Moving from your current home to a new property can be a daunting prospect, even for experienced movers.
Whilst you pack boxes, your mind keeps drifting back to the things you may have forgotten to do, or people you may have forgotten to contact about your new address.
No need to panic!
This guide is intended to help with your moving house checklist and simplify the experience.
This moving house checklist is broken down into three segments, including things to do for your old home, moving day, and your new home.
So you should be adequately prepared for the big move ahead.
For Your Old Home
Decluttering allows you to lighten your load significantly.
Growing emotionally attached to things you don’t need is easy.
So take your time to think through all your belongings and aim to get rid of unnecessary clutter, especially if moving to a smaller property.
It’s best to declutter at least a month or two before the moving date.
Additionally, it’s best to start with a list of rooms, leaving a blank space to add the things you have decided to get rid of.
Also set a deadline, as decluttering can be boring and can tempt you to leave it until the last minute.
Pack Non-Essentials in Advance
After decluttering all your rooms, the next step is to pack non-essential items.
Non-essential items are things that you can live without until you’re in your new home.
They could include things as simple as keepsakes, occasional use items and other non-essential items in your home.
Categorise these items and put them into labelled boxes with instructions on where they will go in your new home when unpacking.
It’s important to pack these items in advance to avoid losing them during the move.
Wrap Valuable Items Carefully
Wrap valuable items carefully and store them in containers or bags.
Breakable items should be properly labelled “fragile” for careful handling.
Also, removing them from your home and storing them in safe and temporary care with friends and family could be wise.
Trying to locate a gift or your wedding ring somewhere in one of your packed bags or containers can be frustrating.
Very often, these precious items can be lost forever during transit.
Dismantle Furniture in Advance
Dismantling furniture is time-consuming, so don’t leave this until it’s too late.
Start at least a few weeks before the moving date.
You can get help from a professional if you’re not great with using tools, or even a friend or neighbour.
Take it one room at a time to make the process easier to manage.
Also, you can move members of your family into one of your spare rooms whilst dismantling the furniture in the other room.
Dismantling your furniture makes it easier for the removal men to do their jobs quickly, and may even save you on the cost of moving house.
Prepare a Box of Essentials
The box of essentials contains items you absolutely must have during your first few days in your new home.
These items include day-to-day living items like pots, pans, plates, dishes, cutlery, toiletries, and anything else you consider essential.
Pack this box last, so they’re not mixed up with the other boxes.
And don’t forget to add a first aid kit to this box for emergencies!
Before moving, you can spend a week considering what the essential items are for your family.
Ask the Sellers Vital Questions
It’s a good idea to ask the sellers some important questions about your new home and the area in general.
Answers to these questions will make life easier in your new home.
Here’s a few questions you should consider:
- Where are the gas and electricity meters located?
- What day are bins collected?
- Are there any warranties on electrical items in the house?
- Where is the thermostat located?
- Where is the stop cock to shut off the water?
- What internet service providers are available in the area?
- Are there items that need special services or maintenance?
These questions are not limited to the above list, so be sure to make an itemised list of questions you need answers to about your new home.
Compare & Book Removal Companies
Compare a handful of quotes from local removal companies to help you with packing and moving furniture.
Make sure to compare different services.
Consider the cost of each and if the prices are suited to your budget.
People moving long distances, or larger families with lots of belongings will especially need to consider moving with a removals firm.
But there are other services that offer cheap removals for smaller loads.
The Night Before Moving Day
The night before the big move can be an anxious time.
Always remember to stay calm to avoid making mistakes.
If necessary, call the removal company and recheck the route.
In addition, make sure all the boxes are labelled well with handling instructions and which room they belong to.
Don’t forget to charge essential devices like phones and tablets for the long day ahead.
And finally, check the essentials box to ensure everything you need has been packed.
For Moving Day
Consider Children & Pets
Children and pets are the most affected when it comes to moving home.
If you’re moving to a new location, you should ensure you’ve registered with a new school for your kids that meets your specific standards well in advance.
If your children will continue to attend their current school, then simply inform them of your new address.
To relieve stress or pressure, consider having your kids and pets to stay with family or friends for moving day.
You could even book a kennel or cattery for your pet for a day or two.
Don’t bet that your children and pets will be on their best behaviour on moving day.
So if this concerns you, think about some temporary arrangements until you’re fully unpacked and settled in.
If you’re taking your pets abroad, you will need to ensure they are fully inoculated and have all paperwork in place before export.
Redirect Your Mail
Several people will need to be informed of your new address.
You could take a week to think of places you need to update your new address, and still forget a few.
Here’s a shortlist of contacts who will need to be notified of your new address:
- Local authority
- Utility companies
- Tax authorities
- Electoral roll
- Insurance company
- TV licence
You can use a postal redirection service nearby to ensure all your mail is redirected to you.
It’s important to update or redirect your mail to avoid issues like identity scams.
Clean Your Property Before Vacating
The state you leave your old home in says a lot about you.
You don’t want to give the new occupiers of your home a bad impression.
If you’re a renter, the lease agreement usually stipulates that you clean the house before you hand over the keys.
