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Thinking of Moving?

The Moving Process

Although the reasons for moving home are usually positive, for example, moving to a larger property or for a new job, the move itself can be traumatic. Use our week by week planning guide to take the uncertainty out of your move and to help everything run smoothly.

Week By Week Move Planning Guide

DIY Vs Professional Removal Company?

Unless you have very few possessions, call in the professionals to help you move home - it will relieve some of the stress of the big move. You can arrange for everything to be done for you, and pay for the privilege, or you can do the packing yourself but leave the heavy stuff to the experts.

If you do decide to pack and move your belongings yourself, start by hiring the right van - too small and you may need to make a few journeys, too big and you may have problems parking. While it is often cheaper to book vans on weekdays, you may be able to make the most of special two-day hire rates if you move on the weekend. Do your research into rates, as well as the difference between hiring a self-drive van as opposed to one that comes with a driver.

6-8 Weeks Before Moving

This is the time to think about what items you wish to transport to your new home. Use moving home as an opportunity to sort through your possessions. Throw away rubbish and start to separate items that can be given to friends or charity shops, or even consider having a garage sale.

If you plan to do your own packing, start collecting suitable moving and packing supplies. You can purchase all these materials from your removal company or a moving supply store, which will be specially designed for the moving industry to prevent damage to your belongings. You can also collect boxes from local shops or supermarkets, but these boxes may be unusual sizes and make packing into the van difficult, in addition to not being strong enough to prevent damage to the items inside. You can also start saving newspapers and bubble-wrap for wrapping breakables.

It is a good idea to let the removal company do most of the packing. They know the best methods for keeping items safe - it’s what they do for a living.

Think about the layout of your new home and where you'll place your furniture. Create a floor plan ; this will prevent the stress of making hasty decisions when your furniture arrives.

You can also start to familiarise yourself with your new community. Request information on schools, community programmes, parks and recreation facilities from the local Chamber of Commerce or tourism board, or search for online neighbourhood communities.

All travel arrangements (hotel, flights, car rental, etc.) for your family should be made at this time. Try to keep your plan as flexible as possible to accommodate any last minute schedule changes or delays.

Finalise all real estate and rental needs. Contact your insurance agent to transfer medical, property, fire and auto insurance. All medical and dental records should be placed in a safe and accessible place. Be sure to include prescription, vaccination records and eyeglass specifications. Plan on taking all important documents (such as wills, stock certificates, etc.) and other one-of-a-kind items (such as jewellery, coin collections, photos, etc.) with you on your person for safe-keeping.

4-5 Weeks Before Moving

It's time to make the news of your move official. Contact the post office for the Change of Address form to tell them of your move. Also give your new address to:

  • Friends and family
  • Utility companies (electricity, gas & water)
  • Telephone, cable and internet providers
  • Insurance companies
  • Banks and financial institutions (including any creditors)
  • Local government agencies
  • Health providers (doctor, dentist, pharmacy for prescriptions and vet)
  • Schools
  • Subscriptions

Organise your move by finalising and making lists of what items you will not be taking with you, what items your moving agent will move and what items you will move yourself. Of the items not being taken with you, make a final decision about what will be sold at a garage sale, collected by a charity or trashed. Placing different coloured stickers on items is a good way to start separating them out. Remember that most countries prohibit the moving of plants, so if you are moving abroad, consider giving your house plants to friends.

If you are doing your own packing, you can now start packing some of the items you don't use often. Get your kids involved with the moving process; let them do some packing and even suggest a layout for their new room. Make it fun and exciting for them to move.

3 Weeks Before Moving

Notify your removal company if there are any changes to the dates of your move. If you will need any additional or specialist services such as piano moving, packing and unpacking, or storage, you should inform the removal company for pricing information. Also let them know them if you add or subtract items from your planned shipment. If your car is being moved by a car carrier, you should make your final reservation for a car pick-up at this time.

Make transportation arrangements for your pets. If you are moving country, take your pets to your veterinarian to ensure up-to-date health certificates and rabies innoculations. Some countries will require these documents.

Return any borrowed items such as library books, and collect all items that are being repaired, stored or cleaned (clothing, shoes, etc.).

2 Weeks Before Moving

This is the time to action the finer details of your move. Arrange with your chosen charity to collect their items this week, and throw away or recycle everything you've decided not to keep.

Complete the majority of your packing, excluding clothing and items you will need for the remaining two weeks. Be sure to check and clear your closets, basement and attics. It is a good idea to tape and seal all cleaning fluids that are non-toxic & non-flammable in plastic bags. Drain your lawn mower, snow blower and power tools of all the oil and petrol to ensure safe transportation.

Dissassemble and disconnect your computer system before your move and back-up all your computer files. Consider taking all back-up disks with you in the car, as exposure to extreme temperatures can damage hardware.

Arrange with your utility and service providers to have services disconnected from your present home the day after your scheduled moving day. Sign up for your necessary services at your new address and arrange for them to be connected the day before you move in.

Finally, have your automobile serviced if your travel is by car.

1 Week before moving

Make sure to mark which items you will transport yourself, so the movers won't take them or need to keep asking you questions. Mark your boxes to be shipped with "Fragile", "Do Not Load" or "Load Last" stickers. Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator, freezer and clean your stove, all at least 24 hours before moving to let them air out. Try using baking soda to get rid of any odours.

Prepare items you will need while your goods are in transit. Pack your suitcases and confirm travel arrangements for you and your family. Try to keep plans as flexible as possible in the event of unexpected delay or schedule change. Make sure your removals agent knows the address and phone number of your new home. You should also provide an address and phone number of where you can be reached until you will get to your new home.

Arrange for payment to your removals agent.

1 Day Before Moving

Pack a box of things you'll need as soon as you arrive at your new home. This might include non-aerosol cleaning supplies, disposable plates and cups, light tools, snacks, bathroom items and trash bags.

