DIY moving

Stress-reducing tips for the DIY-mover




Getting ready to up sticks and move to a new rental home without the help of a removal firm? Ease the pain with these top tips.

1. Declutter

Before you even think about packing, rationalise and declutter your stuff. It follows that the less you have to move, the better.

2. Arm yourself with decent packaging

When you can see clearly what you’ve got left, equip yourself with the right packaging. You’ll need some (or probably all) of the following:

  • Boxes: Clear plastic boxes are useful as they won’t break, you can see what’s in them – and the bigger ones can come with wheels. 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: Think about 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. A few extra pounds will be more than worth paying.
  • Bags: Laundry bags are super-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: Load up on blankets, throws, towels and old bedding. They prevent furniture, mirrors and pictures from slipping around the van and getting damaged.
  • Several black marker pens: For labelling boxes.

3. Measure up in advance

If you’re taking your own furniture with you to the property, don’t move a stitch of it until you know it fits. To be sure, ask the lettings agent or current tenants if you can pop in and measure up.

Take particular note of the length and width of doorways, not forgetting door frames, and the turns in halls and stairwells. If you’ll be using a lift, measure that too.

4. Sort out the right vehicle – early

Your van-hire company should be able to tell you the size of vehicle you’ll need. But, if in doubt, go bigger. That way you make fewer trips.

On Move Day, collect your van as soon as the depot opens. Have your driving licence to hand and don’t forget to obtain a ‘check code’ from the DVLA website.You’ll need to show this to the hire company with your licence.

If you want to share the driving, you’ll need to add an additional driver, although costs for this are usually nominal at around £10.

Make sure you’ll be able to park right outside your new home. If you need a parking bay suspension, you’ll need to give the relevant local authority at least 10 working days’ notice. Watch out also for restrictions on loading and parking your own car/s. 

5. Pack efficiently

Start with non-essential items – those you haven’t encountered in, say, the past six months. You might find them in the loft, garage, spare room, or at back of the kitchen cupboards. For example:

  • Kitchen appliances such as blenders, mixers and juicers
  • Family heirlooms
  • Books, photo albums and DVDs
  • Sports equipment
  • Coats, clothes and shoes that are out-of-season

Then tackle the ‘mid-essentials’. For example:

  • Pots and pans
  • Toys
  • Kitchen appliances and crockery
  • Towels and bedding
  • Electrical equipment
  • Plants

On Move Day itself, finish with the essentials. For example:

  • Washing items and towels
  • Medicines
  • Cleaning products and cloths
  • Overnight clothes
  • Documents such as passports, driving licence and property and move-related paperwork
  • Phone/tablet and their respective chargers

Finally, pack the items you need on an everyday basis in their own small box. Mark it ‘essentials’ and store it somewhere handy, such as your car or in the cab of the van. 

6. Mark boxes clearly

Write in clear marker pen on each box what room it belongs to. Better still, list each item inside. Tape the bottom and top of every box securely.

7. Unpack efficiently too

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, approach the unpacking in the same way you packed. Prioritise rooms you use the most, for example, kitchen first, then bedrooms, bathroom, living room, study etc.

Make setting up furniture with storage – such as a bed with drawers in, or the TV cabinet – the priority. This will give you somewhere to unpack items straight into.

Unpacking is more than a one-day job, so tackle one room at a time, and set yourself small targets to stay motivated.

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