Tips For Moving

You've decided that you want to move, so where do you start?

Think about what you need to take and what you can manage without. One way of deciding how much something really adds value to your life is to ask three questions about the item.


Have I used it in the last 12 months? Is it of sentimental value? Is it beautiful or useful……if the answer to all three questions is no, it is apparent that you don't really need it so out it should go! Remember that everything you move with you takes up space and that costs money. A large box on average costs between £10 and £20 of your total quotation cost (depending on your removal company charges), so make sure that the contents are either priceless and sentimental, or useful and more valuable than the price it costs you to move them.


Start to clear out the said unwanted goods. Why not invite friends around for a coffee and whilst they are there, see if anybody would like to give any of your unwanted belongings a new home. This is a doubly purposeful meeting if you intend moving some distance away and may not see existing friends as often. Failing the ability to 're-home' your items, charity shops and car-boot sales are a great way of streamlining your removal contents and of course there is always Ebay…..well, they do say that one man's junk is another man's treasure!


Make a designated 'central point of packing'. This is where you keep several pens, packing tape, boxes, address book etc. and write everything down in a jotter / spiral notepad or similar.


Make a list of all the people you need to notify of your new address, to make the job easier further down the line. This list could be compiled as you think of them or reminders could also be triggered off as you go through your old papers in the study, so always keep your notebook handy and write it all down. Alternatively, to make the first 3 months, 6 months, 9 or first year of living in your new home as easy as possible – why not arrange for your mail to be re-directed? Royal Mail in the UK provide this re-direction service for a whole year to European addresses for around £80 for a family of four (provided that the surnames are all the same). Money and time well spent I'd say.

Boxes, boxes and more boxes……these are most important for your move. Ask for empty boxes at your local supermarket and tell all your friends to save any decent sized, or good quality boxes (the sturdier the better) for your move. Flat pack these boxes in your 'central point of packing' for use as you need them. Obviously if you have already accepted a quotation from your chosen removals company, then you can request to have boxes delivered to you at a convenient date for you – ahead of the moving day. It should be noted that some companies charge a deposit for delivering boxes ahead of the move, although you'll probably find that most removals companies offer the deposit to be refunded once these have been returned to them. Most removal companies are happy to come and collect the used boxes if you contact them once you have unpacked at your new property.
Even if your removal company are doing most of the packing on your behalf, you may decide you want to make a head start on certain things and if that's the case, then you'll need to be organised! Make a computer generated list of numbers, with enough space next to each number to describe box contents or simply use your notepad and hand-write the same kind of list. Each box number (written on the box itself) should then correspond with the same number on your list. You can provide this list to your removals company if they are doing the remainder of the packing for you and they will then continue the list in the same manner as they pack the remaining items. There are always things you can pack ahead if you plan well – if it's Summer, get your winter clothes packed and out of the way or vice-versa.
Use wardrobe boxes to their full advantage – any long tubular items could be packed into these boxes, like brooms and mops – with broom heads and mop heads protected by an old carrier bag being taped over the top to avoid marking your clothes. Other ideas could be to pack shoes in carrier bags (again to protect the other contents in the wardrobe box) or shoes inside their shoe boxes, jumpers and tops (these would also stop items moving around so much inside the wardrobe box and therefore protect the contents) or anything else you could think of to save space. The items should of course not be too heavy however, you wouldn't want to pack your dumbbells or weights into the bottom of a wardrobe carton for instance!!
Keep things together. Try to keep light bulbs with lamps, extension cords with appliances and tape small parts onto the respective objects (for instance small brackets taped to a bookshelf, or screws to a dismantled bed or cot). That way nothing important is going to get lost when it is most needed.
Tool box – as you pack and start dismantling things, you will notice that your tool box is getting a lot of use. Ensure that this is kept safe at all times and let it be one of the very last things you pack. This will then become part of the 'FIRST BOX OFF' box, Make sure that you label the first box off accordingly (all over the box in big huge letters or brightly coloured in wrapping paper if necessary) that way you will be organised and prepared to start assembling everything at the other end.
If possible, put a few things into a suitcase for the last two weeks of your life in the old house, then live out of that case for the final period of your stay. Pack your toothpaste, soap, shampoo, shower gel etc. into a wash bag / travel cosmetic case and a selection of clothes that could be worn and washed – then you know that the remaining items of clothing and toiletries can be packed.
Take stock – have a look in your freezer and plan your meals for the final weeks of your life in the old house. You may not be taking the freezer but if you are, you're going to need to defrost the appliance a few days before the move. What a perfect time therefore, to have a clear out and use up all that food. With some careful planning, you can use it all up over a few meal times and save on your usual big shopping trip. You could also limit yourself to a smaller selection of cooking utensils from the kitchen if you know more or less what you are cooking over the last few days. The rest of the utensils can all be packed. Keep food supplies to the bare minimum, use up whatever perishables you can before the move. Waste baskets can also be cleaned and packed and you could instead use plastic carrier bags to contain your rubbish.
If you must clean your old place before you move out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. If you are able to, you could clean each room as it becomes empty or condense the packing of one room (lounge) into another room (study) so that you can clean as much as possible in advance. Once your kitchen cupboards are empty, clean them, the oven, fridge and defrosted freezer etc.
If you have any valuables, try to take these with you personally. Failing the ability to do that (maybe you don't feel you can carry the family china with you on board a flight to Portugal!!) then you should check your homeowner's insurance cover to see how or if you are covered during the move. If you require additional insurance cover speak to your removals company.
Keep (if possible in your 'central point of packing' area, as long as it is a safe place to do so) all your important documentation. Birth certificates, health records, passport, marriage certificate, address book, important contact numbers (banks, solicitors etc.), papers regarding your house sale/purchase or property rental agreements, maps, utility companies'recent bills (they'll have your account number and other important contact information on them which you'll need), removals quotes and documentation, school records, new job contacts etc…keep these with you at all times and do not allow them to be packed!
First Box Off – so you've done all of the above, you're organised and you're down to your 'essential' items which are to be packed last – unpacked first. One idea is to make sure these boxes are brightly coloured – a different colour for each family member (that way they will recognise their box immediately at the other end). Each family member fills his/her 'first box off' with all the things they cannot live without and need straight away at the new house. These might be practical things like the vacuum cleaner, keys and tools, essential things like telephone, teabags and kettle, or indulgent things like chocolate!!

Moving house is well known for being one of the most stressful things you can do in life, but if you plan everything carefully, the stress will be significantly reduced. There is no reason why it should not go like clockwork.

Good luck in your new home!




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