Kettle is the first thing unpacked in a house move

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One in 20 Brits take more than a year to unpack after a house move, but most get the Wi-Fi up and running in 24 hours, according to a new study by UK housebuilder Redrow.

The research, which polled almost 2,000 homeowners, looked into how we approach the challenge of setting up home and asked questions about priorities and that all important first box.

For more than half of us (58 per cent), getting the kettle on for a well-deserved brew is the number one priority after we have stepped over our new home’s threshold.

This was especially important for homeowners in Nottingham, with nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) unpacking the kettle first. The next most-popular priority across the UK was getting the bed made (10 per cent).

Often considered the ‘heart of the home’, the kitchen is the first room we focus our efforts on (38 per cent), followed by the main bedroom (29 per cent). The dining room and spare bedroom are usually left until last.

Interestingly, far from focussing our efforts on getting a home into a functional state - with furniture built and utilities plumbed in - the study revealed we often favour setting up the TV and getting online, and ‘dressing’ rooms with candles and cushions.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of homeowners surveyed said they connected their TV in the first 24 hours and a similar percentage (57 per cent) set up their Wi-Fi router during this timeframe too.

In contrast, one in seven (13 per cent) said they managed without a washing machine for two weeks or more, and over half (63 per cent) waited a week or more to get the dishwasher installed.

The findings also highlighted that assembling key pieces of furniture sits surprisingly low down in priorities. Over one in twelve (eight per cent) UK homeowners admitted that, having failed to build their bed frame, they had slept on the floor for a month or more, with homeowners in London being the guiltiest of this. A third (32 per cent) lived without a wardrobe for a fortnight or more.

Dressing our homes was revealed to be high on our list of ‘things to do’, with 40% of us setting out cushions and candles within a week of moving in, and pictures commonly hung on walls within a week too (34 per cent).

Additionally, the findings highlighted that many of us favour redirecting our mail over meeting our neighbours, with 35 per cent of us ticking this box within 24 hours (versus 15 per cent).

Discussing the findings, Dr James Jackson, lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Moving house is a stressful time and it’s normal to feel anxious those first few days in a new house.

“Research shows one of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to have a relaxing view and a simple way to recreate this in your home is to bring in a few plants and have pictures of friends.

“Treat yourself to a new plant or fresh bunch of flowers when you first move in and display them in a central position in your home. While everything around you may still be in boxes and chaotic, flowers and plants will have a soothing effect and be a distraction.”

For those guilty of hiding moving boxes in spare rooms and cupboards rather than tackling the mammoth task of unpacking, Redrow has gathered a number of useful ‘hacks’ from homeowners, to make a move as smooth as possible.

Matthew Harrison, from Waterlooville, said: “Get yourself down to your favourite supermarket and explore the fruit and veg aisles for free moving boxes.

“The staff are more than happy for you to take them away as it saves them breaking the boxes down. They’re very strong, clean and most come with lids too.”

Paul Manley, from Bromsgrove, said: “Save unpacking drawers by removing them and wrapping them in cling film to keep contents in place. When you arrive at your new home, just cut off the cling film and put the drawers back in the empty chest or bedside cabinet.”

Claire Powell, from Atherstone, said: “Always pack clothes with their hangers in use so you can hang them straight back up again in your wardrobe. You should also use packing as a chance to declutter.”

Summarising the findings, Dave Bexon, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Redrow, said: “With peak moving season on the horizon, we thought it would be interesting to find out how new homeowners may be structuring those important first few weeks, and offer them advice on ways to make their move easier.

“We love that for so many people, the main priority is to get the kettle on. This simple act is sure to make your new house feel like a home, and give you a little energy to face the exciting but challenging task of getting everything unpacked and looking just the way you imagined.”