Moving home offers the excitement of a new start in a new home, but moving with children will mean added considerations. Here, Legal Assistant Nicole Henderson offers her top tips for a smooth, family friendly move
There I am, 36 weeks pregnant, scrubbing kitchen cupboards and polishing windows. The neighbours are convinced I'm nesting in preparation for our new addition, but no – we’ve decided that now is the perfect time to put our house on the market and move. How hard can it be with a five year old, a three year old and a baby on the way?
Show Home living
Photos are done and on the market we go. 'Show Home' living is a must. To help with a quick tidy up before a viewing I have enlisted willing family members to take a rather large box of toys (consider this as packing achieved) to each of their homes in readiness for little visitors to be kept occupied.
Where possible, I ask that the agents do the viewings so that I can take the kids out, keeping the house looking clutter free. I use every nook and cranny to hide the kids’ stuff, piles of ironing and bags of washing and even fill the car with offending items!
Progressing the packing
After a couple of weeks juggling the chaos of family life in 'show home' conditions, we accept an offer and find a property to purchase. Now I wonder how in the world are we going to manage to pack up our life and transport it to another house?
Bit by bit I fill up bags and boxes starting with all the things we can do without - DVDs, wine glasses, those annoying toys that flash and sing! Until eventually we have the bare minimum and can play forts amongst the boxes. I have labelled everything by room and contents, taking care to mark one specific box, 'KNIVES' - we don't want that box ending up in the wrong room now do we!
Moving day is upon us and I've organised that the two older kids go to their Uncle’s house to play and have lunch. Between nappy changes and breast feeds I am stripping beds and boxing up the breakfast pots, whilst my husband is packing the van and wondering what to order from Subway for lunch.
A new set of keys
As the final things go into the van, we get the call to say that money has gone through and we have completed on both our sale and purchase. We take a last look around before locking the door for the final time. My husband takes the van and heads off to collect the keys and I push the baby in the pram to our new house - sobbing the entire way! Our first home. Our family home. Our happy home.
But the sentiment doesn't last too long. We unlock the door to our new home. The home we will bring all our memories into and fill with new ones. A happy home.
The boxes start to make their way in followed by beds and sofas, table and chairs. It's a frenzy of cleaning, clearing, filling and building. Then the kids arrive and 'help' with some filling of their own, having been limited to a select few toys, they have discovered where the rest of their things have been hiding (although they aren't fussy or particular about which box they open, or what's in it - are the KNIVES still in the van?).
Eventually, the kids are settled in their beds. I look around at the boxes piled high, just anywhere - so much for being organised. The sofas covered in chairs, the television is on the kitchen table and where is that box of KNIVES?
Two and a half years on and we've still not unpacked properly. The sofa is still covered but in toys, discarded clothes and books, the TV is on a cabinet but is covered in finger prints and smudges and the table is piled high with school work and breakfast pots. Although, the KNIVES are safely in the kitchen drawer.
So, here are my top tips for a smooth – and family friendly – move:-
· discuss with your agent a notice period for viewings and whether you are willing to show prospective purchasers around or not
· enlist all willing family members and friends to help with child care during viewing times and leading up to moving day
· appoint a trusted person to clear up the whirlwind you leave in your wake as you gather the masses for an outing or visit before a viewing
· hide as much clutter as you can, wherever you can
· it's better to start packing bits early rather than leaving it all to the last minute
· talk with your kids about your plans to move and let them know how exciting this all is
· enjoy it! You may never do it again!