I'm excited to report that we have finally moved back into our newly renovated home! If you've been following along on our whole renovating journey, you'd know just how much work we've put in to get to this stage, and although we still have a lot of work ahead, it is amazing to officially be back in our home!
If you've had to move house numerous times or have been through the whole building/renovating process, you would know just how full-on it is - chaotic, fun, messy, stressful, exciting, exhausting, thrilling! It sends you through a real roller-coaster of emotions.
Looking back over the whole time, I have to admit there are many things that we could have done more efficiently, that I would do differently if I had my time over. Today I'm sharing my thoughts on the whole moving process - the ups, the downs, and the reality that might be of some help to those of you planning a move, build or renovation any time soon.
LESSON 1 | PACK WELL - YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
When I talk about packing well, I'm referring to the actual process of packing your belongings in an organised manner so you know where everything is and can easily find it when it comes to unpacking and moving back in.
When we initially packed up our house to move out, I started well - carefully wrapping and packing glasses, mugs and plates, putting like categories in cardboard boxes and labelling each box. These boxes were so much easier to unpack at the other end, as I knew exactly what I was going to find in each box.
However, once we ran out of boxes (and time - although we knew moving out was inevitable, our builders informed us it needed to happen sooner than we thought!), I found myself just moving things to our 'spare' room, and the various cupboards throughout the house. Doing it this way was a huge mistake, because it meant I didn't know where everything was, and all the items from our living room, kitchen and laundry were thrown in together and not properly boxed up. Which equaled a lot of mess.
We also didn't pack up our kids' rooms properly, as we didn't really realise they would be 'used' during the build, apart from storing our extra furniture. However, the builders ended up storing all their tools in my son's room, which meant everything in there - his toys, books, knick-knacks, plus all the furniture we had moved in there - was absolutely filthy. Which equaled more mess and more cleaning when we moved back in.
So, what would I do differently? Use a checklist for a start! It's something I really wish I'd been organised enough to create and use ourselves #gofigure. A checklist like the one below could be used to easily track your things as you pack them, making the unpacking process a whole lot easier.
Just write down the category or items being packed (in a box where possible), and give the box a swipe of colour with texta, highlighter or even a coloured sticker so it's easy to find all the boxes related to that category i.e. all kitchen items in blue. In the third column, you can record where it's actually being packed, and tick it off when you've both packed the items, and then unpacked at the other end.
This checklist would also be helpful if you're using a storage facility to store your things, or you're storing your belongings at friends or family's houses. It'll help you keep track of where everything is.
Get your free packing and moving checklist by clicking on the button below!
LESSON 2 | FOCUS ON ONE AREA AT A TIME
In both the packing and unpacking and organising process, I found it much easier to focus on one room at a time.
Several times I found myself wandering from room to room just looking at STUFF EVERYWHERE and feeling very overwhelmed. However, when I could focus on just one room, I found it much easier to get it organised and set up properly. This helped me feel like I was actually making progress and getting through it.
My particular process was to unpack and organise my daughter's room, then my son's room, then our bedroom, ensuite, main bathroom, living room, kitchen. The kitchen had to be left til last as my husband was still finishing things off, like the island bench and splash-back, but it gave me the opportunity to spend the time really getting those other rooms looking great!
LESSON 3 | KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE MESSY AND DIRTY!
Oh Lordy, this lesson was a doozy for a clean-freak like me. I found it really hard to deal with how filthy and messy everything was during the whole build. Some rooms literally made me shudder when I looked at them, like our main bathroom... this was it on a good day!
Of course, if you had things in storage, your experience would be very different to mine. For us, we found that pretty much every surface of the house was covered in dust and grime. The best way to handle it? Call on your friends and family to help, and again, focus on cleaning one area of the house at a time to prevent getting overwhelmed.
LESSON 4 | MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK
We are incredibly lucky to have had the support and help of our family throughout this whole renovation, and moving day was no exception.
