Take the time to plan a big move – the more you can anticipate in advance, the smoother the actual moving day will be.

  • DIY versus Professional Removalists: you can save money if you move yourself, but only if you have few possessions and a short distance to travel. If you have to do ten trips or more in a hire van, and you have lots of things like heavy books, furniture and china/glassware, use a removal company to do it in one move. A reliable remover will be faster and safer than you, and it gives you more time to unpack at the other end. Expect to pay from £300 (including VAT).
  • Find a remover via The British Association of Removers (020 8861 3331, removers.org.uk – there’s a good stress-free moving guide too).
  • Source 3 quotes from different removers (ideally they should visit you to provide a quotation) – be honest about exactly how much you’re moving (account for contents in spaces like loft and garage, include garden plants and measure dimensions of major pieces of furniture) so they can provide the most accurate quote possible.
  • Ensure all quotations are in writing (including the cost for packing, loading and unloading, storage (if required), special handling/insurance for breakables/valuables, restricted access issues, and special requests like curtain hanging and cleaning). Check to see if your home contents insurance covers moves – it can substantially lessen your removal bill.
  • Avoid moving on a Friday or bank holiday – demand is greater, prices higher.Take anything really precious you can’t bear to be broken with you and if putting any belongings into temporary storage, take a comprehensive inventory so nothing goes missing in transit.

Moving Timeline

One Month Before the Move:

  • Book a remover as soon as possible and book time off work if necessary (allow for a day off afterwards to settle in). Order packing materials if not included in your quote (or if moving yourself). Removal.co.uk is also a good source for movers and moving material suppliers.
  • Start packing the precious pieces you intend to take separately (for peace of mind): try packupandgo.com for unusual materials (thick white wrapping paper, acid free tissue) and packnmove.co.uk for a one-stop packing materials shop.
  • Keep a moving logbook, storing all correspondence with estate agents, solicitors, removers, utility companies and insurers together for instant reference (and carry with you on the day of the move).
  • Redirect your mail (08457 740 740, royalmail.co.uk).
  • Arrange pet care, overnight accommodation/car hire if you’re move is a big one, and as a treat, have your new home professionally cleaned before you arrive.

One-Two Weeks Before:

  • Double-check all remover/van hire bookings, details of house key exchange and parking arrangements for the removal van at both pick-up and delivery locations.
  • Create a moving cleaning kit (dusters, sponges, all purpose cleaner, washing up liquid, vacuum, plastic bucket, mop) for a once-over last clean in the old house and for immediate access at the new house.
  • Cancel newspapers, milk, window cleaners and settle any outstanding bills.
  • Pack valuables such as jewellery and confidential material together (birth certificates, passports) to carry securely with you during the move.

The Big Move:

  • Pack an overnight bag with key essentials (toiletries, pyjamas and underwear, a couple of changes of clothes, alarm clock/radio, fresh bedlinen and towels) and a moving day ‘survival kit’ (kettle, mugs and cutlery, tea/coffee, snacks, toilet roll, bottle of champagne and glasses) so you don’t need to unpack boxes straight away.
  • Make a note of final gas and electricity meter readings at old and new homes, give removers a plan of each room in your new home so they know where boxes should go upon arrival, and double check your inventories.
  • Don’t start unpacking straight away – crack open the bubbly, order a take-away or graze on a carpet picnic and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Unpack one room at a time and don’t expect to do it all in one day – begin with key rooms like bedrooms and bathroom, then kitchen and living room.

Packing Techniques

  • If packing something yourself, ensure bottoms of boxes are closed in an overlap (rather than straight seam) fold, and tape the bottom inside and out for extra strength. Pad out the bottom with old towels, blankets or newspaper; pack fragile items in small boxes to place inside bigger ones; when filled, tightly secure the top.
  • Stick to using similar (ideally medium) sized boxes which won’t be too heavy when filled and will stack uniformly in a van. Don’t scrimp on packing materials – it’s worth buying a little more for minimizing the stress and cost of broken/damaged items.
  • Spread the weight of heavy items over several boxes and top with lighter or fragile items. Label boxes by room to make unpacking quick and easy but keep content descriptions discreet (markings like ‘valuable silver’ are not a good idea).
  • Wrap glass and china pieces individually with a sheet of tissue, a sheet of normal paper, then store upright in a box, lined and topped with wrapping, to ensure nothing moves inside. When unpacking, unwrap over the box so if you drop anything, it falls on the wrapping paper and not the floor.
  • If placing some possessions into storage, ensure the storage space is clear of damp, well-ventilated and protected from sunlight. Guard textiles and clothing with organic moth repellents.
  • Make a thorough inventory of what you’re storing (take pictures of special pieces for insurance purposes), label boxes clearly on top and side to make retrieving items easier, and draw a map to remind you where everything is.

July 16th, 2009

Posted In: Top Tips