How to minimise moving house stress

Nikki ParkinsonHow to, Life 102 Comments

I’m sitting here with a stress headache and feel completely under qualified to write a post about how to minimise moving house stress.

I’m so damn tired and have ONCE AGAIN spent the morning listening to annoying on-hold music while ONCE AGAIN trying to get internet* connected at our new house – a relocation order that was supposedly put in place in November. But wasn’t.

I may have cried.

I did cry.

I’m highly emotional at the best of times but the frustration of not having this pre-organised part of our move sorted and up and running is tipping me over into emotional La-La Land.

Everyone tells you that the stress of moving house is up there with death and divorce.

I know this is so because I’ve done it before. But it still hits you all the same … because you wrongly think that surely that can’t be the case.

We have not sold our Sunshine Coast house (new tenants moved in yesterday) and we are renting in Brisbane. It’s a formula that works for us right now. We get to live where we want to live in the city and not lose out on our Coast property investment (the property market in our area is lower than when we bought six years ago).

Anyhoo, a lovely reader thought I might have some tips on how to stay sane when moving house, so I thought I’d give it a red hot go and also share some pics of our new house.

15 tips for minimising moving house stress

Before you start packing

1. Prepare yourself mentally as best you can. For me that meant not allowing one box to be packed until the day after the Boxing Day. We effectively gave ourselves two days off to just enjoy Christmas and family. Then it was on! Even after day one I was really glad I put my foot down on this one. Being surrounded by chaos is not fun.

2. Organise logistics as much as possible in advance. We were fortunate to secure our Brisbane house in November and have a set moving in date in January. We then allowed a week at our previous home before tenants moved in for us to get some extra work done there. This gave us greater flexibility and time to prepare and organise essentials associated with the move – the removalists, packers, insurance changes, Springfree trampoline (they offer a pack down and re-assemble service that’s very much worth the $), electricity and phone internet. All except the latter happened as organised.

3. Moving is not cheap. Work out your budget for what you can afford in the way of help with a moving company. We chose ab fab  – The Stress Free Movers – and they proved to be everything that their business name promises. From the initial phone call, booking and deposit to loading and unloading of the truck, everything was professionally handled. Much as we would have loved for the entire house to be packed by them, we opted for a compromise and chose to have my office and the kitchen packed by one of their team two days before our move. At $17.50 a box (box included) this was also money well spent as it meant on this particular day we could tackle other areas of the house.

15 tips for minimising moving house stress


15 tips for minimising moving house stress

Packing up your old house

4. Cull as you go. I’m ruthless. Mr SY not so. He managed to sneak a few things down here that were definitely bound for Vinnies up the Coast. Despite this, we collectively cut back a lot. I try to do the cull process regularly but there is nothing like the promise of a fresh start to really make you think about what you need and use. If in doubt, chuck it out. Blunt but true.

5. Organise as you go. Not only did I cull as I packed, I thought about how I was packing each box. I compartmentalised each room and labelled with plenty of detail so at the other end it landed exactly where it needed to be unpacked. This little bit of extra time and thought saves considerable time when unpacking.

6. Pack everything in packing boxes. Yes, it means outlaying for said boxes but it makes a huge difference to how the removalists are able to efficiently pack the truck. This efficiency saves you money when you are being moved on an hourly rate. It also means you are less likely to have breakages. We sourced our boxes from Gumtree (expect to pay about half new price for used boxes), The Moving Box Company (can highly recommend the wardrobe boxes for keeping your clothes uncrushed and the ease of simply moving them from your wardrobe to the box and back to your new wardrobe on arrival) and extras as required from a storage facility around the corner from our old home. Ab Fab bought back all our boxes at the end. On that note, only write on the packing tape if you’re wanting to re-sell.

7. Pack kitchen essentials and fresh linen for all beds separately. Being able to make a coffee that first morning and sleep on fresh sheets that first night can make all the difference to your stress levels – well mine anyway. It’s the little things that get you through those days at the other end. Make it easy on yourself and carry these with you in your car or in a clearly marked box if going on the truck.

8. Book cleaners to come in the day after you move. There was no way either of us were going back to clean after spending a week packing with the prospect of another week unpacking. We booked the house for a “bond” clean well in advance. Ask around for recommendations. The agency handling our rental property was able to recommend their preferred cleaners. This also gave us peace of mind as they would be familiar with cleaning the house to that agency’s standard.

