With some smart planning, you can lighten your load on moving day
By the time most of us move into our first owned home we have already accumulated a removal van’s worth of belongings: furniture, personal effects, clothes, books, DVDs and quite a bit of junk, the spoils of many years living in the rental sector. Before you move out, be ruthless and bin every garment you haven’t worn in two years and every other item you own that is broken or in need of repair, advises Amy Farrell, a thirtysomething who recently bought her first apartment. “Give books you’ve read and DVDs you’ll never watch again to your local charity shop.” she says.
Do you need to hire a removal van? The answer depends how much stuff you have and whether you have a dad, boyfriend or friend with a roomy set of wheels who is willing to do you a favour and help with some heavy lifting, says Farrell. Hiring a van can cost as little as €90 for a day through J&P Van Rental. Or you could hire Stephen Smith of Vanman.ie, who says a small apartment move can take two or three hours and will cost from €150 to €200 if you are willing to help the van driver with the heavy lifting. It’s not an easy job, Smith cautions.
“The better organised you are – that is, everything packed in stackable boxes – the more money you save. Any furniture that was assembled in the property should be disassembled before the moving men arrive. Beds and babies’ cots, too, should be broken down in advance to save time and effectively money.”
Pack all non-essentials – books, additional crockery, bedlinen, towels and so on – first, Smith counsels. Before you box everything up, says Hannah Byrne, who bought a one bedroom apartment in Clongriffin in Dublin 13, make sure you put together a crate with the essentials you will need for those first few days: a kettle, toaster, knives, forks, spoons, some glasses, a couple of plates and a pot or pan so you can brew a cuppa and make a bowl of spaghetti as you unpack. Mark this box clearly, she says. “Similarly, pack a suitcase as if you’re going on holidays. Include fresh underwear, all the toiletries you need, work clothes, weekend clothes and clothes for lounging around in. Pack these last so they’re the first thing you will want to put your hands on as you unpack.”
Before you buy a stick of furniture, measure it and lay out the dimensions, the amount of floor space it will occupy, in gaffer tape, advises Byrne. For big-ticket buys such as a couch, she recommends actually measuring the three dimensions of the piece and building that shape from boxes so you get an idea of the volume of space it will occupy in your new home. She regrets buying an L-shaped sofa that, despite containing a super practical sofa bed, “totally dominates the front room”.
Before you hand back the keys to your rental, remember to have your post redirected. An Post will forward your mail for up to a year, whether it’s at home or abroad. The individual paying for this service will need to bring ID, drivers licence, passport or employer photo ID to the post office. You will also need to bring either a utility bill or a bank or building society statement showing the address mail is to be redirected from. This needs to be dated from within the last five months. You also need to fill in all the names in the household that need to be readdressed, including minors. The service costs €60 per household for three months; six months costs €80. A year costs €120 and will catch all the people who correspond with you even it is only once a year – at Christmas, for example. You will get a reminder letter about two weeks before the end of the term time.
If you’re buying new furniture, ask if you can have the items delivered on a date after you move in and in the meantime invest in cheap and cheerful curtains and blinds in white until you have time to consider how you want to dress your windows, Byrne advises. She bought dark oak blinds that “when shut drain the room of light”. Ikea, B&Q, Home Focus at Hickeys and Homebase are all good places to look for easy-to-hang options.
Lastly, be sure to cancel direct debits to landlords before you move.