You’ve done all the legal stuff, got the all-clear from your surveyor, signed and exchanged contracts, and now it’s official – you’re moving house. There is still a lot to do in between exchange and completion but moving house doesn’t have to be the chaotic and stressful time we all expect it to be. That’s why we have drawn on years of experience to bring you this guide to moving house.
Guide to moving house
Buying a house or flat is a daunting but exciting life event. However, while we might look forward to starting the next chapter of our lives, it can be hard to feel excited about the actual moving process.
From sorting out your utilities, to decluttering, to physically moving your possessions to the new house, getting organised is the key to a stress-free move. So, below we have set out our top tips for moving house to help you make your moving experience as simple and straightforward as possible.
Book your removal company early
You may choose to hire a van and move your belongings yourself but this could add significant time and stress to your moving day, particularly if you own bulky items such as washing machines and wardrobes. A removal company can swiftly shift your belongings and will have experience handling heavy and delicate items.
However, removal companies book up fast. To ensure you get the most competitive price with the company you want on the day you want, book as far in advance as possible – preferably as soon as contracts are exchanged and the completion date agreed.
Get to know your new local area
The waiting time between exchange and completion can be excruciating when you just want to get into your new home. Satiate your excitement by exploring your new local area.
Discover your local pubs, restaurants, shops and parks and scope out your local takeaways for that First Night in the New House rite of passage.
Depending on how long you have lived in your current place, there is a good chance you have accumulated some clutter over the years.
The first step to efficient and intelligent packing is decluttering. Form three piles – sell, throw away, donate – then go through your belongings and be brutal. Wherever possible, try to sell or donate to ensure you produce as little unnecessary waste as possible. The only things you should throw away are broken or worn out items but try and recycle where you can.
Some more decluttering tips:
- Shred documents which hold important personal information to prevent identity theft
- Ask your local council or local charities to pick up large, bulky items such as fridges or sofas for recycling or reusing. You may have to pay a small fee for local authority pick up but charities are likely to pick up reusable items for free
- View your new home as a fresh start and don’t take anything you aren’t absolutely sure you will need
Invest in strong packing materials and label everything
Buy some strong cardboard boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap to pack your belongings. Make sure you label all your boxes. If you don’t have the time to accurately write down what is in the boxes, at least label them “living room” or “kitchen” so you and the removal people know where to put the boxes at the new house, saving you considerable time later on.
Sometimes you can purchase packing materials from your removal company, particularly if they offer a packing service. However, make sure this is cost-effective before you invest.
Learn to lift
Don’t risk a back injury; if your removal company aren’t doing all the heavy lifting for you, make sure you are fully informed about how to lift heavy and bulky objects. This includes:
- Making sure objects aren’t too heavy – try not to overpack boxes and distribute weight, for example, don’t pack all your books into one box but spread them across several
- Make sure your packing materials are strong and secure – don’t be caught out by boxes suddenly breaking as you are lifting them
- Spend time getting into position to lift – when lifting an object, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees keeping your back straight and looking straight ahead. Put a knee on the ground if you need to steady yourself. Grasp the object with both hands then use your leg muscles to lift it off the floor. Keep your back straight at all times and do not attempt to twist or turn until after the lift is complete
- When putting the object down, do the process in reverse. Bend your legs, keeping your back straight and head facing forwards. Keep the object close to your body as you set it down
Very heavy objects, such as pianos and bulky furniture, need at least two or three people to lift and transport them. You should always try to rely on a removal company to help you out with this.
Pack up your least used items
Packing is a long process so start early and do it in stages. Start with the items you use the least such as things in the attic or garage. You should also pack up things you are certain you will not need until you move house. For example, if you are moving in summer, pack up your winter clothes.
Apply for new schools
If you have children, you will generally need to apply to new schools about six weeks before your moving date. Consider applying for several schools to ensure your children get a place and can make a smooth transition.
Sort out your utilities
It is essential to sort out your council tax, electricity and gas as soon as possible when moving house. This will save you a lot of stress later on when in the throes of last minute packing.
Additionally, sort out what insurance you need and/or want prior to moving house to save time and worry. If you have a mortgage, you will need buildings insurance, however, you should also consider additional policies such as contents insurance, accidental damage insurance, and home emergency cover.
