With piles of documents, hours of admin and a hundred things to remember, it’s no surprise that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful life events we experience. Both selling and buying a house top the list of stressful events, beating starting a new job and having a baby. If you’re looking to move home this Spring, whether your house is on the market or you’ve just made the sale, you might be starting to feel the pressure kick up a notch. Fortunately, we know a thing or two about moving home. From getting your documents in order to the ultimate packing plan, here are our top tips for a stress free move.
Planning your move
You’ll find most of the moving process consists of planning and packing, but planning should be your priority. From changing your address to making sure your boxes end up in the right rooms, planning is the key to a stress free move.
Create a checklist
Before you start anything it’s best to make a checklist well in advance. Note down everything you can think of that needs to be done before, during and after the move. Where possible, note down a completion date for each item. This could be a set date that has already been agreed, such as key collection and handover, or it could just be a goal you set for yourself based on when it makes the most sense for the item to be completed. As well as dates, note down any costs that might be attached to the item, such as storage or removals. At this stage, the dates and timeline of your checklist probably won’t be in order and you’ll remember additional things as you go along.
Once you have your list, it’s up to you how you manage and keep track of it. You can keep it in a list format and re-write the items in chronological order, giving you a list of tasks that need be completed or achieved each week in the lead up to the move. Alternatively, why not put the items in a calendar or even an excel spreadsheet if you’re feeling computer savvy.
Here’s just a few of the main things that you might put on your checklist:
- Changing addresses and information, starting with the essentials such as the bank, DVLA, doctors and schools.
- Organising any storage and removals well in advance, with a quote to help you budget.
- Cancelling and redirecting any regular deliveries, such as milk or food.
- Transferring energy bills.
- Key collection and handover.
Create a document folder
Moving to a new house always means a lot of admin and paperwork that can quickly become overwhelming and confusing. To keep things as organised as possible, make a document folder to keep everything about the move together. This should include everything directly related to the move, such as contracts or legal documents, as well indirect items such as paperwork for new schools. Once you have your folder, make sure it’s kept in the same place and is always easily accessible. For extra organisation, consider making copies of the most important documents and keep them as a spare.
Visit the new area
After visiting the house once or twice and maybe swinging by the local school, it’s easy to forget that you might not really know your way around the new area at all. Moving to a new home will always entail some level of stress, but there’s no need to make living in your new home stressful as well. Before you make the move, take a few trips to the new area and familiarise yourself with the nearest local shops and other important buildings.
Packing for the move
With a solid plan and your checklist in hand, you can start to tackle your packing. As with your checklist, this should start as early as possible without getting in the way of your current living situation.
Have a good clean out
Moving house is the perfect time to declutter and strip down your personal belongings to the essentials. If you’re downsizing this will be an important part of your moving process, but everyone can benefit from having a a good clean out. The best thing about decluttering is you can start this at any point, even if your house is just on the market and you’re not quite ready to move yet.
Although decluttering can be physically and emotionally challenging, there are both practical and financial benefits to getting organised. Less clutter means fewer boxes to move and could mean a smaller van or fewer number of trips with the removals company.
Be prepared to pack
Make sure you buy enough packing materials to make a decent start on your home but remember you don’t want loads of boxes left over. This is where planning and starting well in advance comes in handy, as you should have plenty of time to make a couple of trips to pick up more packing supplies, so you don’t buy too much. In fact, for a really stress-free move, why not have all your packaging supplies delivered? We offer free delivery on all our online box shop purchases within a five-mile radius, so you only need to order what you want, when you need it.
Here’s some of the main packaging supplies you’ll need to purchase before you start packing.
- Boxes – big, medium and small boxes, as well as wardrobe boxes.
- Packing tape, including brown tape and fragile tape for delicate items.
- Bubble wrap and tissue paper to use with old newspaper for delicate items.
- Marker pens to label your boxes.
While you can use newspaper for packing, the ink can easily come off on your hands and we find many people now look online for news so don’t always have papers lying around. Instead, we recommend white paper and acid-free tissue paper which can be used for delicate items and fabrics.
When you pack it’s important to start with the non-essential items first, which can often be packed up to two or more weeks in advance. This might be whole rooms that are non-essential, such as a spare room or a study that isn’t used often or simply going through the whole house and collecting non-essentials. These items are usually things you have decided to keep but haven’t used in the last month to a year. For example, seasonal clothing, books, DVDs, or kitchen appliances you don’t use often. If you have kids, it’s a good idea to leave their rooms until last. This should minimise the potential stress and confusion that can come from disrupting their routine.
When it comes to physically packing your items, don’t underestimate the power of labelling with a good inventory system. Instead of just writing the name of the room it belongs in, write something more descriptive about the contents of the box. Additionally, create mini inventories of what’s in each and either put it on the box itself or create a list or spreadsheet for your own reference. This may seem time consuming to begin with, but you’ll be amazed by the time, effort and stress saved from having an organised packing system like this.
Pack for the move
Don’t forget to pack for the moving day itself. To do this simply make up a survival box of the most essential items that you and your family will need on the first day or so in the new home. This will save you time finding and unpacking boxes as soon as you walk through the door, and means you can start enjoying your new home straight away.
Here’s a few things to think about putting in your survival box, but the contents should be unique to your family and needs.
- Medicines and first aid kit.
- Kettle with tea and coffee supplies.
- Snacks and other non-perishable foods.
- Your main/favourite pots and pans, plus enough plates and cutlery for everyone.
- Sponge/dish cloth and dish towel.
- Bath towels.
- Toiletries including toilet roll.
- Tool box with essential tools you may need.
- Phone chargers and essential electricals.
Rely on your removals
We always suggest making sure your book a trusted removals company and arranged to have them assess your furniture and items before the move. Any expert removals team should know much more than you about the removals process and the right size van for you, and they should give you advice on what furniture should be dismantled and how.
Arranging a visit beforehand should give you peace of mind about the moving process, and it will help your removals team work better on the day as well. This type of preparation will help you avoid any nasty surprises that cost you time and money, such as making extra trips.
We’re partnered with a trusted removals company in Bracknell and are proud members of Checkatrade, so you can arrange for both storage and removals at the same time. We even offer a free pick-up service on selected unit sizes within a 10-mile radius.
Making the move
With the right planning and preparation, making the move itself should be virtually stress free. With organised and labelled boxes, you and your removals team will find the process quicker and easier. You should also find all your boxes in the room they belong in, making unpacking more efficient too. Simply unpack in reverse order, starting with your survival box and finishing with non-essentials that can be left for a week or two without being needed, and you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time.