Moving House Checklist
H1: Moving House Checklist – How Can I Make Moving House Easier?
Moving house is stressful. It’s one of the most stressful things that can happen in your life. That fact makes sense – it’s not something you do every day, and to pack up your whole life into a van and relocate it elsewhere isn’t easy. So any help should be gratefully received.
At phs Teacrate, we’ve plenty of experience in helping our customers relocate by providing sturdy crates for house moves and a range of packing boxes that are perfect for moving home or business. Along the way, we’ve accrued lots of knowledge on what to do and what to avoid so that your house move will go as smoothly as possible. Helpful as ever, we’ve compiled a list of advice and top tips that’ll make moving day a delight, rather than a chore.
We’ve included a checklist of what to do on the run-up to the move and on the big day, including packing tips on specific rooms, such as kitchen and bathroom; bedroom and living room. With the workforce increasingly taking up the opportunity to work from home, we’ve also supplied some helpful hints on how to pack up your study too.
Why Do We Move House?
In the UK, the fact is that we’re not moving house as often as we used to. Whether it’s because we’re settling better in the homes we find due to better transport links and a wider spread of amenities; or because it’s now easier to renovate and extend than it once was, we stay anywhere between 14.9 years (Midlothian) and 33.1 years (Powys) in our homes before moving house to pastures new.
On average, we move house once every 23 years for various reasons. We could be downsizing once the family has left home, upsizing because the family refuses to leave home; taking on a new job that isn’t within commuting distance or moving away for a slower (or faster) pace of life.
Whatever the reasons for moving, the process remains the same – plan, pack and proceed (with caution).
How Can I Plan for a House Move?
Once you’ve found your perfect new home, there’s so much to think about. Don’t get overwhelmed - our handy Moving House Checklist will help you get organised on the build up to your move.
- Declutter – throw out, donate, recycle
- This can be a very therapeutic way of reducing the number of belongings that you have to move. Return all the things you’ve borrowed from friends and relatives, dispose of anything that no longer works and donate anything that still functions but just doesn’t work for you.
- Bear in mind the room that you’ll have in your new home. If space is at a premium or if you are moving in with a partner or friend(s), will you need two (or more) of anything?
- You can arrange for your local council to pick up large items for a relatively small fee or post them for free on local Facebook pages, Freecycle. If you’d like to make a little cash out of your unwanted goods, try eBay or Gumtree. In most cases, if you leave things at your old property without agreement, inside or outside, you may be charged a disposal fee.
- Arrange Storage
- If you’re moving into temporary accommodation or a property with no garage or loft space, for example, you might need to store some of your belongings. This could range from everything but the essentials for the next few months to a few seasonal items like garden furniture or skiing gear.
- Shop around for convenient solutions, such as The Big Yellow Self Storage Company or Safestore.
- Book a Removal Company
- Once you know roughly when you’ll be moving (exchange of contracts isn’t always an exact science) and exactly what’s going with you, it’s time to look at how you’re going to get it all there. You could try to move everything yourself, but professional Removal Companies have more experience in packing, loading, lifting and also have insurance to cover breakages and damage to your property at either end.
- Get three or four quotes from removers but more importantly, get recommendations from anyone who has recently moved. Make sure they are reputable and, like phs Teacrate, a member of the British Association of Removers.
- When providing a quote, a representative from the removal firm will usually walk around your home for an accurate assessment of what is required. You should point out any fragile or special pieces that will need extra care.
- Some Removal Companies will require you to dismantle beds or large furniture, or they might do it for you. Either way, you will need exactly what’s included in the quote in writing, so there’s no confusion on the day.
- Most Removal Companies will also be able to provide a quote for packing as well as transporting your belongings. If you are having to move with little notice or haven’t enough spare time to pack up, this could save you a lot of stress.
- If you're moving with little furniture, i.e. into or out of a furnished property, a car and some friends will probably do the job for the price of a pizza. And if you aren’t moving far, a few round trips in a hired van from your old place to your new place could suffice and be cheaper than using a removal company. Just be aware that if anything happens to your belonging en route, you may not get any compensation.
- Book a Specialist Remover
- Antiques, pianos and artwork will require specialised removers. Standard Removal Companies will probably be able to recommend someone, again you should get a handful of quotes and several recommendations.
- In this area, it’s particularly important that the specialist removers have adequate insurance.
- Find someone to look after pets and/or children on moving day
- We know that they love to help in their own special way, but small children and pets can be a hazard during a house move.
- Keep them safe at a friend or relative’s or book them some extra time at nursery or pet day-care.
