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AU The groove on how to move

Property Here - Monday, October 07, 2013

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Careful planning can ensure a smooth transition. Thninkstock

Careful planning can ensure a smooth transition. Thninkstock

Moving house is like getting married. There's a lot of build-up to the big day, says Catherine Gambrellis, chief executive of moving company Two Men and a Truck.

"But if you have done due diligence and picked the right people, things tend to work out," she says.

Here are some expert tips to help keep your move relatively stress-free.

You're moving

Start researching removalists if you will need one and get at least three quotes. Give yourself six weeks lead-up time if possible.

Australia's removalist industry is unregulated but some operators have formed the Australian Furniture Removals Association, which offers insurance to protect your belongings in transit and encourages high standards of truck, equipment and training.

Ms Gambrellis advises using only AFRA members.

"There are lots of cowboys with trucks, but is a $50 saving worth it if you never see your possessions again?" she says.


Every item moved adds costs to transport and/or store, and means needing bigger houses, said Bonnie Black from Little Miss Organised.

"Start by pulling everything out, putting back only what you use or love," she says. "Items can go into keep, rubbish or donate piles: do not have a 'maybe' pile.

Renter Claire Dimitroff, who will move for the fourth time in less than two years by Christmas, offers her tips.

"Put all clothes hangers backwards in your closet and if they are still backwards after six months, it is time to sell, donate or ditch," she says.

Hire or buy boxes and start packing early. Always start in the least-used room in the house, leaving the kitchen last.

Move in batches

If you are moving locally and your new home is vacant, start moving small items ASAP.

"If you have started moving clothes and soft furnishings ahead of time it can really save you precious time on the big move day," Ms Dimitroff says.

Name a "first night" box: remote controls, toiletries, scissors, packing tape, favourite toys, cleaning items and medications - then put it somewhere safe.

24 hours to go

Tape drawer and cupboards closed when emptied.

"It is also a good visual cue to see what is left to do," says homeowner Tom Mason, who has moved more than 20 times including to New Zealand, the US, UK, France and Germany.

Confirm bookings. Double-check your removalists and/or mates are all ready to go.

Check utilities such as electricity, gas and water will be on from day one.

Moving day

Unplug the refrigerator early to give gases time to settle before it is lifted. Unplug appliances and save time and money by winding each cord up and securing it.

The more you do yourself, the more money saved.

"Keep all boxes for a room together, labelling them numerically (i.e. kitchen 1) in order of importance and use," Ms Black says.

"Create a list of boxes, it shows in one glance any missing boxes at the other end."

Prioritise rooms required for eating and sleeping.

A working kitchen helps a newly moved family settle quickly so unpack it first.

"The kitchen may take a while but once it's done, no matter how disastrous the rest of the house is, you can always prepare a healthy meal to give you energy," Ms Black said.

Next, put together your beds complete with sheets, doonas and pillows because when you're completely wrecked from the big day, it is a huge relief knowing you can jump in a comfy bed.

Moving doesn't stop on arrival


● Check for damage. Items occasionally break, no matter how much care has been taken. But don't wait too long to check if you are covered by insurance.

"Often a policy gives you 72 hours to make claims resulting in the move so it is imperative you identify damages quickly," Ms Gambrellis said.

● Unpack and flatpack boxes Many movers offer standard-size recyclable rental boxes for rent and will return to collect them soon after the move.

● Make your home a 'home'. Melissa Donnelly is about to move for the ninth time since 2008. One of her tips is to work out what makes it feel like home.

"Is it your jasmine candles, a bunch of flowers in a vase, some picture on the wall?

"Whatever it is, do it in the first 24 hours ... adding some homely touches suddenly transforms the new space into your home."