Newsletter: June 2012

In this newsletter: House-move tips, the apdo-uk March 2012 Conference video, Regional Focus on members based in the South of England, and a farewell and a welcome!

L of a lesson to beat moving day hell

Pile of boxes

Moving house has always rated pretty high on the ‘stress-o-meter’ and that tension has ratcheted up even further with the current challenging property market. But sometimes relocating is something we just have to do, so is there anything that can be done to minimise the house-move hassle?

After helping friends, family and clients, as well as undertaking a few moves myself, I’ve learned that while ‘location, location, location’ is key when you’re house-hunting, once you’ve found a new home and are getting ready for the move some different but equally important ‘L-words’ come into play . . . and guess what’s top of the list?

Be as organised as possible from the word go and you will feel more in control. Writing down all those tasks associated with the move and ticking them off as they are completed will help you keep track of progress. Creating a special ‘house move file’ is a good idea – a brightly coloured (so you don’t lose it in the pre-move muddle!) ring-binder or box-file where you can keep important paper-work related to the move along with your ‘to-do’ lists.

Start with a master-list of the main tasks you need to do before moving day – from getting quotes and booking removals to cancelling utilities. Then make your own sub-lists, perhaps what’s to go with you and what’s to be disposed of in each room, for example.  A very helpful website is which has printable checklists counting down from four-to-six weeks before moving day as well as useful contacts and loads more moving-related tips and advice including a section entitled Declutter Your Life. (NB: You do not need to register to access the information but if you enter your details on this site you may be contacted by storage or removal companies.)

Sorting out precisely what to take to your next home and what to do the rest will be your biggest pre-move challenge and it brings us to an ‘L-word’ that strikes fear into many hearts…

Tempting as it is to put off tackling what’s lurking in your attic until the last possible moment before you leave, you will lift a weight off your mind – literally as well as figuratively – if you attack this task early on in the sorting-and-disposal process before your energy and determination starts to flag. Likewise clearing other ‘clutter-magnet’ spots like the shed and the garage. Now be realistic. When did you last look for the stuff that’s been lost in the farthest reaches of the loft (or hiding in the darkest recesses of the shed or garage) for years?  If you haven’t used it or missed it, that tells you loud and clear that you really DON’T need to take it with you when you move. I was shocked to find our son’s old cot still up in our attic when he was 22 and at uni! But as with all clutter-clearing, have a firm plan in place to get all those unwanted items out of the house as soon as you can after clearing your loft/shed/garage – whether it’s to the tip, the charity shop, online disposal via Freecycle, Freegle or eBay, or a garage sale or car boot sale. Unwanted stuff that’s not disposed of quickly has a habit of coming back to haunt you!

Live and let go
Once you’ve cleared the clutter from the loft and other seldom-explored corners, it’s time to sort through your day-to-day living space. Try to be really ruthless about what to take with you when you move – it may help to keep in mind that lovely clear, empty space you will be walking into on moving day. Do you really want to stuff it to the rafters?  Getting ready to move is the perfect opportunity to sort out which of your many belongings (and – let’s face it – we ALL have too much stuff!) you really need in your life now, and clear out the rest. Why pay the unnecessary expense of transporting things that are no longer of any use or interest to you?  Or give yourself the headache of finding space to store them in your new home? Struggling to make a decision? Ask yourself “If this got mislaid in the move, would I really, really miss it?”

Once you’ve got rid of everything that’s NOT going to your next home, packing is your next priority – which brings us to the next ‘L-word lessons’…

Like with like
When you start packing, don’t just put items that are intended for the same room in the same boxes, try to categorise them further – for example, all the bathroom cleaning products in one box, bath and hair products in another, and towels in another. On moving day this level of pre-planning will help you quickly identify which boxes have vital items which need to be unpacked early (food, bedding, bathroom essentials) and which can you can leave to tackle after moving day when you will be less tired.

Label, label, label
When packing don’t just put a note of the room it is intended for on the outside of each box or bag, but add a list of the contents.  It will save you loads of time when you get to your new home and stop you panicking when unpacking. Even if you’ve followed the ‘like with like’ rule you are likely to have some boxes with mixed contents.  You may think you will remember what’s in each box. You won’t!