15 tips for minimising moving house stress

15 tips for minimising moving house stress

Unpacking at your new house

9. Construct and make beds first. Remember that box of fresh linen? The first job at the new house – I think – should be to get the beds constructed and made. That way you can collapse into them later that night without a further thought.

10. Get the fridge switched on and the wine chilled. The fridge took a while to come out of the truck but 30 minutes after it did (the gas needs to settle), I switched that baby on. As soon as it was cold the champagne went in. By 6pm it was cracked and enjoyed with a friend who arrived with more. Good friends arriving with champagne should always be made to feel welcome.

11. Order takeaway for as many nights as it takes. This comes down to a budget and availability thing but thankfully we’ve moved extremely close to all manner of takeaway options, of which we availed ourselves while the kitchen – and our culinary brains – were in a state of distress. Didn’t feel guilty about this at all and found some great places we’ll order from again in the future. Also grateful to friend, almost neighbour and fellow blogger Mother Down Under, who sneakily dropped some home made muffins on our door step.

12.  On day one or two create one zone as a chaos-free zone. My mind works better when things are ordered (those who know me well will not be surprised and not find this revealing at all). Unpacking is chaotic. But it can be ordered chaos. I wanted to get the living/dining area sorted as soon as possible … to have one area in the home that was free of boxes. Somewhere to sit and take a break. Once that was done, the kitchen was next – always a huge task as you’re working with the same stuff you had before but different space in which to fit it.

13.  Work methodically, unpacking room by room. With the kitchen and living rooms done, we worked room by room to get the rest finished. Mr SY also did two trips back up the Coast to sort stuff with the house and he delighted in allocating a day dedicated to a serious dump run. Yes, we culled more as we unpacked and discovered storage that we didn’t previously have and found that we needed extra kinds of storage that we had never needed until now. This may or may not have resulted in a couple of expeditions to IKEA, resulting in more cardboard, more construction and a very happy me with the office/lady room of my dreams (more on that next week – am waiting on one more crucial piece of furniture before the big reveal).

14.  Realise that you are going to be completely whacked at the end of it and that 8pm will seem like midnight. My eyes are fuzzy, my head sore and my whole body is screaming at me: ENOUGH. It is mentally and physically hard work but we’re here. We’re in and we love our new home.

15.  Get out and explore your new ‘hood. Such was my overwhelming intent to get settled, I didn’t leave the house for four days. Crazy, yes? When I did emerge it was for dinner with old friends and the next day I vowed that a walk in our new community and a celebratory and much-needed mani/pedi was in order. It felt good. I realised I needed to get out to feel more settled when in. Was also comforting to get good recommendations for where to buy fruit and veg and meat from my brother who lives up the road.

15 tips for minimising moving house stress

15 tips for minimising moving house stress
15 tips for minimising moving house stress

15 tips for minimising moving house stress

Our new routine is slowly evolving.

Mr SY went back to work yesterday and was home to cook dinner last night. And that’s something I’m very much happy to adjust to.

The next big step is school starting (two weeks tomorrow). I’m grateful that I’ve been able to have this time to feel settled before helping Master SY cross that bridge.

I know many of you out there have done bigger moves than ours – and more often. In the interests of a SY community service, please do share your moving house tips in the comments below.

*I do have one of those mobile 4G wi-fi thingies unfortunately it’s not so reliable as the 4G coverage is not so strong here. Think dial-up without the tone.

Comments 102

    1. I’ve always lived in Queensland Diane – moved from Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. If you search my blog under LIFE you’ll find tips for either area. I’ll be posting each month about new places I find and visit.

  1. My tip for moving is to pack a suitcase as if you’re going on a trip for a few days – clothes, shoes, toiletries etc, including a presentable outfit in case you end up going out unexpectedly. Also, packing all of your most-used kitchen items in the same box so that you can make a cuppa and breakfast/lunch without having to scrabble through a multitude of boxes. Love the bed first and guilt-free takeaway ideas!

  2. ah we loved Ab Fab they definitely are the STRESS free removers, we moved only from bli bli to Glenview but Jed and his team were wonderful. Great tips loved reading them all and agree on everything !

  3. We moved into a tiny worker’s cottage, and kept heaps of stuff in boxes under the house “in storage” as there was no room to unpack it. Guess what – when we moved out, the house was demolished (it was termite riddled) WITH all that “storage” stuff still there! WE figured if we hadn’t needed it in over 5 years, we could well and truly live without it. (I should add that it flooded a couple of times so I don’t think any of it was salvagable anyways – otherwise it’d have been a bit wasteful!).