Take this box with you or have the driver load it last and unload first. This is usually the day packing is done. Make sure all packing services have been performed before you sign for them.

Moving out day

Be on hand when the driver arrives and throughout the loading process. (If you won't be there, make sure someone will be there to direct the movers. Make sure the driver has in writing the name and phone number of that person.) Accompany the driver during inventory. Check on the condition of your goods as they are loaded.

Make a final tour of your home - see that nothing is overlooked. Sign the bill of lading and make sure your new address and phone number are correct. Lock all windows and doors, and turn off all switches.

Moving in day

Arrive at your home a day ahead of time, if possible, to make sure your utilities are connected and to plan placement of major items in your home. Be on hand to oversee your goods being unloaded. Once all the large items are unloaded and placed, it may be daunting to be faced with a sea of boxes, but take time to settle in to your new home and be sure to get everyone in the family involved in making the new space their own. Congratulations on your new home, and on an organised and smooth move!

Tips And Checklists

DIY Packing Supplies, Labelling & Packing Tips

Keep the following supplies handy for packing:

  • Boxes
  • Marking pen
  • Bubble wrap
  • Newspaper and tissue
  • Tape and scissors
  • Tape measure

Use strong boxes and containers that can be secured tightly. Purchase special boxes for dishes, glassware, valuables and other special or large items.

Pack audio-video equipment in their original boxes. Label cables and tighten transit screws. If removing screws, tape them to the objects they are removed from.

Avoid loading more than 50 pounds into one box.

Label each box and indicate the following:

(a) Which room it should go in,

(b) Whether it is fragile, and

(c) If it should be loaded last so it will be unloaded first.

Cushion contents with packing material such as bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue. Save room by using towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.

Pack books tightly on end in small boxes. If musty smelling, sprinkle talcum powder between the pages and wrap the book before packing. Leave them stored for a couple of months to eliminate the smell.

Have rugs and draperies cleaned before moving and leave them in wrappings for the move.

Pack medicines in a leak-proof container.

Carry all valuables with you.

How to Pack Boxes

Plan ahead to obtain necessary boxes:

You can purchase boxes from a moving supply company, which will be specially designed for the moving industry to prevent damage to your belongings. You can also collect boxes from local shops or supermarkets, but these boxes may be unusual sizes and make packing into the van difficult, and they may not be strong enough to prevent damage to items packed inside.

Select the proper size and type of boxes:

Heavy items such as books, record albums, canned food, etc. should be put in smaller boxes. Some items such as large pictures, mirrors, glass tops and shelves, clocks and mattresses may require specially-designed boxes which can be purchased from a removal company.

Packing of some items is optional on local moves:

When you are moving locally some items do not necessarily need to be packed. Items such as mirrors, large pictures and mattresses can usually be transported safely for short distances without packing. Generally, these items should be packed for long distance moves and for shipments moving into storage.

Pack one room at a time:

Packing can appear to be an insurmountable task when viewed from the perspective of the entire house. Packing one room at a time (and staying with that room until it is fully packed) has the effect of dividing the overall task into several smaller and more manageable tasks. This approach also makes it possible to set realistic goals, i.e. pack the dining room today, the kitchen tomorrow, etc.

Tape the bottom of boxes:

Taping the bottom of the boxes before filling them prevents the contents from spilling out the bottom during the move.

Heavy items on the bottom/light items on top:

In each box, the heavier items should be placed at the bottom and the lighter items on top to prevent damage.

Use a lot of paper:

All breakable items should be wrapped individually in paper (old newspaper is perfect). Paper should also be used to cushion inside the bottom, sides and top of the boxes.

Place breakables correctly in boxes:

Plates should be stacked vertically as if in a dish drain, while glasses and stemware should be placed in an upright position. Again, use plenty of paper on all fragile and breakable items.

Correctly fill boxes:

Fill all boxes to the top without overfilling. Boxes with items sticking over the top cannot be properly closed or stacked; boxes that are underfilled tend to crush when stacked. Always make sure each box is filled totally to the top before closing. A small space at the top can be filled with paper, a towel, a blanket or other similar items.

Close box and seal shut with tape:

Boxes should be closed and sealed with tape to prevent damage, to stop dust getting inside, and to make stacking easier.

Label each box:

Use a felt pen to clearly label each box as to its general contents and the room it is to be placed in at your destination. Label on the side of each box rather than on the top so that boxes in stacks can be identified. If a box is packed in a manner that requires it to be always kept in an upright position, draw arrows on each side indicating which end must always be kept up. Any box containing particularly fragile items should be labeled as such.

Stack boxes:

Time will be saved on your move if you arrange boxes in stacks of similar sized boxes four to five feet high. This enables the boxes to be easily carried from the house to the removal van, and speeds up packing of the van.


  • Hire a removal company at least four weeks before you move.
  • Use a removal company which is a member of the British Association of Removers.
  • Get at least three quotes before deciding which company to use.
  • Check if the company offers a discount on a weekday.
  • Check the fine print in your moving insurance.
  • Make a list of your possessions so you can check if you've left anything behind.
  • It will help if you let the company know the following things:
    • The amount of furniture you're moving, so they can choose an adequately sized truck and plan the number of journeys needed between your old and new home;
    • A rough guess of how many boxes the company needs to pack, so they can estimate how long it will take;
    • The exact time you want the team to arrive; and
    • Clear instructions and directions to your new property.
  • Arrange a parking space for the removal van close to your home, and tell the removal firm well in advance of any pieces of furniture which won't fit through the front door, so they can make alternative plans.
  • Make a plan of where the furniture needs to go in your new home so it can be placed there by the removal company, saving you the hassle of moving heavy items around later on.

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