Things to do when moving to a new house 

Finding your dream home takes a lot of energy, patience, and resilience. When you finally get that offer accepted and things start moving, there’s nothing like it. One thing’s for sure, it’s very exciting! Suddenly there’s a lot to do, but there are ways to stay organised and keep stress to a minimum. We’ve pulled together a checklist for moving house with the aim of helping to keep your move running smoothly. 

The big clear out

As much as it’s tempting to take everything with you to your new house, moving is a great excuse to have a clear out. Avoid hanging on to items that need replacing or have been sitting gathering dust for years, they’ll inevitably take up space and create unwanted clutter in your new home.

Having a clear out before you pack can be an emotional process. If you’re finding it hard to part with something, ask yourself whether you have needed it within the past year – if the answer is no, box it up for donating, recycling, or disposing of. You could also ask friends or family if they need any of the items before their fate is sealed. Put anything with sentimental value to one side and decide separately.

There’s no doubt that decluttering before a house move speeds up the packing process; not only that, it also saves valuable space in the moving van and leaves you with more boxes for the things you do need. Once your possessions arrive at your new home, only taking what you need makes unpacking much easier and quicker. What’s more, your new place will be more likely to stay tidier for longer!

You might even find that decluttering saves you money on your removal quote as you’ll be transporting less. Keeping this in mind is a great way to make sure you’re not taking things you won’t have space for in your new home. A clear out is also a good opportunity to pack away any non-essential items which you could potentially store with friends or family for a short time. If you’ve already got a shopping list in mind for your new home, all this work now just helps to make room for lovely new things. 

Wrapping furniture

Get organised

No matter how prepared you are, moving is a stressful process. Make it easier on yourself by getting organised and starting to pack at least 4 weeks before your moving date. It may help to keep a diary of what you need to do and when. This will keep you on track and offer peace of mind during what is usually a chaotic time.

Begin by categorising your task list by room and make a start on whatever you can as soon as possible. To avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed, you might find it helps to break down your to do list into manageable chunks. As you work your way through your belongings, make a note of any essentials you will need on that first day once all the boxes and furniture have been moved in.

Start packing early

Packing up a whole house can seem like a mountainous task, which is why many people try to avoid it until absolutely necessary. However, starting early helps you to stay in control of what needs doing and when – after all nobody wants a mad rush at the 11th hour when everything needs to be packed and out of the door – that’s enough to send anyone into a meltdown.

Giving yourself time allows you to tackle tasks on your to-do list gradually and with a clear head. Breaking the task list down makes it feel more manageable and far less daunting. Just take on one room at a time to keep things organised and on track from start to finish. You don’t want to pack anything you’ll be using right up until moving day, so start with non-essential items such as boxes from the loft & shed or items stored in spare bedrooms. Putting in the effort in advance of moving day helps to make unboxing your belongings a much simpler and stress-free process once you’ve moved in.

Alternatively, you can get the moving company to do it for you – although this is likely to add to your moving costs. 

Label boxes clearly

After a big clear out, packing for the big move should be much easier. You might not like the idea of rooms filled with boxes for a fortnight or so before you move, but it makes the process run that bit smoother - so it’s certainly worth it.

Make sure to clearly label boxes with their contents and the room they belong in. We know it sounds like common sense, but that can easily go out of the window once you’re in packing mode. Use marker pens or colour-coded sticky labels to mark items and make it clear if any boxes contain fragile items – drawing arrows can help to make sure that boxes are stored, transported and unloaded the right way up.

Labelling all sides of the boxes makes it easier for you and any removals staff to see what’s where when boxes are stacked. This means it’s more likely that your boxes wind up in the right places, making unpacking a much more efficient process.

If you’re really organised, you could make an inventory of what’s in each box. This would be particularly helpful if some items are going into storage. 

Labelling packing boxes

Choose a moving day

Completion days are usually agreed within your contract, but you don’t have to settle on the first one you’re given. Before agreeing to an exchange date, check that it’s suitable for you and what’s best for your family’s needs.

  • Fridays – moving just before the weekend gives you two full days to unpack. Just make sure all your utilities are sorted first as the companies may be harder to contact if you need them outside of traditional working hours.
  • School holidays – moving during half term or the summer break gives your kids chance to settle in their new home before starting at another school.
  • Bank holidays – an extra day that doesn’t eat into your annual leave is invaluable

Before choosing a date, check availability with friends, family and removal services as this helps to make sure you have plenty of options in case of a late date change.

