Considerations When Choosing Your Removal Firm

When moving home it can be tempting to cut back and to save money. One of the things that I recommend you absolutely do not scrimp on is a removal firm. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can do it yourself, just don’t. Yes, they can be very expensive; but if you hire a decent firm they are worth every last penny, and more. We considered cutting costs and hiring a van and doing it ourselves and I am so glad that we didn’t. I genuinely don’t think we would have been out of the house in time if we had done it all ourselves, I’m positive there would have been a lot more stress and I don’t even want to think of the damage!

After researching local removal firms we hired Bennetts Removals*, a Which Trusted Trader based in South Wales. We took a lot into consideration when looking for a removal company and we met with four to five firms before deciding that John Bennett and his team were the firm for us. After a lot of research we decided to go for a smaller firm, we loved that the owner of the firm, along with his dedicated team, would be in charge of packing, removing and unloading our belongings. This instantly reassured us that everything would be well looked after; to small firms this isn’t just a wage, this is their life, their business.

Once you have whittled your choice down to a few firms that you like the look of be sure to check their reviews on places like Facebook, Google and Yell. Also, are they members of any associations? If so, be sure to check their reviews there too.

Make sure that the firm come to your house to size up first. On-line quotes can be great to get a guide price, but firms will use the information provided on these forms to determine what truck that they need to use. If you under estimate you could end up with a truck that is too small for your belongings. Also, check if the mover provides their own boxes. If the mover comes out first they know exactly how many boxes to provide and if you need any specialist equipment for your moving day.

Ask questions, and lots of them. We wanted to know exactly how fragile items such as the TV would be packed. What furniture covers are provided? Bed covers, suite covers, floor protection, hanging robes for clothes – do they provide them?

You will be spending pretty much the whole day with your removers, be sure to go for someone who is friendly yet professional. The last thing you want is someone who is smoking on your front door step and leering at passers by. I’m not stereotyping – I have actually heard of this happening.

Once you receive your quote check it with a fine tooth comb for hidden charges. Does the quote include VAT? Are there waiting charges? We were shocked to check the small print on one of the seemingly low quotes that we received and find that it didn’t include VAT. Once we added this on it became one of the more expensive quotes.

Lastly, but by no means least, remember that cheap isn’t necessarily cheerful. Don’t go ahead and book the firm who comes in cheapest just because they are the cheapest.

See Bennetts Removals in action here :

Watch my house moving vlogs including a house tour here :

*Disclosure – we received removal services in exchange for promotion*

Moving Home with Small Children – 10 Survival Tips

The time has come, after waiting for what seems like forever we are finally in the process of moving home. I am more than likely up to my neck in boxes right now, in one of two houses. For possibly the first time ever I have been organised and I have some fantastic guest posts lined up for while I am away. All centred around moving home, of course.

Today Skye from Cuteness & Chaos shares her top survival tips for moving home with small children. As a mother of two littles and a fluffy cat who has recently moved Skye is perfectly experienced on this subject.

1. Hire a removal company
Unless you have very few possessions, get a removal company to do the moving for you. Get at least three quotes from different removal companies – this should involve someone coming around to your house to meet with you and discuss your moving needs. You may find that you will receive very different quotes, so choose a removal company that can work to your budget AND which you feel most comfortable with. In the UK, choose a company that is BAR registered (British Association of Removers). The company we settled on were brilliant. For me it came down to gut instinct when deciding on them. They were very caring and helpful with advance packing while I was pregnant, and then where super considerate and just brilliant on moving day.

2.  Tell your children about the move at an appropriate time
We find that it’s best not to tell Jasper (age three) about upcoming events too far in advance, and I imagine this is the same for many other small children. We slowly started packing non-essential items, but once we had exchanged contracts we had to finish packing up the house in nine days. It was at this point we told Jasper that we would be moving house. For us, this was perfect timing as it gave Jasper enough time to process his thoughts and emotions before saying goodbye to his first home.  He was then not concerned by the boxes piling up in the house, and happy to get involved in the packing too. You will know your own children best when it comes to telling them about the house move. If we had told Jasper months in advance he would have become disheartened by the long wait until moving day. This timescale may, however, need to be adjusted if you will be moving to a new area and your children changing schools. 

3.  Keep the new house neutral
I’m not talking about decorating themes! What I mean is its best not to show your young children photos of the new house because they will include other people’s belongings in the rooms. However, you could build excitement and anticipation for their new home by driving your children past the house to see the outside and the local area. You could also plan their new route to nursery/school from the new house, and visit local shops, parks and libraries if you are moving to a completely new location. 

