clear decluttered sitting room space sofa

Moving House with Minimal Stress

Professional Organiser and Move Manager Sarah Macnaught gives tried and tested tips to help you move home.

So you are thinking of moving. With all that stuff.  Well, not ALL of it perhaps, you might try to get rid of a lot of it before you move… hopefully… as a lot of that stuff is still in boxes from the last move 15 years ago, isn’t it?


As an accredited and experienced Move Manager & Organiser, I know that stress levels in relationships are reduced in direct proportion to the amount of tedious planning done before the move.  You have probably only visited your new home about 3 – 6 times, not even spent a night there, so there is much planning to be done before you arrive.

Here are 5 tried and tested ways to help you move home with minimal stress:

1. Choose what to keep. 

Don’t go through your home room by room – that makes things invisible and appeals to the norm of your environment.  Be bold and go through your possessions by category: How many couches do you own?  Coats?  Dinner sets?  Vases? Golf clubs?  How many do you need of each? Exactly where will they go on the floor plan? Once you start sorting possessions by their category, you can then start to plan how much of what goes where.

2. Be realistic with your selected items.

Measure your furniture up as best you can and ensure pieces fit where you want them to.  Removalists are not magicians and cannot make things fit where they can never go.  And beware the nice long wall on the floor plan with a fixed radiator – that’s not the best place for the fridge and cooker! Ask a local printing shop for an A2 enlargement of your floor plan to play with.  You could also print off thumbnail photos of ‘keep’ items to stick onto the plan.  For the digitally adept, use a free program like Sweet Home 3D to prepare your layout and furniture arrangement. Your removal company will love you and you might get a reduction in moving costs if you are this well organised.

3. Measure up the lineal metres of future space and think it through.

If you have squeezed your clothes into 2.5m of built in hanging space and are moving to a home with just 1.5m of hanging space, you now have nowhere to put at least 1m of clothing (that’s about 50 clothing items!). Every 5 pairs of shoes will take up another 1m of space. Now look at your other possessions: allow 1m of shelf space for every 100CDs you own, 2.5m for 100 books… you can see how clutter quickly builds.  I won’t start on standing picture frames and ornaments!

4. Never use a “Procrastination Chamber” – aka Self Storage unit.

Chances are your next home WILL be your forever home.  The average home owner is waiting up to 28 years between house moves (Hometrack study 2015) so think about your needs for the next 1-3 years but no more. Your current needs are more important than hanging on to possessions just in case your situation changes. I have clients that, after 8, 15 and 28 years have been too overwhelmed to deal with that storage unit, so were still paying the price for it every month.  And then paying me to help clear it out. Ouch!

5. If you are not keeping something, then you must let it go.

It takes time for the rational brain to convince the irrational brain that ‘it’s time to let it go’.  Too many of us hang on to stuff for fear of change and displacement but you can never recreate your existing home in a new environment and so it is time to embrace change and see what rewards await you.  Options for recycling items are endless – gifting, charities, auctions, consignments, selling, shredding services, Freecycle, clearance etc.  In the end, if you know the recipient appreciates what you have passed to them, this appreciation far outweighs any sunk costs and regrets you may have about unwanted purchases.  Just let it go.

Overwhelm tends to be a common reason why clients don’t tackle their projects alone. But if it were that easy, the professional organising industry wouldn’t exist! Take a look at the APDO website for details of what to expect when you work with an expert,

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