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Posted 10 May 2022

16 Moving House Checklist Tips

checklist / house / moving

Starting off with a strong moving flat or moving house checklist will make things a whole lot easier when it's your turn to move.

I’ve changed homes 18 times so believe me, starting off with a strong moving flat or moving house checklist will make things a whole lot easier.

There’s a little less packing to do if you’re going on to a flat, but moving into a new house will take a little while longer, so it’s good to be comprehensive in the planning stage. 

It’s all worth it in the end though and you’re sure to make many happy memories in your new home!

In this article, I’ll share my top tips for moving home, made easy.

1. Confirm the timeline

To kick off my moving house checklist – if you’re buying, agree a convenient completion date with the seller when the time comes for the exchange of contracts (check out our blog on what can hold up exchange of contracts to read more about this). 

Don’t forget that the completion statement needs to be settled by then and stamp duty is due within 14 days of completion – but your conveyancer should make sure of that.

If you’re renting, there’s less to think about, but just give notice in time so you don’t pay more rent than you need to. Check you know when your new tenancy starts, when you can pick up the keys and when the inventory check-in will take place.

2. Plan ahead – don’t put off packing!

Moving day is very exciting, but it can be stressful if you do your packing last minute. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Work out how long you have, how long it should take and what other commitments you have before moving day. If it’s likely to be a busy week at work, set aside more time.

You could make a separate moving house checklist just for the things you’ll want to pack. Sounds daunting? Tackle an area, floor, drawer one at a time. Plan in breaks and rest days, just prepare in advance or you’ll end up begrudging it.

3. Declutter!

Don’t delay sorting out that cupboard, drawer, loft, cellar garage – whatever it is that you’ve been adding to for however long you’ve lived where you are. 

Before throwing away or recycling things, think about your local good causes – could they benefit from what you no longer need? Chances are, yes they could and it’s so rewarding to arrange dropping off some items with a local company.

Be ready to visit your local recycling centre too. You probably don’t go there very often and may not even know where one is. So read up, check opening hours and restrictions as you will likely generate a fair amount that you no longer have a use for. 

Alternatively, you might find items you no longer need, but still have value and could be sold. There are plenty of websites to help with this and by not leaving it to the last minute, you can sell plenty of unwanted items before the move. 

You might raise enough to pay the removal company!

4. Notify everyone that you’re moving

OK, not everyone, but make sure that the council, utilities companies and so on know that you’re moving so that they’ll stop sending you bills. 

Similarly, think about who needs to know your new details and notify them too. Here’s a handy change-of-address moving house checklist for the UK:

  • Local council (for tax and the electoral register)
  • Employers
  • Utility companies
  • Insurance providers
  • Internet provider
  • GP
  • Banks
  • DVLA
  • TV licensing

If you’re moving far away, find out when your kids can leave their current school and join the new one.

Decide what you’ll need at your new home and start getting appointments on the calendar. For example, you could make a booking to have your broadband set up, or to have some new furniture delivered.

5. Redirect your post

If you have newspapers and magazines delivered to your door, don’t forget to contact them too with your new address.

For everything else, there’s the Royal Mail redirection service which just needs at least five days’ notice.

You can redirect your post this way for either three, six or 12 months and if you need the service for longer, you can renew it too. 

6. Book the removal company, or check your car(s)

Figure out which items you’re taking to your new home and how big a vehicle you need. Is it a job for a small van, or a removal company?

Or could you save some money by making a couple of trips in a car, perhaps asking a friend or family member to help out too?

If so, just make sure you have your car serviced and check the tyres first – it won’t be used to carrying all that weight!

7. Take photos of your equipment

Not for Instagram, but will you honestly remember how the back of the entertainment centre looked when you unpack it? 

Take a few quick snaps of the back of your TV, stereo, Sky box and so on. It’ll make all the re-installation so much easier.

Similarly, it may be easier to dismantle some of the furniture you want to bring with you, but just ensure you know how to reassemble it again.