4.  Moving is a good thing
You may find your children are having difficulty processing the thought of moving home. Talk about the move in a positive way, and promote the good in all the changes you will be experiencing in your family life. Start with simple things like sharing ideas of how your children would like their new room(s) decorated, and build up into conversations about bigger changes like different schools and new friends. 

5.  Packing takes time
Don’t underestimate how long it will take to pack up your house. Try to give yourself two weeks of as much free time as possible to get the packing done without last-minute stress. If you can, arrange for some child-free days so that you’re not constantly interrupted while packing. Alternatively, if your budget will allow and you’re short on time, have your removal company do the bulk of the packing for you. 

6.  Let your children take responsibility for their own possessions
Aside from some child-free time to get the bulk of your house packed up, involve your children in sorting and packing their own toys and books. This is also a good excuse to declutter and weed out toys that may no longer be age-appropriate or played with. 

7.  Essential packing
The first couple of days in your new house will feel weird. Your possessions will be in boxes scattered in strange new rooms, and you will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. To maintain some sanity, ensure you pack a small bag for every family member before moving day. Keep these bags in your car so they don’t get muddled up with the boxes and furniture which will be transported by the removal company. In each bag pack a few changes of clothes, pyjamas, bedding, a towel and essential toiletries. For children, pack a few of their favourite toys and books too. 

8.  Moving day
The big day will be exhausting, emotional and stressful. The house (old and new) will not be an appropriate environment for small children. Ensure you have childcare away from the house lined up for the full day. 

9.  Priority unpacking
As soon as you are in your new house make it a priority to get your children’s room(s) comfortable before they get home. Make up their beds and lay out their favourite toys and books from the emergency bags (see item 7). Consider leaving them a gift from the new house – something simple like a colouring book and pencils, or a new picture book for their first bedtime story in the new house. Keep to your usual evening routine and get your children to bed as normal. This will help with the settling-in process and your children should feel comfortable with their first night in the new house. 

10. Settling in
Unpacking your boxes will take a while, but try not get bogged down by this. Soon after the move, take time out as a family to explore your new local area and have some fun after all the stress of moving home.

This post first appeared here

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Preparing to Move Home – Top Tips

The sale of our home seems to be going through quite smoothly this time around and we really are hoping that it is a case of third time lucky *touches wood*. Contracts have been signed but not yet exchanged, and, while we won’t be making solid plans until contracts have been exchanged we have started preparing to move home. Hopefully this will minimise the risk of living in a cardboard city and make moving home with a toddler and two cats as stress free as possible, if that is even possible.

  • Consider hiring out storage –  While we don’t want to pack everything up just yet we do have a lot of crap taking up room that we don’t use. For example, all of Aria’s bits and pieces from when she was a newborn that we are holding on to in readiness for when Spencer ever agrees to have another baby (you know what they say – new home, new baby, wink, wink!). A lot of these items are bulky, in the way and gathering dust. These could be sorted and shipped off to LOVESPACE for storage now and then retrieved at a more suitable date, after the move or maybe even longer term when/if baby number two eventually comes along. I specifically mention LOVESPACE because they are cheap and actually quite fantastic. As a busy mam I struggle for time, we also can’t fit too much in the car if Aria is with us, for someone so small she takes up a lot of space in that back seat! LOVESPACE take this hassle away and collect your items from your door, and will return them to you the following day after you request them. As well as being reasonably priced and convenient they are actually quite lovely and are giving my readers £20 off with the code LOVELEANNE, which expires on 31 December 2017.
  • Consider childcare before agreeing on a completion date – When you are eager to move it can be super tempting to say yes to the earliest completion date available, but don’t just snap it up for the sake of it. Before agreeing to any date check if that there is someone available to look after your children for you – preferably over night the night before. This will save multiple stresses including accidentally packing your toddler in with the Tupperware.
  • Consider placing any pets into a shelter – Not too dissimilar to the childcare situation, I also don’t want to pack my cats in with the tupperware, or even worse, be ready to move and realise that they’ve gone out for a long stroll chasing mice and are no where to be seen. Likewise we don’t want them at the new property when the doors are open and people are back and forth moving things. It will freak them out and they are quite likely to bolt it, which wouldn’t be good in a new area. We are considering local cateries or staying with a relative.
  • Start decluttering now – Decluttering is hard work, both emotionally and physically, and also very time consuming, especially with a curious toddler around. As soon as we agreed a sale I started decluttering one drawer a week and taking a bag of clothes to the charity shop on my weekly trip to town. Ideally you should start doing this as soon as you put your house on the market, or even before. If you don’t want to part with anything it is still a good idea to declutter ahead of the move, maybe consider sending your less used items away to LOVESPACE ahead of the move for temporary storage.

