Tips & tricks to simplify your move
Preparing to sell your home can be a daunting task, especially when you have years of accumulated items around the house. We recently spoke to Kirsty Farrenkothen, Director at Simply Sorted Group, to share insights into making the moving process as seamless and stress-free as possible.
Whether you have been in your current residence for four years or forty, a clear, organised, and systematic approach can make an enormous difference in your transition. From preparing your home for inspections to managing tradespeople doing repairs. From boxing up possessions to selling things you no longer need. From moving day itself to unpacking and getting the new property ‘just right’ — moving house is an undeniably stressful time. It is best to prepare some strategies to minimise the disruption to everyday life and organise the process to make the most of the opportunity. Start as early as possible, meaning you and your family have the best chance to enjoy the process along the way.
Sorting through stuff
One space at a time
Tackling an entire house as one big project becomes very overwhelming fast. Instead, start small but have a plan. Take things one room at a time — if necessary, start with just one drawer at a time and go from there.
Don’t upend rooms you use frequently
For the vast majority of people, everyday life does not pause while moving house. Daily routines and appointments continue, and it is essential to be aware of this and plan accordingly. As an example, the last thing you need is to empty an entire kitchen for sorting only to realise you now have nowhere to serve dinner for the family.
Ask yourself questions
Be honest with yourself about items you realistically do or don’t use. Do you have duplicates? What do you no longer need?
Assign a time to specific rooms
Schedule time on a calendar and identify the room or area you will focus on by name.
Creating a roadmap to sell
Think like a buyer
Put yourself in the position of a buyer exploring your property. For example, it may seem like going through your cupboards doesn’t need to be a priority when there is so much else to do. However, buyers are likely to open cupboards, even if only briefly, to understand the storage and capacity in the property.
Your property does not need to be perfect nor completely minimalist, but consistent.
Create a space to put last-minute stuff
When performing a last-minute sweep before an open inspection on a Saturday morning, you will inevitably end up with items that need somewhere to go. Plan with a place to put things, or consider a couple of quality tubs to have on hand. Using this strategy can be extra handy for items such as phone chargers, day bags, unopened mail, etc., as you are likely to want these items back out after the inspection has finished.
Throw / Donate / Sell
Throw box (to deal with right away)
Be decisive about what you want to do with items. For items that will be thrown out or removed, consider having a throw box on hand to keep it all together. It can also be handy to put it somewhere intentionally in-the-way — this is so you are motivated to deal with it quickly and not place it in a corner to deal with it later on.
Donating items is excellent in theory but can often become a tricky balance. Determining the value of an item will be different for everyone. Various Op Shops have specific focus areas. For example, one store may handle lots of bulky furniture, while a smaller store may only handle clothes or books. A good principle to follow is deciding whether or not you would give it to a friend. It is best to directly call your local store to find out what they do and don’t take.
Know where to take things
Some items, such as batteries, paints, x-rays, and chemicals, may be banned from general rubbish. Phoning your local council can determine the appropriate time, dates, and locations to dispose of these items correctly. Many recycling centres are run by the local Government and are often free to use. Items that require special consideration include e-waste (such as computers or appliances), paints, paper and cardboard, and ink cartridges.
Auction houses can sell special and unique items and be an excellent way to reach interested audiences. The best approach is to take a photo of an item and send it through for evaluation. Different auction houses have various policies and specialty areas, so researching the right one can be incredibly helpful.
Facebook Marketplace can be a powerful platform to connect with people in the community to sell or donate items. The primary advantage is having verified profiles. Make the post as compelling as possible with a good photo (good lighting and clear of clutter) and a thorough and helpful description, including all measurements. When pricing items, always leave room for haggling and negotiation with potential buyers.
Find focus groups
Facebook groups exist for virtually everything — specific eras or styles, and location-based groups add convenience on both sides.
Sorting through emotional or nostalgic items
Enjoy it, slow down and share the process with family
When sorting through precious and memory-filled items, remember it is okay not to get rid of absolutely everything, but choose the things most important to you. It is like a process of editing and refining. One great way to make the process special is to include family members in the process and share memories and stories related to the items. If you have photos to get rid of, consider sharing them with children. Make a lovely event of it and enjoy giving things a proper send-off. Doing this early in the process also allows for closure and making the process more enjoyable.
One box for yourself (once it’s full, it’s full)
Another effective approach can be choosing one box to fill with items for yourself and deciding that when it’s full, it’s full.
Friends or neighbours
One helpful strategy for open homes is to enlist a friend or neighbour to do a detailed walk-through of the property from the curb right through — someone with fresh eyes and perspective. Get them to look at everything with a close eye and look for things that negatively grab attention. A third party is likely to be more objective and notice different things to yourself.
Hire a handyman
A property should be in good repair when being sold, with all the little jobs that help freshen things up and not look tired. Get a handyman to make this process easier, and ensure the job is done well. Balance things that need to get done with more straightforward solutions when appropriate. For example, instead of getting the entire exterior painted, consider getting an exterior wash. Taking this approach can also ensure you are not over-capitalising.
Think of the flow and layout of the house
The flow and layout of the property are important. Consider that viewing a home can often be crowded and fast-paced, and organise the furniture to accommodate that.
De-personalise the home
Remove family photos and de-personalise the property as much as possible. Buyers will want to picture themselves in the house, and the current residents’ photographs are not necessary.
Don’t store things you will get rid of later
Storage is useful for logistics and timing, but only when it makes sense. It is a solution for the interim.
Separate the things you use frequently
For the duration of moving, consider packing a suitcase for things you need day-to-day. Imagine you are preparing for a 6-week holiday. Everything remaining can then be packed without hesitation, making the process more efficient and streamlined.
Always do an inventory
Use a simple solution to record a detailed list of everything being packed and where it has been placed. This can be achieved with a spreadsheet or simply use a notebook with a pen.
Label boxes with inventory
Number each box and label what is inside, the room it came from, and the room it is going to. Colour code boxes for different rooms, and consider a floorplan. The easier the process is for removalists to understand, the more straightforward it will become.
Ask questions of your removalist
Ask every question you can think of, so there is nothing that surprises you on the day. What items don’t they move? What furniture needs to be dismantled? Is there a wet weather plan?
Unpacking and setting up
Use momentum to get things done and unpack as quickly as you can. Boxes sitting in a garage will undoubtedly still be in there down the track.
If you do have young children, put most of the boxes in one room and take out one box at a time. Create order bit by bit.
Get the right tools for efficiency
Have the right equipment and build out the kit, including tape, pen, knife, etc. Flattening your boxes and stacking them somewhere out of the way will be an enormous help. Ask your removals what happens to empty boxes.
We asked Kirsty for one piece of final advice, and she shared this:
“A day is only 24 hours long. You will get there eventually with clear, methodical planning. Allow yourself the time and grace to do that well, and start early.”