Confident you can move house without a packing service? You probably have more belongings than you think, but it can definitely be done.
Save some cash and have a clear-out, with our guide for moving house the DIY way.
1. Sort and declutter
Before you even think about packing, rationalise and declutter your stuff.
The less you have to shift, the better your DIY move will go.
2. Arm yourself with decent packaging
You’ll need some (or probably all) of the following:
Boxes: Clear plastic boxes are useful as they won’t break. Cardboard boxes are great for bulky but lightweight items such as kitchen utensils. Get a range of sizes, always keeping in mind you’ll need to be able to lift them.
Tape: Calculate how much tape you’ll need and then double it. Use it to keep your boxes secure but also to tape screws, nuts and bolts onto the items of furniture they belong to. Don’t compromise on quality, you’ll need the good stuff.
Bags: Laundry bags are cheap to buy and great for clothes, coats, shoes and bedding. You can usually find them in market shops and stalls.
Black sacks: Load up on good quality black sacks. You’ll need them for rubbish, but also for those seemingly never-ending odds and ends.
Bubble wrap: Again, you can’t have enough. Broken glass is the last thing you need on the day of the move.
Covers and throws: Use blankets, throws, towels and old bedding to prevent furniture, mirrors and pictures from slipping around the van and getting damaged.
Black marker pens: For labelling boxes. You can’t have too many!
3. Take measurements at your new place
A top way to stay stress-free is making sure your furniture will fit into your new home.
Ask the estate agent or owner if you can pop in to take measurements. Getting a sofa wedged halfway into a new home on move day is not fun.
Note the length and width of doorways, not forgetting door frames, and the turns in halls and stairways. If you’ll be using a lift, measure that too.
4. Organise the right size van
Your hire company should be able to tell you the kind of van you’ll need. But, if in doubt, go bigger. That way you'll make fewer trips.
On move day, collect your van as soon as the depot opens.
Make sure you’ll be able to park at your new home. If you need a parking bay suspension for example, you’ll need to apply to the local authority up to 10 working days in advance.
There may also be restrictions on parking and loading, so get permits sorted in plenty of time.
5. Pack efficiently
Start with non-essential items. These are things you haven’t used recently.
You might find them in the loft, garage, spare room, or at the back of the kitchen cupboards. For example:
Kitchen appliances such as blenders, mixers and juicers
Books, photo albums and DVDs
Coats, clothes and shoes that are out-of-season
Pictures and ornaments
Then tackle the ‘mid-essentials’. For example:
Pots and pans
Kitchen appliances and crockery
Towels and bedding
On move day itself, finish with the everyday essentials. For example:
Washing items and towels
Cleaning products and cloths
Documents such as passports, driving licences and property and move-related paperwork
Phones/tablets and their respective chargers
Finally, pack the items you'll need constant access to in their own small box. Mark it ‘essentials’ and store it somewhere handy during transit, such as your car or the cab of the van.
6. Mark and label boxes clearly
Write in clear marker pen on each box what room it belongs to.
Better still, list each item inside. Either keep the list somewhere safe or tape it to the box.
Always remember to tape the bottom and top of every box securely.
7. Unpack efficiently, too
Once you’re at your new home, approach the unpacking in the same way you packed.
Prioritise the rooms you use the most, for example, kitchen first, then bedrooms, bathroom, living room, study etc.
Set up furniture with storage, like a bed with drawers in or the TV cabinet, as a priority. This will give you somewhere to put unpacked items, rather than having to move them twice.
Unpacking is more than a one-day job, so tackle one room at a time. And set yourself small targets to stay motivated.