Moving to a new home is exciting – you get a fresh start, new opportunities and the chance to make your new place your own.
That doesn’t mean it can’t feel overwhelming at times. Luckily, there’s a way to avoid any unpleasantness. Start early, have a plan and do everything you can to make it easy on yourself.
We’ve been helping people move home for twenty years, so we thought we’d share our ten top tips for making your move stress-free.
Tip 1: Pick a removals firm early on
Depending on when you’re planning to move, you may find that it’s hard to book in a date. After all, most people try to move at the weekends, over school holidays or bank holidays, giving themselves extra time. Don’t get caught out – plan in advance.
Picking a removals team might seem easy compared to all the other choices you’ve been making, but it’s important to pick professionals. Your items are dependent on the company you choose, and to avoid damage to items or the property, or paying more than you expected, it’s important to do your research.
Look at reviews from previous customers, check what your removals quote includes, and ask if the firm are happy to do a valuation – this means someone will come round to your home to assess how much stuff you have, and make sure you have the right sized van and number of team members on the day of your move.
Have a look at our article on how to choose a great removals firm for more information.
Tip 2: Make a list
It can feel like there’s too much to remember on the run up to your move – after all, real life carries on alongside your moving plans.
To avoid stress, make a list of everything you have to do, and consider your timeline. You may have only just had your offer accepted and be months away from completion. But that doesn’t mean you should wait until the week before your move to start preparing.
Have a look at our Moving Home Checklist to see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten to add to your list. You can also sign up for our email reminders so you are prompted at the right time and don’t forget a thing.
Tip 3: Declutter in advance
Clearing your home of any old, unwanted or unnecessary items before your move can save you time and stress, but it can also save you money!
By donating, recycling or throwing away things you don’t need, you’re cutting down on the amount of stuff you need to move. The less stuff you have, the smaller the van and the fewer hours you need your removals team for.
The simple way to save money on your move is to avoid paying to transport things that you’re only going to throw away when you reach your new home!
Have a look at our guide to clearing the clutter before you move.
Tip 4: Make a packing plan – and start early
Packing always takes longer than you think, which is why it’s better to start as soon as possible. When you’ve cleared away everything you no longer need, the best thing to start with is the rooms you use the least.
Packing up those rooms and using them to store boxes of stuff will disrupt your life the least, and allow you to get as much done as possible.
When you’re labelling boxes, it’s easy to just summarise the content on the top, like ‘kitchen stuff’ but that may not help you when you need to prioritise unpacking!
Label the box with the room you intend it to go into in your new home, and bullet point a few of the items in there so you know what it includes. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to open fifteen boxes marked ‘kitchen’ to find the one with the plates in!
Try not to overpack you boxes! It’s tempting to fill them up but try to use small boxes for heavy items and big boxes for lighter ones. Otherwise you risk the box falling apart and hurting whoever is carrying it, and potentially damaging your stuff.
Have a look at our guide to packing for more information on making packing easy.
Tip 5: Think about what you can't move
There are some things removals teams won’t transport. These include things like hazardous materials, plants with soil in, tins of paint or chemicals. Pots of paint can often be donated to charity, so don't feel like everything has to go to waste.
If you can't bear to leave your plants behind, you may want to take most of the soil out, pack the plant into the pot with plastic so it can't move around, and transport it in your car.
Don't forget to consider the safety of your removals team and yourself - not only with the heaviness of boxes but the things you're moving. If you're packing up garden equipment, be sure to clean it and package it safely. Large gardening equipment like lawnmowers or petrol-fuelled tools need to be emptied and cleaned before being transported. If you're packing knives, wrap them carefully and note the contents on the box.
If you're not sure what you can take, ask your removals team - they'll be able to tell you how to package certain things and if there's anything they can't transport. They may even offer an extra service where they could package more difficult items for you.
Tip 6: Dealing with paperwork
Store all important documents, such as passports, house deeds, wills and insurance papers in one box or file to ensure easy access. This should then be placed somewhere where you will not lose it.
It may also be a good idea to create electronic copies of important documents by scanning and saving them onto a USB, or in cloud storage such as Dropbox, so you always have access to them.
When it comes to making sure you still get your post, you might want to set up the Royal Mail’s redirection service, which will forward post from your previous address to your new one. This gives you a little more time to go through all your providers, memberships and anything else and update your address at your leisure, without worrying about missing out on important post.
Tip 7: Organise utilities
It’s so easy to forget to take final meter readings, but it will make everything so much easier. You could even take photos on your phone so you don’t lose any notes you make. You can register with new broadband providers in advance, and don’t forget gas, electric and water.
If you’re not staying with the same provider in your new home, it’s worth calling to say the house has been sold and that account is finished, just in case your seller wasn’t as organised as you!
Organising this in advance means you can account for any final bills you’ll need to pay.
Also remember to put yourself on the electoral register at your new property, and update any relevant ID, like your driving licence. Our Change of Address Checklist will tell you everyone who needs to know about your move.
Tip 8: Take time to clean
If you can manage to arrange some overlap in when you get the keys to your new home and leaving your old one, it can make the world of difference to your stress levels. Getting into your new home a little earlier means you can fully assess it, and give it a good clean before you move your furniture in.
Be sure to keep your cleaning supplies separate before moving day so you don’t end up with them packed away!
Cleaning the house thoroughly before all of your boxes and furniture arrives means there’ll be no nasty surprises on moving day. It also means you can create a snagging list as you assess the property.
If you do have access a few days before your move, you could arrange for any deliveries to be made in advance. If you’re ordering new white goods, or need to measure for blinds, carpeting or anything else, take advantage of the empty space and get them booked in.
Tip 9: Pack a moving day survival kit
Before your moving day make sure you have packed a moving day survival kit of essentials. This will contain necessary items that will get you and your family through the day (and the first night) unscathed, such as toiletries, phone chargers, bottles of water, snacks and provisions for hot drinks.
It is important to have easy access to the supplies that will keep you well-fed and hydrated on this busy day, and that you have everything readily available so you can fall straight into bed at the end of it.
Tip 10: Go slowly
Moving day is a big deal – we know you’ll want to get everything done as soon as possible, but it can be exhausting. Have realistic expectations of how much you want to get done – it’s unlikely you’re going to unpack your entire house by the first night!
Be sure to keep your moving day survival kit to hand, make sure you’ve got cold beverages, everything you need for teas and coffees, and snacks to keep your energy up. Be sure to stop (properly stop!) for lunch and dinner so that you don’t wear yourself out.
It will take time to fully unpack and get your new home looking the way you want it, so don’t feel everything has to come together immediately. Take time to relax and unwind – enjoy a night in with a takeaway or go out with friends. Your life does not have to revolve around unpacking!
As long as you have your bed built and set up by the end of moving day, the rest can wait!
Updated January 2020