If you aren’t able to make it to a charity shop yourself you will be glad to know about LOVESPACE‘s partnership with Oxfam, you simply order a donation box from their website, they send you the boxes, collect the boxes and send them to Oxfam for you. 

  • Start collecting boxes & packaging – Whenever we receive something that comes in a nice sturdy box we flat pack the box, likewise if something comes wrapped in a lot of bubble wrap, we put the bubble wrap to the side. While most removal firms will provide boxes and pack things for you we are trying to do this on as much of a budget as possible and will be packing our own things to save costs.
  • Start making lists of where you will need to update your address – Whenever you receive something important in the post make a note of the companies name and phone number. You will need to change your address at a lot of places and will probably forget some of them. Start jotting them down now and you are less likely to miss anyone out.
  • Plan the layout of your new home – Take measurements of your new home and plan where your large items of furniture will go, they can be placed straight into that room to save you the hassle of moving things around later. You may realise that some furniture is too large/redundant so now is a good time to get rid of that. List it on a facebook buying group or Gumtree if you want to make money, otherwise a lot of charities will collect furniture for free, but they often have long waiting lists.

Preparing to move home - top tips

This is how we will be preparing to move home, do you have anything to add to the list? Don’t forget to let LOVESPACE take the hassle of storage away from you – enter code LOVELEANNE to receive a £20 discount which expires on 31 December 2017.

*Disclosure – Sponsored Post*

We’re Moving Home – Third Time Lucky?

We’ve sold our house… again! Our house has been up for sale for what seems like forever now. We originally sold it straight away, within a couple of days of it going on the market. Unfortunately the buyer withdrew and it has been up for sale ever since. Until recently, when we sold it again last month. We had an offer accepted on a lovely house and were super excited, until our buyer pulled out. Thankfully no less than a week later we received another offer and were able to offer on the lovely three bedroom house again.

We can’t help but worry about office space in the new property, we currently have a converted attic which is used as an office. We don’t have that luxury in the new property and would eventually like to use bedroom number three for an eventual baby number two. We are thinking about possibly converting the attic in the new property, making a man cave for Spencer. We’ve been looking for modern staircases UK based have found a fantastic Italian design staircase manufacturer who sells modern designed spiral stairs in various dimensions and materials. The designs are lovely and I really like the fact that you can buy staircases online. Of course I am now swooning over a (completely not even in the slightest bit baby friendly) spiral staircase for my new home.

I’ll have an alcove office in the dining room, I have plans to get some funky wallpaper for my little corner of the room and make it all pretty and nice. It makes more sense for me to be downstairs than in the attic. It is a nuisance when I need to check things quickly and all my notebooks are up in the office, on the days that I have no childcare venturing into the attic to quickly check something can be a nuisance and usually result in Aria crying from the baby gate because the space saver stairs are simply too dangerous for her.

The issue is Spencer (typically!). Spencer occasionally works from home, plus he needs somewhere to play his computer games. He can’t share my alcove office space, for one he will ruin how pretty it is going to look and for two I use Mac, he uses Windows. Neither of us are willing to change that. He has decided that the third bedroom is his office, but this is only a temporary fix. At some point there will be a baby number two who will need that room.

I’m trying not to think too far ahead and get too excited, but it is hard not to. The new house is almost perfect for us, and when we’ve made it our own it will be perfect. Things seem to be progressing well so far. My viewing candle ran out on the day that the couple who are buying our house came to view it – that has to be a sign?! I’ve lit this candle at every viewing that we’ve had, we receive a lot of compliments about how nice the house smells and I’ve joked that we must buy the candle as a gift for our buyer. No word of a lie, the candle ran out following our current buyers viewing. This is really happening, isn’t it?

*Sponsored post*

Home : Preparing To Sell
Our house will shortly be going on the market, we absolutely love our house and have done so much to it over the years but the time has come to move to a bigger home, a home that can be our forever home. We’ve spent a few days getting our house ready for someone else to fall in love with it.

