21 August 2019
I’ve learnt a few lessons and gleaned good advice from colleagues. Photo: Stocksy
After almost a decade in the same house, I’d forgotten how painful it can be to move.
The sort, the pack, the kids circling around your feet – and, in our case, a stressed cat who marked his territory somewhere but smelt like everywhere – and clearing the last of the household dross before a manic clean.
We would have loved to have outsourced every aspect of the move but budget constraints came into play so we were forced to take on the task ourselves.
In a few months we have to do it again, and this time we’re going to do things differently. I’ve learnt a few lessons and have gleaned good advice from colleagues. This is what we’ve learnt:
1. Hire movers (or rope in friends with beers and pizza) early
We found many of our preferred moving companies were already booked. What’s more, you need to research their costs and reputation. Ours charged on an hourly rate, but once the big hand crossed from 10am we were pinged for the full 60 minutes’ labour.
Gather a packing kit early. This includes tape, plenty of boxes and permanent markers. Photo: Stocksy
2. Change your address details in advance
Contact insurers, the bank, the council and so on. Embrace Australia Post’s mail forwarding service, which will notify some parties like banks, energy and phone providers.
3. Assemble your packing kit
Hoard boxes in many sizes. We were lucky to have a friend who’d recently moved, but also try supermarkets and liquor stores which often have spare boxes available. Cheap but large bags, the type you find at $2 shops, are great for soft big items such as linen, pillows, clothing and rugs.
You’ll also need packing tape, a tape dispenser (no one likes hunting for the start of the roll), bubblewrap or – just as good and more environmentally friendly – old newspapers for wrapping breakable and fragile items. We sorted out our linen cupboard fairly early on and found towels, pillow cases and flannels to be great items to wrap things like wine glasses and plates. Make sure you have a few permanent markers to label boxes.
Hire movers (or rope in friends with beers and pizza) early. Photo: Jason South
4. Marie Kondo the hell out of your home
Tackle packing and sorting your belongings with this room-by-room approach almost the moment the house contract is signed. Even if you pack just one box a day during this process, that will ease the pressure on moving day. This is the perfect time to donate or sell that chest of drawers, and rid yourself of excess kitchen equipment or unwanted clothing.
Start with things you don’t really need on a day-to-day basis. Books and trinkets can be packed early. And you’ll be surprised how little your kids will miss their toys.
Tackle the kitchen at the beginning. How many wine glasses, mugs, utensils and cooking gadgets do you really need? Think like a motel owner and leave the bare minimum to make your meals for the next few weeks.
Start organising and packing your home room-by-room almost the moment the house contract is signed. Photo: Stocksy
5. Colour-code the boxes relating to your rooms
If only we had done this, it would have made things so much easier to find our iron, hair dryer and Alexa – they are still missing …
6. Remove boxes immediately
If there is space, perhaps in a secure garage or basement, start placing the packed boxes away. This clears the house, and stops the urge to break into them to hunt for something later. If this isn’t an option, pack a full room or clear a large space where boxes can be left untouched.
7. Clean as you pack
Vacuum behind the beds, and give the doors and cupboards a wipe down – this will save time and effort on moving day.
Always designate a special place for your house keys. Photo: iStock
8. Pay someone to clean the oven
If your budget stretches to any outsourcing, let it be for this. Cleaning the oven is a crappy job at the best of times, let alone at one of the most stressful. I can think of little worse than wiping oven cleaner and scrubbing metal racks on the evening we left. Awful.
9. Eat your way out of your home
Refrain from big grocery shops in the weeks leading up to your move. Try to use whatever you’ve got on hand, which will make the move (plus the cleaning of the fridge, freezer and pantry) all that much easier.
10. Stuff, seal and shut drawers
There’s no need to empty your clothing drawers. Get as much in them as possible, then simply seal them shut and ship them off.
Boxes with lids are great for those essentials you’ll need on the first night at your new home including toiletries, breakfast for the next day and tea and coffee. Photo: iStock
11. Avoid an electrical assemblage nightmare
Place electrics in their own separate box. Take a picture before disassembling these items to see how the now-jumbled cords should be plugged in when you arrive at your new abode. Clear, resealable sandwich bags are great for screws and small parts that will be needed later.
