Q If all goes well, I’m hoping to move house later this year, but I’m dreading the packing. Do you have any general advice?
A You may be heartened to know that you are by no means alone in finding packing a daunting prospect. In fact, I know people who maintain that the thought of it is enough to put them off moving at all! And when you look around and think just how much stuff you have accumulated over the years, it’s hardly surprising.
As for general advice…well, the golden rule is to start early and allow yourself plenty of time. Don’t leave everything until the last moment, because you’ll end up throwing all sorts of stuff together that will take weeks to sort out at the other end.
Next, look upon your impending move as the perfect opportunity to do some major de-cluttering. Is there really any point keeping all those clothes/DVDs/books/decorative knick-knacks/kitchen gadgets/garden tools/unwanted birthday presents? And when was the last time you actually used any of the stuff in your loft? Obviously, quite a lot of things can go to your local charity shop. As for the rest, try being ruthless and hire a skip!
Before you start the actual packing, make sure you have adequate supplies of boxes, crates, proper parcel tape, bubble wrap, old newspapers and towels, etc. to protect delicate items. It’s also worth checking whether your contents insurance covers you for damage in transit.
Finally, here are a few simple packing rules: Always start at the top and work down, one room at a time. Don’t over-fill boxes. As far as possible, try to pack similar items together. Clearly label all boxes with an indication of their contents and where they go in the new property. Keep all potentially hazardous materials, such as paint or garden chemicals, separately. Pack an ‘essentials’ box, containing things like basic cutlery and crockery, a kettle, tea/coffee, a torch, scissors, cleaning materials, first aid stuff - and toilet paper!
Ensure everyone has their own ‘personal luggage’ containing their washbag and a change of clothes.
Finally, ensure that you keep things like house keys, all the documentation relating to the move, important phone numbers, spare cash and credit cards, etc safely together.
There you are - what could be easier?!