Category Archives: Moving

Moving hints and tips

Moving house is a nightmare. There is no easy way around it, especially if you’re on a budget. Even if you have removalists do all the packing, moving and unpacking there is still things you’ll have to do yourself.

We were lucky enough to have family to give us a hand. They traveled far and wide for the privilege of a work-out that rivals boot camp. Some of them even traveled from a far away place called Narooma. Hopefully we can return the favor sometime.

Because we were renting we also had to clean the house to meet inspection to get our bond back. We cleaned as we went and it was worth the effort to never have to go back to that place!

Starting about 8 weeks out from the move we took the opportunity to go through everything we owned and cull what we could. You can print off our Moving Checklist here. Click here for the Moving Checklist – Word Doc.

Here are some other hints and tricks for the self-movers:

Don’t move it

Give it away or sell it! Have a garage sale or do the modern day equivalent- Gumtree or ebay. We made a couple of hundred dollars by selling stuff we didn’t need anymore and that subsidised the truck rental.


You can buy boxes from all sorts of places but they’re usually $4 a box! We used over 50 boxes (various sizes) so it adds up fast. My advice is to collect freebies! We were both able to get boxes in great condition from work. We also got wine boxes from the local grog shop- these make moving any bottles easy. We were able to get smaller boxes from the local supermarket. Many larger supermarkets will set aside boxes for you if you call them in advance. Polystyrene boxes are great for breakables- try the local fruit shop for those.

Thinking outside the box

Try some alternatives. We ended up purchasing some large plastic crates for all of James’ tools and camping equipment. These were easy to carry and we didn’t have to unpack them. You can also get flexible plastic tubs for the same price as a cardboard box and they were great for carting around the cleaning supplies and things like towels.


While we’re thinking outside the box, do not underestimate the power of the vaccum storage bag. These are available just about everywhere (shop around if you can- prices vary significantly) and are perfect for storing blankets, throw rugs, cushions, bulky clothes and bedding. Best bit is they’re see-through so you don’t have to rip open a box to see what’s inside. You can put them straight in the linen cupboard and you won’t have to unpack them until you need them. Also, there is something super satisfying about the way it shrinks everything!

Mattress protectors

You can buy large mattress storage bags from storage places or moving suppliers, as well as good old ebay. These are large plastic bags that will stop the mattress from getting dirty when you put it in the truck. Well worth it. You can also get some for fabric lounges.

Moving clothes

Sure, you can pack your clothes. Or, you can just leave them on a hanger and wrap them in a bin bag. Easy-peasy and they go straight in the new house wardrobe.


Moving Hanging Clothes |


If you can, pull the drawers out of the chest of drawers and leave the clothes in them. Wrap some cling-wrap around it if think you’ll need it.

Do NOT use newspaper

Don’t use newspaper to wrap your valuables- it leaves black marks on things. Things that work well are butcher’s paper, paper napkins (we had a huge pack of those lying around) and paper plates. Yep, paper plates. Just sandwich them in between your real plates. I was also able to get second-hand bubble wrap from work.


Label your boxes with:

  • a number so you can count how many boxes you have
  • contents, be specific!
  • room it needs to go in at the new house eg, study

Put the label on the side. If you put it on the top you won’t be able to read it when the boxes are stacked.

Packing tape

Go with the good quality stuff. You don’t have time for dodgy tape. A tape dispenser can be worthwhile too.

Everything else

Go back to point one:

Moving Tips - Tired of packing? Convince yourself that you don't like the rest of your stuff.

What’s your secret moving tip?


Settling in

We have been busy bumblebees this week.