12. Pack ‘the next day’ essentials
Invest in some large clear boxes with lids. These are great for those essentials you’ll need on the first night at your new home including toiletries, breakfast for the next day and tea and coffee. It’s a good idea to include two changes of clothing for you and the family, one work outfit and the school uniforms (including shoes), bedding for your first night, some towels and details of a good takeaway joint – cooking is going to be the last thing on your mind.
13. Make a place for your keys
And be vigilant about putting them back there during the shift. My set ended up in my son’s school bag.
If you can, hire a babysitter. Photo: Stocksy
14. Hire a babysitter
If that’s not an option, ask friends and family to mind the kids on the day of the move. We are forever grateful to our friends who took our young children for this stressful day.
15. Leave cleaning equipment and supplies somewhere handy
You’ll need them on shifting day and at your new house – we now have two of everything.
14 June 2017
Jane Eyles-Bennett via domain.com.au
You’ve made the decision to sell your home, but do you leave it as is or give it some renovation love? I work with clients every week who battle this question.
They are often worried that dollars spent could be dollars down the toilet. Where exactly is the happy balance between adding value and appeal to your home in order to attract buyers and the best price, and spending money unnecessarily?
The answer, unfortunately, is different for every property. However, after having helped hundreds of home sellers prepare their properties for sale, I have learnt a number of things. Here is a list of the most common mistakes I’ve seen:
You’ve made the decision to sell, but do you leave your home as it is or do some renovation? Photo: Simon Potter
Renovating the bathroom
This is a controversial one. I wrote an article recently called Renovating to Sell; You’re doing it wrong. In it I claim that the most important areas to get right when you’re preparing your home to sell are, in order, the exterior, kitchen, living spaces and then the bathroom.
The bathroom should get a little bit of loving, but do not splurge on this area if the exterior and kitchen aren’t in good shape. Sometimes a bathroom does need a major overhaul, but in many cases they’re no worse than the exterior and kitchen, which can be deal breakers for potential buyers.
If you need proof that a bathroom doesn’t necessarily need an overhaul, check out my client’s renovation, where he did almost nothing to it and still made $343,000 when he sold.
Totally transform the interior
Aside from costing an arm and a leg to completely gut and renovate the interior of your home (and risk not getting your money back, come time to sell), completely changing the design of an interior can be a dangerous move to make, especially if it doesn’t tie in with the style of your home.
Be it a Federation style, a Queenslander, an 80s brick house or something else, there’s nothing worse than a home with a super slick modern interior and no link to its original style. Creating a modern version of your home is the best way to go. Update old elements with new ones, in a way that complements and blends the original period with the current one.
The before shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.
Paint feature walls
In my opinion, feature walls are an absolute no go when selling a property. If you have them, my advice is always to get rid of them.
These days, the trend is to add impact with furniture, rugs, artwork and cushions. Decorating in this way will give the perception of a larger space. This is because the focal point is in the centre of the room. The more a feature wall or ceiling is focused on, the smaller a room can appear.
Render a brick exterior
I’ve seen so many homes unnecessarily rendered prior to selling. This is such a waste of money. Many assume that they will add value to their home automatically by rendering it but this is not always the case. An earlier article I wrote for Domain explains this in more detail.
Suffice to say, if you own a brick house, you usually don’t always need to render it to make it look great. Simple tricks with trim colours, new focal points and landscaping can work absolute wonders.
The after shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.
Don’t forget to clean and tidy your home
While you do need to clean and tidy your home, it’s essential that you also declutter. This includes getting rid of any items that make the home specific to you. Things like family photos, Nana’s crochet blanket, kids artwork and trinkets – all need to go.
Pare back your space, but leave enough visual interest so the house isn’t boring. The intention is to create a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves living there. Be sure to leave enough room for their imagination to fill in the gaps.
Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes; specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.
For more information about what might suit for your own property gives us call on 9475 9622 or email us at email@example.com
02 March 2017
I have moved 11 times in the past 13 years. Of those moves, two were international and one was interstate.
Over the years, my husband and I have refined our approach and now tackle a move with nothing short of military precision. We have, however, made plenty of mistakes along the way.
