A Countdown to Moving

Moving house image

Moving house is a complicated business, but an organised approach can make it far less stressful. With advanced planning and a few lists, it’s possible to make a smooth and efficient transition between properties – which is all the more exciting if your next home is brand new…

Once an entry date is confirmed for the new house, it’s time to start planning your departure from the old one. If budgets allow, run both properties side-by-side for a week. A short-term bridging loan will be expensive, but it’ll eliminate the risks and stresses of trying to orchestrate moving out of one property and into another on the same day. You can shuttle back and forth between both homes to your heart’s content, transporting anything you wouldn’t want to be squashed in the removal van. Other advantages include being able to decorate and make improvements to your new home before the furniture arrives, and having time to resolve any last-minute legal or financial wrinkles in either conveyancing process.

Packing up is best approached gradually, starting with occasional-use items in cupboards and outbuildings, and leaving everyday essentials til last. Donate unwanted or long-forgotten items to charity, or throw them away – there’s no room for sentiment in the removal van. Speaking of which, request heavy-duty flat-pack cardboard boxes from the removal firm you’ve booked, or source them on community websites like Gumtree and Freecycle. Put a mixture of light and heavy objects from specific rooms into each box, and write a number on three sides of every box in black permanent marker. Make a list of what’s in each numbered box – unpacking is much easier if you can tell the removal men to put certain boxes in specific rooms.

With a month to go, start contacting any companies who have your current address. Notify utility firms of the upcoming move, book phone and broadband services for the day after you collect your new keys, and go to the Post Office to arrange a three-month postal redirect in case you forget to notify anyone (which you certainly will). If you can’t live without internet connectivity, buy a MiFi dongle to keep wireless devices online for the first few days in the new residence; plug-in USB sticks do a similar job for desktop and laptop computers.

A few weeks before moving, start running down food stocks to minimise cupboard and freezer contents. Schedule a groceries delivery to your new address the day after you move in, which will save valuable time going to the supermarket. If you’ve managed to overlap ownership of both properties, a quick clean once the removal van has left will be appreciated by the new residents. So will a letter outlining anything they should know – where the fuse box and stopcock are located, how the heating system works, and so forth. Also leave behind instruction manuals for the alarm system or kitchen appliances, and ensure everything is turned off before you lock up for the final time…

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