    Glad you’re settling back into Bris-Vegas!

  4. Isn’t it terrible to admit I’ve never really moved. When I moved out of home it was bit by tiny bit as I didn’t officially “move out” so much as my family made it more and more uncomfortable for me to go home from my boyfriend’s house until I decided I didn’t want to go back.

    While living there I flooded the house and the Insurance company paid for all the contents to be packed up, removed, the place re-carpeted, and then the contents returned. What we didn’t need just stayed in boxes.

    Then when said boyfriend, who was by then Fiancé, and I bought a house a week before settlement it was delayed and delayed and delayed. We ended up homeless for 9 months living with my parents (ironic considering the above) while all our stuff sat in storage. And I was so under pressure at the time of the move that the stuff left was packed professionally (not much money when most of it is already in boxes).

    So when we finally moved into a house, all our stuff came from storage and we spent 3 years unpacking. And that long, drawn out story, is the only time (times? I guess 3) I moved.

    Been looking at buying a bigger house and I’m so anxious about the thought of moving!!

  5. After moving many times in the past five years, I cannot recommend the culling enough! I’ve gone from living on campus for Uni to sharehousing, living with in-laws and renting so I know all too well how much fun the moving process is…. Although I’ve never had to move more than 40 minutes away or shift much furniture, it’s always stressful and you always seem to have more stuff than you think!

    We live in a really nice (big) place now and plan to stay until we buy, but I am still so conscious of accumulating things (especially being in a place where it would be very easy to do) because I know moving is inevitable at some stage.
    At various points, things had to go into storage as well, so I found big plastic boxes with wheels (bought from $2 shops) are a fantastic way to keep things safe and dry, and they’re uniform so they stack and are nice and neat (the organiser coming out in me there haha)!

  6. Perfectly timed article – I’m moving next week after 5 years of sharehouses into my first apartment (that I bought) so I’m about to commence the nightmare that is packing! Luckily I have a long weekend to move thanks to Australia Day, so I will be taking on board as many of these tips as possible! Luckily I did a cull a little while back of clothes, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Plus living in sharehouses makes it a little harder to accumulate too much crap!
    Your new place looks gorgeous!

  7. My hubby and I just moved from Sydney to Brisbane. Hubby is in the defence force so the entire move was coordinated by them (along with the actual removal company they use) including the packing of our house in Sydney. My advice would be, similar to what you have said Nikki, keep essentials in a seperate box. I had to go out and buy laundry liquid and things like that because I couldn’t (and still haven’t) found the box they are in. In saying that, if you were packing the house yourself, it would be alot easier. It makes things more difficult when someone else is packing ALL of your belongings.

  8. Our move 7 months ago to Cape Town was sheer bliss – Aust team of packers lovingly wrapped and packed everything into our container. I was dreading the unpacking when the container arrived but a team of packers this end had everything completely unpacked within 2 hours and all we had to do was point to the cupboards and drawers which I had pre labeled and nutted out! They took away all the boxes and bubble wrap and that was it…..easiest move we have ever made and yet it was over the other side of the world.

  9. Excellent tips – beds first is the key, and a coffee box. And cull, cull, cull!
    Last time I moved it was from the unit at the back of no. 8 to the unit at the front of no. 8. Zero packing boxes required! There’s a connecting door between the units (it’s a wonky, weird place) so I just schlepped a stack of plates, a drawer of clothes, a pile of books at a time (repeat) and got some friends to carry my couch down the driveway!
    I think the next move will probably hurt quite a bit more, but I have no plans to leave no. 8, where there are almost as many external doors as windows.
    Great decision to rent and live where you want for this season and see what the market does.
    I love your style Nikki! Home is where those you love are.

    1. Just like B below if you can move things easily from one place to the other it’s so much quicker to be settled. And home is very much where those you love are … and where the wifi connects automatically 🙂

  10. Brilliant post lovely! How did you manage to look so stylish during such a stressful time??? When we eventually bite the bullet and move, yours will be my go to guide. I hope you’ll be very happy in your new home. A x x

  11. when we done the big cross country move we had no option but to pay others to do it for us. When we moved from rental to our freshly built home we had friends help us shlep everything but hired a cleaner for the old place. We used the one our real estate agent told us they used so if there was any problems they would deal with them- brilliant!

