Article contributed by Fintan Conlon of One Man and His Van
Turning the nightmare of moving house into a dream
Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful things you will ever do in your life. There are so many things to organise, consider and prepare for that it can be a logistical nightmare for a lot of people. Others are such a dab hand at moving that they take it in their stride. That comes down to experience, so for the first time mover the whole process can drive you demented! So many things need to come together on moving day that if one thing is overlooked it can turn what should be a smooth running machine into a runaway train.
What I would like to do is give you a few tips on how to make your whole moving experience as stress free as possible. My experiences come not only from setting up and running my own furniture removals business in 2005, but also from the fact that since I took my first breath on this world I have been like a nomad, as a youngster following my dad’s career and then as an adult following my own, until I met my now wife and we are settled with our two boys in our current home for the last ten years. In all, I have lived in a total of 29 different properties! Is that enough moving experience for you?
In my business, I have moved people to new homes 5 minutes away, and to homes the other side of Europe. But no matter what the move or how complex it was, one comment always got repeated – how I made the move so easy and stress free no matter what obstacle was put in the way. So, here are a few guidelines which hopefully you can use to make you own move a little easier.
Firstly, split up your move into three parts: 1) Before Moving Day 2) Moving Day 3) After Moving Day
Before Moving Day
- De-Clutter: The amount of times I have moved pieces of furniture, boxes of brick-a-brack or bags of old clothes into a new house, only for the customer to say “why did I keep that” or “that’s for the dump”. Why dump things after you move? For starters you have paid for space in the removals van/truck which you didn’t need. Secondly, you should look at a new home as a new beginning. De-cluttering is a great way of starting fresh.
- Itemise: Once you have put aside/got rid of the items you don’t want in your new home, make a detailed list of everything else to be moved by the removals company. This can be done on a room-by-room basis. However, once you have your list I would recommend that you rearrange the items so as the largest items of furniture are first and work your way down as the pieces get smaller. The reason for this is that when you go calling around looking for quotes from removals firms, the company will very quickly have an idea about how big or small the move will be from the first 10-15 items on your list and will stop you if it’s not within their capabilities, saving you time on the phone.
- Over-estimate: Customers are generally unsure about how many boxes/bags will be involved in the move as it is very hard to judge when things are still in cupboards and drawers. An average 3 bed house for a family of 4 can have between 50 – 70 medium sized boxes. However some families may have cupboards jam-packed while others may be minimalistic. Whichever you are, it’s always better to over-estimate rather than under-estimate. While the temptation to under-estimate in order to get a cheaper price may be strong, you definitely don’t want the movers slapping on extra charges on moving day because you have more than estimated, or worse still, find that the movers cannot fit everything in because they only sent a big enough vehicle based on the list provided.
- Packing Service: Decide at this stage whether you wish the removals company to provide a full packing service or if you will pack yourself. There are pros and cons to both, but the main points you should be aware of is that while a full packing service is considerably more expensive, you get a better level of insurance cover as boxes packed by owner (P.B.O.) would not normally be covered for breakages on the company’s insurance. If you are happy with your own packing skills, then the savings by doing it yourself are massive. You can also decide if you need packing boxes and packing material at this stage as a number of removals firms will also quote for the supply of these and can give you a special rate if you are also using their services.
- Get Quotes: Now that you have your itemised list, start contacting removals firms. I would recommend that you get at least 3 quotes and make sure that you ask plenty of questions about the firm as you are entrusting them with your most valuable and cherished items. At the very least you should ask about their insurance cover on your items. All reputable firms should have a basic insurance cover as standard. Not only should you give the firm the list of furniture for moving, you should also give as much detail as possible about the move, e.g. whether there are any access or parking issues at either property, or if your move is to/from an apartment – what floor is it on, is there a lift. A good firm should be asking these questions anyway and if they are not, then be wary.
