You’ve signed on the dotted line and there really is no going back now. When you’re preparing to move home, the build up can be fraught and for children especially, the days and weeks can be a confusing time. When you’re juggling family life, the paperwork and the logistics of moving, the last thing you need are any hidden horrors when you finally open the door to your new property.
Unfortunately, you’re likely to find that the previous owners don’t have the same commitment to cleaning that you have and will probably have left your new home fairly dirty. In fairness, it’s the last thing on most people’s minds when moving unless you’re leaving a rented property and are expecting an inspection.
So, before you even open a box (except perhaps the one with the kettle), you’ll need to have a thorough inspection and see what needs to be done where. You’ll also need to have to hand your inventory from the estate agent that details what the previous owners decided they would leave and what they were taking with them.
If you were expecting white goods and they appear on your inventory but not in your kitchen, call the agent immediately and find out what’s going on. If your sellers have broken the agreement you may be entitled to some compensation or at the very least the return of the goods you agreed were staying.
Once you’ve completed that task, it’s time to go a little bit closer. Though your survey may have been fairly thorough in its assessment of the structural integrity of your home, it may have missed one or two elements. If your house has been left empty for a little while, you may find yourself calling in the Pest Control people to tackle any creepy crawly infestations that have moved in while the house was vacant.
The next thing you’ll need to put in place fairly quickly are your childproofing systems. Make sure, when you pack that you have a ‘first box’ put aside with all the essentials you’ll need from day one before you get down to unpacking clothes and crockery. Have spare nappies, toys, drinks and food in abundance not to mention the stair gate and fire guard ready to contain your toddler safely while you get on with the messy jobs.
High up on your to-do list should also be fire alarms. You may have some installed already and wired into the mains. Make sure you run a vacuum cleaner over them and test them as soon as you can. If you are installing your own, make this a day one priority and you’ll sleep soundly knowing your family is protected from the worst. It won’t hurt to have an escape plan in your head, so take a look at where your doors are and just have in mind an idea of what you would do in the event of a fire.
Other house essentials to know about are the fuse box and water stop tap, so have a search around to locate them and give them a check over. It’s common for water stop taps to seize up so, if possible, just check you can turn it if required or get a wrench and some WD40 on the job.
You’ll now want to make sure your utilities are up and running so take a note of your gas and electricity meter readings and inform the company who you’ve picked to be your provider. Check that there are no outstanding bills connected to the property as on occasion previous owners can either forget or choose not to pay when they move out.
When it comes to making your home secure, you should be the only people with a set of keys, but sometimes previous residents can forget to give back the full set. In any case you can’t be too sure if keys have been copied in the past so now is a good time to consider changing the locks and adding additional security to your home.
Make sure that all the windows close properly and can be locked from the inside. Think about having an extra bolt or deadlock added to front and back entrance doors to provide an extra layer of security. You might also want to hand over a spare set of keys to a trusted friend or relative because locking yourself out happens all too easily, especially if the system is different from your previous address.
Next on the list is connecting up your major appliances. If you’ve had your fridge freezer moved with you, then this will need time to stand and let the chemicals settle before you plug it in, usually a full three hours will do the trick and allow everything to find its levels.
If you’re bringing pets with you, they’ll, no doubt, be very curious about their new surroundings but for older pets especially, a move can be a little unsettling. Keep an eye on any behaviour that might need addressing and give plenty of reassurance. If your cat has previously gone outside to toilet, you might need to reinstate the litter tray for a few days until they’ve settled down properly and can be introduced to their new outside space slowly.
It’s highly likely that your arrival has triggered the curiosity of neighbours so you may need to carve out a moment in your busy moving day schedule to greet and introduce you and your family to the people you’re likely to see on a very regular basis over the next few years. If they bring you around a coffee and some biscuits, then even better.
Finally, it’s time to get on with the unpacking itself. Whether you’ve moved yourself or had a company in to do the work for you, hopefully each box will be correctly marked with the corresponding room it should be placed in. If not, take a quick peek inside before you start unpacking and make sure everything is where it should be.
Figure out what your priority rooms will be so, while having your bedding out is helpful, probably the rest of your bedroom can wait. Instead focus on unpacking your kitchen and getting everything away quickly so at least you’ll be able to cook and eat and find the teabags when needed. You can also then get food away particularly if it needs refrigerating.
Have children do some little jobs of their own to keep them occupied. Arranging teddies in their bedroom or unpacking their toys can leave you some much needed time and space to get important jobs done. Even better would be to have a trusted friend or family member take them out for the day in order to make everything ready for their return, at least in their room. Small people too will find the day unsettling so getting their room ready and recognisable with their own toys will certainly help the process along.
There’s no doubt about it, moving day is a long, stressful and often very tiring day. From finding somewhere for your moving truck to park to discovering your linen cupboard has a roach infestation, there’s always something unexpected that happens. However, with a little preparation and knowing a little about the place you’re moving into, you can plan to take care of these things as and when they arise.
And at the end of a long day, when your children are asleep and you finally have time to sink into your favourite armchair in your new home, it will all be worthwhile.
This is a collaborative post.