Here are the highlights:

  • made two trips to IKEA – an impressive 6 hours worth. We thought we would be smart and go in the middle of the day during the work week when shops are usually empty. Lesson learnt: IKEA is NEVER empty.
  • made three trips to Bunnings.
  • unpacked about 85% of the stuff.
  • constructed four pieces of IKEA furniture, plus fitted out the internals in our wardrobe.
  • learnt how to operate the alarm system, dishwasher and new washing machine. The sliding door locks are beyond us though.
  • picked up rubbish around the house, including enough cigarette butts to choke a baby whale.
  • used up just about all our phone data while we wait for the miracle of NBN connection to occur.
  • had a tv aerial installed.
  • installed our clothesline.
  • made a little cement slab for our future letterbox.
  • been welcomed to the neighbourhood (house got egged).
  • investigated the source of a really irritating noise- similar to some kind of tuneless wooden pipe instrument or a dying bird. We think it’s a piece of playground equipment! What on earth are the council thinking?
  • discovered that it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the local shops.
  • completely filled James’ car with cardboard and dropped it off for free at Eastern Creek to be recycled.
  • became owners of such things as wheelbarrows and ladders.
  • dug a trench to drain our backyard:
Bye, bye water

Bye, bye water

We’re a bit tired now.

Move day

Despite feeling on-edge while we tried to converge bank and builder for a speedy settlement, move day arrived without a hitch.

We had carefully packed the majority of our endless stuff well before, but there are some things that just need to be left out until the last minute. We were thankful when the help arrived!

Introducing the moving task force:


Mike and Cherrie, starting the coffee well ahead of time (the night before). Pretty sure we broke Mike and Cherrie has never packed a kitchen with such velocity.

Rhys, sans belt. He's smiling in this photo which means it was taken before he realised we had to move  everything in the back yard as well.

Rhys, sans belt. He’s smiling in this photo which means it was taken before he realised we had to move everything in the back yard as well.

James and Jade, modeling the latest in moving attire.

James and Jade, modelling the latest in moving attire.

I think we must have been too busy to take photos during the move because there simply aren’t any! Basically, we started around 8:30 am and we were in the new house and in bed by 9 pm. The kitchen was just about unpacked and three beds made. Somehow, we even managed to cook a baked dinner!

It looks like move day came not a moment too soon because now we’ve had two days of 33 degree heat and a hot, dry wind.

While we have a little bit of time off work we’re running around doing as much as we can. We’ve started with a mamoth shop in IKEA for storgage solutions.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

We’ve also had the aerial guy out to quote (he’ll be back tomorrow to install) and the fencing guy has been out to measure up. We’ve got a measure for some blinds tomorrow morning. This afternoon James has organised someone to quote on levelling out our wasteland of a backyard in peparation for turf. We could probably do that ourselves but it would take us about 3 times as long as someone who actually has a clue!

And, of course, there is all that unpacking to do…


In my next few posts I’ll be sharing our hints and tips for moving as well as life in a construction zone.

“Service” providers


It feels like the time between posts is an absolute blur. James is working a minimum of 10 hours a day, regularly more. My work has me driving all over the place, north shore one minute and Wollongong the next, at all different hours. We’re buggered!

Sometime in June (I think it was June) we signed up for Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is one of those companies that sends you a box of ingredients, everything you need to make 5 meals, and you just have to cook it. It was supposed to be a temporary thing to stop us arguing over who had to write the shopping list but, months later, we are totally reliant on the small box of ingredients turning up every Tuesday evening!

Other things we’ve become reliant on:

  • direct debit everything. I don’t care how many forms I have to fill in, the bill will be made to pay itself.
  • wine. The last case we got hasn’t been much good but we’re definitely drinking it at an increased rate.
  • soap-free body wash. If there is one secret to ending the war with the soap scum on the shower door this is it.
  • copious amounts of soup. One batch of soup is lunch for a whole week, which is handy because any spare lunch money is being redirected to our Hello Fresh habit.
  • Cadbury picnic block. I had given up on Cadbury chocolate. Oh, how they’ve suckered me back!
  • indoor clothes drying rack.

Moving house (or planning to move house) is consuming our weekends like we’re consuming the Cadbury picnic.