Lighten the load
Don’t overfill large boxes with heavy stuff. They will be impossible to carry. It’s better – and safer – to pack books and other heavy items in several small boxes than one big one. And while we’re on the subject of health and safety, take care how and where you stack boxes during and after packing to avoid accidents. Also keep halls, passageways and pathways clear of trip hazards to avoid the risk of falls when carrying and moving items around. And use good quality boxes for packing.  I learned early on that saving a few pounds by using ‘any old boxes’ simply isn’t worth the upset when they come apart at a vital moment when you’re loading or unloading…

Little ones
If you’ve got children, getting them to help in the sorting and packing process will help them feel involved and excited about the move. It can be especially productive to offer a post-move treat as a reward/incentive to persuade them to dispose of toys and games they no longer need or play with but are reluctant to let go.  And while we’re on the subject of youngsters, if you have very young children, having someone take them off your hands, even if for a few hours, will mean one less thing to distract you or worry about on moving day.

Last but not least
The day before you leave prepare a ‘survival pack’ of essentials to keep you going through the critical first hours in your new home. Remember to include the kettle and enough mugs for everyone including the removal team, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, biscuits, light bulbs and loo-roll! And make sure your mobile phone or phones are charged and ready to take with you.

Look forward not back
When the forward planning for moving day is complete at last, I promise you all that hard work will be feel worthwhile when you lock your old front door for the last time and can look forward to a fresh start in your new home – surrounded by the things you really need and love.

Where to get help with your move if you need it

If the thought of preparing to move still fills you with trepidation, apdo-uk can provide practical help and support with the entire process of moving house. Our members can help you:

  • sort out what to get rid of and what to keep
  • decide how to dispose of unwanted items
  • present your property for sale so it attracts maximum buyer interest
  • work out the most efficient use of space and storage for your new home
  • pack and unpack your precious belongings
  • choose new storage and home organisation

Rachel Papworth from Green and Tidy in Brighton recently helped one client, who’d lived for decades in a large house with plenty of storage, to prepare for a move to a smaller property.  “She had led an interesting and busy life and she had lots of paraphernalia associated with different hobbies. Working together we completely sorted out the garage in six hours, at the end of which she knew what was going with her and what to do with the rest. Having someone else to help you sort things can keep you focussed and motivated when it might otherwise feel overwhelming.

“She also had too many items of sentimental value to keep them all on display so I suggested she keep half of them in storage after the move and rotate them after a few months – by which time she might find she hadn’t missed some or even all of them and be ready to let some go.”

Ingrid Jansen from London-based Organise Your House says: “One family called me when they moved house a week before Christmas. We focused on the kitchen and unloaded and found storage for 14 boxes of stuff so at least one room was sorted and they could relax over a meal.”

Ingrid’s top tip? “Start preparing for your move as early as you can – you will always have a lot less time and a lot more stuff than you think!”

Labelled electrical plugs Labelling electrical plugs and cables is a good idea

Cherry Rudge of Surrey-based Rainbow Red says good preparation can minimise moving day angst.

“Make sure you know where to find your contents insurance documents, just in case things like equipment, household goods and furniture get damaged in the move. And label and/or colour code plugs and cables for electrical equipment, so it’s easy to identify and reconnect them when you’re in your new place.

“On the day, ensure first aid kit is fully equipped and easy to access – accidents can happen when you least expect them. And moving house can be really tiring, so making bedding easy to access (rather than packed with everything else) means that once furniture is in place, you can make up the bed sooner rather than later, so it’s ready to collapse into when you’re shattered at the end of the day. There’s nothing quite like sleeping in clean fresh sheets the first night in a new home!”

Our Conference video

Our last newsletter shared the success of our second annual Member Conference in London, back in March. Since then, we’ve been delighted to share a YouTube video of clips and images from the day, which we invite you to enjoy!

Thank you, once again, to our dear friends at Media On Demand, who have not only done a superb and professional job, but have shown great patience throughout, and have given us a huge amount of support.