- Boxes, boxes and more boxes
- As soon as you know you’re moving, start gathering together useful supplies, such as boxes, tape and padding. These will be helpful when it comes to packing.
- Beware of using old boxes that might not be up to the job and consider alternatives to cardboard boxes which aren’t always as environmentally friendly as you may think.
- For sturdy removal boxes, phs Teacrate provides a full range of removal crates for everything from kitchenware to books and IT equipment.
- Let people know you’re moving
- Make a list of everyone who needs to be notified of your change of address. It’s a good idea to start watching your post as soon as you know you are moving, making a list of any mail you receive so you can advise the sender.
- As well as friends and family, you'll need to notify your:
- children’s school(s)
- bank/building society
- credit card companies
- insurance companies
- the local council
- National Insurance
For all of these, a quick phone call or email should suffice.
- For anything you may have forgotten, get in touch with the Post Office to arrange a mail forwarding service. They’ll need five days’ notice, and can re-direct your post for 3, 6 or 12 months. The service can be renewed if required.
- Be careful when online shopping after your move – check that your new address is registered with the supplier if you don’t want a long trip to collect a parcel from your old address.
- Remind friends and family of your new address at every opportunity. Send out an announcement email, post new address cards, and include in all correspondence for a couple of years, e.g. Christmas cards, birthday cards, invitations, etc
- Update your licence(s)
- Give your landlord correct notice
- According to the terms of your rental contract, you may be required to give a period of notice in writing before vacating the property. Send the letter by registered mail or keep a copy of the email, in case a dispute arises.
- Make sure you’ve observed this period before signing a new contract or you may end up paying two rents or a rent and a mortgage at the same time.
- Notify utility providers and subscription services
- Set aside half a day for calling around all of your household suppliers, including gas, electric and water; internet and phone; cable or satellite TV; magazine subscriptions; even the milkman, the window cleaner and that smiley chap who cleans your bins.
- Many of these suppliers are contactable at the weekend as well as throughout the week so you don’t even have to take time off work to do this.
- Do this a limited time before you leave so that you are fully paid up but won’t be getting post delivered to you new address before you arrive.
- Check you’re covered
- Make sure that your home insurance is up to date and that it covers the moving process. It’ll be good to find out what your liability is should any damage happen while squeezing large, heavy or valuable furniture out of your old home and into your new one.
- Moving house is the perfect time to update your home insurance and consider moving providers for a better deal… shop around to get value for money.
- Investigate access to your new home
- Whether you’re moving yourself or following a professional removal van, you’ll need to know where to park at your destination.
- Don’t get off on the wrong foot with new neighbours by blocking their access. Popping in to warn them when you’ll be moving in is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself, if you haven’t already done so.
- It might be handy to know them if it turns out that the best way to access your property is through an adjoining neighbours garden or driveway.
- In some cases, you might need to arrange a parking permit (check that your removal company has done his for their van) and, depending on the size of the job, maybe even a road closure. The local council should help with both of these.
- Tour your new area
- As with meeting your new neighbours, you don’t need to wait until you’ve moved in to get to grips with the local amenities.
- Make dates for several lunches or Sunday strolls around the area on the build up to the move so you won’t feel like a complete fish out of water once you’re a permanent resident.
- Introduce yourself to the last home owners
- Whilst in the area make an excuse to pop in on the sellers of your new home – if possible, call ahead to warn them that you’re dropping by.
- Ask them for the following info that might not be obvious when you move in:
- Where's the main stopcock (to shut off the water)?
- Where are the gas and electricity meters? Who are the utility suppliers?
- Where is the thermostat?
- Who is the broadband and home phone supplier?
- What day are the bins collected?
- Is there any leftover paint for touching up paintwork? Or boxes of wall or floor tiles? If not, where are they from?
- Are there any instruction manuals or warranties?
- Where did the fixed furniture come from, e.g. fitted wardrobes or kitchen cabinets?
- Make a similar list for your buyers so you can stay on good terms without them having to call you all the time to ask questions.
- Check your Council Tax
- You’ll need to know how much and when to pay your Council Tax as this can vary from borough to borough. Contact your local area offices to discover your liabilities and the systems in place for the payment of bills.
- Also find out what this charge covers. Does it include weekly or bi-weekly bin collections? Or water bills (Scotland)? In some areas you may have to pay extra for garden waste disposal, for example.
- Check the Council Tax Band for your new property and ensure that it is in line with similar properties nearby, if not, you may appeal this but be aware that the band could go up as well as down.
- Register to Vote
- When you move house, you’ll need to register to vote at your new address so that you can vote in local and general elections.