For example, today we spent 37 minutes on the phone with AGL trying to sort out electricity at the new house. This was especially fun! We have one account (a contract) for the rental we’re in. Wisdom also signed James up for an electricity and a gas account at the new house (no contract). What seemed to us a simple request – transfer the contract from the rental to the new house, cancel the extra electricity account and put the gas account under both our names- turned into a debate of epic proportions. There was talk of termination fees and new contracts. Apparently, it’s impossible to put the contract under two names and if we wanted to put the gas and electricity together under the one name it was going to cost $130 because they would have to send someone out to read the meter. What?

I’m still not 100% sure what we ended up with but I do know that now the electricity is in one of our names and the gas is in another -with the same company, for the same house and the bills gets paid out of the same bank account. Oh, go figure.

NBN is great fun, too. On the NBN website it says that we’re NBN ready. It even gives us a handy list of suppliers we can contact to get an account. The prices are almost exactly the same for the basic service no matter which provider you go with. TPG is just about ready to sign us up when we decide to give Dodo a call. We’ve been their customer for 6 years and they’ve been great. Unfortunately Dodo says that we don’t have NBN and they can’t provide a customer with NBN if there is no NBN. But there is NBN! They say there isn’t. We ask, are you absolutely sure? They say, yes, they are sure. Oh well, TPG it is!

Why is it so complicated?


In other news, we haven’t been to the house because there isn’t much to see. We’re told there’s some more tiling going on and the cleaners have been to visit. The driveway is supposed to start on Monday and be finished by the end of the week.

Thursday is PCI day. We hope there’s nothing major to fix and that we can settle fast because the electricity at the rental is being disconnected on the 29th!

Notice to vacate

Because we need more drama in our lives, we’ve been issued a “notice to vacate” by our landlord. He’s selling the rental we’ve lived in for the last three and a half years. 

We have to move out by the 14th of October. So while we don’t yet have a move in date for our new house we certainly now have a deadline!

If the house isn’t finished by then look out cause we may well be knocking on your door!


James and I are firm believers in passing on the good stuff. We’d like to think that good things happen to good people and love to be a part of that chain of wholesome goodness. Sometimes, it’s as simple as passing on compliments about great customer service to the store manager. Other times it really is the gift of giving- that is, giving stuff away.

We’ve been really fortunate to have wonderful families that go out of their way to give us love, support and even furniture! In fact, we have managed to furnish an entire three bedroom house with second hand furniture that was either given to us or purchased at the op-shop. I’m fairly sure there is only two fantastic furniture items and one IKEA item out of the whole lot.

Recently, when the opportunity came to replace one second hand lounge with a younger second hand lounge for free we jumped at it. Our very next thought was what do we do with the lounge we have? There is really only one answer- it was free to another good home.

So, on to Gumtree it goes. Gumtree, I’m sure you all know, is a wonderful place to score a bargain. However, you pretty much have to watch it constantly in order to successfully get something because the competition (particularly for free stuff) is fierce.

James put the add up and within ten minutes it was taken by the first person who called. Amazing. Of course, James logs back on and changes the advertisement to “sold”, thinking that would be the end of it.

Oh no, Gumtree users beware. Buyers don’t take sold for an answer!

James has suffered through countless phone calls all day yesterday from people who want the lounge. I don’t even want to know how many emails. Today I came home to a note that had been stuffed in our screen door. Someone has been to our house. The note said they saw the lounge on Gumtree and that they want it, so they came to our house to get it. And, could I please call them back?

I have to say I don’t know whether to admire their enthusiasm, be creeped out by their attempts to take it from my house, or saddened by the fact that a free lounge (that is 26 years old, by the way) is in such high demand.

Anyway, moral of the story is that I have to show James how to delete the add so that no one else has our address. Also, when you are putting adds on public forums like Gumtree you should be very cautious about what kinds of things are in your photos. Both your phone number and address are being made public and it’s very easy to take a bunch of photos that advertise more than just what you’re trying to sell/give away. More than likely you’ve even indicated when you’ll be home for them to come and pick it up, which on the flip side tells thieves when you won’t be home.

All that ugliness aside, the lounge was actually picked up by a lovely young couple yesterday evening who had small children and were extremely grateful to receive a lounge that wasn’t fabric. The circle of goodness continues!