Regional Focus

In this issue we find out a little more about the services offered by some of our members in the South of England

Happy Home Organising
After frequently being asked by family and friends to help them declutter and organise Moira Grant was prompted to set up Hampshire-based Happy Home Organising. She says: “It usually takes a fresh pair of eyes and a natural flair for organising to help people deal with the overwhelming feeling of despair they have with some areas of their home. They become so used to seeing their belongings in the same place they are unable to visualise them any other way. That’s where I can help. After discussing your needs we will work together at your pace to sort out and rearrange your belongings.”

Girl Friday
As a child Sally McLaughlin’s favourite occupation was organising the books on her shelves in decreasing height order – yes, really! She says: “Creating the Girl Friday Service has enabled me to put this disturbing behaviour to good use, bringing order where once there was chaos to other people’s lives!” Girl Friday can help with home organisation and decluttering projects as well as running errands, scheduling and waiting for repair and maintenance workers, house cleaning, paying bills and managing your mail, food shopping, laundry, researching, travel planning and gift shopping.

A Little Less
I am Marilyn Pataky, a professional declutterer working in Harpenden/St Albans and surrounding area. Whatever the reason, I can help you let go of stuff you no longer need. I bring together a combination of skills and experience.  I am a trained counsellor, have a qualification in interior design and extensive experience in project management.  My approach is practical yet underpinned by a philosophy that acknowledges the emotional attachment to physical possessions. My style of working is to encourage, facilitate and support you to make choices that you are happy with.

Rediscover Your Home
We offer a friendly service filled with creative solutions from storage to interior design.  We clear, file, shred, organise – whatever your clutter needs.  We know letting go of possessions can be hard, but with a gentle nudge in the right direction you will be amazed how much you can do, whether you have not seen that corner of your lounge carpet for years, or have an overflowing wardrobe but nothing to wear. We are also here for those difficult times when a person is no longer with you, to help you decide what to do with those possessions and where best for them to go.

The Lifestyler
The Lifestyler provides professional organising services to businesses and individuals. Based in Oxfordshire, The Lifestyler’s services include decluttering, help with moving home, event management, administration assistance and personal shopping. Owner Olivia Mills has many years’ experience in event and general management and also runs a wedding venue in Bristol.

The House Presentation Company
Whether you are about to sell your home, have just moved into a new home or have just collected too many personal possessions over time, our professional decluttering and organisation services could be just what you need to get things tidy and well organised again. They range from drawing up a simple-to-follow decluttering plan for you to implement yourself with unlimited email and telephone support, to on-site decluttering of an entire property and garden, to include supply of all packing and storage materials, rubbish and recycling removal, professional garden services and a final professional house clean.

Clarify Interiors
I was busy setting up my home staging business after training with TV’s original House Doctor, Ann Maurice, when my bereaved mother needed help moving from a large bungalow to a small retirement flat. Helping Mum to manage her move from 120 miles away made me appreciate the need for a service offering on-the-spot assistance to home movers in need. Now, as well as decluttering, home organisation and property staging services, Clarify Interiors offers hands-on help with the whole downsizing process to older movers and anyone else in need of extra support with the practical and emotional burden of relocating.

Thanks and farewell; hello and welcome

Clare Parrack Clare Parrack

We are very grateful to Sharon Kellett for her excellent work as our newsletter editor over the last year. Sharon’s business is now changing direction and she is moving on to pastures new, but her help in recent work to develop apdo-uk – and specifically producing regular and interesting newsletters – has been invaluable.

I’d therefore like to take this opportunity to welcome a new member of our team. Clare Parrack of Clarify Interiors (featured above) has now taken over from Sharon as our newsletter editor, and in addition will be the third member of our ‘core team’ who are working hard – and mostly voluntarily – to develop the work of apdo-uk, providing information and resources to our members and our clients.

We are also in the process of formalising a structure of volunteers among our membership who will be supporting us in these developments. Future newsletters will feature information on these volunteers, and we will soon be including their details on our Team page on the website.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the industry of professional organisers, and I am so delighted to be working with inspirational and supportive individuals. We’ll be continuing to raise the profile of our members, our Association and our industry; helping our members to grow their businesses;  and providing information and contacts to everybody who is eager to achieve an organised and clutter-free life.

Cassie Tillett
President: apdo-uk

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