Preparing your kitchen appliances for a house move can be a time-consuming and physically demanding process if you don’t tackle things logically. Make sure you take the following advice into consideration weeks in advance of moving home in order to avoid any last-minute disasters.
Always ensure you have thoroughly cleaned any appliance you are planning to move and take with you. This not only saves you work at the other end, but will make the moving process easier, stop you staining or damaging any towels or blankets, and ensure no damage is caused to your new home. A food encrusted fridge will not only smell bad, but your removals team probably won't want it in the van. When it comes to freezers and washing machines, ensuring there is no stagnant water residue is one of the most important focus points.
How to move a fridge-freezer
Draw up a meal plan so that you can start using up your food supplies in the weeks before your move. If you have a lot of frozen vegetables and dried foods like lentils, you can use them up in casseroles, curries, soups, stews and chilli dishes. If you’re not sure what to make, the website Love Food Hate Waste has lots of helpful suggestions of things that you can make with all kinds of leftovers and odds and ends from your cupboards.
Top tip: Why not cook up a dish and freeze it in advance of your move date? Let it slowly defrost over the course of the day (make sure the container is watertight) and then you can heat it up for a quick and easy meal at the end of a busy move.
Top Tip: Use food sharing app OLIO to avoid food wastage - put what you have going on the app, and a neighbour will collect it and put it to good use. Great for when you haven't managed to use up your food and it might go to waste!
Defrosting your fridge-freezer is very important if you are going to take it with you when you move. If you skip this step, the result could be disastrous – a messy puddle of water and mushy food!
How to defrost a fridge-freezer in six easy steps
Empty any remaining food in your freezer into a cool box.
Resist the urge to chip away at excess ice, as you could damage the appliance.
Leave the freezer door open, surround it with old towels to soak up the water, and switch off the power.
Check the appliance now and then to make sure the melting ice doesn't flood your kitchen.
When the ice has melted, wash each drawer, dry thoroughly and replace.
Keep the doors slightly open to stop mould growing inside while it is out of use.
For the journey
If there are any glass shelves, take these out and pack them separately. Use masking tape to hold the doors shut, and cover the appliance with a soft blanket to protect it in transit.
When you install the fridge-freezer at your new property, it may not work if you switch it on too soon after moving it. You should refer to your manual if you’re not sure how long to leave it, but most fridge-freezers need to stand in situ for around 24 hours to allow the liquid inside the cooling mechanism to settle back down.
How to disconnect a washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer
When it comes to removing your washing machine, dishwasher and/or tumble dryer from your old kitchen in readiness for your house move you are likely to require some assistance. In an ideal world you will be able to book a plumber to come in and disconnect appliances, however this can cost a considerable sum and you may choose to avoid calling out a plumber by disconnecting the utilities from their units yourself. It may also be possible for your removal company to disconnect these for you, but be aware not all removal companies will do so - ask well in advance and be prepared to pay an extra fee.
Place a blanket underneath and surrounding your appliance to ensure it does not scratch your flooring or tear up any pieces of carpet when moving it from its current home. Most washing machines are delivered with a ‘shipping bolt’ to keep the tub rigid during shipping. You should put these back into the machine before moving it again.
In order to reach in and disconnect the taps you will need to engineer space behind the unit to do so. Bear in mind removal companies are not professional plumbers and although they will try to be as helpful as possible, if they run into difficulty, they will stop rather than take the risk of causing damage to your appliance.
You may then need to seek professional assistance from a plumber. If it is a straightforward job of disconnecting, then there is no problem, but if they do encounter problems they will stop until they receive professional help.
It is important your washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer are transported in the removals van upright to minimise the potential for damage in transit. Don’t take for granted that the kitchen in your new home will have a readymade location to re-plumb your appliances back into place. Check with your removal company or a trusted handyman or plumber if necessary who can help connect the utilities to the water supply.
Pay attention to these appliances for at least a week once it has been installed in your new home to ensure the move has not created any leaks or defects.
How to move a cooker
Home movers often decide not to take their oven with them. However, if you do need to transport a cooker, here are a few pointers to help you safely transport it to your new home.
If you are not qualified to handle gas powered appliances, it would be very unwise to try to connect or disconnect your cooker yourself. This is one task you will need professional help with, to make sure it is carried out in the safest way.
Clean the appliance inside and out before you begin moving it. If there are any items that may become detached in transit, it is a good idea to remove them and pack them safely where they will not get damaged. You should also tape the doors shut with durable tape, as you would with your fridge-freezer and wrap it securely in a blanket for transit.
Don't forget the essentials
Leave out items that you will use right up to the move or want straight away when you arrive. These are likely to include a small amount of cutlery and crockery, a kettle, and coffee or tea, as well as a few basic cleaning items and foodstuffs for the family. You may want to pack a cooler with ice packs to store milk for tea and coffee, as well as chilled drinks in place of a fridge.
As well as being able to provide a snack or meal, you may want to toast your arrival in your new home with a drink, in which case, remember the glasses and corkscrew! It’s a good idea, too, to have a knife to open the rest of your boxes, and torches, lightbulbs, candles, matches and loo roll, just to be on the safe side.
Make sure you have a labeled box to put these essentials into at the last minute so that you can locate them immediately on arrival. That way you can manage without unpacking everything. You may want to keep this box with you on the journey in your car, rather than loading it onto the removals vehicle, so it’s to hand as soon as you arrive.
Updated December 2022 by Jeremy Greer