Preparing to move out

The move will take a lot of preparation and one of the advantages of having time between exchange and completion is that you can finalise your moving arrangements now that you have a confirmed moving date.

Don’t forget that you need to have vacated your property once the sale completes and completion will only occur on a working day.

The first steps

  • Get quotes from 3-4 removal companies – The British Association of Removers is a good starting point and who operate a strict code of conduct.
  • Start working through the Key contacts checklist to let everyone know you are planning to move home. Most contracts require a minimum of a month’s notice so the sooner the better.
  • If your children are moving schools, inform the existing one in writing of the final date they will be attending. Call the new school to confirm the start date.
  • Your local council may be able to arrange the removal of large items you no longer want. This service sometimes has a small charge.
  • If your pets are not accustomed to traveling or are of a nervous disposition, you may wish to speak to your vet for any advice to minimise the stress. The journey teamed with unfamiliar surroundings can be distressing for some animals.
  • Take measurements of your favourite/largest pieces of furniture you want to move so you can take this on viewings with you.
  • Start packing the items that you do not use frequently, such as things from the spare room.
  • Your main focus will be on the house but don’t forget the garden, garage, shed, attic, basement and the other obscure places that are easily forgotten.
  • If you are moving far, or have a wait until you can move into your new home, you may want to consider storage for non-essential items which allows the removers more time to get the most important items to your new property in a timely fashion. The remainder can follow the next day.
  • It can be tempting to pack as much into a box as possible, but lots of smaller boxes are easier and safer to move about than a few heavy ones. Start collecting boxes as soon as possible. Use the internet to purchase moving boxes at a discounted rate.
  • Let your neighbours know in advance so they can expect the removal van temporarily in the area. They may even offer to park their car elsewhere to allow the van some extra room to manoeuvre. Similarly, if there are parking restrictions outside your property, you may need to make arrangements to allow the removers to set up.

The week before

  • Confirm the date and time of moving day with your removal company.
  • Start thinking about your daily routine – what key things do you need access to every day such as the remote control, toothbrush, toilet roll, breakfast bowl, etc. Make a conscious effort to pack these items separately in something distinctive.
  • Permanent markers are essential to locate items – write on every side of the box as it will make things easier to find. Use one colour to label which room the box should end up in and another for the main contents.
  • Where possible, start to dismantle furniture that is not essential. The last thing you will take apart is the beds and this can be done the night before moving day.
  • Put stickers on large items of furniture so the removers know what room to put them in at the other end.
  • Bubble wrap is great for your valuables, but items such as bedding and towels can be just as effective and take up less room. Just take extra care when unpacking! It’s amazing how simple (and secure) it is to move your jewellery hidden inside some socks!
  • Pay your local bills such as newspaper delivery, milk, outstanding video rental, etc. where applicable and ensure future deliveries are cancelled.
  • The best thing to pack your clothing, shoes, linens, etc. in is bin liners – suitcases can be kept for essential items such as toiletries that you will need immediate access to.
  • Cling film (the moving variety not the one for your sandwiches) is great for wrapping items such as sofas, mattresses, etc. to prevent scuffing and stains.
  • You can even use cling film to wrap drawers and CD racks in to save having to pack and unpack these separately.
  • Make arrangements for refreshments and food on moving day. Sounds obvious but you will be amazed how easily this is forgotten. Keep the kettle, sugar, tea, coffee and milk aside with some mugs and biscuits.
  • Plan your journey between your old and new property. Even if you know the way, everyone who is helping you move may not. Try to think about how the journey is affected at different times of the day as you may need to go back and forth. Look out for useful landmarks, such as shops, to help the removers find the property.
  • Prepare a note for the new owners explaining how things work and where they can find useful items such as the boiler switches, aerial sockets and alarm codes. A few kind thoughts will go a long way when it comes to mail redirection and injects some humanity into the whole process.
  • Also include details of who currently provides the utilities at your property as it is not always obvious.

Moving Day

At the existing property

  • Meet the removers and give them a quick tour of the existing property
  • Swap mobile telephone contact numbers with the removers
  • Make sure everyone else who is helping you move has each other’s’ numbers too
  • Check the removers know where they are going and have directions.
  • Explain what is to go and what is to stay.
  • If there is anything that requires extra care, point this out at the start, but avoid checking everything the removers take out – it is patronising, unnecessary and causes delays
  • Do a final check when the van is loaded to ensure everything has been taken
  • Check all windows and doors are locked and the utilities are all turned off

At the new property

  • Give the removers another quick tour so they know what rooms to put your items in
  • Try putting up a sign (printer paper, white tack and a biro should do the trick) so they know which room is which, especially where bedrooms are concerned
  • Use masking tape on the floors to show where you want your furniture to go
  • When the van is unloaded, do a final sanity check to ensure nothing has been left behind
  • It has been a long and tiring day so get the beds ready as a priority, and put the kettle on! Everything else can wait until tomorrow

Here are some tips to make moving day as smooth as possible:

  • If possible, try to stagger moving days so you don’t have to do everything all in one day.
  • This can also give you time to do any essential work to the new property such as carpet cleaning or any decorating that needs to be done before all your belongings arrive.
  • Try to avoid Mondays and Fridays which are the busiest days on the roads.
  • Save time and cost by doing some of the packing yourself.
  • Check out the best value utility contracts for your new property well in advance and read the meters in both properties on moving day.
  • Redirect post well beforehand – this is especially essential to protect yourself from identity theft
  • If your new place has any appliances left behind, download the instruction manuals from the manufacturer’s website.