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Top Tips for Moving House – Take the Stress Out Of Moving

Move House Without The Stress

Moving house doesn’t have to be so stressful, here’s our expert guide to moving house without the worry.

Moving house can be one of the most exciting times of your life but can also be one of the most traumatic. With so much planning and anticipation coming to a head in one day it’s easy to understand why many people dread moving house.

There are however lots of things that you can do to make your move go smooth… pardon the pun. Making moving day something to look forward to rather than dread comes down to preparation and this guide will give you everything you need to make your house move a success.


Top Tips for Moving House

1. Declutter Before Your Move

Before you start to pack consider what you no longer need and make the arrangements to sell, donate or dispose of it.

Few things are more annoying than struggling to move lots of possessions that you no longer want or need from one property to another. Decluttering has a significant number of benefits but here are the key points.

Firstly decluttering will reduce the volume of possessions you need to move on your moving date and will in turn save you the time and money you would have spent moving these. Decluttering may also identify unwanted items that can be gifted, donated to charity or sold on.

Decluttering will also provide you with a fresh start in your new home surrounded by the things you need and want rather than lots of space-hogging junk.

Online auctions are a great way of selling on these unwanted items and this can also raise money to help cover your moving costs. Always try to gift or donate unwanted items rather than throwing these out. As the saying goes “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and it’s much better for the environment and your community to recycle items where possible.

2. Start Packing Early

Packing can be very time consuming so as soon as you have your moving date its best to start. It’s also important to gather all the supplies you need for your packing. Having this ready means as soon as you have a move date you can get started. You can see a list of all of the essential packing supplies that you’ll need in our packing supply section of this guide.

Think about which rooms it would be best to approach first by considering which items are infrequently used and could be packed away early.  A good example of items that could be packed away early are family heirlooms, pictures etc. Whereas items that are used more frequently such as toiletries, clothing and dinner plates should be saved for packing closer to your move date.

Declutter Unwanted Items
Declutter Unwanted Items

Give some thought to when you will pack different things and this will ensure you keep what you need accessible whilst also getting started with packing early. Ensure that you follow our packing guidance below so that you know what’s in each box and minimize the risk of any damage.

3. Arrange Removals

Whether you are planning to move home by yourself or use a removals specialist you need to give this some thought well in advance of your moving date. Whether it’s worth paying for a removals specialist depends on individual circumstances such as how much stuff you need to move and how quickly.

For a great many people it will be best to use the services of a removal specialist as this alleviates one of the most stressful and treacherous parts of moving house. A removal specialist will arrange for all of your possessions to be moved from your current property to your new house.

The cost of removals will depend on a number of factors such as how many items need moving, what’s their size and how many men will be needed to move these. Any unusual or particularly difficult to move items such as pianos will also affect the cost of removals.

From my research it seems nearly everyone who has used specialist removals is glad that they did. Moving your life from one house to another in a day is always much harder than you think it will be, items are always heavier and bigger than they look and from my own experience removals are worth every penny.

See our complete guide to arranging removals below to ensure you are clear on what’s included and the costs.

4. Ensure All Boxes are Clearly Labelled

Taking the time to clearly label boxes at the time you’re packing will make things much easier on moving day. Ideally you want each box to be centred around a particular room as this will make unpacking much easier.

If you fill boxes randomly with items from across your house it could take you much longer to unpack and will make it much more difficult to locate the items you need.

Fill boxes for a particular room and clearly note this on the box along with a summary of the contents, for example “Baby Room – Clothes, Toys…”. Make your labelling prominent so it’s easy for you and any removal specialist to quickly read on moving day.

5. Don’t Overfill Large Boxes

When packing it can be tempting to fill boxes right to the top but it’s important to ensure that these are not too heavy to safely move. Where boxes are overfilled the contents inside could get damaged and the box is more likely to rip and spill open.

Start Packing Early
Start Packing Early

As you are packing boxes keep sense checking the current weight of the box with an occasional lift. Large boxes of heavy items may be unmovable so use small boxes for these. Larger boxes are more appropriate for lighter items or those that need significant protective packing.

