Moving from a large five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom barn conversion sounds daunting, but with the right help it can all run smoothly. Here’s how we assisted one couple from Welwyn to do just that.
A local couple approached us wishing to downsize from their large family home to a more manageable space that would allow them to fully enjoy retirement. This was a significant undertaking, and they wanted our help to ensure that all aspects of the move would be dealt with efficiently and sensitively.
Starting the project
We met with our clients to discuss specific requirements and get the ball rolling. With all decluttering and relocation work, our role is to move at the client’s own pace and support them in the best way possible. We assess their needs on a case-by-case basis, tailoring all of our moving solutions to the individual. In this instance, after a 30-minute chat and tour of the existing property, we were able to create a detailed plan of action. This included the following elements:
- Breakdown of practical recommendations
- Project timeline
- Detailed cost estimate
Downsizing projects prompt several important considerations. In this instance we set out a plan to address the following points:
1. What can be moved, and what can’t?
Any relocation plan should start with a review of all belongings in order to work out what stays and what goes. For the latter, thought is needed in terms of how and where items are disposed of. Hour Hands uses a mixture of charity donations, online selling and disposal via a professional rubbish removal company.
2. When can each room be dealt with?
If the home is in use then you need a plan that sets out when you can deal with each area. Here, we staggered work according to when we could freely access particular rooms. Those rooms in constant use, such as the kitchen and main living spaces, were set aside as last to be sorted. However, work on the gym, garage and loft could begin immediately.
3. Work in manageable chunks
We removed content from the loft in manageable sections, sorting items according to whether they were being kept, donated or binned. The Hour Hands team did all of the heavy lifting, allowing our clients to review progress at regular, manageable intervals. We organised a skip to hold all rubbish and made daily runs to local charity stores to prevent a messy accumulation of items. Anything that our clients wished to sell was quickly photographed, logged and posted on local selling sites.
We applied a similar methodology to the garage, gym, shed and summerhouse. Again, we worked both independently and at the clients’ pace. Leaving a small pile of items at the end of each day for them to decide upon meant we could deal efficiently with these items the following morning. It also meant that the clients didn’t need to be on-site 24-7. This is typical of the way we approach relocation projects – we always strive to work in a way that minimises disruption to our clients’ everyday lives.
4. Consider where to store boxes
In clearing the garage, gym, shed and summerhouse we created a suitable storage space for those boxes that we’d already packed, ready for the moving date. We used large plastic boxes for packing, helping us create an easy, systematic storage plan for the new house. This was vital considering the comparatively limited space at our clients’ new home.
5. ‘Keep, Donate, Sell, Discard’
The next stage of the Hour Hands plan was to tackle non-essential items in each room. We went systematically through the house sorting through every shelf, drawer and cupboard according to our tried-and-tested system of ‘Keep, Donate, Sell, Discard’. Items being kept but not required on a daily basis were bubble-wrapped and packed into boxes, before labelling and stored in the gym. Large items of furniture that the client wished to sell were measured and photographed. Once a moving date was agreed, we posted the furniture on local selling sites for purchase and collection the day before our clients’ move.
6. Dealing with specialist items
Specialist items often require a bespoke approach. In this case our clients had amassed a large wine collection and were unsure what to do with it. They had even considered pouring it away! We arranged for the collection of over 200 bottles to be catalogued and valued by a professional auction house. The wine was then packed and couriered to them for auction, fetching over £12,000 in subsequent sales.
7. Ongoing support and advice
At Hour Hands we provide constant support and advice throughout the entire decluttering process. All aspects are meticulously planned, leaving nothing to chance. This included everything from organising a skip and sourcing boxes through to removal company advice and charity shop suggestions.
Settling in to their new home
We worked closely with our clients right up to moving day and even visited them in the new property to help with final ‘settling in’ tasks. This is all part of the Hour Hands service to ensure that our home moves are completely seamless, with none of the usual chaos and stress.
What did our clients think?
Check out Carol’s testimonial below, written days after completion, with tea in hand and feet up in her splendidly clean and tidy new home:
I have been extremely impressed with the service offered by Hour Hands and particularly with Gemma and the team’s ‘can-do’ attitude. Every problem was approached positively and practical solutions proactively offered (even regarding disposing of the wine!). I would recommend your services unreservedly to friends and family.Carrol, Welwyn