Since I was seven years old, I’ve moved (on average) every two years, with the odd exception or two. So as I unpack the final box in house number 13, I feel like I can well and truly call myself an expert at moving house. Especially considering the last five houses have been moves I’ve undertaken independent of my parents…and every time I swear it’s the last move I’ll make for a long time. Hah! Maybe I’m not an expert, but an addict?
Moving house is a right pain up the ziggy, but it is unavoidable as at some point you will have to pay up and fly the coop, or just get the hell out of your current share house because it’s roach infested/become too expensive/the landlords have put it up for sale, the list goes on. But it doesn’t have to be the painful, drawn out and expensive experience that everyone says it is. Nope, moving house can be quick, cheap and painless if you follow my guide to moving:
Do a big clean out a month before the move
Fill a few boxes or bags with anything you want to give to charity, stuff the bins with anything that just has to go and post photos of anything you want to sell/give away on Gumtree. These items are dead weight in a move, so get rid of them now.
Buy second hand boxes
There is no need to spend a fortune on boxes. Visit supermarkets and shops that get large shipments in, ask friends who have moved recently and check out the cardboard bins near your work or around apartment buildings. Beyond that, call storage companies and ask if they sell second hand boxes – most do (try Kennards) and they can be up to half the price of new boxes.
Pack over a few short nights
Don’t give yourself months to pack, give yourself a week. Then, that week, just pack like crazy every night after work. Put on music, order pizza and don’t stop until you’ve filled at least three boxes every night. This is because, like everything in life, you’re probably going to leave it until the last minute anyway, so you might as well host a packing party. It won’t take as long as you thought it will, I promise.
Do small trips the night before
If you own a car, or have a friend who owns one, do lots of small trips the night before the big move. Load up the car to the brim with all your light items, a roll of toilet paper and some soap and do this as many times as you can manage until you’re absolutely exhausted… then reward yourself with ice cream! These small trips make a huge difference to the actual big move day, as you don’t have to fret about the silly little things. The soap and the loo paper are because you never know when nature might call at your new place, mid-move!
Hire your own van
Hiring a van is much more economical than hiring a removalist company – just make sure you get a family member or friend over 25 to hire and drive the van if you haven’t hit your quarter century yet. This way you’ll save on the “young drivers” fee they slap on, because apparently the moment you turn 25, you miraculously become a better driver. Hah!
Also, van hire normally lasts 24 hours, which means you can take a little longer than the equivalent two or three hours it would cost you with removalists, and if you have more stuff than you first thought, you’re definitely going to need the whole day!
Rope your friends in
Got strong friends, siblings or cousins? All it’ll cost you is a case of beer and a couple of pizzas at the end of it all (or in the case of my most recent move, burritos and vodka), instead of several hundred dollars for a couple of overweight dudes who end up trapped under your fridge (that happened to me, true story). Getting your friends together and making a day out of it makes the move so much more fun and once you’re all finished, you can all sprawl out between the boxes, hastily plug in the telly and recount all the successes and disasters of the day.
Do your own clean up
Unless your contract stipulates that you must have the carpets/kitchen/bathroom/other house feature cleaned professionally, you should DIY the clean. Yes, this means getting down on your hands and knees and cleaning BEHIND the toilet (ew), but it will save you a ton in cleaner’s fees (although you will need to buy oven cleaner, because who honestly owns oven cleaner until they move house?). My best advice here is to make sure you wear one of those surgical masks, because I once contracted a chest infection from cleaning my old house. Apparently I’m allergic to oven cleaner and it’s my wish for you that you never endure weeks of coughing up green gunk because you were just that little bit too cheap to buy a mask.
Organise your finances
You can move out mid-rent cycle, just make sure that it works out to be enough notice for the real estate agency. My housemate and I organised our first day of rent at the new place, our moving day and our final day of rent at the old place to all be within three days of one another. Thereby only overlapping rent payments for half a week and saving ourselves a fortune in dead rent. It did mean taking a day off from work to make it happen, but it was totally worth the massive savings, which we put towards hosting a house warming at our new pad.