8. Arrange child and pet care

You’re halfway through my moving house checklist now and we’re getting to the business end of things. The moving day itself can be a little hectic sometimes, but it’s even more complicated if you have little ones running around too.

Both my boy and dogs understand they’d simply be a hindrance in the big move, so don’t feel bad asking a relative or a friend to watch over them. 

You’ll all be thankful once you’re finally in!

9. Make a box plan

Label your boxes. Not only will this help out any hired assistance you have, it’s also really useful when it comes to finding possessions in your new abode. 

Use labels rather than writing on the actual boxes too, so you can re-use them one day. Good boxes are actually more expensive than you think, so rather than recycle, why not flatten and store them in your new home. 

Not enough room, you say? I managed to squeeze a large number under my double bed, so think creatively – there’ll often be space in nooks and crannies you haven’t considered.

10. Bubble wrap your fragile items

Satisfying to pop, but more useful to seal your delicate belongings in so that they’re protected during the move, invest in some bubble wrap.

It’s up to you which items to protect in this way, but better safe than sorry.

If you’re using a removal company, check if their service includes bubble wrapping or if they expect you to do this before they arrive.

11. Make a ‘first day’ kit

Fill a couple of boxes or suitcases with all the stuff you and your family will need for the first day and night in your new home, such as:

  • Kitchen supplies: kettle, milk, tea, coffee, mugs, cutlery, plates, rags
  • Bathroom essentials: soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, other toiletries
  • Bedroom items: bedding, towels, pyjamas, change of clothes, cot
  • Miscellaneous: phone chargers, medicine, snacks, pet food, toys

Trust me, after moving in on the first day the last thing you’ll feel like doing is hunting through all your boxes looking for everything you need. 

It’ll also be the perfect night for a takeaway!

12. Ask for a briefing sheet

To help the first few days in your new home go smoothly, try to ask the previous owner for some basic instructions or information about where things are.

Like how does the stove work? Where’s the stopcock? What day are the bins collected?

Similarly, if someone’s moving into your old home, it’ll be helpful if you leave behind a briefing sheet for them too.

13. Load up!

No checklist for moving house is complete without this step! 

The night before, start moving boxes downstairs. Keep everything in just one or two rooms near the front door to make tomorrow’s trips to the car, van or truck a little easier.

On moving day, if you’re loading things yourself, try to keep the boxes grouped by room or in some form of logical order.

If you have movers doing the hard work for you, give them some instructions and make sure they know which items are fragile. 

14. Take meter readings

Just before you leave, take your final meter readings for gas, water and electricity. 

This helps make sure that when you settle your final bills for your old home, there shouldn’t be any dispute between you, the new occupants, or the utilities companies.

Likewise, as soon as you move into your new home, take the meter readings in anticipation of your new direct debits.

15. One last walkthrough

Once you think everything’s been loaded, before locking up, take some time to walk back through your old home and check you haven’t forgotten anything.

Go back into every room and the garden. Look under beds, in cupboards and through all the drawers. Say one last goodbye!

Things can be a little frantic on the big day, so try to sit down somewhere and check if your to-do-lists are all complete.

16. Move!

It’s time to go – clean up quickly if you’ve left behind any mess and take out the rubbish.

Hand over the keys and head to your brand new home! Break up the trip if it’s a long one, you may even want to stay overnight in a hotel if it’s a really long journey.

Once you’re at your new home, check everything there works and looks as you expected. Also review the itinerary if there is one.

Consider booking a cleaner for the first or second day too – or doing it yourself if you have the energy – before you unpack everything.

Summary: moving house checklist

Take it from someone with 18 years’ property experience, you won’t regret putting the time in to work through a good moving house checklist. 

Those are my tips for moving made easy and hopefully the template above will help save a bit of time. If you’re moving into a new house, a checklist will give you some peace of mind.

If you’re looking for somewhere new – and want to be in a position to make your own moving house checklist – we’d love to hear from you, so please contact us.

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