Moving house can be one of the most stressful experiences many of us will ever deal with. Not only do you have to keep on top of paperwork for solicitors and estate agents, but you also have to pack and prepare your home for the new owners.
Packing away all your possessions is no mean feat, and takes up a lot of time and effort. With everything you own stored away in boxes, it’s important to plan ahead to make sure nothing gets lost or broken.
This guide from moving day experts Comparemymove provides all the top packing tips you will need when moving house.
1. Label Boxes
Depending on how much stuff you own, unpacking boxes at your new house will be quite the task, especially if you don’t know which box belongs to which room. Without labelling, you will be presented with a mountain of anonymous boxes to unpack all at once. At least with labelling, you should know where to place and unpack your belongings.
It is recommended to label your boxes based on the rooms they belong to, such as the bedroom or kitchen, followed by a list of primary contents, i.e. “cutlery, utensils and plates”. You should also label boxes as to whether or not they contain fragile items.
2. Create an Inventory
While labelling boxes will help you with the unpacking process, creating an inventory will ensure you do not lose any items in the moving process. To make things a little easier at the other end, you should section your inventory alongside boxes or the rooms they belong to.
If you don’t have time to write an inventory, it is recommended to take pictures of your belongings before packing them away. This will help you pinpoint any items in the photograph that you cannot find at your new property.
3. Hire a Trustworthy Removal Company
When moving house, you are essentially giving everything you own to your removal company. That is why it is vital to ensure you hire a removal company that has proven itself trustworthy with the correct credentials.
The British Association of Removers (BAR) is a great place to start for finding a reputable company, although membership with BAR should not be seen as a seal of approval. You should also check third-party reviews where you can, to see past customer experiences.
Your removal company should also provide goods in transit insurance. Although this is not an indication of a trustworthy company, goods in transit insurance will protect you and your belongings in case the worst may happen.
Comparemymove is a great place to get money off your removal company, as well as finding reputable and trustworthy companies. The comparison website vigorously checks all removal companies before recommending them to customers. Each company must also adhere to a strict code of practice and provide goods in transit insurance, meaning you will get the best possible service.
4. Buy Good Boxes
It may be more than tempting to use old boxes from your local supermarket, but be warned that these can often break when transporting heavier goods like your household belongings.
New purpose-built moving boxes may seem expensive in comparison to free ones from your local shop, but purchasing these will be a lot cheaper than having to replace some of your broken possessions.
Many removal companies are able to provide packing materials, so it can sometimes be worth checking this first with them.
5. Don’t Overload Boxes
Overloading boxes can have the same effect as using old boxes – the bottom falls through and breaks your belongings. Lifting heavy boxes may also lead to back problems and other health issues, so lift appropriately and know your limit.
If you still want to fill boxes to the top, it might be worth distributing some of the heavier items, such as books, among several boxes rather than one extremely weighty box.
6. Keep Small Items with You
With everything you own going into the back of a lorry, it can sometimes be quite easy for smaller items to go missing. This is not always the fault of the removal company or yourself. However, to avoid this problem completely, you should keep all small items, such as jewellery, with you as you drive to your new home.
7. Declutter Before You Move
It’s always good to declutter things you don’t use or need anymore, so why not do so before you move? After all, there’s no reason to lug a box marked ‘junk’ to your new property, only to not used it there as well.
Charity shops are a great place to offload your unwanted goods. If you are looking for a little spare cash, you can always sell these belongings on eBay or Gumtree.
8. Get Help for Larger Items
Singular boxes and small pieces of furniture might be okay to carry by yourself, but you will need to get help for the larger items. While you may be able to lift that table by yourself, it is likely that you may strain your back and cause yourself injury. It may be worth getting help from your removal company, or asking friends of family to pitch in as you move house. It is best to get help for items such as beds, mattresses, wardrobes, tables and large televisions.
9. Wrap Dishes in Newspaper
Dishes, glassware and general crockery are among the items most likely to break during transit. However, careful packing will minimise this risk; wrap each individual piece of crockery with two pieces of newspaper or other form of paper. This cushions the impact of each item as the removal lorry travels over bumps in the road. Any broken items will also be contained within the newspaper should the worst occur.
10. Plan in Advance
You move will be evermore stressful if you leave things to the last minute. Create an action plan of everything that needs to be done following a timeline to the final moving day. It is best to create this plan as soon as you have a moving day set in place. Likewise, you should start looking for a removal company as soon as you have the date of your move to ensure you get the best person for the job on the actual date that you need them.
Bonus Tip: Pack a Box of Essentials and Load It Last in the Van
The essentials box contains the items that you use on a daily basis and will need during the last day at your old place and the first days at the new one. In it, you should pack items like soap, toothpaste & toothbrushes, towels, some snacks or sandwiches, coffee, few dishes, and cutlery. As any article with moving and packing tips states – you should only pack items that you will use during your first one or two days after the move. Don’t overload it with unneeded stuff.
It is almost inevitable that some things will go wrong during your move. While following the items on this list will help minimise any problems that could occur, there’s no such thing as a perfect move.