old enough, involve them in sorting and packing their own belongings. You may need to supervise this, but if not, leave them to it and just check in every now and again.
  4. Remember to account for fragile or valuable items such as paintings, antiques, expensive cameras or music equipment etc. These may need some additional care when packing. You might also want to consider leaving them at someone’s house until after the move to lessen the risk of them being damaged or lost on moving day.

Three days to go: your living room and other spaces

  1. It’s time to pack your living room, remaining cupboards and storage areas. You’re probably going to want your TV right up until moving day, but DVDs, stereos and other sitting room items can be packed. Remember to focus on one room at a time and be ruthless about throwing out non-essentials.

Two days to go: outdoors and garages

  1. You’ll need time to deal with outside storage areas and garages. If this is going to be a really daunting task, consider asking people you trust to work on this throughout the week. Just make sure they have enough packing materials and a really good idea of what you want to keep.

One day to go: the day for loose ends

  1. Confirm your moving day arrangements with the moving company or with your family and friends. Reconfirm with any companies you need to, to make sure everything is on schedule. Call the charity shop and confirm what you’ve got for them to pick up. If you’ve made it this far without despairing too much, give yourself a pat on the back!
  2. For a lot of people, your bathroom items will fit in one or two medium sized boxes, so pack them and leave them open in the bathroom the day before you move. Remember to leave out a towel for each person, especially if you have small children who might need a bath before going to bed.

Day zero: moving day – getting to the finish line

  1. You’re nearly there! Start early. Hopefully you’ve left out coffee supplies because it’s going to be a long day. Strip everyone’s beds and put all the bedsheets in your moving day essentials box. Encourage your kids to put their favourite toys in a backpack, hand luggage sized suitcase or even just a box. Close the boxes of bathroom items. By the time the movers (or your family and friends) arrive, you want to be ready to go.
  2. If you’re lucky, someone else is looking after your kids so you can focus on the move. . If you’re using movers, get as much as you can in the truck. You’re paying them anyway and it will save you time later. If your friends are helping you out, be as precise with your instructions as possible – they’ll appreciate getting out of there as much as you appreciate their help.
  3. Unless you’re super human, it’s worth thinking about hiring a cleaner for the home you’re leaving. If your budget won’t stretch that far, enlist the help of friends and family.