6. Prepare a Box of Essentials

To ensure you can easily access the essentials on your first night in your new home pack a box of these. It may be the majority of your unpacking happens in the days and weeks following your move so having the essentials easily accessible makes the first days in your new house much easier.

Items such as coffee, toothpaste and clean towels would be sensible to include. For our complete guide see our section below on preparing a box of essentials.

7. Fill Any Gaps in Packed Boxes

Use old newspaper or cardboard to minimise the ability of items to move around within boxes. Filling these gaps can help protect the contents of your boxes and prevent damage during transit.

8. Put Heavier Boxes Lower When Moving

When stacking and transporting boxes always put the heavier boxes at the bottom and the lighter ones at the top. This prevents the heavier boxes crushing the light ones and also makes the stack significantly more stable helping protect the contents from damage in storage and transit.

9. Dispose of Hazardous Materials

Some things are just not worth the risks of moving such as hazardous materials. Don’t pack or transport anything that could pose an unnecessary risk to you or anyone else. Examples could include corrosive or explosive substances, fireworks, the list goes on.

Hazardous materials should be handled with care and packing these could create a risk of injury to you or someone else. Best to properly dispose of any such hazardous materials before your move date.

10. Update Your Address

Once your move date is confirmed start notifying people and businesses of your new address and confirming the date you will be at that address. Before you change your address it’s important to ensure your move date is final and cannot change.

The sooner you let people know that you’re changing address the quicker they can update their records which will reduce the risk of your mail going astray.

It’s important to let everyone know when you are changing address. Failure to update addresses could result in utility companies incorrectly charging you or bills not being received and going into arrears. There is also a risk of identity theft if your mail is going to your old address.

Top Tips for Moving House
Top Tips for Moving House

To reduce the risk of your mail going to your old address a mail redirect is possible in many countries. This usually involves paying a small fee to the mail handler so that any mail sent in your name to your old address is automatically redirected to you at your new address. Where this option is available it is very much worth considering.

For guidance on key organisations to notify about your move, please see our specific guidance below on this – Who to Notify About Your House Move.

11. Handle Other Peoples Mail Appropriately

There is a good chance that you may receive some mail for the previous occupants. In many countries it is illegal to open other people mail. Where you receive mail for a previous resident it is best to forward this on to their new address or return this to the sender explaining the person no longer lives at that address.

12. Quickly Register For Key Services

If your move results in a change of dentist or doctor for example it’s best to find a new provider and register as quickly as possible following your move. Taking this action early ensures you are not without access to professional treatment if a medical or dental issue arises.

It would be even better to research this before your move so you know which provider you will be registering with and can take quick action following your move date.

13. Register to Vote

When you change address you may need to reregister to vote with the local and/or central government. To ensure that you can continue to participate in any elections etc. it’s important to promptly notify the authorities of your change of address.


Preparing a box of Essentials

Preparing a box of essentials is essential! Nothing is more frustrating than staring at endless boxes with no idea where to find something that you critically need such as medicine or baby supplies.

Your essentials box is filled with all the things that you need to lay your hands on quickly on the day of your move and can make your move day much less stressful. My personal favourite is coffee and a spare kettle so I can have a caffeine hit on arrival.

Everyone’s Essentials box will be different but here are some key items to consider including:

  • Toilet Paper.
  • Hand Wash.
  • Cleaning Materials.
  • Eating Utensils.
  • Medicines.
  • First Aid Kit & Pain Relief.
  • Snacks & Canned Food.
  • Can & Bottle Opener.
  • Kitchen & Bathroom Towels.
  • Soap & Dishcloth.
  • Pots and Pans.
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Other Toiletries.
  • Baby Supplies.
  • Pet Food.
  • Essential Tools Such As a Screwdriver and Hammer.

Who to Notify About Your House Move

It’s important to let everyone know when you’re changing address. Failure to update addresses could result in utility companies incorrectly charging you or bills not being received and going unpaid. There is also a risk of identity theft if your mail is going to your old address.

