What happens when a removalist moves house?
RICHARD AND CHERYL’S MOVING STORY
Richard Kuipers is the founder of Two Men And A Truck. He began working as a removalist over 30 years ago, and he’s carried a lot of lounges up stairwells, through windows and hoisted fridges onto balconies. He has conquered many impossible moves.
He and his wife Cheryl recently moved out of their family home after 38 years.
“It was an absolute nightmare,” Cheryl said.
So… what went wrong?
Well, this was far from a conventional move. Richard and Cheryl braved a monumental routine-blasting rehoming experiment.
They swapped houses with their daughter’s family of five. Not only were two families in one extended family moving house simultaneously, they were also renovating both homes while seven of them lived under one roof.
“House swapping is a bit different with logistics,” Cheryl said.
But seven people sharing a renovation site wasn\’t a major issue, according to Cheryl. It was the unexpected hiccups that tested the patience.
“The fridge and the washing machine broke, and we had no kitchen sink or a basin,” she said.
“We were doing the washing up in the bath.”
“We had to live here too, with everything packed. It was all very difficult,” she said.
The benefits (or not) of a family removals business
Despite using the services of the family business, Two Men And A Truck, Richard and Cheryl both agreed it wasn’t a smooth operation.
“All the men from Two Men And A Truck were fabulous, very professional, very helpful,” Cheryl said.
But she didn\’t have much praise for the management of their family business.
“The management was hopeless,” she said. “There was a lot of confusion and lack of communication. We should have sat down and planned it all out on paper.”
Richard admits the company didn’t follow its standard procedure with their own move, and puts it down to “family being family”.
But he said their experience highlights the importance of having an estimator in the removal process.
“An estimator visits the customer and evaluates the size and access of both properties, estimates how many boxes they need and how long the move will take, and plans the move from start to finish,” he said.
“It helps put the customer at ease and avoid any unexpected costs and delays.”
Two Men And A Truck is now one of Australia’s largest removal companies and offers a suite of services for residential and commercial removals, including packing, cleaning, insurance and storage.
However, Cheryl said while the additional services would help many families; it was not ideal for their situation of moving house after 38 years.
“If it was a straightforward move, I would say yes to professional packing services. But they wouldn’t know how to de-clutter,” she said.
Cheryl spent months de-cluttering and packing, and attempting to recycle a lot of their possessions including water tanks and furniture.
The only packing service they used was professional packing and wrapping of photos and paintings.
“They were very good, very professional and quick, and no breakages,” she said.
She also spent a lot of time arranging the renovations with a focus on future-proofing their new home for their later years, including the installation of two indoor lifts.
“Older people couldn’t live here if there wasn’t a lift,” she said.
So it definitely wasn’t a simple move!
To house swap or not?
Swapping houses seemed a good idea because Richard and Cheryl were moving into a smaller house and Jo and her husband and three children were moving to a larger house.
Despite the challenges and their nightmarish six-month experience, thankfully it was the right decision for everyone involved.
“Neither of us have any regrets,” Cheryl said, however she said renting an apartment during the renovation process would have been a huge help!
“I thought it would be more emotional leaving our old home, but it wasn’t really,” she said.
“We still go around to the other house.”
Richard is full of praise for the concept of house swapping.
“It makes so much sense,” he says. “It’s still our family home and there’s no paperwork. My daughter’s my landlord, and I’m hers.”
Now that the move is over, and they are settled into their new home, Richard shares some wise words.
“It’s easy to move other people but not yourself,” he says.
“It is stressful.”
As an unexpected surprise, Richard found their own wedding negatives during the packing process and made them into a beautiful printed collage.
“He can’t pack a box, but he can be thoughtful,” Cheryl says.
Cheryl’s tips for moving:
- Be prepared, be organised, communicate and delegate.
- It’s easy to underestimate your move. Request an estimator and plan it all out on paper.
- Be ruthless – if you haven’t used something in the last three months you don’t need it.
- If possible, rent another place while you renovate.
- Take time off, and a holiday after it’s all over.