Moving house advice from a removalist’s perspective

moving house advice from a removalist's perspective

There’s a reason why every couple of months there’s a rotten removalist story on A Current Affair. Moving house is hard. Almost 25% of movers surveyed in 2023 said that their move was a negative experience on completion and almost all (85.3% of respondents in 2023) deemed it a stressful experience.

Not only is there a lot of things to do but navigating through all the various service providers at a reasonable price is harder to do than it sounds. Plus, given people only move on average once every seven years for home owners or once every two years for renters, it’s not exactly like movers can remember all the ins and outs of moving. 

That’s why in this article we’ve gone to the horse’s mouth so to speak. Well, not a horse. But an expert removalist with over 30 years of experience in the industry to find out the do’s and don’ts of moving house. This person has seen it all! So, he has plenty of moving house advice to give. From broken down trucks to items not fitting into the doorway, to settlements falling through and everything in between.

What to take and what to leave

what to take and what to leave

First of all, removalists are a godsend but they are not cheap. There’s good reason for that – the work they do is hard (otherwise you’d probably do it yourself, right?). You’re paying for muscles that have been forged in fire. They do this day in and out! And they definitely know how to pivot your 3-seater couch around the tight hallway corners in your place. So, get the most value out of their services and make sure they do the high value work. Not things you can easily do yourself or don’t need. 

In that vein, make sure you do a big purge of your items before you move house. Golden rule from the removalists’ mouth is an easy one: declutter, declutter, declutter. That way they aren’t moving unnecessary items. Also, consider taking all the small and fragile things in your own car. Pillows, cushions, toys and artwork are a good place to start. These items should be manageable and don’t require the muscle of a removalist team.

One very useful feature on Happly is the moving calendar. By keeping your move organised and on track and giving yourself enough time to declutter, you’ll turn a massive task into manageable pieces and ensure your move doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

Do-It-Yourself disassembly

do it yourself disassembly

This is another piece of moving advice – disassemble all items of furniture for easier carrying and transportation. In this age of flatpack furniture, generally everything that you own will come apart with little more than a screwdriver, an Allen key, and a bit of elbow grease. Most removalists can do this but it’s a poor use of time at ~$100/hour. We’re talking beds, dining tables, cots and other items that won’t fit through a door. 

Importantly, have a system for where you put the screws and other bits and pieces. Keep them in a labelled snap lock bag and keep these in your car (don’t let them out of your sight).  There’s nothing worse on the night of a move realising you can’t put your bed back together for a well deserved rest because you’re missing that final screw. Last but not least, take some photos of the way the furniture fit together if it would help. Trying to decipher Ikea manuals is not fun at the best of times. So, after a day of moving it’s definitely not ideal.

Strategic packing

strategic packing

Another moving house tip or golden rule is to use proper, quality, moving boxes. Whether these are the cardboard variety or the plastic boxes, your items will be moved far more easily and safely than trying to get buy with old wine boxes from Liquorland or fruit boxes from your local. 

Proper boxes are standard in size. Meaning they can be stacked effectively onto moving trolleys and in the truck for maximum efficiency. There’s not much worse than seeing all your precious possessions scattered over the road because the bottom popped out on moving day. Trust us, this will save you money (and heartache in the long run). 

The final part of strategic packing is to use appropriate size boxes. Do not get a large box and cram it full of books. Remember the heavier the items, the smaller the box needed. Your removalist’s back (and your items) will thank you! 

Move day mastery

move day mastery

The big day has arrived! Winning strategies for the day of the move include:

  1. Move items closer to the loading point. The closer it is to the front door, the faster it goes in the truck. This not only saves time but also reduces the strain on everyone involved. 
  2. Keep pathways clear and declutter as you go. This minimises the chances of accidents and speeds up the moving process.
  3. Ensure you arrange a parking space close to your front door. This is possibly the best way to save money – the closer the truck is to the loading point, the faster things go in the truck (and the cheaper the overall move). 
  4. Be present. Show the removalists where items should go. Make sure everything is packed and ensure that no piece of furniture is left behind. You’d be surprised how often overlooking these steps causes issues.
  5. Look after yourself. Get a decent breakfast and coffee before the removalists arrive – it’s important you have energy and a clear head for what is likely to be a big day. 

The hidden costs: selecting the right removalist

the hidden costs: selecting the right removalist

The last golden moving house advice we’ll discuss in this article is selecting the right removalist. Like everything else in life, there’s removalists and then there are removalists. Depending on the job you have will dictate which one you need. It’s a bit like the toothpaste in your supermarket aisle. Ever wondered why it feels like there’s 100s of choices? Same with removalists – they might all get the job done but picking the right one will leave your teeth (or in this case, your items) in the right condition. 

Some of the considerations include:

  1. Knowing the type of furniture you have. If you have the Ikea variety you’re probably looking for a value for money removalists. Someone who is going to turn up on time, work expediently and get the job done. That said, if your furniture is straight out of a Coco Republic catalogue, you probably won’t mind paying for a bit of extra care including shrink wrapping. 
  2. Avoid extra fees. Some removalists charge extras for things like stairs or extra blankets when in reality you don’t need to pay these fees. If unsure, ask us – we’ll help to ensure your choice is the right choice. 
  3. Choose removalists with branded trucks and a proper website. If they don’t have any branding on their trucks they might have set up recently with little money and don’t have the track record of a proper operation. It’s very easy to start a moving company, and then get a new ABN and start all over if things don’t work out. Avoid these types of operators.  
  4. Look at reviews and ask Happly who they work with on a daily basis. Removalists as an industry has low barriers of entry for workers – some companies are set up by travellers who hire a budget truck the minute they get off the plane so it does attract some people not in it for the long term and this is where you can get into trouble. Avoid these by looking for consistent regular reviews over a period of years. 

This is part of the reason why Happly was created. We’ll match your specific requirements to the right removalist and because we do this every single day, we understand the ins and outs. Make sense?

The power of preparation

Over 40% of Australians move every five years, which is more than twice the global average so chances are you might be thinking about it soon. Moving house can be a painful experience if you don’t plan, prepare and organise it properly. To avoid a negative experience, make sure you follow this moving house advice and if you do this, it can be satisfying and even rewarding. Give yourself a bit of time with the process, declutter, pack wisely, and select the right removalist. Use the Happly checklist to stay organised, stay positive and let Happly be your partner in this moving journey. Happly moving!

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