Let People Know You’ve Moved

To reduce the risk of your mail going to your old address a mail redirect is possible in many countries. This usually involves paying a small fee to the mail handler so that any mail sent in your name to your old address is automatically redirected to you at your new address. Where this option is available it is very much worth considering.

Here’s a list of some of the key people to notify of your house move –

  • Utility Companies at your old and new addresses, such as Water, Electricity & Gas.
  • Telephone/Satellite & Cable companies at your old and new addresses.
  • TV Licence Agency if living in the UK.
  • Banks & Building Societies where you hold an account.
  • Credit Card Providers.
  • Any Loan/Lease providers.
  • Tax Authority & Local Government.
  • Social Security.
  • Solicitor & Accountant if you have one.
  • Insurance Companies – i.e. Car/Home.
  • Pension Provider.
  • Employer.
  • Doctor.
  • Dentist.
  • Optician.
  • Driving Licence Provider.
  • Car Breakdown Provider.
  • Vehicle Registration.
  • Milk & Newspaper Delivery.
  • Magazine Subscriptions.
  • School/Colleges.
  • Sports Clubs.
  • Library.

How to Arrange Removals

Unless you’re completely confident you can manage moving without any help it will be necessary to arrange specialist removals. This doesn’t have to be complicated or for that matter expensive. From my own experience the cost differential between hiring a van and hiring a removal specialist can be minimal so why have the hassle?

Getting the support of a specialist removal business can take away a significant element of your home moving stress. Here’s what to look out for when picking a removal specialist:

  • Get at least three to four quotes before deciding which removal business to use.
  • Ensure you have confirmed dates with your removal business at least two weeks before you move.
  • Check if the business offers any discounts if you can move on a certain day.
  • Check what you’re covered for in your home and moving insurance policies.
  • Decide if you want the removal company to do your packing as well as your move although note that this could significantly increase the removals cost.

Make sure that you share the following detail with your removal company:

  • The amount of furniture and possessions that you’re moving, so that they can arrange an adequately sized truck and plan the number of journeys needed between your old and new house.
  • Provide an estimate of how many boxes so that they can estimate how long it will take.
  • Confirm the exact time you want the removal men to arrive.
  • Provide clear directions to your current and new house.
  • Arrange adequate parking for the removal van to load and unload at both addresses.
  • Always tell the removal firm well in advance of any large furniture which won’t fit through the door.
  • It’s sensible to disassemble any large furniture well in advance of your move date where possible.
  • Be clear with the removal specialist where each piece of furniture needs to go in your new house.

Doing Your Own Removals

If you are contemplating doing your own removals think hard on this before it’s too late. When I last moved house I was adamant that I’d save the money but in the end bowed to pressure from my spouse. I can honestly say if I hadn’t hired removals we wouldn’t have got there, so don’t underestimate how much work is involved in moving!

If I haven’t put you off and you still want to do your own removals you will probably need to start with hiring a van. Make sure your driving licence allows you to drive a vehicle of that size and that it’s big enough to fit all of your possessions in. You may be able to do several trips in a smaller vehicle but depending on your situation this won’t always be possible. Check what insurance you get on your hired van and what’s covered under the policy.

Arrange Removals

You also need to consider if you will be able to get your possessions from your home to the van alone. For heavy and large items you may well need help so it’s important to get this organised in advance of your move date. The cost of hiring a van will depend on a number of factors such as its size, how long you need it for and when you want it, weekends are often cheaper.

Once you know the total cost of moving yourself compare this against the cost of using specialist removals. I have found in the past the difference is pretty minimal.


How to Pack for Your House Move

Here’s our guide to packing just about anything:

Furniture

  • Dismantle furniture where possible for easier transportation.
  • Keep any screws and parts together for simple reassembly.
  • Cover furniture with protective furniture covers or blankets.
  • Use tape or plastic wrap to further secure covers and protect furniture.

