1. Get yourself a cheap Bluetooth radio and play your favourite music while you move in
Music really helps. It can take your mind off the gargantuan task at hand, and also provide a rhythm to work to. For some ‘I can do this by myself’ inspiration, I recommend Alanis Morrisette and Beyoncé.
2. Buy one indulgent piece of furniture and get everything else on the cheap or second hand
You just don’t realise how quickly things add up - £10 on some cutlery here, £25 on some curtains there – before you know it, you’ll have maxed your budget on the basic essentials and you won’t be able to buy that one-off special piece that you always wanted. Maybe it’s a gorgeous wing-back armchair or a solid wood desk; regardless, that one indulgent purchase could be the difference between you feeling delighted or disappointed with your new home.
You can easily find furniture on Gumtree, through second hand shops or simply through asking around. I got a really good quality sofa from a friend who was about to sell her old one, and it saved me a huge amount of money. Some of your friends and family may even be lovely enough to purchase items for you as a ‘moving in’ present – I’m forever thankful for those who helped me out (to those of you reading this, you’re amazing. And I’m sorry about getting all emotional, but you don’t know how much you’ve helped me!)
3. Prepare yourself for the amount of nails you will break…
…Because I’m afraid you’ll just have to deal with it, as there’s no way you’re going to stop in the middle of your move to cardboard box diving for a nail file.
4. Get a friend to stay with you for your first night
The first night is always the hardest; you feel alone, you don’t really know what to do with yourself and you’ll probably get a teensy bit scared at the slightest noises during the night. It’s understandable. But unless you want to dive in at the deep end, grit your teeth and get through it by yourself, you could always ask a friend or family member to stay with you to put your mind at ease.
5. Eat all the things you shouldn’t eat but desperately want…
…Like triple chocolate cookies, pizza and ice cream. You can worry about the calories later, but right now you need the energy; I don’t even want to calculate how many calories I consumed during the time that I was moving in, but lugging furniture up a gazillion flights of stairs really takes it out of you. Plus, bad food generally makes you feel better.
6. Go through the Argos catalogue and make a list of all the things you might need…
…Like a towel rack. Nobody ever thinks of a towel rack, but it does come in handy. Even if it’s just one of those ones that slots over a radiator.
A friend told me that, to move in, you need a box of essentials which comprises a kettle, milk, teabags and toilet roll. I’m glad I took that advice.
7. Research and compare utilities beforehand
If you don’t research, you might end up making an impulsive decision and getting tied into a contract that doesn’t quite fit your needs, when you could have spent an hour comparing your utilities to get the best price and functionality.
Use www.broadband.co.uk to find the best deals. This isn't a sponsored link, by the way; it's just a really useful website.
8. Find out as much of the little details as you can before you move in
Don’t be afraid to grill the letting agent. They should know all the details of your property, or at least be able to ring someone who does, and pass that information onto you as quickly as possible. Find out if you have allocated parking (and if so, where it is), who supplies utilities, whether the flat/house has gas or electric heating, whether you have an active phone line, if you have a burglar alarm, etc. All of these questions will pop up at some point, so make a list of them now and ask them when you’re being shown around.