This is the second part of the series. You can read the first part here if you haven’t already, Tips for moving the house – Part I. The first part focussed on issues that specifically on choosing a service provider. In this post, we are going to discuss things that you should take care of yourself. I always thought that it’s going to be an easy job since the people from the moving company will take care of packing all the stuff. I just have to stand there and supervise them. I was completely wrong. If you are not prepared, there would be loads of surprises when your packed boxes arrive at your new house.
1. Pack all your documents yourself
This is the one thing I had done myself, well before the moving exercise started. And that saved me hours of effort while unpacking. I started working on it at least a month before. First, I collected all the important papers, documents, and bills from all around the house, sorted them, discarded the unimportant ones like, and packed them into separate envelopes. I also separated out the documents that I needed to carry like ID proofs, passports, etc with me instead of sending them with other items. You should also keep a few copies of each important document since you would generally need them sooner than you can imagine. It’s better to be prepared in advance rather than running around in the new city, searching for a copier machine.
These are the things that I kept with me:
- Passports of all members: Original and 2 copies of each
- PAN Card: Original and 2 copies each
- Aadhaar Card: Original and 5 copies each (Most sought after document nowadays)
- Copies of vehicle’s RC, insurance policy in case you are moving your vehicles as well
- Medical Files: Especially if you have kids (vaccination schedule and important prescriptions)
2. Surrender/apply for relocation for your services
- Surrender your gas connection. The whole process might take a few days, but if you are lucky you might get it done in a day or two. Call your provider and check how many days they would need to process your request.
- Apply for a relocation of your broadband and TV connections. I had paid advance rentals on both of these, so it made sense for me to apply for relocating. But, call them first and check the feasibility at your new place. The better option would be to close your accounts, and when you finally settle down at your new house, apply for new connections.
3. Electronics and other valuables
I had packed my TV, Desktop, laptop, all electronic accessories like desk phones, speakers, cables, chargers, power adapters etc on my own. And since I had kept all the original boxes with me, it was easy to pack them. It turned out to be a good decision. When I reached my new home, I could see the boxes that were packed by me, clearly marked with its contents. I also had listed out individual items on the boxes, in case it contained multiple items. The movers and packers people will never take care of your things as you would. Although it might take a few extra hours, it’s always a better choice to do it on your own.
Valuables: Obviously have to be carried with you and not with your other stuff. But it does help if you can sort them out into boxes if you already haven’t.
Large appliances like refrigerator, gas stove, microwave, washing machine can be left for the so-called pros. These things are generally more durable, and can’t withstand the tortures. Don’t be surprised if you see some new scratches or dents when they arrive at your new house. These damages are not avoidable.
Kitchen glassware, photo frames, and other glass items should be packed under your supervision. You probably cannot do it yourself, but you should keep a close eye on how they are being packed. Although the guys are a bit more extra careful with these items, you need to tell them to add more layers of bubble wrap whenever you feel so. They would most of the times acknowledge your request only if you are around.
5. Food item and groceries
Try to avoid packing up opened packets of food. All liquid containers should be properly sealed. Again, your supervision is important here as well. You should also be aware of rats. The carriers would make multiple stops at warehouses and godowns where rats are plenty. They would try to feast on your food. Even if one of them manages to get into your boxes, you would end up having a lot of food to throw away.
Clothes are the only items which can be easily managed while moving your house. But, I would suggest that you make separate boxes for each kind and each member of your family. That will help you to unpack and re-arrange them again at your new place. If they get mixed up, it will take a lot of time to find and sort everything again.
If you can manage to organize them yourself before they are put into boxes. It will save you lots of time when you search for your things like staplers, gum or tapes when you need them at your new house.
Handling children can be pretty tough when everything is being packed. My suggestion would be again to sort and make boxes for the toys. You can also involve your children here. My daughter cried a lot when all her toys were being packed. She calmed down only after I ensured that all of the toys will be fine. I also asked her to remember which toy was in which box, and we were very surprised when she was able to figure the contents when our boxes arrived at our new house. This is also probably the right time to discard those old and broken toys to reduce the clutter, although you might find it hard to convince your little ones.
9. Beds, Mattresses, Sofa
These are the big items that should be left for the so-called pros. Although they would probably do a good job at this, a little supervision will surely help.
Make sure they dismantle your bed properly, mark all the items and safely keep the nuts and bolts so that they can be easily found. Dismantling a bed is easy. Before that, take some photos of your bed which will give you a rough idea how it was set up, especially, if you have a bed with drawers. In my case, the guy who had dismantled the bed didn’t turn up at my new place. It was a hard time for me to figure out how to set it up. I had no pictures of it, so I had to try all combinations possible. Spent a good 5 hours at that.
Same applies to other furniture which can be dismantled. Small tables, show pieces, etc.
Mattresses: Do not let them fold or roll your mattresses in any case. Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps on them so that they don’t get torn accidentally.
Sofa: Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps to prevent accidental damage.
10. Mark all boxes
Mark all the boxes and items yourself and be as descriptive as possible about the items. Also, tag the boxes with the room where you plan to keep it in while unloading. Although, it’s not possible for all your stuff, doing this would make sure that you don’t pile up all the boxes at a single place in your new house.
If you can follow all these tips, I am quite sure that you will see very fewer damages, you can’t avoid them completely. The most important thing is your supervision. If you can get help from your friends or family, that would really help. There would be around 4-5 packers storming into your house and try to pack up everything as fast as they can. Having a few extra hands on your side will help you instruct them and make sure everything is being packed safely.
On the day when the things are being packed, you should be relaxed. Do not try to hurry up, take your time to ensure that everything happens under your nose. If the packing guys are in a hurry, offer them some water or tea, ask them to rest and then resume. Let them know clearly that you want everything to be packed safely. Don’t fall for their serious assurances of safety. You would probably never get hold of the same guys at your new place. The guys who come to deliver your stuff would most probably be a different set of people, especially if you are shifting to another city.
While unloading, ask them to put the boxes in different rooms. If you have tagged your boxes, it would be easier. Ask them to put the large items in their intended places. Before they arrive, you need to have a good idea where to put what instead of deciding on the fly. Spend some time discussing the rooms at your new place, which stuff goes where, and who takes which cupboards.
A lot of things mentioned here might seem obvious. It did, for me too. But it’s quite easy to miss all these points when a lot of things are happening around you.
Again, I would stress on that fact that you should start preparing for this exercise at-least a month before. Make a plan, not just in your head, but put it down on paper. Plan in detail as much as possible. And hope that you shift to your brand new home peacefully.