The day you move house is likely to be a busy one, but you can make the process less stressful with good preparation. If you have grown attached to your home over many years, the move can also be quite emotional, but following our advice will help you plan and manage the day.
Planning when to move
As soon as you know the date of the move, book a removal company – if you are going to be using one – and if necessary, arrange for children and pets to be looked after.
You will need to decide whether to move on a week day or at the weekend and may choose to book some time off work, both for the move and to settle into your new home.
In an ideal situation you will have an overlap so you do not have to move out of your old home and into your new one on the same day. Having the luxury of moving over the course of a few days can make things easier each end and also provides a good opportunity to decorate or clean your new home while it is still empty.
Before the move
Prior to the move, you will need to:
- Choose a removal company
There are a number of costs associated with moving house, but a reputable, professional removal company can be worthwhile expense, as carrying heavy furniture yourself can be dangerous, exhausting and may lead to your possessions being damaged.
With a professional moving company, your belongings will be well looked after and insured against any damage during transit. It is preferable to use a removal company tried, tested and recommended by a friend. You should also look for a remover accredited by the British Association of Removers.
- Sort out your belongings
Throw away, recycle or donate anything to charity shops that you do not want. Each bag of clothes and box of books you take with you will add extra time and expense to the move, so it is a good idea to take this opportunity to have a clear out.
- Pack up your belongings
As the moving date gets closer, begin to pack up your belongings. Do not overload boxes with lots of heavy books, and make sure that you use good quality tape and plenty of padding to protect breakables. Label each box carefully with its contents, the room in the new home it is intended to be opened in, and whether it contains fragile items.
- Dismantle furniture
When dismantling furniture, carefully bag up any screws and fittings and label them accurately. These should be packed into a box labelled ‘essentials’, which should contain all the things you are likely to need immediately after your arrival.
- Label and pack essentials
Your ‘essentials’ box should include bed linen, towels, toiletries and any medicines required on your first night in your new home – as well as your mobile phone charger, a small tool kit and other useful items.
- Plan your remaining meals
In advance of the move you should start to think about planning your meals so you use up the food in your freezer. In the week before the move, plan your meals carefully so both your fridge and freezer are as empty as possible when the time comes.
- Prepare a handover note for the new homeowner
Preparing a handover note will make it easier for the new homeowner to settle into your old home and by including your new address and phone number, they will know where to forward on any post that is meant for you.
- Contact relevant service providers
Contact all the relevant service providers you use and alert them to the change of address. This will include utility providers, your bank, and any magazine, newspaper or catalogue subscriptions. You should also transfer your TV licence to your new address, and put a stop to any milk or food you have regularly delivered. You may decide to set up a postal redirect with Royal Mail so your mail is diverted for a period of time. There is a charge for this service.
Preparing to move checklists
For more detailed checklists to help you move home, read our following guides:
- Preparing to move: The first steps
- Preparing to move: The week before the move
- Preparing to move: The day of the move