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National Organising Week Special: How to clear the clutter

  1. 07 November 2017
  2. By Rosie Rogers

This week marks National Organising Week, a campaign by the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers, inviting the UK to enjoy the benefits of getting more organised. We’ve asked APDO member, Helen Cousins of Fresh Spaces to show us how we can improve our organisation when it comes to moving house.

So you've agreed a sale, exchanged contacts and set a moving date. The prospect of a new start is really exciting but there's still a lot to do before settling into your new home. And moving day is an immovable deadline. 

Very often the thing that slows us down and causes the most stress on moving day is not having everything packed and ready to go by handover time. It's not pleasant knowing that the deadline is looming and you still have half a house to pack up. 

Plus there's the stress of having to tell your buyers that they can't move into their new home at the agreed time. Disappointing and inconvenient for them. Disorganisation and embarrassment for you.

The key to a stress free, organised and slick house move lies in the preparation.

The aim is to have most of the house (except what you need for the morning - breakfast, clothes, toothbrush etc) packed up before moving day

Most people exchange the ownership of homes around lunch time. So these first hours of the day should be spent loading the vehicle, clearing the house, taking utility readings and saying goodbye to your old home.

Here are my top tips to help make that happen:

1. Declutter before you move

Removal companies usually charge by volume, so the less you have to move the quicker and more efficient it will be. Paying to move items you later discard is annoying and time consuming. 

Check for items you've not used in the last 12 months. Are there unopened boxes from the time you moved into your current house, equipment from hobbies you no longer do, outgrown children's toys and clothes, books you'll never read, etc.

Start using up what's in the freezer (defrost if necessary) and cupboards. Check use by dates on food. And don't forget to check those easily forgotten areas such as the attic, basement and shed.

You can't start this process soon enough. It's really easy to underestimate how much time this takes up so start early.

2. Plan the layout

Doing a rough plan of where your furniture will go in your new home, will help you to see if all fits. There's nothing worse than moving in and realising that your sofa is far too big for the sitting room.

After all the effort and cost of moving it, you may feel even less like letting it go. But if you have an idea of the items that won't work on your new home then you can set about selling them well in advance of moving day.

3. Start packing early

There are some things that you won't miss if they are packed up well in advance of your move. For example books, DVDs, spare bedding, ski gear etc.

 4. Labelling is key

Label what's in your boxes and more importantly the room in your new home that you'd like the box to be moved to. Having a rough idea of what is inside will help you to prioritise the unpacking at the other end.

5. Check what's included with the removal company

Will they will dismantle and build furniture for example? If it's not included, start to dismantle bed-frames and any other large flat pack items during the week before you move. 

6. Contact Utilities companies

Let them know the date you are moving. Take photos of utility readings when you leave your current house and arrive at your new home. Phone ahead to get the internet set up and arrange for an engineer to come out on moving day. Arrange to have your mail forwarded by the post office.

7. Ask for help

Arrange for a friend or family member to look after young children and pets for the day. You can focus on the task in hand rather than entertaining children and walking the dog.

8. Create a moving day essentials kit

  • Kettle, snacks, mugs, teabags
  • Important papers such as deeds, utilities, insurances and phone numbers of estate agents, solicitors etc
  • Phone charger
  • Mini tool kit and torch
  • Overnight bags to include any special children's cuddly toys.

In summary

Like anything else in life, the key to success when moving house lies in getting organised. By decluttering, planning and organising, your move should go much more smoothly for you and your family. Good luck!

If you'd like to see more from Helen, you can find her at Fresh Spaces.

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