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When you move home it can seem as though, suddenly, there are a million and one things to do – and that’s on top of working, being a parent or anything else we try to cram into a normal day.

As Move Day comes nearer, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed – something which, no doubt, contributes to placing moving house firmly in the top three of the most stressful things we deal with in life (along with bereavement or divorce).

But, although it would be a little glib to suggest there’s no need to work yourself into a frenzy, there are techniques you can use to help make the experience that little bit easier – and perhaps our guide will help:

When The Sold Sign Goes Up…

You probably won’t know your completion yet as they can be difficult to pin down early on but it might be a good idea to think about what you are going to do with the children or pets when you move house. If the kids are going to help, great; sit them down and work out their roles; it will help them to feel involved. If not, you might want to talk to family or friends to see if they’ve be happy doing the school run or looking after them for 24 hours.

Also make a list of the organisations, friends and family who are going to need to know about your change of address. Make a list, and if you need to, have a look at websites which tell you what you need to do to update your driving or TV licence, notify utilities, banks, local authorities and the like.

If you haven’t done it already, now might be a good time to start costing any professional help you might need. Are you planning to have your house cleaned, for example? It’s not essential but some families do and you might want to get some quotes. We’d certainly recommend a *professional removal firm though, so why not check out how much they’ll cost too? ( * whoever you use, make sure they’re fully insured for damage).

If you’re moving to a new area, make sure you’re in touch with schools and check out services such as doctors’ surgeries and dentists. The more notice you can give them, the smoother the process is likely to be.

If you have a garage or a loft full of old stuff you haven’t seen for years, sort through it and either pack it ready for the move, bag it up for charity, box it for a car boot sale or two or bin it. It’ll be hard and take ages as you’re bound to find all sorts of things with sentimental value – so get on with it as soon as you can.

A Fortnight To Go:

It’s time to get on with those notifications of a change of address. By now you’ll know when you’re moving so it’s time to firm things up. It’s the same with child care and pet-sitters, if you need them; give them dates.

If you haven’t started packing yet, it’s time. You’ll only need to begin with the non-essentials such as out-of-season clothing or bedding, some of the kids’ toys, the DVDs and CDs and things like ornaments or your posh crockery. It might be an idea to measure up some of the big furniture and, if you can, visit the new house and check it fits where you want it to go. If not, why not have a look at a floor plan of your new property? There should be one in the estate agent’s brochure or even on the property portals and it ought to give you an idea of the size of the rooms.

Move Week

It’s time to get on with some serious packing. You’re going to have to accept your lives are going to be a bit topsy-turvy for a little while but you need to be emptying drawers, packing clothes and dismantling furniture. Try to keep the right screws with the right furniture; just bag them up and tape them securely to one of the panels. Leave the TV for as long as you can; if it’s connected to a games consul or a DVD player, it might help keep the kids from under your feet. They can also help though by walking or feeding pets at the usual time. Animals can get a little stressed too so maintaining their routine for as long as you can might reassure them.

The Big Day

Unless they’re helping, it’s time to say goodbye to the kids and the pets for 24 hours and to get on with the final phase. Use your smart phone to grab images of water, gas and electricity meter readings. If there’s time before the removal team arrives, you might also want to take pictures of anything valuable while it’s intact in case any damage occurs during the move. It’s also a good idea to keep some essentials available until the last minute such as a kettle, a toaster and a night bag with wash kit, a change of clothes and even some sleeping bags. You don’t want to have to start digging through boxes when you arrive at the new place just so you can make a cup of tea or get ready for bed.

The only thing left to do is to collect the keys for your new home, make sure the new owners of your old place have theirs and perhaps give the place one last whip round with a vacuum cleaner and duster before you go. It’ll be strange shutting the front door for the final time but, by then, most of the stressful stuff is over. All you have left to do is to turn your new place into a home.

But for now, get a decent takeaway, a bottle of good wine, find a space among the boxes and enjoy dreaming and chatting about what your new place will become. The unpacking? You can make a start in the morning…