Written by Graham Cutbill-White
Buying a new house is incredibly exciting and for most people, it’s the start of a brand new chapter in their lives.
While many see it as the start of a new adventure, a chance to put their mark on a new space, others get too overwhelmed with the prospect of having to pack and lug boxes.
Everyone knows the stress that comes with moving house but it doesn’t always have to be a hassle. With enough time and some proper planning, moving to a new place can be simple and straightforward.
So whether you’re upgrading, downsizing, a first-time buyer or retiring to the country, guarantee a smooth move with a little bit of planning and this moving house guide.
You shouldn’t wait until the day before moving day to put the wheels in motion. The sooner you start thinking about what to pack the easier the whole experience will be.
It’s the thing most movers dread but packing is a great chance to make sure you don’t take any unnecessary clutter to your new home. It’s always best to take the slowly but surely approach to packing so the sooner you start the more time you’ll give yourself. This way you won’t feel the rushed or stressed and you’re less likely to lose things in the chaos.
Your first step should be making detailed lists of the items you definitely want to take with you. Sort these by room to make sure nothing gets lost or forgotten about.
It can be difficult to throw things away but moving is a great opportunity to say bye-bye to those items that live at the back of the cupboard. You don’t want to waste precious time packing things you don’t really need, so by making a thorough inventory you can forget about those items and focus on the ones coming with you.
Once you know which of your belongings have made the cut, you need to start thinking about supplies. You can purchase sturdy, corrugated cardboard boxes, parcel tape and bubble wrap from office supplies shops and some post offices.
Try and work out how many boxes you need beforehand and remember it’s always better to overestimate as excess boxes can used elsewhere or recycled. It’s good to have a mixture of large and small boxes. Use the smaller ones for your heavier items as they’re easier to move and less likely to break.
If you’re working on a tight budget try asking in corner shops and supermarkets for any spare boxes. Most will have big boxes going spare but these are often not very strong, so use these for your lighter, less breakable items only.
Try to start the packing process a few weeks before you move and naturally begin by boxing up the items you don’t use on a daily basis. Pack clothes and shoes you don’t wear often or aren’t suitable for the weather and then move on to books and other items you can go without for a few weeks. As moving day approaches, you should be packing more and more until you’re left with the last few essentials left to sort on the big day.
Throughout the packing process, it can be easy for you to lose your bearings while being surrounded by piles of boxes. To keep track of what you’ve packed, use coloured stickers to represent each room and stick them to each box.
The day you move will be incredibly long and tiring so it’s important to pack an essentials box for your first night. Even if you’ve moved all your things in, you won’t want to have to unpack everything to find some food, the kettle or a phone charger. Think of all the basics you might need on that first night and stick them in a box specially labelled. You could also store your important documents in this box. Paperwork like your birth certificate and insurance details should be kept together during the move.
For most people, moving house comes at the end of one of the most expensive periods in our lives and the added expense of a removals company is too much. If you’re in this situation or simply want to handle everything yourself, you can hire or borrow a van and do the move on your own.
Whether you’re hiring or borrowing from a friend it’s important to get a van that suits your needs. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a van that can do the whole move in one trip so it’s worth planning ahead and letting the people helping you know.
Borrowing a van from a friend or family member is often the cheapest way to move but you do have limited choice in what van you want.
The stress around moving and the prospect of driving a larger, unfamiliar vehicle mean that accidents are more likely. If you’re borrowing from a friend, any accidents can cost them their no claims discount as well as any expenses from the incident.
The best way to get peace of mind when behind the wheel of a van is to purchase temporary van insurance . It’s a flexible policy that offers comprehensive cover and because it’s separate to any annual insurance, all no claims discounts are protected.
Sometimes it’s not easy to move everything at once and if you can only get help on certain days, it might be worth spreading the move out over a few days. A short term policy is available from one day to one month, so however long you need, you can get the cover that suits you.
Getting a policy is quick and easy and could save you time and money. You can purchase cover up to a month in advance and even add an extra person to the policy if you want to share the driving. It’s the easiest often cheapest way to ensure you’re covered when driving someone else’s vehicle.
For other movers, doing it yourself is not worth the effort and would rather leave it up to the professionals. There are a large number of these of these companies and it’s always best to seek the recommendation of a friend or family member when picking which removals company to use.
Make sure that the company you choose is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). By being a member, and removal company has to adhere to minimum standards of conduct and you’re more likely to be protected if something goes wrong.
You’ve done all the preparation and hopefully, it’s all gone to plan. Now the big day has arrived and you should be ready to go. Whether you’re using professionals or doing it yourself, moving day is long, tiring and stressful.
On the morning of the move make sure everyone who is helping you knows what they’re doing and where to put boxes. Using the coloured stickers’ idea mentioned above is a great way to make sure everyone knows what goes where. Simply hand out a couple of floorplans with each room coloured in their respective colour and sticker each box. This will save you lots of time and effort having to move boxes back to the right room once everyone has gone.
Throughout the day it’s essential that you and everyone helping you move remains hydrated and fed. It’s unlikely that you’ll have your major appliances installed and working till late in the day so before you start the move, make sure you have plenty of food and drinks, especially water to hand. If you prepare or buy these beforehand you waste any time during the day.
It’s also worth having some tea and coffee making facilities, food and plates ready at your new house for use during the day and when you’re finished. These can all be packed in your essentials box.
At the end of a long day, the last thing you will want to do is worry about putting sheets, pillowcases and duvets on your bed. Whenever your bed gets unpacked from the van, make sure you take the time to make it properly. Pack all your bed linens in a separate bag which you can access at any time. You’ll be so grateful that you took the time earlier in the day so when everything’s done, you can slide straight into bed.
Once you think that everything has been packed and moved to your new home it’s always worth doing a final inspection before you leave for the last time. Make sure that windows and doors are shut and locked and that any water, gas supplies or electrical outlets are switched off.
You’ll want to be the last to leave your old house so you can say goodbye to it. Moving is an emotional event so you make sure you do what feels right before starting a new chapter in your life.
Just like when you leave your old house, you’ll want to do a quick inspection of your new property to make sure everything is as you expected. Hopefully, the old owners will have left you some information on where things are but if not you need to look for where the gas and electricity metres and the stopcock and anything else you’ll need access to.
Whether it takes a day or a week, the first night you spend in your new house is incredibly exciting. It’s important to celebrate the moment so get a takeaway and relax. You can unpack in the morning!