Best Tips For Moving House
According to psychologists moving home is not only very emotional, but also one of the most stressful experiences in our lives. Like any major life change it is a disruption to ‘life as we know it’.
This causes uncertainty, which in return causes anxiety and stress. Also, the word home is charged with emotions, feelings and memories and moving is full of symbolism. On one hand there’s a feeling of loss, anxiety and fear and on the other hand there’s excitement, anticipation and the hope for new beginnings.
With April being one of the most popular months for moving home in Switzerland, I decided to share some thoughts and insights on the subject matter. Some of these insights are from my personal experience, others from helping clients with their move. Having lived in 7 countries on 3 continents, I have moved more than 25 times (and counting…). It is therefore safe to say, that I’ve got some experience under my belt. Yet, I really don’t like packing and everything else that needs to be done before the move. Unpacking and getting set up in my new home, on the other hand, comes like second nature and fills me with joy. Every. Single. Time.
Before, during and after the move
When moving home, the to-do list seems endless. Professional moving companies offer useful checklists, which you can also easily find online. However, the organisation, packing and planning before a move also involves a lot of decision making, which for many (myself included) can be a cause of stress in itself. Most people therefore tend to simply bring everything they own to their new home and hope for the best. Unfortunately, in many cases it doesn’t quite work out the way they’d hoped. The furniture may be too big, too small or simply does not fit in terms of shape, colour or style. Furniture size can be particularly challenging when moving internationally, especially when moving from countries like the USA to Switzerland.
So what should you do? Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each situation is different and more so each home is different. Geographic location, architectural style, floor plan, floor space, shape of rooms, rooms division, ceiling height, length of walls and natural daylight all need to be considered.
As one of my clients put it: “Simone’s Interior Design Consultation was well worth the time and money and was hugely valuable in helping us sort out the set up for our newly purchased home. She explored who we were and how we used our home and then offered advice on how best to layout our home to make the best use of it. She helped us to consider ideas we never would have come up with on our own. We are so grateful to have had that guidance before moving all of our belongings into the wrong location!”
It is really important to think about the layout and the design of your new home BEFORE the move. Not only will this ensure you only will be moving (and paying for moving) the items that actually work in your new space, but it will also help you only take the things you love. The unwanted items you can either donate or sell.
What about using some furniture on a temporary basis?
I often hear people say, they will keep some furniture temporarily until they find a replacement for it. I really don’t recommend this. Why? Because more often than not, life gets in the way and months if not years will pass and that temporary piece of furniture is still there. In my opinion that’s a real shame, because then you never feel settled. On the other hand, if you choose not to move any temporary items to your new home you will be far more motivated to look for the missing pieces.
During my career as an interior designer I have helped many clients prepare for their move. This way they knew exactly what to pack and what to get rid of before the movers came. This not only makes the first part of moving home less stressful, but also the second part more fun. Once in the new home you know exactly what goes where and what pieces you still need to get.
Combining existing furniture with new furniture
My recommendation is to always have one dominating style, to which you then add elements of other styles. Elements such as a piece of art, an antique or an unusual chair will add a personal touch to your space. The same applies when mixing old and new furniture. Simply define your dominating style and then add to it. For example you may have a few antique pieces that you have inherited. Those items usually have a lot of sentimental value. So you could highlight them by giving them a special place or even use accent lighting to make them stand out. Another important factor is to find a common denominator, such as the material or the colour. This will create a cohesive look, to which you can then always add an element of surprise.
How about furnishing in phases?
Clients often ask me if it is ok to furnish their home in phases, mostly due to financial restraints. Sometimes doing it in stages is the only way and I have worked with clients who chose to go that route. However, if you can manage to do it all at once, then I would strongly recommend to do so, because in the long run it is far more time and sometimes even more cost efficient. Here is why:
1- Project momentum:
First you need to get clear as to what it is you really want in terms of functionality and design. Whether you are doing your own research or with the help of an interior designer, you will create momentum. Things will start coming together and you are getting excited about the outcome. It’s a shame to then break that momentum and having to start all over again at a later time.
2 – Lead times, availability and price increases:
You have finally selected the ideal pieces of furniture, materials, lighting, soft furnishing that work for you and your space. Long lead times (8 – 12 weeks average) are frustrating, but if you wait too long prices go up (most brands increase their prices every 1 – 2 years) or worse the item gets discontinued. This means you will need to start again from scratch.
3 – Peace of mind and mental space to take on other projects:
Doing it all at once (versus in phases) will give you more peace of mind and the time and energy to take on other projects once you’re done. Instead of having pending projects at the back of your mind, which will block space in your already busy mind, you can start a new hobby, travel or spend more quality time with your family.
In conclusion, my best advise for moving home is to begin with the end in mind. Having a clear vision as to what your new home should look like and above all how it should make you feel, will facilitate and simplify the moving process. Last but not least, if you are feeling overwhelmed, do ask for help. Professional movers, relocation specialists, Home Detox experts and of course interior designers (hint, hint) can take a huge load off your shoulders and guide you through the process of moving home.
Good luck with your move and happy settling in your new home!