Smart Home

Automated Home 2.0 – #01 The Pre-Move Sort, Sell, Salvage, Purge & Pack

So we’ve moved out. Back when the Automated Home went up for sale we got straight into cleared all the detritus we had accumulated over the last 20 years. Here’s a quick look back at how we managed the process.


We’re taking this opportunity to try to reduce the clutter so we won’t be bringing much with us to the new house. Once we established which items we did want to keep, everything else pretty much fitted into one of these three categories – 1. SELL, 2. CHARITY, or 3.RECYCLE.


Pronto TSU9600 Box InteriorIt’s incredible the amount of crap we had, especially in our loft, but also surprising how much of it we were able to sell. Most of the big items like furniture sold easily on Gumtree, the rest went onto eBay where we were equally successful.

It can be a bit painful listing so much stuff, but the more you put in to your ads the more likelihood you have of selling. Make sure to use plenty of photos and include measurements for the larger items.

I’ve always saved the boxes for my gadgets (much to my better half’s frustration) but 9 times out of 10 this makes for an easier sale. Here’s the Pronto TSU9600 ready to sell, packed back in its box that’s been sitting in our loft since 2007!


Nissan Leaf as a Van

We sent a lot to local charity shops too. Don’t send them rubbish though, only items that someone may still find useful. Some shops were fussy about taking electrical goods while others took them no problem.

We have a great local recycling centre and as long as you sort your items before leaving home (Metal, Wood, Cardboard, Electrical, Waste etc) then it’s a doddle to offload once you arrive. Our poor Nissan Leaf turned into a van for a few months back in the summer (another string to this amazing electric bow).


Once that cathartic purge was completed it was time to organise everything that was left into some kind of order.

I have been using these Really Useful 35L stackable boxes for years now and I got some more to complete the task. I have boxes, for example, for Power Leads, PC Stuff, AV Stuff and Network Stuff (basically a lot of stuff). I also bought a few with these dividers which are ideal for things like sorting and storing my batteries.

Battery Box Dividers

Clearing the rechargeables out of the evohome system, all the remote controls, wireless sensors and other gadgets around the house has left me with a huge amount of cells. I never realised how many I have. I took the opportunity to test everything (using this superb Liitokala Lii-500 battery charger) so I could weed out any that had reached the end of their life. In the end only a handful were bad and these went to the recycling centre too.


We have a handy source for empty cardboard boxes and we were able to pack most of our stuff in these. The main other items we needed were bubble wrap and copious amounts of brown tape.

After experimenting with writing the contents on boxes we decided it wasn’t a great system. Time for a Google Spreadsheet. We printed off numbers on sticky paper (4 to an A4 sheet) and put them on the 4 sides of each carton. Here’s a photo of us starting to build the boxes into storage.

Boxes For Moving House

We then recorded in the spreadsheet what was in each box. Now if we need anything we can do a simple text search to find out what box it’s in.

We had a brand new corner sofa, bought to help dress out the house for sale, but also in a style we knew would work in the new place. We bought some heavy plastic from a local agricultural supplies place and laid it out across the whole room. It looked like a scene from Dexter, but we got it wrapped well for storage.

Finally we borrowed a van and did the move completely ourselves. This was over several evenings and a couple of half days and I had the help of a couple of strapping young lads too. In the end we saved around £400 by going the DIY move route. And hey, my back should have recovered sometime before Christmas!

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