Moving house has been quite rightly listed as the single most stressful life event that most of us will experience at one point or another, and when you add children to the mix you enter a whole new level of crazy.
You can expect sleepless nights, mentally ticking off things from your packing list, and worrying about whether your new garden will be big enough to fit the paddling pool and trampoline.
After this comes the sheer physical exhaustion of packing and moving an entire family across the country, followed closely by hysteria as your darling mini-removal men start to helpfully unpack their toy boxes in front of the door, just as you are struggling in with the freezer.
The end result could be a shaking, pale, exhausted mess.
However, the good news is that thousands of people move house each and every day and are still alive to tell the tale! Some have even compiled helpful guides like this to ease you gently through the process.
For anyone about to take the plunge, take a deep breath, put the kettle on and keep reading… you are not alone.
Before you even think about moving
Discuss any potential move with children you feel are old enough to understand. They won’t appreciate being kept in the dark, and if they do have to move schools it will give them a chance to mentally prepare for the adjustment as well as allow them to feel involved in the process. They can help to review schools in the new area and accompany you to house viewings.
However, it’s probably a good idea to state at the outset that whilst you respect their opinion, the final say will be down to you- you know what teenagers are like!
For younger children it is probably best to wait until you have chosen the new house and school before involving them. They will invariably love the ones you like least, usually because it has a blue bedroom and tree-house, and not caring about the lack of central heating and dry rot.
It sounds obvious, but organisation really is the key to keeping last minute stresses at bay. Moving house ALWAYS takes more time and effort than you think it will, so accept this and move on.
Create yourself a moving planner and checklist, which can be added to as you go along. Store it somewhere that everyone involved in the move has access to, so you don’t feel like the only guest at the party.
Record important contact details, such as estate agents, solicitor, and house removal company and keep them with your planner and checklist.
Your task planner should be prioritised – so you know what has to be done and when, remembering to tick things off as you go along.
Compile a list of everyone that needs to be informed of your move – don’t forget to include schools and doctors as well as arranging for your passports and driving licence to be updated with your new details.
Start collecting newspapers and cardboard boxes – supermarkets are usually happy to let you have their empty boxes if you ask, or they can be purchased from storage centres or online suppliers; it pays to shop around. Get more boxes than you think you’ll need.
When packing children’s bedrooms, my advice to you here is to be ruthless and if possible carry out the onerous task while your child is at school, or they will be unpacking boxes as quickly as you can pack them.
For anyone with teenagers, give them a deadline for completion with the added threat that anything not sorted and packed by that time, will be displayed on the front lawn for all to see, or sold on Ebay.
Don’t completely fill large boxes with heavy items, whilst this gets the job done quicker, you’ll be sorry on the day when you struggle to lift them off the floor, let alone down a flight of stairs.
Wrap breakable items in bubble wrap and/or place between towels for maximum protection.
Label every box clearly.
Check your household insurance to make sure it covers breakages and accidents whilst moving.
If at all possible, move mid-week, during term time and send your children to school for the day and to a friend’s house afterwards.
If this isn’t practical, make sure you do the following:
- Pack an ‘essentials’ box filled with drinks, snacks, toilet roll, baby wipes, etc. etc.
- Carry a large handbag which should stay with you at all times, containing must-have items, such as keys, medication, phone and important contact numbers.
- Give each of your children a bag filled with activities to keep them occupied during the day. This could include colouring books, game consoles and travel games.
- Set behaviour ground rules for the day and get everyone to agree to them beforehand.
- Find a naughty spot in the new house quickly, for the very likely event the previous tip doesn’t work.
- Put the kids beds up first, before unpacking anything else. By six o’clock you will be desperate for them to go to bed and they will be excited to go. It won’t happen again, so make the most of it.
This article was written by Kathryn Thompson on behalf of uship – the house removal specialists. Kathryn is an experienced lifestyle blogger and self titled house removal specialist, having moved a total of eight times in six years, with three children in tow.