Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, and after you’ve spent as long as we have helping people on their big day, it’s easy to understand why. It’s not just moving from one house to another, it’s packing up everything that made your house a home and changing your daily routines to fit a new area and lifestyle, it’s a pretty seismic change that can affect every aspect of your life. However, despite all the difficulties, moving into a new home should also be one of the most exciting days of your life. Theoretically, you’ve already done the hard part, you’ve found than one in a million house you’ve fallen in love with, now all that’s left to do is the admin.
The key to minimising the stress and maximising the excitement is to be prepared. Strategy is essential and planning your move well in advance of the day is the key to sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the ride over to your new pad.
We may not be military tacticians, but we’ve done this enough times to have a pretty solid idea of the how what, when and why of your move, as well as some handy tips we’ve learned along the way.
Over the course of this blog, we’ll take you through the stages of your pre-move planning, essential steps you should follow, things you need to consider, and, because we’re nice guys, we’ve even made a handy checklist for you to download and use.
A Few Months Before the Move
You’ve found your dream home, your offer has been accepted and ideally, now is the time to start your moving home checklist. Now is the time to get the legal side of things sorted to ensure a smooth move, and start researching your new local area, removal companies and get the feel of budgets and time estimates of your moving day.
- Arrange your mortgage
- Scout out your new area for information about local news and facilitiesIf you are renting in your current home situation, confirm your moving date with your landlord
- If you are renting in your current home situation, confirm your moving date with your landlord
- Get valuable and important possessions assessed for insurance and make sure your insurance policy covers your move. If not, your removals company may be able to provide cover – it’s always best to double check
- Purchase a ‘moving planner’, a journal or file to keep documents and notes on your move – include to-do lists, important numbers, business cards, dates and details of conversations
6 Weeks Before the Move
With 6 weeks to go, now is the time to begin getting all your items in order. Moving is a great opportunity to clear out any unwanted or unused items and de-clutter, sorting out the disposal of any unwanted items well in advance of you leaving. Making a checklist of all the necessary items for your move will help focus your mind, as well as allowing a removal company to give you a fair estimate in their pre-removal survey. Remember, shop around! Try and get as many quotes as possible to ensure you’re getting the fairest price.
- Start shopping around for the right removals company, make sure to get quotes from several companies and do diligent research
- Make a full and clear inventory of your possessions
- Decide what to take to your new home and what room they will go into, try and mark this as clearly as possible to make unpacking relevant items much easier
- Start to clean out any storage areas and place possessions incoherent piles, if possible, group together items that need to be packed together or organised for the same room
- Moving is a great excuse for a purge of your possessions, sort out what you’re taking and what you’re disposing of, selling, or giving away and start that process early
- Check if your removal company provides packing materials, or a packing service, if not, begin collecting anything you may need, such as cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, or sturdier boxes for more fragile items. Remember you can often pick up used boxes at your local supermarket for free.
- Check the parking restrictions for large removals vehicles at your current home and at your new home as you may need to apply for permits
1 Month Before the Move
By now, you should be able to talk to your solicitor about exchanging contracts and finalising a moving date. Lock down a removal company and arrange any necessary permits and parking at both houses, making sure that the route, and location, of your new home, is suitable for a larger lorry if required.
It’s important during this time to start notifying your utility companies and the council of your move date, so you’re covered as soon as you move in.
- Speak to your solicitor about exchanging contracts and finalise your moving date
- Confirm your booking with your removals company and double check their pricing
- Work out a route for your moving day considering the size of the removal truck against low bridges or narrow streets
- Organise to have your new house cleaned in between the old owners moving out and you moving in
- Visit the property and arrange for any necessary repair or maintenance work to be done, functional or aesthetic
- Start packing non-essential items and least used rooms
- Clear out the attic, shed, and other storage spaces
- Notify relevant utility companies and switch home insurance to your new home
- Check that all important documents, stuff, and people, can all fit in the car you’re taking on the day
- Book overnight hotel accommodation if the journey is a long one
2 Weeks Before the Move
You’ve already done most of the heavy lifting, in this period before your move, double check and reconfirm all important details and contact numbers with your removal company and estate agent, schools etc in preparation for your move. If you’re taking appliances such as washing machines, fridges, now is the time to look into having those properly de-plumbed and removed from the house. Also, if you need any assistance on the day of the move, such as childcare or general support, make sure to give friends and family at least two weeks notice to organise themselves – it generally helps if you offer up a little bribe on the day too!
- Finalise details with the removals company – confirm times, emergency numbers, parking and directions
- Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help, extra support on the day is always welcome
- Book people to carry out services if your removal company is not providing them e.g. house cleaning, dismantling of flat pack furniture, plumber for the dishwasher and washing machines
- Identify and dispose of any dangerous or flammable liquids your removals company cannot touch
- Cancel any local services you receive and settle outstanding bills e.g. window cleaners, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, gardeners, cleaners
- Start using all freezer foods and other perishables
1 Week Before the Move
In your final week in your new home, use this time to get together any and all important documents and store them somewhere safe but accessible. Make sure you’ve made a note of any important information for the new homeowners, such as the location of the stopcocks, heating controls and any other necessary information – likewise, make the effort to get this information from your estate agent. Your packing should be finished by now, but make sure to leave yourself a “Survival Kit” in an easily accessible place, to keep you sane and supported on the day!
- Store all important items and documents into a safe box e.g. passports, driving licenses, house deeds, wills, insurance papers, expensive jewellery and any cash kept in the house
- Make a note of important information for the new homeowners, as well as asking any pertinent questions of your estate agent, the location of the heating controls etc.
- Prepare a Moving Day Survival Kit containing everything you need to get you through the day unscathed; a change of clean clothes, food, cutlery, plenty of water, towels, travel size shampoos and shower gels, and if travelling with young children, plenty of entertainment
- Finish as much of your packing as possible so you have everything ready to go – making sure to clearly label and reference boxes
- Collect all your keys for your current property
- Make sure to defrost the fridge and freezer and check that they’re both completely dry before leaving
- Give away plants and flowers that may get damaged in the move, or give them to temporary caretakers
- Leave a forwarding address
- Wash and dry all linen and clothing – box up and label
- Alert all friends, family and relevant bodies of your new address
- Book a time to collect keys to your new home from the Estate Agent
The Day Before the Move
It’s your last 24 hours in your, soon to be old, home, by now you’ve pretty much got everything sorted and ready to go for the next day and all you need to do is take a final look around and make sure everything is ready for transit. Make sure everything necessary for a comfortable first night in your new home is easily reachable and in clearly marked boxes, toothbrushes, nightwear, phone chargers, etc. and get a good night’s sleep!
- Walk around your house for a final, thorough (nostalgic) check
- Pack an overnight bag for yourself and your family
- Put together a mini-toolkit including a sharp knife for opening boxes on arrival
- Ensure you have the keys to your new house or have arranged to collect them in advance and gather together keys for all locks from you old home
- Charge your mobile phone
- If friends and family are helping out, double check the arrangements with them and make sure they know the correct address, moving routes and times
Whilst it still might not be the most zen day of your life, by following these steps and making sure you’ve got a clear pre-move strategy, you’re minimising the potential for stress and worry on the big day.
Download our checklist below and keep a copy in your moving planner to keep you on track and stress-free.