Always make a contract with the landlord and decorator that their part of the work shall be finished at least a few days before you move. They will generally fail to keep their contract, and the few days' margin yon allow will save you from grave inconvenience, and enable you to have chimneys swept and extra scrubbing done.
Take it as a golden rule that you must leave all your dirt, dust, and muddles behind, and start with everything clean-new where necessary-and in good order. Do not say you will have curtains cleaned after you get in. Have them all cleaned before, ready to be put up with impunity on clean paper and paint.
Lay Carpets Before Moving Furniture
Starting from this basis, that everything must be clean when you get into your new home, send all your carpets, as well as curtains, blinds, etc., away to be cleaned some days before you intend moving. You will have to put up for a time with bare boards and uncurtained windows, but this is better than having them in your new house. Then, golden rule No. 2-have every carpet put down, every piece of linoleum laid, and all staining done before your furniture is moved in. It is wise to allow at least two days for this after the carpets return from being cleaned, for they have a knack of wanting unexpected alteration and cutting where you thought they would fit. In the case of a house, it may possibly be wise to break this rule with regard to the stair and hall carpets, which may be laid the day following your move.
Many people object to carpets being laid down first on the score of " the men's dirty feet." At the worst, it only means a good brushing and sweeping afterwards; and how many scores of " dirty feet " are you going to have on your carpets in the years to come without any thought of the result? If the carpets are laid after you move in, it means the repeated shifting of every piece of furniture, great difficulty for the men in properly stretching them, and irritating delay for yourself in getting straight.
Wherever possible, have all your blinds and curtain-poles put up beforehand. With a little management, even when you are using your old ones and not buying new, this can be done. Temporary curtains and screens can be hung, or even nailed up, before the windows of your old home, and you will thus secure immediate comfort in your new.
Even when this cannot be done, take care to have a man in beforehand to measure your blinds and the windows which they have to fit, so that he can be prepared to alter them where necessary with the least possible delay. You will find it cheaper and more convenient in the end to engage a reliable "handy" man, as well as your carpet-layers, to alter and put up your blinds, curtain-poles, shelves, fixtures, etc. Secure his services for at least two days-either the day before and the day after your move, or, better still, if you can have every fixture in place beforehand, for the two days before.
The same thing should be done with your electric fittings. With gas fixtures this is more difficult, and may have to be done the day of your move, but with electric fittings you can easily arrange to have them taken over to the new house and put in place, while you manage with " naked " lights where you are.
Clean Furniture, etc., in the Old House
Measure each room and each recess carefully, so that you can plan beforehand just where the big furniture is to go. This will save you endless trouble and shifting of heavy pieces afterwards. Of course, this cannot always be final, for furniture has a knack of not fitting where you thought it would, and of looking awkward where you intended it to look charming.
Scrub out and clean every piece of furniture you possess before you move. Take out every drawer, scrub it, as well as the framework, with soap and water and a dash of Condy's fluid. Then re-line every drawer with new shiny brown paper, and arrange therein your clothes and belongings in as orderly a fashion as during a spring cleaning. If you have to do all this after you are in your new house, you will have the hopeless feeling that the task is beyond you. Moreover, this method gives you the opportunity of sorting out and getting rid of all the things you do not want, and of leaving all your rubbish behind.
Do not be afraid of things getting disordered during the move. If you employ a good firm, nothing will be disarranged, especially if you adopt the simple method of keeping everything in place by sheets of newspaper. Nothing is more maddening than to have all the hundred and one contents of the drawers of one's writing-table or washstand tipped out of the back, thus either losing them or retrieving them, after many irritated hunts, from the bottom of the framework. This trouble is obviated by covering the contents of each drawer with a sheet of newspaper, tucking it carefully in round all the sides. Everything then will turn up in the same corners as you are accustomed to find them.
Clean all your pictures before you move. Many people will say "Don't," as the glasses have to be washed again after the men's dirty fingers have handled them. Quite true, but it is amazing how much dirt and grime collects on the backs of pictures, even with careful servants. Brush and dust and scrub this off in the old house. You will then only have surface dust and finger-prints to wash off in the new.
