Moving house before the school term starts? We asked our friends at AnyVan.com for some expert advice. This is what they came back with...

The first stages of moving can be split into what we call ‘The three Ps’ which stand for planning, preparation and packing.

Step 1: Planning

Planning is important at the best of times – but never more so when moving your family and the entire contents of your home from one place to another.

Did you know? The average house move listed on AnyVan.com is 37 miles?

Once it’s been confirmed you are moving, get your planning underway as soon as possible. This will help avoid any last minute rushing, stress or frustrations as moving day gets closer.

Here are a few generic things you should plan for:

  • Costs: With a house move there are a number of costs to consider, from mortgage fees and stamp duty, to removals and storage. To avoid any nasty shocks it’s important to address your budget early.
  • Removals: The cost of removals is often overlooked, but it’s vital to factor in. The average house move on AnyVan is £213but prices differ across the country. To get an accurate removals quote, you’ll need a rough estimate of how much you have to move in cubic metres.

Did you know? There is an average 20.1 cubic metres of belongings in an average three to four-bedroom house?

  • Personal admin: Inform friends, family and companies of your impending change of address – that’s everyone from the doctors to the DVLA – in plenty of time. For a fee, Royal Mail’s redirection service allows to you redirect your post for up 12 months.
  • Storage: If you require storage, get it booked as early as possible. This way you can factor in costs as well as the logistics of moving your things there.

A good way to summarise and keep tabs on planning is to devise your own moving checklists which can be split up week by week. Here’s an example:

Six weeks from move day:

  • Inform landlord/estate agent of your moving date
  • Get removals quotes and book your company
  • Book storage (if required)

Three weeks from move day:

  • Start packing up non-essential items
  • Cancel any regular deliveries (e.g. milk, magazine subscriptions etc) and inform companies of change of address
  • Organise parking for you/ your removals company at both homes

One week from move day:

  • Have your post redirected and inform family and friends of your new address
  • Defrost your fridge and freezer
  • Organise key collection

Step 2: Preparation

With planning underway in the back ground, it’s time for preparation to kick in. With a house move, there are lots of things to prepare for so – like planning – it pays to start as early as possible.

In terms of packing prep, think about the following:

  • De-clutter: Moving house is a great time to de-clutter and chuck out anything you haven’t used in a while. The less you have to move, the better.
  • Boxes: How many and what sizes do you need? You can buy boxes online or from a local storage company.
  • Tape: Brown box tape will be your best friend. Don’t spare on it.
  • Bubble wrap and tissue paper: You don’t want broken plates and ornaments.
  • Removals: Get removal quotes and compare services from different companies.
  • Measure: Measure your furniture to assess how it can be moved and whether or not it will fit into your new home.
  • Personal admin: Organise time off work/school and get a pet/babysitter if required.

Step 3: Packing

Packing is never easy. However, with your planning and preparation done, you should find it’s much more straightforward. Strictly speaking, there’s no concrete approach to packing – although we do adhere to these mantras:

  • Order and organise, from non-essentials to essentials
  • Draw up mini inventories
  • Have a dedicated ‘essentials box’
  • Think ahead if you have children and pets

Non-essentials

A couple weeks in advance, you can start packing your non-essential items. These are things you haven’t used in weeks or even months and might include:

  • Kitchen appliances (blenders/ mixers/ juicers)
  • Books, photos and DVDs
  • Out-of-season clothes and shoes
  • Remember this is also the time to de-clutter. If you haven’t used it for six months, can you throw it away or give it to a local charity shop?

Top tip! A good way to deal with non-essentials is to place an empty box in each room and fill it as you go

Inventories

Keeping an inventory is another great way to achieve organised packing. As you put your items into their boxes, write them down on a list. Once a box is packed and taped shut, stick the full inventory to the top.

Essentials

Once non-essential packing is done, it’s time to sort out your essentials box. Items to include are:

  • Toiletries (anything you would take on a weekend break)
  • Medicine (and headache tablets!)
  • Important documents (such as passports, property and move-related documents and driving licences)
  • Phone chargers
  • Spare cash
  • Kettle/cups/tea bags and cold drinks
  • Basic cooking utensils and non-perishable food
  • Games/toys for the kids
  • Food/toys for pets if you have them

The essentials box should be kept with you in your car/possession as you move to your new home. Be sure not to let your removals company pack it in their vehicle, as you’ll feel especially stuck without it.

Children
Moving house is often difficult for children, especially if they are very little. To minimise the impact, try the following:

  • Be upfront: Explain to them in plenty of time they will soon be living in a new home – and make it exciting.
  • Pack up their rooms last: This way they won’t be too affected by everything that’s going on and can still feel comfortable at home.
  • Get them to help out with packing: This will help them understand and feel part of the process.

Unpacking

With so much energy spent on packing and organising your last home, it can be easy to overlook what to do when you get to your new one.

However, unpacking should be approached in much the same way as packing – as orderly as possible. You can provide your removals company with a guide of what’s going where, or simply point them in the right direction on moving day.

Top tip! Number each room in your new house, and clearly mark boxes with the number of the room it belongs to...

It’s pretty self explanatory, but unpacking is packing in reverse – so if you packed your essentials last, this time you’ll be unpacking them first. Rooms you use most should take priority. For example:

  • Kitchen
  • Bedrooms
  • Living room
  • Bathroom
  • Study

We’ve put kitchen first because, after a heavy day of moving you’re bound to be hungry. (On the other hand, this could definitely be the time for a takeaway.)

Remember, unpacking takes time. You won’t finish everything on day one. In fact by the third week in your new home you may still have some stray boxes lying around.

However, make sure you don’t take your foot off the pedal. Aim to have your house clear of boxes in a set number of weeks. Your exact target will of course depend on you and your circumstances but it’s good to have.

Top tip! Got kids? Unpack their bedrooms first as getting them settled will free you up to focus on the rest of your new home...

Administration

While unpacking and getting settled in your new home will naturally take precedence, there’s still some admin that will need to be done. For example:

  • Change the locks
  • Register with a new doctor/dentist (if necessary)
  • Transfer your utilities and services (if you are not tied in, you could even use the opportunity to switch to a better energy deal)
  • Take meter readings

Settling in

Unpacking will go a long way in helping you to get settled but there are extra things you can do:

  • If you are not redecorating just yet, simple additions such as candles, cushions, books and photographs can go a long way in helping to bring some familiarity to your new home
  • Knock on the neighbours’ doors, introduce yourself and ask if they can recommend any restaurants, bars or walks
  • Throw a housewarming party/get together – and show off the place you now call home.

Have you got any moving tips of your own? Tell us by posting a comment below...

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