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Tips and ideas for moving to a new home

Are you planning on moving into a new home but are unsure where to start?

Moving house is often a new beginning, and an exciting time for the whole family, however it can be mega stressful if you don’t follow a few simple rules, some of which we have listed here, designed to help you cope with a major life upheaval.

I should know, I have just moved house myself!

It most certainly wasn’t easy, however as the new property was only 3 miles away, that did save a lot on moving costs, and meant the upheaval wasn’t so much compared to moving to a new town, for example, but it was hard work to say the least, but worth it in the end!

I made sure I did a lot of planning before the moving day and I would like to share some of that with you, dear reader. Make sure you bookmark this page and SHARE it using the buttons at the foot of the article.

This article is written based upon the assumption that you have secured a tenancy on another property, or sold your old house and bought a new one.

Anyway, so you’ve found your new house and, whether you are renting or buying somewhere, if you haven’t moved for a while, you could become quickly overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work needed to relocate yourself, your family, your pets, and all your possessions, from one property to another.

Even reading back that last sentence, it doesn’t even SOUND easy and that’s because, generally, it’s not, however with a bit of foresight and some handy advice (see below!), you could make it that bit easier.

Let’s have a look at our top 5 tips on moving home.

1. Prepare yourself!

Moving house is a stressful experience. Period.

It is important to understand that you, and your family, will be under stress, so recognise the signs and take a breather if you feel it’s getting on top of you.

Go outside and have a cigarette, or a cup of tea, or just sit down away from the mess and confusion for a few minutes and take deep breaths.

Don’t let stress boil over into arguments which could ruin what is supposed to be, for most, a positive step forward in life.

Be organised, take your time and remember the end goal.

Make sure that you ASK for help from friends and family, if possible, as more hands make lighter work, although too many people isn’t a good idea either, so use your head.

2. Choose your removal method carefully.

There are many ways to move your stuff to a new house, but they basically form into 3 distinct choices, the cheapest being the first one.

  • Rent a van or lorry and do it yourself.
  • Hire a “man and van” on a day or hourly rate.
  • Choose a professional removals company.

Starting with the cheapest one listed above, hiring a van or truck and moving home yourself with save you a lot of money HOWEVER, this is offset by the fact you have to do all the work yourself and don’t underestimate how hard that will be!

If you consider yourself to be a fairly fit person with no history of back problems, then fine, good on you (!), but think how heavy that super-size American style fridge-freezer is!

OK, done that?

Now think about how you will get it out of your top floor apartment and into a lorry. ……..Without breaking it or doing yourself an injury?

OK, still with me?

Now imagine transporting it to your new house and doing the same in reverse.  Now look at all the other bits of furniture in your house that are large and/or weigh a lot…

Do you honestly think you can move all that too?

In one day, PLUS possibly a hundred or so boxes as well?

…and unload it at the other end?

Moving yourself, unless you have very few possessions, is not for the faint hearted so think carefully about that before you tell your partner that you plan to save a few quid (or dollars) by moving yourself!

It often pays to hire a man and van, which is what we did, and most charge a simple hourly rate, so you can budget for the removals cost. You must make sure they are insured, plus ask if they charge for the travelling time too, which can mount up if you are moving far away.

Choosing a professional removals company is the most expensive, but less stressful way of moving from one house to another. You would be looking at a minimum of £700 (plus taxes) for a 3 bedroom house move to a fairly nearby place, at the very least.

For removals from one end of the country to the other, extra costs have to be factored in, so you could be looking at upwards of £1200. For removals to another country, this can cost several thousands, I know, I’ve done it (twice).

Make sure you get at least 3 quotes and check insurances etc. They may also be able to lend or sell you boxes, store stuff for you, help you pack etc, which brings me to my next point.

Packing. Putting all your stuff that you have been used to finding in the same place for years, putting it in a box, and moving it to your new home, and then trying to find a new place for it to go…

Easier said than done!

3. Packing well here, will make unpacking there, much easier.

Making sure everything is packed away for moving is of HUGE importance and if you get that bit wrong, especially if you have a lot of stuff (like I do, thanks to my wife’s habit of collecting vintage toys!), then packing properly is unbelievably important.

One good tip is LABEL each box or bag before it is packed away to move, like we did, see the photo above, so in the new home I know that that bag contains some cuddly toys Amanda is going to sell on ebay at Christmas time, plus the blue boxes contain her collectables that need to be unpacked and put out to display.

Imagine labelling each box so you know what is inside and what room it belongs to, and in practice this saves a hell of a lot of time and stress both during and after moving day. You can also COLOUR CODE boxes, which makes the whole thing idiot proof, even for a dyslexic like me!

Make sure you get all your packing materials together well in advance of your house move and the cheapest place I always found was to buy it all on eBay or at “pound shops” (Thrift stores).

