Most of you probably know that we recently moved from our apartment in one of the most gorgeous areas of Doha to a villa in a compound. Though, I was personally very happy living in our small apartment, we decided to take the plunge and move to accommodate the growing needs of our growing kids. Why I think compound life is better for kids than apartment living? Well, that is another blogpost altogether!
The last time we moved houses was almost 7 years back when we were only 3 people in the family, which has now doubled (with the addition of the boys and a live-in nanny). So technically, we should have had double the amount of stuff we owned from our last move- correct? WRONG! With kids, the stuff just increases exponentially – I dunno how that happens!
Anyways, I was very nervous about the move. It is a mammoth of a task and it was intimidating me like anything! I looked around for some moving tips and some of them were just life savers! Hence, I have complied a list of the tips that I tried and they were a game changer for our move!
It’s been a whole week since the moving day and I am so happy to tell you that all my stuff is unpacked and the home is box free! (Yaay! No more living in a warehouse!)
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead is the KEY to having a smooth transition into your new home. If you are moving within the same city, visit your new house a couple of times before and try to visualize yourself living there -which room will be used for what purpose, do you have enough storage or will you have to buy some extra cupboards/shelves, where will you be storing what? I know , I know… you can’t map everything from your old house to new house, but once you visualize actually living there, you might want to do some changes before the actual move day.
Like, for us I wanted the Washing Machine to be on the upper level, because its closer to the balcony where my house help will be drying the clothes (yes, we don’t need to use the dryers here in this heat and are still able to dry them in an hour :)). It would be quite inconvenient to carry a load of wet and heavy clothes upstairs every day and then taking the dirty laundry downstairs every day!
Another thing I could see was that the new house had less built in kitchen shelves than my old apartment (the irony!). This made me make a trip to IKEA to get some extra shelves for the Pantry, even before the move day.
I cannot stress enough on how important ‘Planning’ is for any project! Once you have a good plan, execution is much more easier (that’s the Project Management Professional in me talking :))
2. Pack Your Stuff Yourself!
Though the idea of movers sounds very tempting – the movers will come and pack everything in one day, move the packed boxes to the new house and that’s it – You have moved! That is true BUT then you will have 20 of boxes labelled as ‘Kitchen’ and will have NO idea which one has what inside! You will spend hours looking for things! (True story – I left the kitchen for the movers to pack because of the many fragile items)
Of course, movers are very very useful if the move is time critical and you don’t have the luxury to plan because of certain situations. But for us, I knew our move in date a month ago, hence I decided to do things myself – my way.
My husband kept insisting and kept saying that why is he even paying the movers when I have packed most of the house myself! But I’ll tell you why I chose to pack myself:
- You can do it at your own pace.
- You will know exactly what goes in which box.
- You will be sorting out the stuff at your old home and not taking any garbage/unwanted stuff with you to your new home.
- And that will help you in quickly settling in your new home.
3. Make A Color Coded Moving Key
I found this very very useful and guess who suggested it.. My husband! I got different colored stickers and labels from a local craft store and made the moving key. I put that up on the fridge, so everyone knew which room (in the new house) was marked with which color.
You can also put the Moving key in your new house, and stick the color stickers at the door of each room, so the movers (or whoever is helping you bring in boxes in the new house) would know exactly which box would go in which room!
4. Make a Packing Caddy
Before you even start packing boxes, pack yourself a basket with all the essentials you will need to pack a box (like tape, scissors, labels, stickers, a marker etc). It is such a useful thing to carry around the house while you are packing and will save you hundreds of trip back to another room where you left the stickers last.
5. Pack Boxes According To Their ‘Destination’ Room
Once we made the ‘Moving key’ of the rooms in the new house, we then started packing boxes according to their ‘destination’ room. For example, we didn’t have an office space in our apartment and therefore all the documents, stationary, camera, laptops etc. were everywhere around the house – some in the TV cabinet, some in my closet etc. So, we started gathering everything from around the house that would go in the Office and packed them in boxes labeled ‘Office’.
6. Make Detailed Labels
Don’t hesitate in writing what’s inside the box! You will end up with a number of boxes for each room and trust me, you don’t want to open each and every box to find something that you know belonged in the Master Bedroom. Either write it on the label, or number the boxes and note down the contents of that box number in an excel sheet.
I decided to write on the labels on the boxes as well the suitcases. Which, btw was such a life saver, cause right after the move was Eid and my husband asked for his Shalwar Kameez. I told him, the suitcase which says your Shalwar Kameez and is lying in our bedroom! And for once he was able to find something without asking me, “Where?? I can’t find it!?” (Lol!)
7. Pack an Overnight Bag
For the Moving day, make sure you pack an overnight bag which has all the essentials you will need for a couple of days. I packed 2-3 change of clothing, night suits, towels, bedsheets, toiletries, basic medicines, toilet paper etc. Just imagine, you are packing for a camping trip and not a staycation at a hotel, cause you will need to bring your own towels 😀
8. Make a ‘Kitchen Essentials’ Box
A day before the move, pack yourself a Kitchen Essentials box, which will ensure that you can have a hassle free breakfast the next morning without worrying about the 20 boxes labeled Kitchen! I kept basics like paper towel, a frying pan, a cooking pot, a knife, cutting board, some disposable plates, glasses, cutlery, garbage bags, tissue box and some grocery items like mineral water, oil, cereal, snacks, milk, eggs, bread, chai and coffee!
9. Press and Seal Drawer Inserts, Liquids and Much More!
This has to be my favorite tip for moving – using Press and Seal to not only seal liquids but also drawer inserts, toiletries basket and so much more! I just wrapped so many things as is, using Press and Seal and kept them in boxes, ready to just go back in the drawers!
10. Suitcases and Ikea Bags for clothing
For some reason, I don’t like putting clothes in cardboard boxes. So I packed our closets in suitcases and some Ikea plastic bags. They are so handy and can hold a LOT of clothes – even more than a standard size suitcase!
11. Pack Personal Items Yourself
Of course, this is a no brainer! Even if you are hiring the movers,a couple of days before the move, they will bring you a few boxes to pack your personal items.
I packed my jewelry and other precious items, in our overnight bag that we carried in our car with us.
For the precious handbags, I packed them carefully in boxes(don’t cramp up too many bags in one box – feel free to use another box if needed). Since, most of us don’t keep the original packaging of bags, I stuffed my bags with empty plastic bags so they would hold their shape, and then kept them in their dust bags.
I also folded the handles inside to keep the handles from getting ruined.
12. Get The Kids Involved
Last but not the least – Get the kids involved!
Even though the boys are still very young, they helped me make decisions on which toys/books to donate and which ones to bring to the new house. On the other hand, my 9 year old daughter helped me a lot, sorting and packing her own room. She enjoyed writing labels for me, while I kept putting stuff in the boxes. She also throughly enjoyed the pressing and sealing part 😀
Moving is not easy but these tips will just make the transition into the new house less frustrating and much smoother. At-least, that’s what they did for us.
Its been a week in our new home and after a week of hard work by me and our nanny, we have successfully turned this alien space into a home. Our things have found a new home and we have found ours.
I am excited to do a few projects around the house but the most exciting project for me is my own office space! So watch out this space for more!