    I agree with just about every point you stated, especially the room by room unpacking & the take away dinners! If people want to help LET THEM! I have no problems telling people where to put stuff but when it comes to linen closets or laundry & bathroom cabinets I let them unpack as they please. If it doesn’t work for me they are they easiets to switch around.

    Can I just say that I am very surprised you have brown couches Nikki! In my head I would have pictured something white or grey (Completly impatactical with kids but very coastal & easy to accomodate a decor update). I do love that you seem to have so many little areas within areas & the house looks devine! A lot like how I picture my dream house….Can you tell me where the Hello doormat & Hello metal sign are from? I feel like I “need” those 🙂

    1. We used to have a navy sofa in fabric but wanted to switch to leather for durability. Have always loved the lived-in feel of brown leather and hello, you know my coloured cushion obsession … acts like a canvas for that. The Hello door mat and sign I bought at Willow & Bird – they’re not online but they do do phone orders. x

  12. How cute does your new house look!? Love it!

    I agree with all of these tips… However, in our very recent move, I only ‘packed’ books. Because we were only moving 5 minutes away, my mum and I brought things in our cars and put them away straight away. This worked so well for us. On the day all our furniture came across, I was able to make tea and coffee and I knew where everything was! This method only worked because I had the time to do this – I would not recommend this method for those who need to move further…

    Oh – and those boxes of books I packed? It took nearly 6 weeks to get to! Motivation DIED in the water when we finally moved in and the school year ended! All done now and we are ready to take on 2014.

    Great post…

  13. Jealous of your old Queenslander!

    I last moved 15 years ago and don’t intend to move again. I designated the spare room as the chaos pit and gradually packed boxes and boxes of books in the weeks before the move. Over a hundred of them. It was really difficult deciding which ones I would leave out to tide me over the pack/move/unpack process. Probably something only another committed bibliophile would understand 🙂

    There were a couple of big things for me – being able to keep all my plants at my now-husband’s house (again, gradually moved across over several weeks, as I thinned out some of the plantings in my garden); and having somewhere for my cats, dogs and chickens to stay on the day, so that they weren’t stressed by the move and I could ensure their new quarters were safely set up for them.

    Having a bit of time on either side of moving for each property made a huge difference, I could get things settled without too much stress. All boxes were numbered and marked with room information. This was also recorded in a notebook so I could cross-reference easily. The removalists were brilliant and finished off the packing I didn’t quite manage, which included a collection of old electric kettles. Really good idea to have them pack all the breakables – that way they’re covered by moving insurance.

  14. Jealous of your old Queenslander!

    I last moved 15 years ago and don’t intend to move again. I designated the spare room as the chaos pit and gradually packed boxes and boxes of books in the weeks before the move. Over a hundred of them. It was really difficult deciding which ones I would leave out to tide me over the pack/move/unpack process. Probably something only another committed bibliophile would understand 🙂

    There were a couple of big things for me – being able to keep all my plants at my now-husband’s house (again, gradually moved across over several weeks, as I thinned out some of the plantings in my garden); and having somewhere for my cats, dogs and chickens to stay on the day, so that they weren’t stressed by the move and I could ensure their new quarters were safely set up for them.

    Having a bit of time on either side of moving for each property made a huge difference, I could get things settled without too much stress. All boxes were numbered and marked with room information. This was also recorded in a notebook so I could cross-reference easily. The removalists were brilliant and finished off the packing I didn’t quite manage, which included a collection of old electric kettles. Really good idea to have them pack all the breakables – that way they’re covered by moving insurance.

  15. Great tips. Thankfully all my moves have been local and without too many hassles. My tip if moving local is to keep your clothes on their hangers and put them in the back seat of your car – then just hang them up when you get there. The only other thing is there are companies that organise all your utility connections on your behalf – we use them at work and find they are more reliable than organising it yourself. Plus you generally are not on hold for 2 hours if you do need to sort something out.

    1. Oh Kelly, yes the companies that do the connections are great except I think that was the start of our problems in this case – they all work with there are no computer glitches with addresses not being recognised but we nearly ended up with the electricity disconnected too when it should have been transferred.

  16. Givit!

    We downsized and had a lot of furniture needing a new home. Rather than sell these items, we donated to Givit customers. service essentially matches an item with a person in need of said item.

    It made me very happy that, among other items we no longer required, a queen bed, mattress, 8 draw dresser and a spare Xmas tree went to a mother of 5 who was in a difficult situation at the time. Most of the furniture was from Rosebank Cottage (in Paddington, Brisbane) and would have fetched a nice little cash windfall if we sold them but we were moving on to a new, exciting phase in our lives. So many people never get to experience that joy and it was our little way of bringing light to someone else’s life.

