GO UP

Your checklist and guide to moving house

 

By Stella Thng

You’ve finally bought your new home. Now comes the headache – coordinating The Big Move. From furniture to clothes, fragile vases to expensive art, everything that you intend to take to your new residence needs to be packed, and then unpacked – carefully.

Now is the perfect time to ask yourself – do you really need to lug everything over and incur expensive moving costs? Shalom Movers, one of the biggest moving companies in the industry, usually charges based on the volume of items, while some companies go by the number of trips.

Although professional players always insist on a no-obligation visit by their sales team to give you an accurate quote, the rule of thumb for deliveries is about $220 for one trip in a 10-foot covered truck, or $350 to $500 for a 15-foot truck.
“Stay motivated by remembering that it’s going to be faster and cheaper if you declutter first,” advises Georgina Wong, chief executive officer of Asian Professional Organisers, which specialises in helping clients with decluttering and their organising needs.

She suggests using the F.A.S.T. method to help you divide your possessions into four piles: Forward or donate items to someone else; Action things immediately; Store or file for reference; and Trash or junk anything that can’t be repaired.
Check out local resources for donating, recycling and junk removal, such as your local town council, the Salvation Army or websites like www.sgfreecycle.org.

Now that you’re left with the absolute essentials, follow these tips:
1. PREPARE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR FURNITURE AND THEIR MEASUREMENTS
As you purchase new items or furniture, don’t forget to update your list, along with their prices. This will become a handy guide for when you plan for your home-contents insurance.

Get your floor plan from your property agent, HDB or a private developer. “Check if your furniture pieces can fit – and most importantly, if they can be transported in a lift if it is an apartment,” says Georgina.
If they have to use the stairs, movers and delivery staff will charge extra for every level they have to climb.
If you intend to reuse your curtains, make sure the length and width will fit your new windows. Some older HDB flats have higher ceilings than the new ones, while some condo units boast airy, high ceilings which require much longer curtains.

2. CHOOSE YOUR MOVER CAREFULLY
Avoid movers who promise you a suspiciously good deal, especially over the phone without even seeing the items. When Jason Lim, 37, hired his first mover seven years ago, he needed only a few big items such as his massage chair and bicycles to be transported, as his new furniture would be delivered directly to the new home.
Most movers quoted him a flat fee of $300 for one trip, except one who offered him $250 based on the items he listed. “The boss said it was unnecessary to make a trip down for an assessment as I had such few items, so I just took his word for it,” recalls Jason.

Unfortunately, on moving day, two workers who appeared to be freelance movers turned up late, complained about having to carry the massage chair and wanted $100 more, threatening to forego the job. In order to avoid further delay in moving, Jason agreed to pay them an extra $50.

Moral of the story: Never trust what is promised over the phone and insist on an assessment visit and a quotation in black and white. Check with at least three companies.

3. FOR CONDO-DWELLERS, SUBMIT YOUR MOVING FORM TO YOUR CURRENT AND NEW CONDO’S MANAGEMENT OFFICE
There is no rule about when you can move in and out of your HDB flat, but movers are allowed to start work at condos only during weekdays from 9am to 5pm, and up to 1pm on Saturdays. Moving on Sundays and public holidays is strictly prohibited. Either the resident or the moving company must make the application at least a week in advance, together with a refundable deposit of $1,000. Otherwise, the security guards will not allow your movers to commence work. Make sure your movers line the lift with the padding provided, so as to avoid damaging the lift and thus forfeiting your deposit.

4. APPLY FOR RESIDENT CAR PARKING LABELS, TRANSPONDERS AND ACCESS CARDS EARLY
With vendors having to make multiple trips to take measurements and make deliveries, it will be more convenient to use parking lots meant for residents, rather than visitors, says Georgina.

5. PLAN WHAT GOES INTO WHICH ROOM
A week before moving, plan what will go into which room. If you require boxes, ask how many will be provided as part of the deal, and how much you have to pay for more. TSR Movers charges $3 per box, but if you return them in good condition, they are fully refundable. Colour-code the floor plan and the packed boxes so that the moving company can put them in their designated rooms without needing to wait for instructions. Apply colour-coding to your furniture, too. This also prevents having to reposition furniture unnecessarily. “Remember, the less moving around of furniture, the fewer scratches to your floors,” says Georgina.

6. PREPARE A SUITCASE OF ESSENTIALS FOR MOVING DAY
Georgina recommends that you:
■ Your identity cards and cheque book
■ Change of clothes
■ Toothbrush and toothpaste
■ Toiletpaper
■ Battery chargers
■ Extension cords andplug adaptors
■ Tea, coffee and medicine– whatever you will need once the removal van leaves.

7. CLEAR OUT YOUR OLD FRIDGE AND PREPARE YOUR CUPBOARDS AT YOUR NEW HOME
Throw out all perishables, and defrost and clean your freezer and refrigerator before the movers arrive. Once you have the new house keys, clean the shelves and insides of cupboards ahead of moving day, but don’t bother with the floors yet. “Aim to empty the boxes as soon as they arrive – at least place them in their respective rooms,” says Georgina.

8. PREPARE AN EMERGENCY MOVING KIT
The day before moving, stash this emergency moving kit (with the following items) in a sling bag or workman’s belt:
■ Tape measure
■ Masking tape
■ Marker pen
■ Cutting knife
■ Mobile phone and charger or spare battery
■ Aspirin and plasters
■ Spare set of keys for new and old house.

9. DO NOT PACK THESE ITEMS
You’ll still need these, so don’t pack them just yet:
■ Rubbish bags
■ Broom, dust pan and mop
■ Instruction manuals and guarantees for appliances you’re leaving behind – the new owner will need them
■ Internal door keys, access cards and car park transponders
■ Receipts for the landlord or property agent
■ Tins of old paint
■ Pet food and carrying basket. “Collect your pets after moving has been completed,” says Georgina.

10. MAKE A FINAL CHECK!
Check that nothing has been overlooked, such as your cable TV box, items in locked drawers, or even bicycles. Then it’s time to clean up before handing over your old place. “If it is a rented property, remember to remove nails, patch up walls, replace light bulbs and take pictures to document the condition when you handed it over,” reminds Georgina.

 

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