As I recently discussed in a post about the frustrations of flat hunting, I move house a lot. Since leaving my childhood home at 18 to go to university I’ve had 9 addresses in 7 years – changes I made largely by choice, but that doesn’t make the process any less tedious and stressful. It does, however, turn you into something of a pro when it comes to packing up your life and quickly fitting it into a new place. Whether you’re moving out of uni halls, breaking up with a boyfriend who owns the house you share or being bribed by your landlord to live in a temporary property for one month (and yes, all three of those things that have happened to me), these tips should help you complete your move and settle in fast with the minimum amount of hassle.
Make good packing choices
Packing up everything you own is a daunting task, and it’s really easy to bury your head in the sand, pretend it’s not happening until the day before you move, and then hysterically throw stuff into boxes with no rhyme or reason. The first part is totally fine (I always pack everything the day before I move and stand by it 100%) – the second is not. Try and attach a theme to each box so you at least have a vague idea where everything is; it will make unpacking at the other end so much less painful.
Categories I use include, but are not limited to:
- Books and DVDs
- Toiletries (this includes beauty, hair care and electricals)
- Decorative items
- Admin (diaries, notebooks, online banking Secure Keys and any important adult-y documents I definitely shouldn’t lose)
Speaking of packing choices, you should also use this structured approach as an opportunity for a clear-out. If the thing in your hand hasn’t been touched since the last time you moved, it should probably be going in a bin bag or charity bag rather than one of your boxes.
Have a moving crew on speed dial
Some people employ an actual moving crew who they pay to move all their stuff, but I’m not one of those people. I mainly just have small possessions and the two pieces of furniture I do own – a bookcase and a bedside drawer unit – are small and light enough to lift into a car, so in this situation there’s no reason you can’t just grab a few willing helpers with cars. Mine are my parents; these two gems are there without fail every time I move house to drag my boxes in and out of vehicles and up and down stairs with barely a single complaint.
Don’t invest in homewares
When you move to a new place the first thing you want to do is buy lots of new pretty things that will help put your stamp on it, but there’s nothing worse than splashing out on some fancy bedding or a beautiful lamp only to move a year later and find that they clash horribly with your new wallpaper. If the extravagant object is incredibly neutral you might be able to risk it, but a safer plan is just to buy cheap so that you can replace items when you move without feeling like you’ve wasted loads of cash. Dunelm, Primark and Wilkos are all good shouts for affordable homewares that don’t look like cheap crap.
This might just be me, but nothing makes a room look hostile and empty like a bare mattress. However awesome the house is, I always feel a bit negative until I’ve got my own sheets and duvet cover on the bed, and it instantly makes the room seem more cosy. Plus, if you run out of steam and decide to call it a day halfway through unpacking, you know your bed is all ready and waiting for you to crawl into it with a mug of tea and Netflix.
Decorate the walls
Walls can look so bare when you move into a new flat – hanging things up is such a quick fix to make a room feel more homey. Rented properties where you can’t put nails in the walls are a big peeve of mine, as I now feel like I’ve outgrown the shabby poster aesthetic that I embraced in my student days. The flat I’ve just moved into already has nails in the walls, and I’m so happy to have finally brought my framed prints out of storage and hung them up where I can appreciate them.
Have a decor refresh
A new house deserves a new look! Moving is expensive and the last thing you want to be doing is splashing the cash, but my style is constantly changing and evolving so I like to use moving as a chance to revamp my room a bit. It’s surprising how much joy you can get from a few small, cheap changes like a new set of candles or a mirror – I recently bought a new lamp for £15 and I’m in love with it.
Do you have a system for moving house? What are your little routines that help you settle in?