I’m by no means an expert at selling houses as I’ve never sold one before, but I am going to share what we have done to get our house sale ready, or at least ready for the Estate Agent photos. 

Preparing to sell your home blog post header image

living room and dining room separated by cream brick arch
Our house is full of clutter, both Spencer and I tend to hoard things, just in case we need them one day. I am also drawn to pretty little things which I like but other people may not. We decided to be tough and get rid of a few things, we didn’t really have the time to go back and fore the charity shop so I posted a few items on a local facebook selling page and stated that they were free to the first person who could collect them. I did this on Saturday and everything had been collected by yesterday afternoon. 
living room with white fireplace and dark wooden floor
We also had quite a few things that we didn’t want to get rid of but we wanted to hide. These were boxed up and shipped off to my parent-in-law’s house, they have a garage which they use for storage so were more than happy to store a few things for us, these items will remain there until we move into a new house. The things that we didn’t want to get rid of were either hid in cupboards or simply moved into a different room while the photo was being taken. 
living room with gallery wall
Once we had de-cluttered we topped up some of the paint. We still have a pot of the paint used in the living/dining room so we dug this out and topped it up where it had chipped or blemished, this made the room look so much better and only took a few minutes.
dining room with white pink and green table and chairs flowers and dark wooden floor
As you can see there is still quite a bit of clutter on the shelves but to be honest, I simply didn’t think about clearing those. 
dining room  with built in cat feeding area
I bought fresh flowers as I think they just make everything look nicer, plus it was a good excuse to treat myself to some! 
nautical bathroom with white cupboard sink unit
I didn’t do much in the bathroom, just gave it a good scrub and hid a lot of the products that usually sit on top of the sink area and bath.
shabby chic vintage style bedroom with cluster lights dressing table and floral patterns
I gave the bedroom a good dust and clean, concentrating on things like the dressing table and lights which tend to attract dust. 
colourful vintage industrial cluster lights white brick wall and floral bed
We borrowed some storage boxes and tidied up the top of the wardrobes by placing items into these. We also got rid of a rug off the floor to show off the white wooden flooring, this may not show in the photos but it looks better for when people come to view the house. 
white grey pink and yellow baby girl bedroom
Aria’s room has only recently been decorating so didn’t need a lot doing to it. One of the curtain hoops had come off so we put that back up and fixed the broken blind.
baby girl bedroom with white wooden floor and furniture and number bunting on wall
I tidied the shelf under the nappy changing unit to make it look neater. Both the gym toy on the floor and cushion on the chair were removed when the photos were taken.
his and hers office space with a desk either side of the room divided by a Welsh flag
The attic is probably the biggest transformation. Up until now my computer has been based on the dining room table. We moved this into the attic and created a his & hers office space. 
blue sofa bed with vintage shabby chic throw and pink cushions
I prettied up the sofa bed and removed the layers of cat hair from the cushions and throw.
white shabby chic kitchen with dark wood worktops
Our kitchen is only around one year old so didn’t need much doing to it. I simply wiped all of the cupboards down, steam cleaned the floor and hid a few bits that usually live on the counter tops in the drawers and cupboards. The food bin and draining rack were moved to another room while the photos were being taken in here.
white ikea kitchen with dark wood worktops
long garden with grass and decking
Last but not least is the garden, the garden is massive and was one of the main selling points for us when buying the house so we wanted to make sure this looked good in the photos. Spencer cut the grass and put the washing line away. I arranged the table and chairs on the decking. 
black table and chair set on decking, pale blue shed
As well as the above I also emptied the bins throughout the house, dusted, hoovered and cleaned everywhere. When reading tips for selling houses a lot of websites seem to suggest that the walls should all be magnolia and there should be no personal touches. I completely disagree with this, when we have gone to view houses I am always more attracted to the house that looks lived in, even the show homes that we have viewed recently have been decorated to look lived in and they look amazing.
We did consider re-painting the walls throughout the house and also replacing the worn carpet on the stairs but decided against that. There is no need to spend money unnecessarily on something that isn’t desperate, there is a big chance that the new owners will want to re-decorate so doing work and spending money for it to be re-done seemed a little silly.
Despite being photo ready we aren’t quite visitor ready yet as we hid so much stuff in the cupboards there is a danger of items falling on you when you open the doors. That is a task for this weekend.
Have you had any experience of selling a house? If so, do you have any tips?