- Being on the Electoral Roll can also help boost your credit rating as it is an indication of a genuine application. Handy when you need a loan to decorate your new home.
- Remember that each individual in your household of voting age (18 or above) must register separately.
What’s the Best Way to Pack for a House Move?
If you aren’t employing the use of professional packers, here’s where the work begins…
- Start as early as possible
- As soon as you know that you are moving house, you can start packing non-essentials first and dismantling furniture in the rooms that are least used.
- Use a system so that you can keep track, for example, pack room by room.
- Keep track
- Label boxes as you go, marking them with the room and brief description of contents, e.g. KITCHEN: saucepans. Place labels on top and side so they can be seen when boxes are stacked.
- Alternatively, number each box and keep your own checklist of the box’s destination in your new home and its contents.
- This will help you to unpack boxes in order of priority – helpful if you have limited time for the move.
- Label boxes with ‘fragile’ if you want them to receive gentle care or not to be placed at the bottom of a stack.
- Use Quality Materials
- If you’ve been stocking up on packing essentials since you had confirmation of your move, you’ll be well equipped with tape, bubble wrap, zip tie bags, labels and marker pens.
- Removal Companies may be able to provide boxes (usually cardboard) at a price. Try phs Teacrate for a full range of home removal crates. They’re re-usable, sturdy and weather-proof, and with lidded options, you wont even have to worry about packing tape!
- phs Teacrate will deliver the boxes whenever you need them at your old home and collect them from your new home, as required. And if you still want the packing accessories, we can provide those too.
- Don’t overload boxes
- Even though you may have secured the used of a firm of removers who are used to lifting boxes, it’s good to limit the weight of your boxes to avoid damage to their contents and the property they’re being manoeuvred around, not to mention the person lifting them.
- Cardboard boxes can collapse under too much weight and don’t stack well.
- Use phs Teacrate’s rigid plastic removal crates in conjunction with one of our sackbarrows or skates for easier handling.
- Don’t leave spaces
- Without overloading ensure that all of your possessions are well padded to avoid possible damage from bashing around. Use bedding, towels, or even clothing.
- Keep Cupboard Doors Open
- If you leave doors and drawers open once you’ve packed their contents, you’ll know you haven’t left anything lurking in them. This only applies to built-in units as the rest (we’re guessing) is going with you.
- Ask for help
- Friends and family should be all too willing to help, even if just for a little while or to get a good nosey at your belongings!
- Make it fun
- Persuade children/teens to lend a hand by using coloured labels or singing songs to prevent boredom. The more difficult to entertain may need an incentive as a reward. Actually, everyone deserves a reward after a difficult packing session!
- Take photos
- It may have taken you months or years to get your old home looking just as you wanted it. Take photos of any displays or set ups that will help you to recreate the same feel in your new home, in a fraction of the time.
- Pack a survival kit
- Pack the things you use every day and night in a separate bag and keep this with you. Items such as medicines, toiletries, toothbrush, change of clothes, phone chargers etc will all come in handy. Remember also to have a loo roll handy in case there isn’t one at your new property.
- Keep valuables/personal items close and travel with them: passport mortgage, number of estate agent and solicitor
- Don’t forget
- Your garage or shed may contain expensive tools or bicycles that will be sorely missed if forgotten.
- Loft or attic space may house luggage, Christmas decorations or family memories that would be expensive or difficult to replace.
- Carry out a last check of your garden for potted plants, outdoor furniture or children’s toys before you declare your packing is complete.
Pack Your Home, Room by Room
This is a good way to keep track of your packing. Start with one box in each room. As it is filled seal and place out of the way in an unused room or secure garage. Only dismantle furniture that you can easily rebuild. Your nominated Removal Company may volunteer to do this for you as it will be easier for the m to transport the pieces to your new home than one large item.
Here are our top tips for packing up each room:
- Dismantle anything that can be easily put back together. Keep all screws, nuts and bolts in a plastic bag, taped to the relevant furniture.
- Remove any soft furnishings for separate transport – consider having these dry cleaned before installing in your new home.
- Cover furniture and wall art in protective blankets – these may be provided by your Removal Company.
- Use packing tape to fix an X onto mirrors or glass cabinets to help prevent breakage and ensure that nothing is stacked on them in transit.
- Apply corner protectors to guard the edges of furniture.
- Cover all surfaces with a layer of cardboard to prevent scratches, dents or discolouring.
- Clean rugs and allow to dry before rolling and tying.
- Use paper instead of plastic to wrap rugs to help avoid mildew.