My parents were there to help us pack all our belongings from their house, load up the trailer, and fill 4 cars-worth - it sure was crazy to see how much stuff we actually have!
(Tip: Keep clothes on their hangers to make it easy to pop them straight back into the wardrobe - just lay piles on the back seat of a car to make for easy transfer)
My mother-in-law was at the house from 8am scrubbing the bathroom that had been the designated paint-equipment-dumping-ground from back in April. Her partner was there to be ordered around, get lunch, and move things from room to room. Our builders and Damian's best mate were there to lift and move the heavy furniture, and my sister-in-law looked after the kids for 2 days so we could have a really good run at getting things back in order. #teameffort
We are blessed to have so much support in our lives, and I know it's not the same for everyone. But I urge you to reach out to as many people as possible during the moving process - it's definitely a time where you'll need and appreciate the extra help!
LESSON 5 | YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE A LOT OF DECISIONS ON THE SPOT
One thing about having so many people helping us was the fact I had to make a lot of decisions on the spot - knowing what had been packed where, which things should go in which spot, if I wanted to keep or get rid of different items. This did get a little overwhelming at times - I'm not great at making lots of decisions on the spot as I like to have time to think about them.
But in reality, that just wasn't possible, as we had to get things DONE. So just be prepared for this, and at least use an organised checklist to keep you on track with what belongs where (hint hint...get your copy by clicking on the button below!).
LESSON 6 | MOVING CAN BE A GREAT TIME TO DECLUTTER
Although we were all really keen to get things done and unpack as quickly as possible, I did find myself wanting to declutter and purge a lot as we put the rooms back together. And I'm in two minds as to whether this was a good time to do it or not. Here's my thinking...
I only wanted to put things back into each room that we really use, love and need (I talk all about this process and how to make these decisions in my online course Chaos to Calm).
Although there was that urge to just get the rooms finished to a point where we could live in them, I also found that I didn't want to then have to go back through everything to declutter. So, I did a huge amount of purging as I unpacked and put things back in their spots - namely in the kids' bedrooms, with clothes they no longer fit into or wore, toys that were barely used, books that were too babyish or the kids no longer read.
I also got rid of a heap of items from our kitchen, and it was a great feeling to only be putting things into the space that I knew we needed, used and loved.
So for me, unpacking was a great time to declutter - yes, it added an extra step and more work to the moving-in process, but it is an awesome feeling to have a house with belongings in it that we really love.
LESSON 7 | IT IS OK TO TAKE YOUR TIME
I'm sure it's a surprise to no-one that I've been looking forward to organising my new kitchen for a really long time. And for this reason, I wanted to be able to experiment and take my time when I was setting it up. I wanted to think really carefully about the different kitchen zones so I could decide where I would put things, and how I would organise the shelves and drawers (pssst - stay tuned for my new ebook coming in the next few months aaaaall about kitchen organisation!).
I had lots of willing offers of help from my family (including my husband), but it was something I wanted to take my time with so I could get it exactly the way I wanted. I mean, the kitchen is the most used room in the house right? And although it did take longer than I initially anticipated, we pretty easily dealt with living in chaos for a little while longer.
So, although I started with an overwhelming pile of stuff that I thought I'd never get through, it was actually a fun process finding places for everything (see what I started with in the video below). It really is ok to take your time when it comes to unpacking, so you can make decisions that work for you and your family.
LESSON 8 | EXPECT MIXED EMOTIONS
While the renovating process was filled with mixed emotions, the moving in stage was just as up-and-down! Of course we were both so happy to have our home back, but it was also pretty daunting to look at the amount of jobs we had (and still have) ahead of us.
While it's fun and exciting, it's also exhausting and confronting, especially when you're doing a lot of the work yourself, and still have lots to do to fully complete the house. I guess you never stop working on your house right? But above all we're really just appreciating being in this amazing space. Couldn't love it any more and being here makes the craziness of the last 6 months completely worth it!