Having spent the large part of the last two weeks helping my mother in law move house after 45 years in her last home it got me thinking. As I had the time to spare I’ve been helping her sort out before the move and get unpacked after the move, it made me think about provisions that the disabled or elderly will need to make when moving house (as if it isn’t already difficult enough!)
I’ve put together some tips for those with limited mobility and how they can help it go as smoothly as possible, but these tips don’t just apply for those with mobility issues, it really can apply for most of us too!
So if you’ve successfully managed to find a home that suits your circumstances, you’re now ready to get on with the big move!
1 – Declutter
This one’s pretty obvious for everyone before moving. Don’t take the junk with you, clear it out before moving, (particularly if you’re downsizing). If you have mobility issues or are in a wheelchair you’re possibly limited to the tasks you can perform. So make sure you have a helper or two who can lift the heavy things and move boxes.
When we last moved I lifted the heavy things down from the higher shelves and he was responsible organising, photographing and listing them on eBay, Gumtree or Freecycle. A really important job because if you can get cash for your things or get rid of them quickly, this is the way to go!
It’s important to make sure there are no trip hazards when stacking boxes or piling things in the corner for the charity shops or online sales. Leave clear space for walking between boxes or for the wheelchair and try to keep things ‘normal’ for as long as possible before the move.
For disabled children, get them involved by having them decide on which toys they want to keep and which you can sell (and give them the proceeds for pocket money!).
2 – Get the best help you can when moving
The best (but most expensive) option is to get quotes for removals company who will do the packing for you. This means that even on the morning of the move, you won’t have had to pack a single thing, the crew will do it all for you. If you’re going to book a removals company to do the move, it’s usually the matter of £100-200 extra to have them pack.
Get a couple of quotes, and see if it’s something you can stretch to. I highly recommend it, your things are professionally packed and insured and the heaviest thing you lift is the hoover to go round the empty rooms.
It means that you don’t need to pack boxes for the move and aren’t surrounded by them in the days leading up to the move. Your house is clean and clear and it’s less to become anxious about. On the day of the move you effectively watch people pack and move your belongings and you make a cup of tea now and then. Much easier!
On arrival in the new house make sure you guide your removals people or friends to put the boxes in the right room, this will save you stress later on.
I realise it might be out of the reach of some because it’s the most expensive option, so if you are planning to move yourself make sure you surround yourself with lots of strong willing helpers and be ready to make them tea and feed them fish and chips!
3 – Have a way to contribute.
This one seems a little obvious, but Mr WCH gets frustrated because he can’t get involved in the lifting and shifting. We give him plenty of sitting down jobs whilst everyone else around him gets the heavy work. It’s important that everyone has a part to play in the move and you all have assigned tasks, no matter how small.
He usually ends up breaking down the boxes and folding the packing paper up. This in itself is actually an important job otherwise you are overwhelmed with packing materials and he sits there and keeps the room clean and tidy by making piles of boxes and paper. He also is responsible for setting up the TV, router, sky box and all the wires that goes with it.
Mr WCH here looking thrilled at the boxes around him!
Another role he has is to hit the drive-through for food for everyone. A very important job!
If you have disabled children, see if they can help with the paper folding or failing that get them involved in unpacking their boxes, even if it’s getting some toys and putting them on the bed ready for the first night in the new home. Having something familiar around will help the night’s sleep.
4 – Prioritise the unpacking
As with any move the most important things to do on arrival at the new house is to make the beds up and find the kettle, some crockery and the corkscrew or beer bottle opener!
If you’re disabled you’ll also need to make sure you have your medication and any disability aids to hand. You may want to have those with you in the car rather than in the lorry so you can put your hands straight on them – or make sure the removals people have those on the lorry last so they come out first and you know where they are. For us, we needed to have the shower seat ready to go and have the medicines ready for bedtime.
Get the shower seats ready for use…
Again, make sure the boxes and bags are out of the way and stacked properly so that don’t cause a trip hazard or fall. Seems obvious but for those people who fall easily it’s really important!
5 – Don’t overdo it.
This is easy to say but when you move you want things unpacked and back to normal as soon as possible. However, there was a day last week when Mr WCH was helping at the mother in law’s house. She’d twisted her knee from overdoing the lifting and shifting and was on crutches, Mr WCH was on his. They both had to have sit down jobs and that day we stopped a little earlier.
You’re in the new home for a long time, it doesn’t need to be unpacked in a couple of days! take it slowly and methodically, don’t overdo it and get stressed, or cause an injury.
Don’t be afraid to call upon your new neighbours for help – last week the mother in law’s new neighbour offered their parking space to Mr WCH to save him parking round the corner. People are usually very helpful, don’t be afraid to ask.
Get the bed made up early on arrival!
Moving house is one of the most stressful things to do, and with mobility issues it can be even more stressful, however with planning and the right approach you can minimise it.
What other ideas do you have that can help when you have limited mobility?