Moving house is up there with getting married and going to jail as one of the most stressful life situations you’ll ever (okay, or might, depending on your felonies) encounter. There’s nothing that breaks a person quite like fighting over who paid for the share-house washing machine, or getting a wardrobe irreversibly wedged in a stairwell. So, if you’re on the move, how can you do it without turning into the human equivalent of Gollum with a fetish for white goods?
#1: It’s never too early to start.
Okay, so the actual packing (ie. putting things in boxes) might only get done at the last minute, but the sorting needs to be started asap. Start by making a list of each area of the house that you need to go through, making sure that you don’t forget the cupboard under the stairs or that top shelf in the bathroom cabinet. Then work your way through your belongings, starting by packing the things you use least.
#2: Only keep the stuff you really love.
I know, I know, you’ve heard it before, but seriously: Do you really want to keep those neon American Apparel leggings circa 2003? What about that festival tent that’s missing a pole so doesn’t actually stand up? And as for that micro-scooter you bought off NZsale three summers ago, GET RID OF IT. Being absolutely ruthless with what you take to your new abode, and what you abandon as hard rubbish, is the solution to house-moving happiness.
#3: … And then Ebay everything you can.
But hey, someone out there might want that Nutribullet you treated yourself to but have never actually opened. Hold onto the best-of-the-best items that are in the ‘chuck’ pile, and get them on either eBay, TradeMe or a Facebook group for buying and selling immediately. Remember that selling things can take a little time, so give yourself at least 2 weeks to list, sell and post any items.
#4: Labels are your BFFs.
When it comes to the packing, labelling everything will help you out big time, not only when it comes to unpacking but also when you inevitably realise that you urgently need that item you’ve already boxed away.
Label boxes on the side AND top, so that you can tell what’s in them no matter which way they’re stacked, and include a brief description as well as the name of the room. A box labelled ‘kitchen: cutlery, utensils etc’ is going to be waaaaaay more useful than six boxes randomly labelled ‘kitchen’ when you’re frantically searching for that bottle opener.
#5: Don’t pack all of your books in one box.
Just don’t. Everybody does it, and nobody can lift it.
#6: Don’t pack anything that’s in drawers.
Simply wrap your drawers in several layers of cling film, or a bin bag and tape tightly with packing tape, and stack. Then unwrap on the other side. Easy!
#7: Definitely don’t shove all your cosmetics in a bag and squash said bag with a box.
Packing cosmetics in tupperwares is a fantastic way to ensure that nothing gets squashed and oozes all over your car/the removal van. I know it’s tempting to dump them all in a bin bag, but you’ll regret it when your back seat is the colour of that $150 Bobbi Brown foundation you splashed out on.
#8: Coil all cables and appliance cords, and tape them to hold them together.
Uncoiling tangled cables is an absolute nightmare. Wrap cords of things like hair straighteners, laptop chargers and smaller items to the body of the appliance with tape or a rubber band, and hold longer cords together in a figure of eight formation using tape or bulldog clips.
#9: Pack all of your cleaning stuff very last, and unpack it first.
You’re guaranteed to spill that take-away flat white as you try to balance it on top of your last box of possessions while locking the door, so make sure you pack your cleaning stuff last, so it’s on hand for final touch-ups.
This also means it will be the first thing you unpack at your new house, so you can wipe away any cobwebs left by the last residents and get unpacking the rest of your stuff, safe in the knowledge that you’re in a germ-free space.
#10: Remember to breathe.
There are going to be times when you’re sobbing in a heap of broken glassware and spilt chia seeds. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. Remember to take a moment to a) breathe, and b) congratulate yourself for being an actual adult human that’s managed to exist on Planet Earth for this long.
#11: Remember that everyone’s human.
When you’re having your ‘sobbing on the floor’ moment, your housie/spouse/dog may be having their ‘OMG I’ve finished packing!’ moment, and vice-versa. Before you suffocate them with bubble wrap, take a moment to chill and consider how you’ll feel about it after a nap and a tea. See? They’re not so bad after all.
#12: …And have a bottle of champers on stand-by for when you’ve done it all.
YOU DID IT! Even more important than not forgetting to bring your pot plants from the backyard is remembering to have a bottle of bubbly on hand to pop as soon as you get that last box through the front door. Where are the champagne flutes? Who cares—drink it straight from the bottle.
Image credit: Gabrielle Stjernqvist for The Urban List