Household Electricals

  • Tape the cables for any electronics to the device itself so they don’t get misplaced.
  • Backup any important files stored on any computer devices that you’re moving.
  • If you don’t have the original box use bubble wrap and cardboard to protect your electronics.

Mirrors or Glass Frames

  • Tape an ‘x’ on the glass/mirror using packing tape to prevent it from shattering.
  • Use corner protectors or bubble wrap to guard edges from damage.
  • Cover the surface with a layer of cardboard to protect it.
  • Keep any mirrors and glass upright at all times with no items stacked on them.

Rugs

  • Clean any rugs before you pack them.
  • Roll and tie each end of the rug with string to properly secure it.
  • Avoid wrapping rug’s in plastic for long periods as this can cause them to go mouldy.
  • Where possible wrap the rug in sheets of thick paper and tape it securely.

Large & Small Appliances

  • Tape any doors closed to avoid swinging in transport.
  • Remember to defrost your fridge/freezer before your moving day.
  • Keep kettles and toasters accessible as they are essential for your first day.
  • Empty any crumbs from your toaster before you move it to avoid a mess.

Crockery

  • Stack your plates with polystyrene or cardboard in between each plate.
  • Pack the items first that are least used such as mixing bowls or blenders.
  • Pack the bottom of boxes with cardboard or bubble wrap to cushion fragile items.
  • Use cardboard or newspaper to fill any spaces in the box and avoid damage when moved.
  • Use smaller boxes and don’t overload or the box may not take the weight.

Food

  • Try to run down your food supplies in the run up to your move to minimise waste.
  • Why not donate any unwanted tinned food to a local charity.
  • Ensure you have adequate food and drinks for your moving day plus essential supplies for your first few days.

Beds & Mattresses

  • Disassemble any beds before your moving date.
  • Keep screws and all parts together with tape for simple reassembly.
  • Use protective mattress covers to ensure no damage is done during your move.

Wardrobes

  • Clear out any unwanted clothes so you don’t need to pack these.
  • Unwanted clothes are good for packing fragile items.
  • Pack clothes into suitcases and bags.
  • Disassemble any wardrobes before your moving date.
  • Keep screws and all parts together with tape for simple reassembly.

Clothes

  • Vacuum bags are an excellent way to save space when packing clothes.
  • If its summer pack your winter clothes first and if its winter do the opposite.
  • Packing clothes into a suitcase is another easy way to transport clothes during a move.

Toiletries

  • Try to run down your toiletries in the run up to your move to minimise waste.
  • Use tape to seal any open toiletry lids to avoid any spillages when moved.
  • Use zip lock bags for extra protection from spillages.
  • Don’t pack away any medicine you take daily or need to be able to access quickly.

Packing Supplies You’ll Need

Before you start packing you need to pick up some essential supplies, here is everything you need to get started:

  • Boxes, best to get a range of sizes from small to large.
  • Packing tape to secure boxes.
  • Bubble wrap to protect fragile items.
  • Old newspapers to pack out spaces in boxes.
  • Stretch wrap to protect furniture;
  • Marker & Labels to clearly label boxes.

Other Considerations When Moving House

Before you say hello to your new house and wave goodbye to the previous owners there are some important questions to ask. Getting this detail before you move can make life much easier especially in your first days in your new home.

Here’s some essential questions to ask:

  • Where’s the mains water stopcock (to shut off the water)?
  • Do you have keys for all of the doors and windows?
  • Please can you leave the codes for any burglar alarms?
  • Where are the gas, electricity and water meters?
  • Do any surfaces need special cleaning products such as wooden floors?
  • What days are the bins collected?
  • Can you leave instruction manuals or warranties for any electricals appliances that are staying?
  • Who currently supplies the energy, broadband and home phone?
  • Where is the heating thermostat?

Conclusion

Good luck with your house move. I hope that you found the tips in this guide useful. Please feel free to share or comment on this article. Let me know in the comments how your move goes and if you think we have missed any important moving tips in our guide.

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Wishing you and all those you love health, wealth and happiness!

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