I remember saying to myself, “I have a plan, and everything would be fine, it would all happen like clockwork and it would be the most stress-free home move in history”. It didn’t quite happen like that. Whilst managing to get most of my belongings in brown boxes, large blue Ikea bags and plastic containers, I still somehow felt I was leaving home with far more than was in it!
That was just the physical side. The admin to follow proved equally problematic. Utilities, Removal Van, Sky TV, Mail Redirection, Insurance…. I thought I had done these in good time, but was left frustrated by notice periods and admin fees. This was just the companies I did prior to the move out, but then had the panic of dealing with things after my move.
All in all, I didn’t appreciate the scale of what was involved, and for someone who hadn’t moved in 5 years, forgot the hassles it brought. I wasn’t concerned with reading self-help books bought from Amazon, or forums online for tips and hints. Is there an actual “one-size-fits-all” home move guide? Nor, would I expect readers to take my check-list below as gospel. In fact, having moved home just twice in 13 years, I know there are people who have far better ideas than me. However, having listened to tales and stories of woe from tenants and landlords in the last decade of what they deal with, as well as my partner’s own experiences – she has moved house 10 times in as many years, I would hope that some ideas might resonate with you and prove useful for your next move.
Where to start? A notebook and a date are always good. Having your date of entry and date of exit is key, then work back. To me, an overlap makes things far easier, but not always possible either financially or logistically – the new house might not be ready in good time. Also, keep notes in a separate book. The notebook to keep you organised - make To Do lists and plans to help you out.
Then look in every room, cupboard and storage spot, work out what you have and how much to move. Furniture? Books? Pots & Pans? Then how many boxes you need.
8+ weeks before:
At this stage, you may already have your new home in mind. If you are renting, check your lease notice period. It is 2 months? 8 weeks? 1 month? 4 weeks? From there, you can advise your Landlord or Agent that you are moving out, without being tied in.
If you are buying, have you got your solicitor and mortgage sorted?
4-6 weeks before:
- Removal Companies (get quotes if needed) and dates. Remember for later on… the less you have, the cheaper it will be!
- Gas & Electric suppliers to see about carrying service across or closing account. You will need supply details and account numbers for landlord, Agent or Purchaser.
- TV/Broadband provider. Closing down the contracts and/or check if it can be taken to next property.
- Home Insurance for Buildings and/or Contents Insurance. Are you selling and then renting – you won’t need Buildings Insurance?
- Car Insurance – are you moving from flat with street parking to house with garage? Savings on your insurance to be made here.
- Post Office for Mail Redirection – This can be done online here.
2-4 weeks before:
- Get white sticky labels, Sharpie Pen, Notebook and Room Stickers These will make things neater and more organised for you, as well as help removal people to put things where you want them, as well as yourself.
- Start Packing up or getting rid of belongings. Are you selling sofas and beds on Gumtree or Facebook? Are you eBaying clothes and DVD’s? Have you got some old picture frames for the charity shop? Can you stand a Car Boot Sale?! Now is the time to do this, as there is no point in packing things you don’t need – it costs more in the long run.
- It’s time to be ruthless!! Do you have a jumper or a shirt you’ve not worn in 2 years in the back of your wardrobe? Will you wear it again? No? Show that clothing love by giving someone else some joy wearing it.
- Read Spark Joy, Marie Kondo. It tells you how to declutter your home and life, then give you organisation going forward.
- Will you listen to your CD’s again that are on Spotify? Are you DVD’s on Netflix?
- Pack up all you need for you next home, but not what you next for the next couple of weeks. Leave what you would need as if you were going on a 2 week holiday.
1-2 weeks before:
Update new address details for:
- Driving License and Car Registration Documents
- Subscription Deliveries and Services – Magazines, Food Boxes, Milk, Window Cleaners, Stair Cleaners, Gardeners etc.
- Your HR Department or employers.
- Start being cleaver with food – moving home is not an excuse to eat Take-Away! I did and it didn’t help or satisfy. Eat the freezer food and the tins at the back of the cupboard.
- Do you need a Parking Permit? Plan this ahead and can be done with new Tenancy Agreement or letter from Lawyer or a Utility Bill, along with your Car Registration documents.
- Arrange for a cleaner to come into the property you are leaving. If it is for new renters, the Landlord or new Owners, leave it sparkling for them as you would want for your new home.
- Arrange for child and pet care for the move day or days.
- Get all your sets of keys back.
Move In/Out Day:
- Check the Inventory FIRST if you are renting. You don’t want to pay for damages that aren’t your responsibility.
- Take Meter Reads for both property you are leaving and your new home.
- Get to know your new surroundings, the boiler, the furnishings, the bin collection dates, local taxi numbers and bars.
- If you’ve just bought your property, check everything is working. You have 7 days to report back to the previous owner.
1 Week Following:
- Notify Gas & Electric suppliers.
- Notify Council you have moved in and out. Email to email@example.com works for Edinburgh Council.
- Transfer TV License. You can do this online. www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/update/your-licence/index.app
- Register your details with Electoral Roll. This helps your Credit Rating too! www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- HMRC, for Self-Assessment or business owners etc.
- As you start receiving redirected mail through the post, start contacting these companies with your new address details.
- Likewise, for emails from online companies like Amazon, change your address details asap. This will avoid any wrongly addressed parcels – This happens frequently!
- Unpack and continue to cut back on your possessions. It amazed me when I realised I packed items that I’ll never use.
As I compiled this and used my own recent experiences, I quickly realised just how many small things I overlooked. It’s not just me. The amount of mail I’ve forward on or Returned to Sender over the years, or the amount of belongings I’ve seen left in cupboards and under beds, makes me appreciate the overall hassles with moving. My two words of advice – Plan and Streamline!