- Start Packing: If you are doing the packing yourself you should have this started a number of weeks in advance of your moving date. Start with the items that will definitely not be needed before the move, such as ornaments, seasonal clothes, garage or attic items, and allocate a space or room, preferably downstairs, to stack your packed boxes. When packing, use the right size box for the right items. Don’t start packing books into a large box only to find that when half full it’s already too heavy to lift. Fill your boxes out as much as possible for stacking purposes and don’t have them too heavy. A good rule of thumb is this: if you can’t move the box on the floor with your foot then it’s too heavy to lift by one person. Wrap china, glassware, dishes and other breakables in bubble wrap or acid free tissue paper. Some people use newspaper, but just be aware that the ink can sometimes come off and stain some china and glassware. When putting fragile items into boxes, a good idea it to use towels, tea towels, pillows and bedding to fill out the box and avoid breakages. Mark each box with their room/contents and highlight heavy boxes, fragile boxes and boxes which have to remain upright. Leave closing the last few bags and boxes for the morning of moving day for your bedclothes and your essential bathroom and kitchen items. It is best to empty all wardrobes, drawer units, etc. For the movers as these can be very heavy when full.
- Contact Service Providers: At least a week before moving you should be contacting all your service providers to arrange moving your service to your new address. Each one will have their own system for moving your service, some may just need to change your details on a computer while others may have to call to your home to disconnect or take meter readings. You may also need to organise tradesmen to come the night before or the morning of the move to disconnect washing machines, cookers, dishwashers, etc., or to take down fixtures and fittings and dismantle beds. Unless previously requested as part of the quotation, don’t rely on the movers to do this for you. While some movers will be more than happy to carry out small jobs, they may not be covered to disconnect plumbing or electrical items. As well as that, some connections may require specialist tools which the movers may not carry.
On Moving Day
- Get Up Early: If you have hired the right moving company, moving day should be relatively stress free. In the morning get up early, have a good breakfast, then pack away the remaining items before the movers come. Just leave out a few essentials such as kettle, tea bags, milk, sugar, cups, etc., which can be packed away into a container at the last minute. There’s nothing like a cup of tea half way through loading to keep you going.
- Show Around: When the movers arrive, show them around pointing out everything that has to go, emphasizing fragile or heavy items. Once you have done this it is best to stay out of their way but be on hand in case they have any questions.
- Direct: When your furniture arrives at your new home, it’s a good idea to delegate one person to stand at the front door directing the movers as to where each item of furniture goes. Try to have this all worked out in your head beforehand as there is nothing worse for a mover than to be standing up holding a heavy piece of furniture while the customer decides where it would look best! If all the boxes are marked then these will be quick and easy to unload.
- Wait: Don’t go unpacking boxes straight away as this can get in the way of the movers. Wait until they have finished in a particular room and then you can make a start on that room.
- Trades: Again, you may need tradesmen lined up to connect appliances or assemble beds, etc.
- Inspect: Once the movers have finished unloading, have a look around that everything is ok and once you are satisfied you can sign their paperwork and sent them on their way.
- Relax: That evening, I would only be concerned about the essentials: – making the beds, unpacking the food boxes and essential clothes boxes and toiletries, have a meal and then get a good night’s sleep.
After Moving Day
- Unpack and Put Away: While some people can still be sitting around unpacked boxes 6 months after moving into their new home, I would recommend that you spend no more than a few days getting everything unpacked and put away. It’s a great feeling to be sitting down in your new home with all the work done. You will feel much better for it.
So why use One Man And His Van® for your move?
Don’t let the name fool you. There are plenty of dodgy, unregistered, uninsured man and van services out there trying to make a quick buck who are to be avoided, but One Man And His Van® is different. This business is a fully licensed, fully registered and fully insured professional business without charging the sky high fees that the big movers charge.
The service can be tailored to suit your needs and your finances. You can have the basic One Man And His Van® service where the customer would have everything ready to load and assist with packing the van, or you can request extra helpers whereby the customer would have everything ready but we would carry out all the loading and unloading, or we can provide a full packing and moving service for you which is a premium service without premium prices.
Maybe your move is a short one and you only require us to move the larger items which you can’t fit in your car? No Problem. We can offer you an hourly or half day rate which may suit you better. After all, it’s about saving you money also. We can also quote for moving single items of furniture either on a special or on our more economical shared load service. Stand-up pianos are also no problem. We have all the tools necessary to carry out the move.
We can also supply a wide range of cardboard boxes, moving kits, bubble wrap, packing tape and packing material for your move at unbeatable prices. You can either order by phone or through our on-line shop,www.movingboxireland.com and we can ship them to you for next day delivery within Ireland.
Rest assured that by using One Man And His Van® you will be receiving a friendly, reliable professional service without costing the earth. Happy Moving!
For further details visit One Man and His Van.