Sometimes, things don’t go to plan and dates can change – so you’ll need to be flexible. Be prepared for this eventuality and it’ll have less of an impact on your move. Once the keys are in your hands, all will be forgotten, and you’ll be enjoying making memories your new home. 

Arrange Home Insurance

If you know when you are exchanging contracts and you have your moving date, one of the first things to do is check your home insurance.

Once you take ownership of the property, it’s yours – whether you move in on that day or not. With that in mind, make sure your home insurance starts the moment ownership transfers to you. After all, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have buildings insurance in place; it may keep you protected financially if something were to happen to the structure of your new home once you’re legally responsible for the property.

Whilst we’re on the subject, you may also want to consider taking out contents insurance so that your belongings are covered too. For contents insurance to be valid whilst you’re moving from one house to another, your move may need to be completed by a professional removals company so you’re protected against damage. If you’re planning to do most of the moving yourself, a specialist policy may be required. Check the details of any policies you’re weighing up to make sure you choose the right cover for your needs.

Home insurance through Swinton

At Swinton Insurance, we’ve made getting a home insurance quote as simple as we can. If you’re looking for buildings insurance, contents insurance or a combined policy, we’ll work hard to try and help you find a policy that suits your needs. We’ll just need to know a few things about your new home, including:

  • Property details – including the type of property, the number of rooms it has, and when it was built
  • Construction details – the materials used to build the walls and the roof
  • Security details – does it have a smoke detector, burglar alarm, and locks on the doors and windows?
  • Your cover – when you want your policy to start and what level of protection you need for your home and contents 

Moving van

Compare quotes for and arrange your removal

If you decide you want to use a company to help you move, it pays to research reputable removal businesses and get at least 3 quotes before choosing. If possible, a recommendation from a friend or family member could be immensely helpful. Once you have your quotes, compare costs and services to work out what fits both your needs and budget.

Depending on your funds and how much you need to move, there are various options which could be suitable for you.

  • Full packing and moving service – letting a removals company take charge of the full move could take much of the stress out of the situation as they may pack, move and unload everything for you.
  • Load and unload service – choosing this option could potentially help you to budget whilst still giving you a hand with moving furniture and boxes you’ve packed yourself.

Make sure any removal company you choose is registered with the British Association of Removers.

If you don’t have a huge amount to take with you, hiring a van for a few hours could potentially work out better for your pocket than a full removals service. 

Pack an essentials box

It’s unlikely that you’ll be moved, unpacked and settled in the space of one day. With that in mind, make sure to keep moving day essentials to one side and then pack them together.

Things you might like to keep close at hand include:

  • The kettle, tea bags or coffee granules, and mugs
  • Bin bags
  • Chargers
  • A first aid kit
  • Nightwear and bedding
  • Food, plates, and cutlery
  • Bathroom supplies

Deconstruct furniture

In many instances, keeping furniture in one piece could be less hassle and much safer than taking it apart. However, larger, more awkward furniture (such as beds, dressers, wardrobes and sofas) could be tricky to lift and manoeuvre if it’s not disassembled first. Some removal companies will rebuild furniture for you once it reaches your new home, so look out for those companies if that’s a service you might need. 

Sort utilities

The last thing you want when you’re moving home is a surprise bill or cancellation charge for services to your old house. When you’ve moved into your new home, you’ll also want to make sure that supplies to the property are active and all set up in your name.

Let gas and electricity suppliers know about your move in plenty of time, particularly if you’d like to transfer their services to your new address. Make sure to read the meters at both houses on moving day to make sure you’re not overcharged down the line.

If you work from home, you’ll also want to speak to your broadband provider to make sure your Wi-Fi is up and running in time. 

Documents file

Change your address

As well as speaking to utility companies, you may want to make sure people and companies you correspond with regularly are aware of your new address sooner rather than later. More will pop up over time, but there are a few main contacts you might want to update, including your:

  • Employer
  • Bank
  • GP
  • Dentist
  • Optician
  • TV & broadband provider(s)
  • Finance provider(s)
  • Pension provider(s)
  • Mobile phone provider
  • Insurer(s)

Informing the following will also help to avoid any hiccups down the line:

  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • The DVLA
  • TV licencing

Setting up a postal redirect via The Post Office is also a great way to avoid missing any important mail in the first few months following your move. It will also serve to remind you of any more address changes you’ll need to make. 

Enjoy your new home!

There’s no denying that a lot of planning and hard work goes into a house move. It can be stressful at times, but following these tips will hopefully help to make sure your moving day goes as smoothly as possible.

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