  17. Hi Nikki, it will get better I promise. Once you have started to get those rooms all done and things put away in place it will all be fab from then on. I must say what a beautiful home and how you have put everything, love it! I have a cow hide in my open living and people always say how much they love it. Once you get that Internet happening it will be fall steam ahead. Keep that chin up;) it might take a little time to get right but….. it will happen. All the best in that stunning home. ,) .Just think I moved from city to country putting my furniture in a horse float! Let’s just say it took a good week and many trip’s. ……… ,).

  18. Your new home looks so relaxing, inviting and stylish, Nikki. Love it! I am all about the regular cull. It’s amazing how much crap you can accumulate without even trying, isn’t it? I’m going to keep it up as we finish each room in the house and (finally) have places and spaces to put our things.

  19. Amazing Nikki! What to add? I think you’ve covered just about everything and to think that you carried on with your business during the mayhem only proves to me how much you deserve your success.

    Our moves have been mostly international, so although the packers packed everything, we had other stresses and issues to take up our time. I agree with you – prior planning the logistics of the move is essential, packing bit by bit and living in chaos for weeks on end is definitely not.

    Making sure you have all you important documents, passports, birth certificates, insurances etc all together in a well marked box in the car with you is essential I think. Particularly files of bills to be paid, which might not have been paid, or slipped through the change-of-address-phase-of-moving.

    The thing that was important for me once landed was spending time to help the children adjust to their new lives and environment – organising play dates, getting them involved in extra curricular activities and taking them out and about to acclimatise them to their new environment.

    Awesome post Nikki – what a help for anyone considering a move 🙂

  20. We move out in two weeks! We are surrounded by boxes, clutter and mess at the moment. We are down sizing, so it tricky to get rid of all our furniture. Thanks goodness for Gumtree!

  21. Ha, i would’ve loved to be in the (old) local Vinnies when your donation boxes were opened, if the wardrobe was culled as well! Looks like you are settling in and those boxes are being unpacked!

  22. Three weeks before Christmas we moved into our new house and the day after Boxing Day I moved the shop into the studio beside the house. On top of that we had 16 people stay with us over Christmas. I feel like I need a holiday now! I also felt at the time like I was wearing the same singlet and shorts day in and day out but the #everydaystyle pics on Instagram were a reminder to get out of that rut.

    The best part of this new house is hanging all the winter clothes in the new ample closet space which have been in stored in suitcases under beds previously. Finally I can see my whole wardrobe!

    PS> So envious of your shoe-robe and wishing we had an Ikea here!

  23. We moved in October to our dream house. I never pre packed and we thought we had all the time in the world. First night in the new house was Thursday. It was so blissful, even the shower felt like a fancy resort! On the Sunday night we were told new tenants were needing our old place so we had 3 days to clean inside and out. OMG!!! With 2 toddlers and inlaws helping it was sooo stressful. Crazy tired by 8pm for a good week! I threw out 8 large bags of clothes, and had a deck area to sort through. Crazy times but we coped with lots of champers. We’re settled now and starting to plan the garden, the office, get new blinds etc, the fun stuff! Building and moving has been very emotional but oh so worth it. There really is I place like home! x

  24. I think you have done amazingly well to move and get settled in so little time Nikki and I agree it would be stressful I haven’t moved for a very long time and don’t plan to,but I have had to reorganise the house as my son James’s girlfriend moved in!
    My daughter recently bought a house and it was a big thing to move and unpack and clean (the tenants left it in a horrible state) I helped her as much as I could cleaning and putting away and I love your tips they are great.I think the culling thing is a good idea,when my family members get a bit Better I will be culling around here too and I understand about the need to have order at least in one room ,I do think I have OCD at times!
    Your house looks like a wonderful family home and i do hope you get some time to relax and enjoy it.I think your house looks great Nikki especially with your personal touches and I do hope the internet problem gets sorted soon x

  25. First of all, your new home looks beautiful!

    I’d like to think I’m somewhat experienced with this moving business and I completely agree with tip 9. Nothing feels better than collapsing into a freshly made bed after tackling a day of unpacking and chaos.