To pack you will need to buy:

  • Brown packing tape. (ebay, 12 rolls of good quality tape for around £12)
  • Sellotape (pound shop)
  • Bin bags (buy them at a pound shop)
  • Bubble wrap (500mm and 50m long, small bubble, buy on ebay for only about £7!!!)
  • Cardboard boxes. You can rent or buy boxes from a storage or removals firm, or you can buy packing boxes on ebay and have them sent flat-packed, to your door.).
  • ……OR you can be smart and get old boxes for free if you look at the back of most stores or in skips/dumpsters etc. You can also ask friends and family. Use your head, and potentially save a fair bit of money, whilst recycling boxes that would have otherwise have been thrown into the garbage anyway.

Advice on how to pack things properly would probably take up an entire article on it’s own, but as a rule, fill all boxes up to the brim, wrap breakable items in bubble wrap, use bin bags for clothes, bedding etc, and of course make sure you label it all.

When packing your stuff away, you may be surprised just how much stuff you actually own!

Relocating to a new home is often good time to de-clutter and chuck stuff out you don’t need, eBay once again the prime outlet for this, which if you are smart, you could actually end up making enough money to cover your removal and packing costs, meaning that in theory, you get to move house FOR FREE!?

It pays, literally, to use your head in this case.

4. Money stuff related to moving house

There is one thing that, whether you are renting or buying, the whole episode is going to cost you money.

However if you don’t take a few extra steps, ones that don’t necessarily first spring to mind, it can actually cost a damn site more than you had planned.

If you are renting then you would have paid a deposit.

In times gone by, the deposit, usually one months rent, was held by the landlord and kept against breakages, theft, damage and non payment of rent, however nowadays many deposits are held by a 3rd party, namely the DPS (Deposit protection scheme). (

Whatever happens, that is YOUR money tied up in that rental house, so you need to get it back. Don’t withhold the last months rent, it’s against the law and the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Do make sure all household bills are paid and, this also applies to people who have just sold a house, take all the meter readings for gas, electric, water etc, and submit them to the relevant company.

You may get a shock, as we did, when you try and cancel any media package you may have if, like us, you had no idea you were under a fixed term contract. We were with BT and, after a telesales call where we got “upgraded” (although we were not told it was a fixed contract) …………and when we tried to cancel they said we had to pay £470 to get out of the contract! Needless to say we disputed it and, to cut a long story short, they found we had been mis-sold the package and didn’t have to pay, but watch out for clauses like that, the utility companies do this too.

UPDATED 20TH OCT 2014. BT are a total flippin nightmare. DO NOT TAKE ANY BROADBAND DEAL OR TV PACKAGE WITH BT, THEY ARE AWFUL. Do you know, its been 4 months since our move and they still keep billing me, for services we dont use and for a house we don’t live in any more. If you complain, some junior basically lies to you or someone from India will call you! AVOID BT LIKE THE PLAGUE

For 100% certainty, take photos of the meter readings.

If you think you can leave the bills behind without paying, think again as utility companies will make sure they place any unpaid bills on your experian credit file, meaning you won’t get credit or loans in the future, even if you only left £50 outstanding on the gas bill, so be warned!

Also make sure you do all cleaning, tiding up, repairs etc., or you may find the landlord will keep the deposit. Tell the council or local authority you have moved, for council tax reasons, and be sure to inform your Doctor’s, your child’s school, the DVLA for car registration, and finally your insurance company, your new address.

Oh and, it’s up to you if you decide to tell your mother in law your new address or not!

When moving from a house you have sold, be courteous and clean it thoroughly before you leave, pour bleach down the sinks and drains, and also tell the new owners of any points they need to know. It’s just common courtesy.

5. And finally, make sure you pack a “1st day” kit

A first aid kit?

NO! A first DAY kit, a bag or box with EVERYTHING YOU NEED to function as a human being for the first one day/night whilst you recover from the shock of moving, and find, and unpack, and place, all those boxes full of stuff you very carefully labelled and colour coded before you moved.

You DID do that didn’t you?

When you move into your new home, the very first day, once the removal men have left, will be CHAOS, so my advice is to order a takeaway for that evening and ready prepared sandwiches for lunch, or if you are in a rural or remote area, make sure you buy a “ready meal” for everyone, the DAY before you move, and keep it handy.

Remember to pack the microwave though.

OH and put the kettle in your first day kit too, plus teabags etc., toothpaste, medicines, keys, money, and you will find that having the absolute essentials to hand will save you time and stress while you “get your bearings” in the new home.

So those were our top tips for relocating to a new home.

Whether you are moving to a rented, leased or bought home, and no matter where you are in the world, adherence to at least a couple of my tips above, should make your forthcoming house move go that little bit smoother.

Handy resources:

The British association of removers: Tel: 01923 699 480

The Canadian association of movers:  Tel: 905.848.6579

The Australian furniture removers association.

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