We've put togehther 10 top tips to make the process run as smoothly as possible:
Start early – even before you sell or hand in your rental notice
If you know you are moving, start thinking about the move months in advance and clear out your clutter, ideally even before the agents arrive at your home. The less stuff you have, the easier – and cheaper - it will be to move it. Don’t use it? Don’t love it? Reduce, re-gift, recycle… or sell to raise some much-needed funds.
Find a removals firm and check their insurance. Check your home insurance, too, as you may already be covered – but see what is in the small print. You may only be covered if you use a professional removals company which does the packing for you. If you plan to pack yourself, you may need extra cover. Ideally, cover yourself for losses, breakages and damage to either property.
When packing your belongings, work from the top down, a room at a time. Keep breakables together, wrapped in lots of bubblewrap, and mark the box ‘fragile’ so it’s not packed at the bottom. Tape boxes securely and label them on all sides, with the room they’re intended for, so they can be put in the right place immediately. Tape cables to the backs of appliances. If you’re dismantling furniture, put the screws in a labelled plastic bag and tape securely to the base. Tape drawers and cupboards closed, too. Yes, you’re going to need quite a lot of tape, but don’t skimp on the cheap stuff, you’ll only end up needing more!
Leak-proof your liquids!
A leaking bottle can spread damage fast so go for a ‘belt and braces’ approach. Remove lids, cling film the tops then replace the lids. Tape around the top and then secure them in zip-locked bags. Then, just to be sure, make sure you store them upright and they can’t rattle around en-route.
Defrost fridges and freezers
Start months ahead though by eating up as much of the food as you can. If you have a free-standing fridge and/or freezer which you’re taking with you and they’re not frost-free, 24 hours before the move, you’ll need to defrost them both and dry them out thoroughly so they don’t leak all over the van, store the rest in cool bags and perhaps take with you in your car so you can quickly unload the other end.
Data and documents
There are two kinds of computer users: people who don’t back up their files, and people who’ve learned the hard way! To keep your data (not to mention all those precious holiday memories) safe, if you don’t have access to online storage, back up onto an external hard drive. On the day of the move, don’t pack the hard drive in the same box as the computer; carry it with you for safe keeping. Similarly, pack important documents – passports, birth and marriage certificates etc – into a zip-lock file and keep with you on the day of the move, you will need them as proof of identity at some point during and shortly after the move.
Change of address
Don’t forget to inform utility companies, credit card and insurance companies, bank, doctor, dentist, employer and, of course, family and friends about your change of address. The Post Office’s redirection service can be a boon as it will catch anyone that you’ve missed.
Make a list, and check it twice
It is highly unlikely, but things can go wrong on moving day and boxes can go missing. So, just in case you need to claim on your insurance, keep an inventory of each box and its contents and while you are making a list, it’s a great idea to read the meters, or better still take a photo, especially if you have a date stamp on the camera.
Pack an overnight bag for each person so you can hit the ground running when you get to your new home, instead of having to rifle through boxes for the kids’ pyjamas. Include a change of clothes and nightwear, bed linen (sleeping bags for the kids if you’re arriving late or it’s easier), toiletries and toothbrush, any medications, etc. Don’t forget to pack one for the pets, too - bowls, food and bedding for your furry friends are all likely to be needed before you get chance to unpack fully. Also pack things such as tools you’ll need to reassemble wardrobes or beds.
Leave the keys
Finally, don’t forget to leave the house and window keys behind or with the agent. Whatever you do, do not hand over the keys unless the buyers / tenant’s money has hit your bank account!
For more help and advice on moving your belongings do visit www.propertychecklists.co.uk – or if you have a question we’ll be happy to give you an independent answer!