    Strangely enough, this is our 3rd move (major move two interstate moves and also Brisbane to Townsville) in the past four years and I think the last one has been the most stressful. I’m embarrassed to say that I have cried more times than I can count and over the most silly things – the pink front door, our broken tv, the night we ordered Thai takeout from our new neighborhood and and it didn’t live up to the thai from our old one (ridiculous thing to cry over, right?).

    My only other tip is if you are moving somewhere that is an area you aren’t familiar with or you don’t have any friends/family in the area, take advantage of social media and contact some of your online friends from those areas. They’ll have advice on the best butchers, let you know when/where farmers markets are etc and most people will be happy to meet up for a coffee once you’re settled in, otherwise it can get lonely!

    Sorry for the essay! I hope we get to see some more house snaps soon (I’m so nosy!)

    1. Haha! I love that you cried for the new Thai food. How dare they not be as good :)!! I don’t think I cried (I did on the inside!!) as I watched my husband stress THAT much I had to hold it all together. In the depressing “where do we start” stages I springed on a positive “are you kidding this is fun!!!” attitude to keep the packing going. Hope you’re settled in and living it now, I sure am.
      I’m too am checking in each day to look at Nikki’s house reveals, love it!!

      1. Ah Jojo, Mr SY’s stress was all around us not finding a house. I got him to channel that stress into an excel list of agents in the area we wanted to live in. I emailed them all and within a day one had come back with this house. He’s been fine since … except for lack of Fox Sports on account of internet drama.

  26. Yep, moving! Telstra always stuffs up! And I’m like you, having my bedding and tea/coffee making things in the VIP box that comes in the car with me! Going back to clean the “old” place is always a nightmare and I always say I’ll get a cleaning team in but never do! One day I’ll learn. I’ve always liked to have a special spot (or two) that’s “done” as soon as I’m there – a comfy chair, coffee table, vignette, you know what I mean! Getting out to a cafe immediately is another way to make me feel normal. I take a book and pretend unpacking can wait! How lovely to have your friend pop over with champers – that’s the way to do it! Lovely home, we had a Q’lander once – just beautiful.

  27. We have moved and moved friends a crazy amount of times, we even joked that Hubs, myself and our best mate could start a moving business. I think we got up to 8 moves between the 3 of us in 18 months. As a child, we moved every 4 years for my dads job which has left some interesting quirks in my personality when it comes to ‘stuff’ and I feel this gives me some authority to talk about moving.

    I am a big believer in having a chaos free zone, for me it is always the kitchen and our bedroom. They are the first places I unpack.

    If you can, keep the mess contained to one or two rooms that have doors. It keeps the chaos in a contained area and the doors mean you can shut the door and pretend it doesn’t exist while have a GnT.

    Cull your ‘stuff’ is it sentimental? Do you really need it? Or will it just sit in that one box you never quite get around to unpacking? For me, I don’t do sentimental about homes and most stuff and the things I do have attachments to are quite strange. My wedding dress? Couldn’t care less about it(not saying I don’t love it but if I had to ditch it, I wouldn’t be fussed) but my Year 12 jumper, now 12 years old, that has pride of place in my wardrobe in all its faded glory.

    Two essential things for moving: Washing baskets and Glad Tuff Green Garbage bags. Seriously, never underestimate the power of these two things. Washing baskets are perfect for moving glasses and you can use tea towels to protect them and then they can be unpacked straight into the new cupboard, same with plates and all crockery again use towels and linen that you then refold and put in the linen press. Cleaning products, shoes, office supplies, pantry food, shed stuff, I reckon mum and I moved 90% of my house with our washing baskets, except for furniture obviously.

    If you are moving not too far away then fill the washing basket each trip and unpack it straight into its new location. Even better if you have a little bit of overlap time.

    Those random bits that are always left around when you move and the bits you find when you move the couch, into the garbo bags. Garbage bags are great for linen, quilts and soft things, they keep them clean and form to the shape of the items.

  28. I pack a suitcase as if I’m going on a trip – the sheets, towels, a few days clothing – all at the ready! No digging for stuff and no pressure to unpack at a hurried or disorganised rate.

    And also a green bag/cooler bag full of snacks, drinks and toilet paper.

    ALWAYS have spare toilet paper when you move house.

    I like to also give myself one day to clean the new house when I move in, before the removalists arrive – usually I’ll grab the keys as early in the morning as I can, clean that day and then move in the next day.

    I pack and move as much as I can on my own (aka with the help of anyone with a truck/4WD).

    Get free boxes from Bunnings, Supermarkets, Chemists. (Only worth paying for boxes for a long/intestate/overseas move.)

