Moving house: essential checklist and stress-free guide

Moving home can bring to light our most (or least) organised selves. Get advice on how to ease the process, and a checklist of all the people you need to tell, with tips from those who've been there and rolled up their sleeves

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Preparing to move

Armed with bubble wrap and permanent markers? Here's how to get packed up

Think *inside* the box

"Label every box with a small list of what's inside, then a BIG notice of which room in the new house you want it put into."

"Allocate a room for boxes. We moved the children in together for the three weeks before our move to free up one bedroom for boxes that were packed and ready to go."

"If you can get clear bin-bag sized bags (usually sold as storage bags) they are ideal for packing duvets, soft toys and the like."

Get ready for a good clear out

"Get a skip if you can. It will help to really declutter everything. You don't want to spend time and energy packing things you don't really need, want or use."

"We've been eating our way through the odd things lurking in the back of the freezer and the cupboards to save having to take it with us."

"Put together a list for eBay/Freecycle asap so you're not moving stuff you don't need, and don't move all the books that you've read unless you want to keep them for sentimental reasons - they are heavy."

Use your time wisely

"Packing up a garage or garden shed can take much longer than you think so start early - same for an attic, (our garage took a whole weekend!)."

"No matter how interesting your photos are, how much you want to stop and reminisce/chat about that favourite ornament of yours... DON'T! Be VERY clinical. Just pack."

"No weeding out of documents/old toys/outgrown clothes. It's all too time-consuming. Just pack them, military style, you can always weed out what you don't want/give things away etc when you've moved."

Or better still...

"Pay the removals firm to pack as well - it is worth every penny and in the overall cost of moving house is minimal extra expenditure."

Letting people know you're moving

Aside from the hand-engraved We're Moving cards you've obviously ordered...

"Most important thing is postal redirection - they need at least five days' notice."

"Our broadband company needed 30 days' notice that we were cancelling our contract. I'll also be asking the water company to do a meter reading and notifying the council that we're no longer responsible for the council tax etc."

Print off our list of the people and companies you need to inform when you move home

And if you've done all of that and have some energy left...

"It is nice to make a brief note for buyers about things like what day the bins are collected, who delivers milk in the area, which companies supply the electricity, gas, etc."

"Leave a bottle of plonk for the new owner with a forwarding address asking for any post to go there."

Talking to your children about the move

Tactics for making the upheaval less disruptive for children

"I think the key is to remember that young children don't take anything for granted and have no idea at all what is going on."

"I took our son over to the new house and got him to 'choose' his room."

"I gave our son a disposable camera for him to take photos of our old house just before he left."

"Things that helped were familiar scents in our son's room. We used lavender oil for a few weeks either side of the move in his new and old bedrooms."

How to deal with moving day

Some last-minute nuggets of know-how to get you through the big day

"My one tip is: if the removals company offers you some sort of redelivery insurance, in case of problems/delays getting into your new property, then take it."

"Pack one box of essentials for move day: bog roll, kettle, coffee, mugs, milk, biscuits, scissors, Sellotape, pen, paper, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench and Allen keys."

"Use a handbag that goes across your body so you can't put it down and mislay it (and thus lose keys, etc)."

"Try to find accommodation close to your new house just for one night. Hotel, friend's house etc. Then you can concentrate on moving everything into the house in one day and go back the next and unpack."

Settling into your new home

Before you start unpacking, take a moment to find your happy place

"Have one safe haven in the new house to retreat to. Do the unpacking in there first. Then give yourself permission to unpack everything else slowly and eat take-out for the first couple of weeks."

"Make the beds first. At the end of a long day, you really won't want to make a bed at midnight."

Last updated: 6 months ago