How to move to a new home with less stress!

So you’ve found the perfect home for you – and you have a moving date either agreed or that everyone is working towards. Now you need to think about packing up your home and organising the services at your new one – this post will help your home move happen with less stress!

First thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to declutter – don’t pay to move stuff that you don’t need – or worse, that you don’t have space for in your new home. I’ve got a blog post about preparing your home for sale which has some useful information in it about decluttering.Essentially you need to prioritise getting rid of ‘big’ stuff that you don’t want to take with you – for example, that old exercise bike that is cluttering up your garage. And don’t forget about places like sheds and lofts! These are the most likely to have stuff in that you’ll get rid of or donate.

Packing your stuff up

Start to do this early!! You could start packing up your pictures and ornaments first, as you don’t need those frequently – but you’ll probably still be packing up your kitchen the day before you move, as you use it on a daily basis.

You can buy your own boxes from specialist websites or even from Amazon. Make sure you have enough (good quality) tape, with a proper tape dispenser, and a supply of markers to identify the box contents or labels. You’ll also need something to protect any fragile items during the move like bubblewrap or strong paper – I used this wrap from Amazon. I used these labels last time I moved – I stuck one on the top and one on the front of each box, together with writing on the number of the box. I then put one label on a piece of A4 paper which I stuck to the door of the relevant room in the new house and all the removal team had to do was put boxes with the corresponding colour labels in that room. Genius.

An idea I had last time I moved was to number each box, and keep a separate list and a photo of what was in the box rather than write the contents on the box itself. I had a small whiteboard, and when I finished loading the box up I wrote the number on the box, wrote the contents and the box number on the whiteboard, and took a photo of the whiteboard on top of the open box. Then I sealed the box up, labelled it and put it to one side. The next box then has the next number, and so on. This worked really  well, as I didn’t have to search through piles of boxes to find the one I wanted – I just looked on my phone until I found the right box number. I organised the photos of boxes into a separate folder on my phone for easy access.

Photo of an open box being packed for house move, with a small whiteboard with the contents written on

My method for recording the contents of my moving boxes

(patent pending 😉)

When packing up the TV or any complicated electronics, take a photo of the wires and connections before disconnecting any of them. Saves a lot of messing around and trial and error when you’re setting them up in the new place!

When you’re packing up clothes on hangers, you can keep them on the hangers, and put them into large black bags, with the hangers at the top (outside the bag). This protects them during the move.

Finding a removals service

You can ‘DIY’ your house move and rent a van, but I really wouldn’t recommend it unless you are moving out of your parents home for the first time (and therefore have very little in the way of ‘stuff’). It takes an awful lot of strength and energy to move the contents of a home, and there is a lot of skill involved, in wrapping up your precious belongings and making sure they arrive at the other end with no damage. When looking for a removal firm personal recommendation is best but if you need to, look at reviews. They will want to come round and look at your contents to see how long it will take, how many vans will be used and therefore how much to quote. You won’t be able to book them (without potentially losing your deposit) unless you have a firm date for moving. They might also provide a packing service at additional cost, which may be of use to you.

Organising the services

Next steps – you will need to organise the utilities at your next place (gas, electricity, broadband, phone line, TV provider, water) as well as home insurance and changing the address on your car insurance. You’re responsible for insuring the new property from the date of exchange of contracts! You’ll also need to let your current providers know that you’re moving. Organise for your post to be redirected to your new address by filling in the online Royal Mail form.

Take your meter readings on the final day (take a photo of the meters) and remember to take a reading of your new meters on your first day (again, a photo).

Find out from the estate agent how you will get the keys to the property on moving day (and from your own agent how the new owners of your old home will get theirs!).

Handing over to the new owners

Prepare a handover list for the new owners – you could ask the owners of the new home to do a similar list for you. This should include useful information such as where the meters are, what day the bins are collected, the names of the neighbours, any particular maintenance arrangements for equipment you’re leaving behind, and so on. I’ve created a checklist for a handover list that you can download for free here.

If you’ve had a good relationship with your buyers, it’s nice to leave them a ‘welcome’ gift like a bottle of prosecco (with a couple of glasses) together with your handover list. And of course you should clean your home so it’s ready for the new owners (and hope that the owners of your new home have done the same for you!).

Moving day essentials

Prepare your moving day essentials box and overnight bag in the week before you move. The box should include toilet roll, kitchen roll, some cutlery, plate, mugs/paper cups, coffee and so on.

Have any valuables (jewellery, passports, important documents, laptop) with you in your car.

Your overnight bag should include phone charger, medicine, toiletries and clothes for overnight.

Pack up your duvets and pillows into large bags and they can then be unpacked in your new place once your beds have been put in place. These bags from Amazon come highly recommended.

Unpacking at your new home

Photo of several large moving boxes waiting to be opened
Photo by Michal Balog on Unsplash

It will probably be chaos, with people moving boxes and possessions in! Be on hand for any questions from your removals people about which furniture goes where.

First priority should be to get  your kitchen unpacked with the basics and make sure everyone in your home has a bed to sleep in by bedtime – quilts, pillows, sheets etc.

Remember to take photos of your gas and electricity meters for your first reading.

If you’re working, make sure (if you can) that you book a few days off after the move, to try and get yourself unpacked as much as possible. In the first few days, do your address change notifications; for businesses, many of these can be done online, or you may need to call. Remember to tell your friends and family your new address.

Some key tips:

  • If you live with others, spread the load. It shouldn’t be down to one person in the household to get everything packed up, and all the admin done
  • If friends offer to help pack (or unpack, at the other end) boxes – do not, under any circumstances, say no!!
  • Start to prepare for the move earlier than you think you need to. There is an awful lot to get done, and you need to fit this around your current life and commitments
  • In particular, declutter early, and before you start packing!
  • Planning is key – have lists, add to them, cross things off – just use them! They will help the whole process get out of your head, and onto paper
  • Keep in touch with your solicitor, and the estate agents involved, throughout. Dates can change, people can do strange things, curveballs can be thrown. Keep yourself informed.
Photo of a man draped across the branch of a tree looking relaxed
Photo by Zhang Kenny on Unsplash

Finally, remember to take some time for yourself after the move – it will probably have been highly stressful, potentially emotionally draining, and almost certainly physically exhausting! Don’t try and get everything unpacked and pictures up in the first week – prioritise the essentials like your kitchen and bathroom, and somewhere to relax each evening. And enjoy your new home 🏡