With just under a month to go until Christmas, Phil Spencer shares his tips for making a new house feel like home...
With just under a month to go until Christmas, research from British Gas reveals that 1 in 5 Brits take over a month to unpack after moving, and most will spend almost two hours (one hour 48 minutes) over the next two weeks searching for essential items that are hiding in unpacked boxes, as they begin turning their new house into a home.
Advance planning is key to getting settled in, in time to enjoy festive fun with family and friends. However, many find themselves wasting time – which could be better spent unpacking and Christmas shopping – during the first two weeks of moving into a new home. People spend an average of one hour fixing unforeseen problems such as broken plumbing and faulty boilers, which could be prevented if the right questions are asked of the previous owners. An average of 40 minutes per household is also spent looking for equipment such as thermostats, electricity and gas meters and the stopcock.
Property expert Phil Spencer added: “There’s no getting around the fact that moving home can be stressful and time-consuming, but it’s also an adventure – a clear moment in time that you won’t forget and I think that’s hugely exciting. I’ve planned my fair share of home moves, and always ensure I’ve done as much as possible in advance so I can get unpacked and start making my house a home as soon as I’ve waved off the removal van!”
British Gas and Phil Spencer’s Top Tips for getting settled in your new home...
1. Preparation is key: moving house is a significant moment in time and you can never do enough forward planning. I definitely think the more you can do in advance the better, and if you’re feeling stressed then give your friends a call and rope in as much help as you can!
2. Don’t forget the little things: the first thing I do once I’ve entered a new house, before facing the mammoth task of unpacking, is make myself a nice cup of tea. I always pack a small box of essential items, which include a tea bag, cup and kettle as you can never underestimate how the small things, such as drinking a cup of tea, can help you feel at home.
3. Have a home-cooked meal: the temptation when immersed in the task of moving can be to rely on take-away for dinner – but don’t underestimate the power of some homemade comfort food in boosting your energy levels and making you feel at home!
4. Make it personal: it can be easy to leave objects like photographs, candles and trinkets unpacked for weeks on end, but these small items can have a big impact in making a property feel like home – whether that’s lighting your favourite scented candle or pinning the kids’ drawings to the fridge. You could even consider packing a selection of these things into a separate box, so you can easily find them after moving in. At this time of year, perhaps pay more attention to which box you’ve packed the Christmas decorations in, so they can be put up as a priority!
5. Redirect your post: this is the task I dread as it can seem like a big exercise; but if you don’t remember to let the Royal Mail know that you’ve changed address, how will all your house-warming and Christmas cards from friends and family reach you?!
6. Make your bed: When unpacking my bedroom items I always make sure I make my bed first, as by the end of moving day you’re likely to be very tired and the last thing you’ll want is another job before you can relax and go to sleep!
7. Check your thermostat and set your hot water schedule: after a long day of moving, my favourite way to end the day is with a nice hot shower. When I get into my new house I always make sure I locate the new thermostat and set a schedule to fit our family routine (and if you’d like the flexibility of being able to control you heating and hot water through your smartphone, you could look into a product such as Hive Active Heating – which allows you to do just that! www.hivehome.com
8. Don’t forget the basics: There are some quick and easy things you can do to ensure your new home is warm and working, which the previous owners may not have got round to. These include:
a. Check your boiler - check to make sure your boiler is working properly, and is running efficiently. If you have a pressure gauge make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top-up as necessary.
b. Take meter readings - make a note of the readings on your gas and electricity meters. If your new home doesn’t have smart meters already installed, why not consider upgrading so that you always receive accurate bills, without having to take manual readings? Find out more about smart meters at: www.britishgas.co.uk/smartmeters
c. Check alarms - test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly and the batteries don’t need replacing.
For more information, please visit: www.britishgas.co.uk
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