Usually there will be a penalty, like loss of the security deposit if your duties are not upheld.
Speak to your landlord about what obligations to fulfil before leaving your old home.
If time and money allows, you can hire a professional cleaning company to help you leave your old place spotless.
Basic Car Maintenance Checks
Run some basic checks over your car and check the route a day before you depart.
Don’t let an avoidable car fault delay or frustrate your already hectic day.
Carry out basic maintenance checks like:
- Oil levels
- Tyre pressures
- Headlight and parking lights
- Transmission fluid
- Air filter
These basic checks are necessary for a trouble free journey to your new home.
Inform your friends and family of your new address so they can easily contact you.
As mentioned above, you may also need their help with the kids and pets.
Also, inform your neighbours of your move and let them know about the expected moving truck’s arrival to avoid any inconveniences.
Take Meter Readings
Take readings from your electricity and gas meters, and other amenities and inform the supplier on the day of the move.
Keep note of the readings on the move date to avoid future disagreements about the final bill.
Also take meter readings at the new home to ensure you only pay from the day you walked through the door.
You will want to ensure you have done all you have set out to do on the day of your move.
Check your list to ensure everyone who needs to know gets your new address.
It’s always best to confirm the route and have a backup plan for transportation in case all doesn’t go smoothly.
Just remember to try not to be frustrated. Moving is never easy!
Be patient, and hopefully you’ll all make it through.
For Your New Home
Find the Best Energy Tariffs
Search for the best energy suppliers available in your new neighbourhood and compare tariffs.
Changing from your previous supplier is perfectly okay if you’ve found a competitively priced tariff with better benefits.
Send the necessary information to the supplier to give you the cheapest tariff that fits your energy consumption.
Don’t forget to record and notify the supplier of the meter readings from the day you moved into your new home.
Evaluate Your Council Tax Band
Evaluate your tax band to ensure you’re not in the wrong tax bracket.
More than 100,000 homes in the United Kingdom have been in the wrong council tax band since 1991.
So it pays to check and double check!
Follow these steps to evaluate your tax band.
- Ask your neighbour how much they pay: Try getting to know how much neighbours with similar size properties pay and what band their home is in. This information will give you an idea of how much to expect.
- How much was your property worth in 1991? Find out how much your property is worth now by carrying out a property valuation. Then convert the property value to how much it would have been worth in 1991.
- Recheck the facts: Don’t challenge the tax council based on speculative reasons. Get your facts straight. Make sure your findings pass the valuation and neighbour’s checks before you challenge your tax band.
Register to Vote
Your new location may require you to register on the electoral roll to qualify as a voter.
It is your right as a legal resident to decide who represents you.
Having your name on the electoral roll is one the best means of identification and can help banks verify your identity.
Get each qualified household member to register in the electoral roll to verify your identity.
Return Previous Occupant’s Mail
Redirect mail back to the old occupant if you have their new address.
If not, you can simply redirect them back by marking them “return to sender” and pop them in the post.
They will know that the receiver doesn’t reside at that address anymore, and will cease sending mail to your address in future.
Consider Getting Boiler Cover
If there’s a gas or electric boiler present in the new home, consider getting boiler breakdown cover.
You don’t want to get to the winter only to discover that your boiler is on the blink.
Boiler cover is generally very affordable, and can significantly help reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs.
Most boiler insurance policies comprehensively cover the central heating, radiators plumbing, and in some cases your drainage system.
If you’re a renter, the boiler should already be covered by the landlord and be specified in your tenancy agreement.
Investigate Free Loft Insulation Schemes
According to research, proper loft and cavity wall insulation can reduce your annual energy bills by more than £500.
The good news is that many energy companies offer it for free if you own a home and meet certain criteria.
Investigate these schemes online and save on insulation costs – but ensure it’s right for your home.
Make Income from Renting Spare Rooms
Have you ever thought about renting a spare room in your home to generate an income?
Or you could take in a lodger who pays rent.
If you’re a renter, subletting is usually prohibited under your rental agreement terms.
As a landlord however, you should be able to rent out a spare room in your home, but always inform the mortgage lender.
Rental income is a great way to offset your tax liability legally.
For instance, in the UK, you get tax-free income on the first seven thousand five hundred pounds (£7,500) of rental income each year.
You can also offset liabilities through allowable expenses, especially money spent on maintenance for the sublet room.
So make sure to explore all the options and benefits of your new home.
Short-term leases are also an option if you don’t want long-term commitments.
You can register your spare room with sites like Airbnb to generate income.
Moving to a new home is never easy, so try not to be too anxious about it.
Take every step one by one, and you will soon enjoy the comfort of your new home.
Make sure to get help with the move if you need it.
Always plan ahead of time and with a plan B in case of any issues.
Remember, no house move is perfect. You can only do your best.
But by following our moving house checklist above, your move should hopefully go that little bit smoother.
Max is a seasoned writer and blogger in the real estate and home moving sectors, as well as a knowledgeable source of information for expatriates living and working abroad. His detailed insights have helped thousands of people move and live abroad with greater simplicity and ease.