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How to move home with a family

So you bought a new home, it has registered in your name and you need to move. But the last time you moved it was just you, your girlfriend and her cat. Now, eight years later, you have two cats, a dog and two children. Your family quickly outgrew your first two-bedroom townhouse with its manageable garden. Your kids need their own rooms now and you desperately need a second garage (the threats of hail storms have seen you rushing to the local petrol station to hide your car under their roof).

Your home is full of “stuff”, and you only just realised how much you had accumulated over the years. Where the first move eight years ago took you less than half a day to complete, this time around you may need two days, three willing friends and two bakkies with trailers!

With the excitement of finding and securing a property that meets all your search criteria, it can be easy to forget just how stressful the actual moving process can be. While the end result of being comfortably settled into a new home makes going through this trouble worthwhile, it can be helpful to take a moment to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

“As exciting as it is, moving homes is not all fun and games,” says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who offers homeowners 4 useful tips in the preparation of moving into their new home.

#1 Packing takes longer than you think (or remember)Man packing box

“The worst mistake homeowners can make is to underestimate how much time it takes to pack. Depending on the size of the home, homeowners should start packing anywhere from a week to a month ahead of the move. To keep track of where you’ve stored your items, number each box and keep an inventory list of what can be found inside each one,” says Goslett.

#2 You’ve accumulated more than you realisestorage clutter

“Especially for those who have been in their current home for more than five years, it is often astonishing how much can be accumulated over the years. Make sure you give yourself enough time to sort through all the rooms in your home and donate, dump, or sell the items that you no longer need,” he adds.

#3 There is more admin than you remember

“One tends to forget that one’s address will need to be updated with all of your account holders. While most institutions allow you to update these details online these days, some might still insist that you bring along a hard copy of a proof of residence before they will update your details. It might be a good idea to take a few days’ leave after the move to sort out all of the necessary admin,” says Goslett.

#4 The result is worth the effortmoving-into-a-new-home-resize

“While going through the process of moving many promise themselves never to go through the trouble again. However, as time passes, one’s needs change and the home that was once perfect soon becomes restrictive and unpleasant to live in. As stressful as moving can be, nothing beats the feeling of being settled into a new home that suits all your lifestyle needs,” says Goslett.


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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