In the absence of Sarah Beeny, how to move house with children

August 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Posted in General Advice, Work & Life | Leave a comment
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As many of our regular readers will know, eight weeks ago we finally got the green light for completion on our dream home in Oxford.  It’s not a country estate but it’s our lovely new home with all the space we need, and we eventually finished our mini renovation project and moved in on Monday.

It may still be a mess but the bear has a great big play area, and we’ve managed to find the kettle bottle opener and takeaway menu in amongst the many boxes, so life is good.

The bears play area

Would I move house again in the near future?!  No.  100% no.  Well, not unless Sarah Beeny coordinated the renovations, the world Tetris champion packed for me, and Anthea came and helped to clean (I would be ok at doing some of this, I like cleaning remember).

If anyone is considering moving with children in tow, here are my top five tips for doing it with sanity intact.

1. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan.  I like to plan.  Write lists of everything that needs doing.  Seriously, start a spreadsheet, it really helps with all the stupid little things that need to be done.   Someone tipped me off about iammoving.com which is just simply a brilliant tool.  Enter your new and old addresses, search the site for all of the companies you need to give your new details too, and it creates PDFs for you to print and post.  Genius.

2. Ask for help.  You may feel uncomfortable asking someone to babysit while you unpack the removal van, but really, be sensible, hungry toddler under one arm, precious wedding crockery under the other, never good.  Friends and family will be happy to help – if not, offer them two options – stripping woodchip wallpaper in the downstairs toilet, or babysitting; they’ll soon help.

3. If your new house needs work doing, dedicate some time to shopping around for quotes, it really does pay off.  We used Rated People and saved a small fortune on plastering and decorating (we did most of it ok, but peaked with the lounge and dining room left so gave in and called the experts).

4. Pay to be packed up – we opted to do it ourselves and with only a week between exchange and completion, a 10 month old and work commitments, it was a seven day blur of bubble wrap and brown boxes.  For a few hundred pounds (we’re in Oxford so maybe overpriced!) removal companies will pack up your worldly posessions for you.  With special boxes for TVs and other electrical equipment, wardrobe boxes (very cool) and mattress bags amongst other things, you’ll save yourself hours, and maybe even have the pleasure of two handsome packing men arrive on your doorstep on moving day*

5. Don’t pack all the toys.  Or at least label your boxes carefully (or ask for them to be labelled) so that you can grab the VTech walker at a moments notice.  Moving house is extremely boring and tedious for anyone under the age of…well anyone really, but toddlers and babies in particular.  Put a separate box in the car containing toys, snacks and drinks (may be worth doing the same for husband too).

So, that’s my advice for moving with children.  I shall look back on this and reflect when I decide to move again – in 20 years time.  Maybe by then you will just be able to teleport everything to the new house.  Maybe we wont even move, we’ll just go and buy some more pieces to slot onto the side of our flatpack houses.

Who knows…

* Baby Genie in no way guarantees the age, appearance or general lustworthyness of removal men.

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