You might find the 25-litre phs Teacrate LC1 Personal Crate useful for packing small delicate objects, such as ornaments or TV remote controls.
- Clean all appliances (small and large) before packing.
- Tape everything closed to avoid swinging doors.
- Defrost fridge/freezer before moving day and ensure it’s empty of food.
- Keep kettles and toasters until last as you’ll want breakfast on moving day.
- Ensure glasses and crockery are well padded by wrapping with polystyrene, bubble wrap or towels as well as packing paper.
- Don’t overload boxes as even a few plates and cups can be weighty. on the packing of glass, the box won’t be able to take the weight.
- Aside from a small essential food pack – milk, bread, etc - avoid the supermarket before moving house so you don’t have to pack the shopping too. It’s an excellent excuse for a takeaway.
Do not stack cardboard boxes from the kitchen as their weight is likely to crush boxes below. Plastic crates, such as phs Teacrate’s 80-litre LC3 Standard Lidded Crate are sturdier and can be stacked safely.
- Unless requested to do so by your Removal Company, you needn’t empty your drawers. Simply tape them shut so they don’t burst open in transit.
- Empty wardrobes as these will be to heavy to shift with a full contents.
- Camp out using sleeping bags the night before the move so that bedding can be packed and beds are already dismantled and ready to go.
- As with the Living Room furniture, keep all screws, nuts and bolts in a plastic bag, tied to the relevant furniture put all of the nuts and bolts into bags taped to the bed frame.
- If you haven’t got mattress covers (the removal Company may provide these) use old sheets to protect the mattresses on their journey to your new home.
- Place the mattress in between furniture in the removal van – professionals will know to do this.
- Vacuum bags will take up let room when used to pack clothes and bedding.
- Wardrobe boxes can be used to quickly empty and refill wardrobes. Your Removal Company might be able to supply these.
- Keep valuable jewellery with you. Clip or poke earrings through a piece of cardboard so that they are in one place.
phs Teacrate’s LC2 Stair Crate is a smaller lidded crate of 54 litres, perfect for manoeuvring stairs and transporting items to bedrooms.
- Seal opened toiletries /make-up to avoid spillages.
- Place a packing tape X on mirrors to protect against shattering.
- Keep daily medicines with you.
- Wrap items in towels to protect from breakage and soak up any spillages.
- Place heavier appliances at the bottom of the box or crate.
- Ensure all data is backed up before unplugging computer /network.
- Photograph the wires at the back of your PC/printer sets up so you know what goes where when you have to put it back together.
- If you don’t have the original packaging, find a suitable alternative box, such as phs Teacrate’s Computer Crate.
- As with other rooms, use bubble wrap, polystyrene sheets, bedding and towels to pad out the boxes containing delicate equipment.
- Consider keeping important paperwork with you.
For packing shelves containing files, books and CDs, consider using phs Teacrate’s 130-litre Lidded Metre Crate.
Final Tips for Moving Day:
- Flatten some cardboard boxes and lay them down to protect your flooring.
- Make sure there are light bulbs - you don't want to have to go to the shop mid-move or wait until it's too dark and the shops are closed for the day!
- Take meter readings –at your old and new homes to ensure you’re only paying for what you’ve used. Taking a photo is fast evidence and will be date/time stamped.
- Clean your old home as you leave and your new home before you arrive. This is easier said than done but some of your buyer’s funds might be withheld if you don’t leave the house in clean condition. With your house boxed up, most of your cleaning can be done the night before so as soon as you have keys to your new home, leave your partner/parent at your old house to supervise packing while you race ahead to get a head start on the cleaning at your new place. Alternatively, you could hire a cleaning service.
- The Wi-Fi might not be set up at your new home for a few days, so be prepared to use hotspots or that local café that you’ve already spied on your tour of the area.
- Have a survival kit packed and ready to go, containing:
- Kettle, mugs, tea, milk, coffee, sugar
- Cleaning products, plus vacuum cleaner and bin bags
- Phone and laptop chargers
- Loo roll, kitchen roll
- Duvet and bedding for the first night
- Temporary furniture - deck chairs etc.
7. Check all of the utilities are up and running. Have numbers to hand just in case. Make sure you have keys to every door, window and cupboard and have left your old ones behind.
8. The Wi-Fi might not be set up at your new home for a few days, so be prepared to use hotspots or that local café that you’ve already spied on your tour of the area.
9. In the midst of all the stress of moving house, don’t forget to be nice to all helpers – paid and unpaid. A hot cuppa served with a smile goes a long way.
10. Enjoy your new home – you’ve earned it!