Moving needs lots of planning


City LivingPlan well if you're moving house, writes Edel morgan

Marriage, divorce, bereavement... and believe it or not, moving house are among the eight most stressful events in life.

Apparently by the time many people actually get to the removals stage, their emotions are on a knife edge after weeks of fretting that something will go wrong with the purchase of their new house - and/or the sale of their old one .

Add to that the daunting prospect of packing all of the family's belongings into cartons, the stress of children throwing tantrums and not wanting to leave their friends and pets climbing the walls at the mere sight of a removal man which, according to research, can produce states of high anxiety and helplessness.

The only way to combat this and ensure the move is as smooth as possible is to take a deep breath and start planning in stages.

"Planning is extremely important," says Damian Carroll of removals company, Cronin - the Art of Moving. "Often people will ring up at the last minute and ask us to move them the following weekend, and we have to tell them it isn't possible. "

You should book the removal firm as soon as you have a moving date - preferably giving at least 14 days notice . Summer is a busy period, so the more notice you give the better. Choosing whether to go with the " man with a van" option or a more established removals company may depend on the volume you need to transport and the number of valuables. Make sure the company you choose is experienced and insured for breakages. Some, like Cronin, do a survey before a final price is given . "This allows us to see how many items are being moved and to note any particular items that may require special attention in addition to noting the protection requirements."

According to Damian Carroll, people often forget that moving is a good opportunity to declutter and rid themselves of unwanted clothes, furniture and toys. "There's no point in paying a firm to remove stuff you don't need or want any more, particularly if its an international move. "

If possible, start packing goods that are not in frequent use early on, proceeding on a room by room basis. Some companies, like Cronin, provide cartons to clients in advance of the move and offer a professional packing service if required. If you have to supply your own boxes, make sure they are of varying sizes and have flaps or covers that can be sealed. Label them Priority A, B, C etc - so you will know which ones need to be unpacked first with another sticker detailing what room they came from and the room in the new house they are to be placed.Tissue paper, bubble wrap, newspaper and shock resistant corrugated paper make effective wrapping materials and it's a good idea to mark any boxes with "Fragile" contents.Packing tape and a razor knife are other tools of the trade. You can buy padded boxes with dividers to protect very fragile items If you are hiring a professional mover you might want to leave lamps, china or artwork form them to pack.

Two to four weeks before moving is a good time to start notifying people of your new address, ie friends, employers, banks, post Office, credit and charge card companies, insurance companies, subscription suppliers, doctors, dentists , opticians and schools etc.

If carpets, curtains or furniture are required for your new house, purchase them well in advance to ensure a timely delivery.

A week before the move contact the ESB, Bord Gais etc and advise them when you plan to move to your new home - giving at least 48 hours notice.

A tip to win children around, according to the BBC's web site, is to introduce the idea of moving house into their play and bed time stories. "Books that deal with moving house can help reassure children about moving. These stories may bring up any worries a child may have "about changing school, having to make new friends or move away from relatives" says the web site. Make trips to your new neighbourhood before the move to familiarise them with the area, and involve them as much as you can in the move - allowing them to pick out colours for their new bedrooms.

The day before the move empty, defrost and dry out your refrigerator/deep freeze.Unplug your TV 24 hours prior to your move. Moving a set that is still warm may cause internal damage

A survival box should contain items that you may require as soon as you arrive at your new home such as a toolbox, light bulbs, black bin bags, alarm clock, plastic cups, plates and utensils, cleaning items, snacks and a couple of toys to amuse the children and medicines. This box should travel either with you in the car or be loaded onto the removal vehicle at the last minute. During the removal it is recommended that dogs are kept in the back yard and cats in the bathroom with their litter tray.

It is important that you are available to check off an inventory list when your household goods are being removed from the truck, says Damian Carroll. "The inventory is completed during the packing process and you will be asked to sign off each page before items are loaded onto the vehicle."

Set up one room in your new house as an oasis - free of boxes. Experts advise that pets shouldn't be left alone for long periods in the first few days.

Cronin - the art of moving can be contacted on 809 7000 or