Pack room by room
The easiest way to prevent yourself getting lost in a sea of boxes is to pack up room by room. Not only is this efficient, it will prevent items getting lost along the way.
Ensure your boxes are not over filled but fill up any empty space with bubble wrap, newspaper or towels to prevent the items inside getting broken.
Try to come up with packing solutions such as using suitcases to transport clothes rather than boxes or packing bulky duvets, pillows and blankets in vacuum sealed bags to save space.
Make an inventory
As you pack, make an inventory of the important items within each room. This will help you track items down if you lose them in the move.
Put aside your essentials
Avoid having to search through dozens of boxes on your first night in the new house. Pack a separate overnight bag with at least one change of clothes and other important things such as toothpaste, toothbrush, and toilet roll.
Additionally, make sure essential items such as medication, glasses, phone chargers, important documents (such a passports, birth certificates, and driving licences) and car keys are kept separate and are easily accessible whenever you need them.
Dismantle your large furniture the day before
Don’t leave dismantling bulky furniture such as beds, wardrobes, desks, and sofas until the morning of the move, you will probably lose valuable time. Do this the day before and spend one night sleeping on your mattress or an airbed.
Similarly, make sure reassembling important furniture such as your bed is one of the first things you do when in the new house.
Leave plenty of time to clean
Whether you are currently renting or you are selling your current home, you should set aside time to clean up.
If you are renting, you will need to ensure the property is handed back to the landlord in the same state you initially rented it (other than reasonable wear and tear). For this, your tenancy agreement may require you to hire a professional cleaner and if there is any damage, this could be taken out of your deposit.
For home movers, you will also need to leave the property in a reasonable state. Consider hiring a professional cleaner to save you time and ensure the house is spotless for the new owners.
Update your address
Start updating your new address with companies and organisations, such as your bank, dentist, subscriptions, and HMRC, about 2 weeks before you move. You should also register to vote at your new property.
Moving house packing tips – room by room
- Defrost your freezer in advance – it could take up to 8 hours
- Clearly label where you have packed first morning essentials such as the toaster and kettle
- Pack fragile crockery in bubble wrap and fill out spaces in the boxes with cloths or newspaper to prevent them clattering together
- Don’t do a full food shop the week or so before you move as chilled and frozen food is hard to transport safely
- Pack a lunch for moving day and make sure you have easy access to essentials such as milk, tea bags, and bread
- Take covers off the sofa and cushions to pack separately to prevent them getting dirty or damaged during the move
- Dismantle your furniture whenever possible and keep the nuts, bolts and other small building materials in labelled bags
- Back up your electronics and, where possible, pack them in their original packaging. Otherwise, pack them in bubble wrap or blankets
- Tape a cross onto mirrors to avoid shattering and wrap in bubble wrap or cover in cardboard. Reinforce the corners with cardboard corner protectors or bubble wrap
- Ensure mirrors and other delicate items are not stacked under other items
- Roll up any rugs, wrap in paper and tie with string
- Dismantle beds before moving day and keep the nuts, bolts, screws and other building materials in labelled bags
- Wrap the mattress in mattress covers to prevent it getting dirty or damaged during the move
- Clear out your clothes and sell or recycle any unwanted ones before the move then pack wisely using suitcases and vacuum sealed bags to compress clothes and save room
- Make sure you keep any valuables, such as jewellery, close to hand to prevent them getting lost
- Clean towels can be used to protect most bathroom items when packing
- Wrap tape around the lids of toiletries and pack into plastic bags to prevent leaks
- Pack appliances such as hair dryers by wrapping the wires around them and wrapping in towels or bubble wrap then packing in boxes
- Keep essentials such as medicine, your toothbrush, toothpaste, and toilet paper separate so you can access them immediately once at the new house
Do you need advice about moving house?
At Bird & Co, we are conveyancing specialists with decades of combined experience providing clients with a smooth house buying and selling experience. We’ve listened to exactly what our clients want from their conveyancing solicitors and adapted our service accordingly. That’s why you can trust us to be speedy, reliable, and responsive to all your needs.