Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful life events and whilst I agree it is, there are things you can do to make it a little less awful.
I have moved house five times in the last nine years and am currently in the midst of the fifth move. Along the way I have found strategies that have made it all a lot easier, from the preparation beforehand to the move itself. They say preparation is the key to many things in life and with moving it makes all the difference.
1. Get a clipboard
I was, apparently, the first person our packers had ever seen with a clipboard but I think they were impressed. I put a big wad of paper on the clipboard and make all the lists we needed on it — this time we have three months in a temporary apartment so I needed to make sure we were clear about what needed to go there and what needed to be packed away. I keep any important documents such as hotel confirmations, van hire etc on this so they are all in one place. The top sheet is also just one to jot down things as they come to mind as it is easy to forget things in the confusion of moving.
2. Write a schedule
On your clipboard, write one page with a schedule of all the days of the move, who needs to do what when, who needs to be where when. Treat it like a military operation.
3. Put things in the correct rooms
I am sure we are not alone in having things in the wrong places around the house. Before you pack up, whether you are doing it yourself or you have packers, make sure everything is where it should be. All books together, all toys together, all crockery etc — you get the picture. So when you are unpacking you don't find your knives in with soft toys — a situation that will never end well. It makes the other end of the process much easier.
4. Put things in bags and boxes
You will be surprised how many little things you have. To make it easier put them in freezer bags or old shoes boxes and pack these. They’re easier to pack and unpack plus nothing gets lost.
5. Get rid of stuff you don’t need
Don’t bother to pack up clothes you haven’t worn in years, old tatty furniture or broken electronics. We all have these things, taking up space around the house unless you have Marie Kondo’ed it. Bin them and feel freer with fewer boxes to unpack and things to find spaces for in your new home.
6. Run down your food stocks
On our last night in our current apartment my son was treated to a tasting menu of edamame beans, fish fingers, cold meat, salad and eggs just to eat up the remaining food. I gave a bag of unwanted stuff to the students who live on the ground floor of our apartment building. But I had made sure that we had not been stocking up the cupboards with too much food so there was less wastage. I am embarrassed to say I haven't always been as good on this front.
7. Take all your important documents in your bag
Even if you are doing the whole move over a couple of days, make sure you keep hold of all your important documents and keep them with you. You never know when you may need them.
8. Clean as you go
It may be tempting to do a full clean at the end when the apartment is empty but I find that following the removal people as they empty each room and clean it makes it more efficient especially if you are leaving a rental. At the end you can go back round and do a final check.
9. The VIP Box
This was something I learnt from our very first move when the packers did this. There was clearly-marked one box where they put things like tea and coffee, the kettle, some tools etc. - all the things you need in the first few hours in your new home.
10. Take a picture by your front door
This is a little tradition I have. I like to take a photo of my son outside the front door the last time we go through it. It is a nice way of remembering all your homes and the passage of time. It is also a great way of metaphorically closing the door on that chapter of your life.
Melanie Haynes is originally from the UK and has lived in Copenhagen for eight years. She writes about life in Copenhagen on her blog Dejlige Days and after experiencing relocation to Copenhagen and Berlin, she runs a settling-in service aimed at expats called Dejlige Days Welcome and works with Copenhagen Housing to offer an integrated settling-in and home search service. Her ebook, 'Dejlige Days: A Guide to Relocation', is available now.