    Large appliances and furniture are the only things I try to pay to have moved.

    I always use the real estates preferred cleaner when moving out – usually a bit more expensive but I find it’s harder for them to dispute anything on an exit report that way.

  29. Telstra… The disappointment of every move… I have now learnt to organize a new phone and internet connection prior to my move and then disconnect the old and merge mobile phone accounts over… It is a little more annoying with new email addresses and then merging the old, but it is much preferred over my previous 2 moves of having no internet for work at home for 2 weeks whilst they sorted out how they ‘lost my order’, or why it was ‘input incorrectly’ etc etc…

      1. Same here – I took a lot of time off to be here for their “4-hour appointment time” only to have them not turn up each time I was given a new date. Took a month to happen! Just so frustrating after booking it months ahead of the move and trying to be super-organised. I ended up asking to speak to a supervisor/manager the last time I was fobbed off and I told them I was going to invoice them for all the bloody time I was wasting having to wait for them. It was all sorted out the next afternoon – the technician was here 5 mins, that’s all it took! Good luck Nikki. Great tips and I absolutely love the photos of your new place, Very nice x

  30. I moved one time with 2 small children and also 8 months pregnant, to a new city. I had everything packed by the moving company. Yes, it was more expensive, but i had watched it done many years ago as a child when my family moved. A blind man had packed all the crockery etc brilliantly.
    Anyway, when we did it, I decided that it was the only way to go for me. They can pack in so little time, they are so used to it and don’t have any of the emotional stuff that slows us down. It is amazing.
    We have moved one other time since then and that time my husband went ahead and did all the unpacking bar my clothes etc, with the help of a child. I was finishing work and ensconced in a hotel back in the old town.
    The dream would be to have them unpack at the other end. My other hot tip? A brilliant husband!

  31. The phone, internet and gas have been our biggest dramas with our recent move. As we have moved into a new development that is part of a converted warehouse, our street number did not match with any of these providers records and the developer had not registered the new meters so we just kept getting told they couldn’t find us.

    Anyway, my work 4G dongle was a life saver as I needed to work from home to be around for various tradepeople and to get quotes on some things were are having made to measure.

    My tip would be keep culling as you have done and have a think about how you really live. Our new place has a small kitchen compared to the one we put into the old place, so we are getting some additional joinery put in that will provide the storage we need where we need it. This is a small sacrifice to have 2 brand new bathrooms with room to store my girly stuff (previously had to keep this in our bedroom) and to have effectively halved the commute to work each day.

    1. The not finding an address thing has been part of the problem with us too – our address doesn’t show up but our street number with an A on it does – the computer couldn’t cope with that so just stopped the order! Adequate storage for girly stuff is important. I have a whole bathroom now and Mr SY says he’s happy to have the ensuite without sharing it with “half of Priceline”.

  32. Congratulations Nikki to you and your family for managing a big move so successfully and thank you for sharing the trials and tribulations of the process. Your new home looks lovely and I hope you enjoy discovering your new neighbourhood. If you don’t get internet connected soon you can come to my house (in Graceville) and use it!

  33. I hear you Nikki! Great tips, thank you for sharing.

    Our last move was flat out horrendous. I was three months pregnant with our second (who is about to start school), had a big bleed and nearly lost him. As a result, I was ordered to have bed rest (in the 2 weeks before we moved and with an active toddler). We had to lean on friends and pay packers to pack up the house which was very odd but we were fortunate we could do this.

    Then on moving day itself, (a Friday – never book a Friday!) our settlement for our old house was at 11am but the settlement on the new was at 2pm (the earliest they could do). We had three hours of nothing in the middle of the day and then our settlement at 2pm didn’t go through and was delayed until 4pm (and possibly until the Monday). In the meantime, one of the removalists cracked it because of the delay and left leaving one man to unload the truck. Thank goodness my father in law stepped in and the men unloaded the truck.

    It rates as one of the most stressful days of my life. It still gives me chills which I felt again reading this! I am so scarred by it I vowed we would not be moving again any time soon and certainly not under that kind of stress. It was trying not to be stressed for the baby that was the worst. We all made it though, thank God.