As all this cleaning and clearing out of rubbish takes time, it should be started several days before the actual move.
The day before the move itself, the foreman, who is also the head packer, will come with great wooden cases, filled with soft packings of straw and paper, to pack all china, glass, books, and pictures. It is advisable to leave this work entirely to him. He is used to it, and undertakes all responsibility. With a good firm of removers you may move many times and not have so much as one broken wineglass.
See to it, however, that things are packed systematically, the drawing-room china in labelled and separate cases, the contents of bedrooms and other rooms in the same way, the kitchen things being kept distinct. This will save endless confusion in the new home. See that books are similarly packed and labelled.
Be Ready for the Vans Early
On the day of your move it is advisable to order the men as early as possible. Eight o'clock is not too early if you are to have everything in the new house-especially if it is any distance by road-before nightfall. To avoid ultimate confusion, as soon as you are up, strip all the bedclothes off every bed that has been used, tie them-pillows, blankets, sheets, and all-in a dust-sheet or an old counterpane, and label them. On arrival at the new house, the respective bundles are deposited in the right rooms, and beds can be made up in a few minutes without rushing about, hunting for lost blankets and missing pillows. But for the first night have as few of your family as possible, so as to expedite the work.
When the men once arrive at the door with their vans, your work, as far as moving out is concerned, is over.
When they have finished loading up, they will have their dinner and give you time to have your own lunch, go over to your new house, and be on the spot to superintend the moving in.
Here let me suggest that you let the men know beforehand you intend to tip them well. It is money well spent and hardly earned, for the men, being mortal, will work far more willingly and good-tem-peredly, and will save you days of discomfort by carrying out every little wish as quickly as possible.
Stand in the hall or entrance yourself, and direct every man as he comes in with a piece of furniture which room it is to go into. If not, he will waste valuable time asking everyone he meets where it is to go, or will put it into the wrong room. Start by telling the men the names of the various rooms-blue Room, Spare Room, Nursery, as the case may be, and as they enter with their burdens call out clearly, " Dining-room," " Kitchen," and so on. With the big pieces, see to it yourself that they are put at once in the identical places where you intend them to remain. The men are used to the work, and can manage it. But if you try yourself to move heavy wardrobes and chests, strained backs and arms will be the probable result.
By the time everything is in place, and the china and books unpacked and deposited on the floors of their respective rooms (for the men have only time to unpack and place the things down anywhere, so that they can take their packing-cases away), you will find it is so late and you are so tired that no work save the making-up of beds and the eating of a meal previously prepared can be faced.
But two or three days at most, except in the case of a very big house, should see you practically straight, especially if the above methods are adopted.
The first thing to do now is to wash and put away the china and hang the pictures. With so many big things waiting to be done, this may sound like putting on the cream before the pastry is made. In reality it is sound advice. You cannot get the rooms swept and cleaned and put in order while you have to step over trays full of china, or if you have to shift a dozen pictures propped against tables and chairs that you are wanting to move every minute.
Sort out the pictures first into their respective rooms, decide on their positions, and then hang them, after they have been dusted, and the glasses washed with warm water and soap.
Then wash and put away all china, beginning with the drawing-room cabinets, etc. Some people put it away dirty, and wait for another opportunity to wash it. This gives double work, and is bad method. Then do the kitchen china in the same way, and the other rooms in rotation.
The next matter to attend to is the curtains. No place looks homelike with bare windows. If the foregoing advice has been followed, and all curtains are clean and ready to put up, it does not take long to put up the lace and thick curtains in their proper places. If they are not of the right length, you will find it easier to alter them when they are up.
With carpets and linoleums down, blinds, curtains, and shelves in their places, pictures hung, china washed and put away, the worst terrors of a move are over. The rest, the sweeping of carpets, the final settling of small pieces of furniture in their most convenient places, the covering of cushions-in short, the finishing touches can be done at your leisure.
To move in well and methodically implies that one knows how to move out well. If this is carefully studied and a sufficient margin of time allowed for the workmen to finish the decorations, lay carpets, etc., the rest will follow easily, and the business will be over within a few days instead of weeks.