Considered to be as stressful as divorce or bereavement, house moving is one of the most difficult things you are likely to do in your life. The anxiety of up-rooting and leaving a house that has been your home, coupled with the endless list of things to do and arrange is what makes moving such a stressful experience.
The key to making the transition from one house to another a smooth process is to be as thoroughly prepared as possible.
Where to start?
The first thing to do is to set your moving date. It would usually be the completion date, when contracts are exchanged, but once you have set a date you can prepare you moving plan around it.
As soon as you know when the move is happening, it is a good idea to begin a ‘moving checklist’; a list of things to do before the big day arrives.
You can add to this list as you go along, and it will help you to feel in control of the move as you tick things off the list.
Getting prepared to move house
Being well-organised will ease the pressure on everyone involved in the move, and you can start at least a month or two in advance by thinking about what possessions you are going to take with you. This can be a great time to clear out any clutter, and you can either sell or give away any belongings that you no longer need.
It is also worth thinking about the layout of the new property; consider whether all of your furniture will fit in, and whether you need to take it all.
If you need to make any travel arrangements, or the move involves hotel stays for your family, it is sensible to book well in advance; particularly in the summer months when hotels are likely to be busier. You should also familiarise yourself with the new area; get to know the local schools, shops and amenities, especially if you have children as this will help them to settle in quicker.
Get together all of your important paperwork, and keep it in a folder which will travel with you when you move. Birth certificates, medical and dental records, wills, pension and insurance documents, and so on. You might also want to consider how you are going to transport specialist items, or possessions with sentimental value such as jewellery and photo albums.
Decide whether you want to use a removal company or you want to carry out the move yourself. There are several benefits to using a professional removal firm; they can pack your house for you taking away a lot of stress, trained professionals can help with dismantling and re-building large items of furniture, and all of your possessions are insured while under their care.
If you do book a removal firm, bear in mind they are likely to be more expensive on Fridays and weekends, so if possible, try to move mid-week.
Equally, many people choose to save the cost of hiring a removal company, by moving house on their own. If you are hiring a van or lorry for the move make sure you book it well in advance to ensure availability, and try to estimate the size of vehicle you will need to avoid having to make extra trips back and forth.
Make sure you have the house fully packed ready for the day, you only have the vehicle hire for a certain period of time, which should not be spent on last minute packing.
Even if you use a removal company, you still might want to do the packing yourself. Many people feel more comfortable knowing they packed their own possessions rather than leaving it to a stranger. You may be able to collect empty cardboard boxes from local shops or supermarkets, but you can also buy them online from a box company if necessary.
Collect old newspapers, bubble wrap and polystyrene to use as packing materials as you build up to the move. When packing your boxes, consider their strength and their size when you decide what items to put in them.
Try not to pack large boxes with very heavy items such as books; remember that they need to be carried comfortably without straining people’s backs. Mark boxes clearly with their contents, and the name of the room where they will go in the new house.
Letting people know
Make a list of all the companies and organisations you need to inform of your move, and note down their contact details.
You will need to contact the Post Office, your bank, the DVLA, your internet service provider, your gas and electricity suppliers, your local council, credit card companies, the Inland Revenue, and any other companies you hold accounts with.
Don’t forget to inform all of your friends and family of the move, even those that you see rarely who may only hold your address. One way to do this is to have moving cards printed, which you can send out to everyone to give them your new details.
Pack some things that you will need when you first arrive at the new house, this might include cleaning products, toiletries, paper cups and plates, cutlery, a kettle and tea and coffee, a torch, bin bags, and so on. Defrost and clean the fridge and freezer ready for the move, and contact electricity, gas and phone suppliers with at least 48 hours notice to cut off the supply.
The moving day
Once everything is loaded onto the van take a final tour of the house to make sure absolutely nothing is left behind. Give the house a thorough clean and return the keys to the vendor.
If you were renting make sure everything is left in the same condition as which you found it, to protect your deposit. An inventory may be carried out on the day you move, or shortly after, to confirm that the property is left in good condition.
Finally, take a deep breath and try to get through the day with the minimum of stress. Remember, this could be one of the most stressful days of your life, but with the right preparation and organisation you can relieve the pressure, and concentrate on the excitement of moving into a new house.