To lose is to learn, apparently, so in the interests of education, here are some of our more noteworthy blunders.
As far as moving mistakes go, mixing up your dates is one of the worst. Photo: Raquel Miguel Gueuse
Consider your moving dates carefully
When moving between rental properties in the past, we have always ensured some overlap between leases to allow us time to actually move. Earlier this year, when buying our family home, we had a few months left on our lease so agreed on a 90-day settlement period with the sellers. We then, unexpectedly, found a tenant willing to take over our lease. Gleefully proclaiming that it would “all work out in the end”, we agreed to transfer our lease before receiving confirmation from the sellers that we could move into our new home early. We ended up moving out of our rental property with nowhere to go, still frantically trying to convince the sellers to grant us occupation. The result was two moves instead of one. We moved all our worldly goods into storage, and then from storage into our new home. As far as moving mistakes go, this was a whopper – storage, cattery and accommodation costs add up quickly.
Ensure that your move does not coincide with big family or life events: I would strongly advise against moving during the first or last trimesters of pregnancy. In fact, the middle bit is best avoided too. My husband can confirm that trying to pack up a house around your wife while she is under the influence of powerful nesting instincts comes with its own set of unique challenges. Similarly, we discovered that hosting an offspring’s eighth birthday party while moving between homes is not conducive to healthy levels of stress. In our defence, party invites went out before our move dates were confirmed. Clearly, the sensible course of action would have been to cancel the party, but we opted to go ahead. It turns out that even low-key party catering, when effected from the boot of your car, is immensely stressful.
Do not lose track of your new house keys
During one move, in a fit of efficiency, we dropped off our newly acquired front door key at a local key cutter to have copies made. We were patting ourselves on the back for being ahead of the game right up until we arrived, with packed car and mewling cat, at our new home. The keys, of course, were still in our previous suburb, a good hour away. This particular mistake may have led to some mild marital discord.
Keep track of those keys.
Labels, labels, labels
We have moved so many times that our boxes have numerous content descriptions scrawled down their sides. There are few things more frustrating than triumphantly ripping open the box labelled “kettle” only to find that it contains cricket bats and an old flying jacket. When reusing boxes, either use new stickers or date the content descriptions. If you are numbering your boxes and recording their contents in a list, it is probably wise to keep that list well away from toddlers and textas. Alternatively, embrace technology and take a short video clip of the contents of each box. However, if you use this system and download the clips onto a hard drive, keep the hard drive accessible. Failure to do so could lead to a lack of appreciation for the sheer brilliance of this idea.
Use small boxes for heavy items
This is a basic rule which hardly seems worth mentioning yet, 11 moves down the line, we still cannot seem to grasp it. Every single move, we manage to fill a big cardboard box with books. The result is either an impossibly heavy box or a box without a bottom. Having a box dump paperbacks all over your feet does little to improve the mood on moving day.
For heavy loads use small boxes or wear foot protection.
Return all library books before you move
This is especially important if you are moving internationally or interstate. You will need to make this mistake only once before library borrowing becomes a banned activity.
Try not to stab anything
Opening boxes in your new home should be carried out with extreme caution, particularly if there is any kind of sharp implement involved. Similarly, if you plan to cut handles into the sides of cardboard boxes, do so before you fill them up. Take my word for it – cutting holes into already packed boxes does not end well for teddy bears.
Keep children entertained
If you are moving children, especially young children, keep the puzzles, DVDs or sticker books on hand until the bitter end. And whatever you do, keep their most treasured belongings accessible. If you have accidentally not only packed up everything they love, but also sent it in a crate to a different country, expect to find yourself buying exactly the same talking Elmo that you were not overly keen on purchasing the first time around.
Last but not least
Never, under any circumstances, light a scented candle made of maroon wax two days before your lease ends. This rule applies even if the carpet in your rental property is not expensive and beige. Just don’t do it.
The stress of a move is epic, irrespective of whether you are moving internationally or just a few doors down. We have learnt to laugh when the wheels fall off and to dole out extra doses of tolerance and kindness in the more challenging moments. And given our impressive and lengthy list of moving mishaps, forgiveness is chief.