    Glad you are all settled in. The place looks fab and I hope your new house is feeling like your home already. x

    1. Oh Vanessa, that is just awful and very reminiscent of our house before last which we built. The removal truck was parked outside and we still didn’t have the handover from the builders – was the last day before Christmas shutdown and we had to move out of our rental as new tenants were coming in. It eventually did happen but both Mr SY and I were so stressed. Cannot imagine if I had been pregnant as well – or with a small baby! x

    2. Oh Vanessa, that is just awful and very reminiscent of our house before last which we built. The removal truck was parked outside and we still didn’t have the handover from the builders – was the last day before Christmas shutdown and we had to move out of our rental as new tenants were coming in. It eventually did happen but both Mr SY and I were so stressed. Cannot imagine if I had been pregnant as well – or with a small baby! x

  34. This took me back a few weeks…not sure how we got through this last move as I was already working – so it was organised chaos! My man was amazing. On the day the move I arrived home from work {I left for work from the old house and came home to the new} with the sitting room fully set up and our bedroom looking like something from a Homes & Gardens magazine shoot. Incredible, I am so lucky, he is a totally gem.
    This last move was also our third house since moving from the UK so I guess you could call us experienced now, but it is NEVER easy no matter how organised you are. My tips:
    Give lots of thought to how what you have, will fit into where you are going. Cull accordingly.
    Plan your furniture layout for your new place.
    Use a removal firm.
    On the day of the move place a big note to yourself to read the meters – this is something we always, ALWAYS forget! xx
    *Love the look of your new place.
    **Sending positive internet vibes in your direction

  35. What a gorgeous new home you have, even if it’s not ‘yours’. I always admire the beautiful homes when in Brisbane. We have always had a house with my husbands job (in farm management, so we live on farm, with usually a house, electricity, ute etc) For the first time we are contemplating not doing this set up and it is totally foreign to us! Imagine paying someone for rent! We would love to eventually buy a home, but this has been so far out of reach not just financially but logistically whilst we’re in farm management, but I am slowly starting to see how it could perhaps happen. Maybe. One day. Our last move, and our next move, will be interstate, and it’s just always a nightmare whether it’s next door or the next state, and you’re right – it’s expensive! Dreading it if it does eventuate.

  36. Having moved 22 times, once straight out of hospital with three under three and the baby ten week’s premmie, I could possibly dedicate an entire blog to the art of moving without help. We are never near family and hubby usually goes on ahead.

    I’m getting pretty good at packing up a 4 x 2 house in a weekend with kids under foot and having everything pretty much in its place within two to three days. When I have the luxury of time on my side between moves, I’ve also been known to do a complete inventory/audit of all our belongings.

    The other side of moving with small children is the emotional side of things, I think that can be more exhausting and draining than the move itself.

    Hubby has recently secured a permanent position, meaning we will possibly move one final time, to our dream home when we find one we can afford and then I’m honestly and hopefully done with moving for good. Of course, I will possibly need to move furniture every six months so I’m not suffering moving withdrawals.

  37. Interesting about your internet problems. I had the same type of experience. I started organising our move in mid September with the aim of having it all working by mid November but we too had ‘lost orders’ and delay upon delay. Ended up working by mid December with a different number than I was told. I put it down to it being because we were moving back to Oz but it’s starting to be a typical experience!

    1. I think if it hits one slight abnormal thing in the computer system then it just doesn’t happen. No-one follows up a computer glitch – you’re left to do that and try and piece together what went wrong and importantly how to get it right!

  38. I wish I had some tips, maybe think about mood regulation? Having the champagne chilled ASAP was, I think important. And also creating a chaos free zone. You can lose your sanity during a move if you don’t build into your plan little outlets for your stress. Very important to protect your sanity. The last time I moved my phone/internet turned out to be the biggest issue (I was connected but seriously overcharged) mainly because they were unable to issue a correct bill for two years, yes TWO YEARS, after the move.

  39. Our first house when we treechanged (we rented and lived in two different ones before we built – effectively 3 moves in 3 years) was enormous. I nabbed one of the extra bedrooms as the box room and pulled boxes out from there as I was ready to unpack (with a 19 month old and a 3 year old). You were so clever to book a cleaner for hour house…. we didnt. Any of the moves. And it was so depressing to go back and clean when all I wanted to do was get the new house ready.

  40. Great post – although I feel exhausted after reading it! I remember that the first thing I did when packing up our old house was take down all the paintings. Psychologically it switched my brain into “move mode” and I knew the old place was done and dusted. I also kept about 3 glasses, 2 plates out and that was it. Everything else was packed away and it was amazing just how you can get by with so little. The place looks amazing – can’t wait for a drink on that verandah sometime soon x

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