How to Move House | And Stay Sane

6 years I was living and renting in London. Anyone who has lived in London will tell you that no address is permanently home and so to move house was an annual occurrence for me. After moving out of my parent’s house at 18, I then lived in 5 addresses across London (in 5 years!) and then 2 more since moving back to Staffordshire so I considered myself a moving connoisseur. Little I knew, it was all prep for the biggest, most complex home move of my life.

Because I’m a big nerd, I was VERY excited to move house and made a spreadsheet with TEN tabs on it each detailing a different part of the most. You don’t have to be as crazy as me but hopefully this post will suggest a few ideas that can make your next move as stress-free as can be.

Save Information From the Listing First

Once the listing has been removed after your offer was accepted then – unless you’ve saved the information somewhere – you’ll have no point of reference when trying to remember if there are radiators in the lounge or what colour the tiles are in the bathroom. Listings come with information packs too so make sure you save that, you’ll want it for your floor plan tasks later on.

Book Time Off to Move House

Quite a few of my friends were surprised that I was taking 10 days off to move house and ‘wasting’ my holidays at work. But I value our sanity too much! It’s entirely possible to move in a day – as in, get all your stuff and dump it in the new house – but moving your stuff alone doesn’t constitute making a home. In that week off following our move we painted every room we wanted painting, as we knew if we didn’t do it when we had motivation in that first week, then we wouldn’t do it. If you haven’t done it before, painting is exhausting so if you’re got any kind of a project to do then book the time off.

List Out Each Room

Make a spreadsheet with each room of the new house then do the same thing with your old house. As you work through the lists, make sure you cross items off so you can see your progress.

  • New House Copy: Make a list of all the things you need to buy for that room (including paint and colours). Then when you shop you wont pick up 10 new plates when you have enough but you’ll grab the new towels you need for the bathroom.
  • Old House Copy: Make a list of what needs to be de-cluttered from each room. I put the items in biggest to smallest order to give it some organization. Also make a note if these items are to be binned, donated or gifted to a friend.

Start Packing As Soon as You Can

Packing too soon can lead to inconveniences so start with the least used items in the house. For us it was what was in storage such as memory boxes, photo frames and spare duvets etc. I started packing about 4 weeks before however this is because I work full time so knew that was technically only 8 non-working days to get packed.

I only really have one big tip for packing and that is each box should have a label on the outside with the room it goes in. That way, when you turn up on the day all the bathroom boxes can be plonked in the bathroom, all the bedroom boxes can be plonked in the bedroom and then you can work through each room by room without having to wonder where something is.

Draw Out Your House Plan

If you’re a visual planner or learner like myself then drawing out your house floor plan will make planning a lot easier. If you have a floor plan drawn out on a spreadsheet or on paper then make 4 copies of that tab / page.

  • Copy No1: Label each room (main bedroom, box room, lounge, kitchen etc). This will be stuck somewhere immediately visible in your new house on the day of your move, so when people who come to help you carry your labeled boxes, they can put them in each room. If you want to go one step further or have a big house then put a note on each door with the name of the room.
  • Copy No2: Draw the measurements on this one. Your measurements will be found on your pack from when you save the information from the listing. This one is simply a reference should you be wondering what furniture fits where (eg, ‘Can we get a kingsize bed in that room…?).
  • Copy No3: This one is simply for you to label which walls will be painted which colour. Again, if you’ve got a friend helping you, it will be a great reference for them and they might just go get on with painting a room following your spec whilst you’re cracking on with another.
  • Copy No4: Using a copy with measurements, draw in (birds eye only, no artistic talent needed) where each piece of furniture will go starting from the biggest and most essential. You’ll soon figure out what you don’t need.

Donate Beforehand

Using the Copy No4 from the above task you’ll be able to clearly see what you own that you no longer need. We donated a desk, 2 bedside cabinets, 2 shelving units, a bathroom cabinet, a television stand, a Hi-Fi stand and 2 seats before we moved as, although we could have probably found a home for them somewhere in the house, we just knew we didn’t want the extra clutter. Lots of charities will come and collect and I can recommend British Heart Foundation for this without hesitation.

Meal Prep

The week before you move house is the last week you’ll feel like budgeting and prepping your meals but it’s the week you should be doing it. If you don’t you’ll end up spending heaps more than you mean to with takeaways or meals out because you won’t be bothered to cook – trust me.

Even if meal-planning means grabbing 7 ready meals for the week then it’s better than the money you’ll spend having someone else cook your food. Also, meal prepping means you can use up what’s left in your fridge and freezer so you can move with just cupboard goods which is very handy.

Change Your Addresses (Beforehand)

Changing it too soon might lead to post turning up when the seller/previous tenants are still in (awkward). But changing it too late and you might have some post going to your old house for a while. It’s a fine balance.

You can also set up a Royal Mail Re-Direct service however I wouldn’t recommend unless you really need it or have a business linked to home.

I chose 48 hours before we moved and that worked out pretty perfectly. Pay attention to your post in the months leading up to the move and you might be surprised what you’re still subscribed to via snail mail. Here’s a list of where you need to change your address at a minimum:

  • Work’s HR department
  • DVLA
  • Bank’s where you have debit or credit cards / accounts
  • GP / doctors
  • Pension scheme
  • National Insurance
  • Student Loans company
  • Gas company
  • Electric company
  • Broadband / phone line company
  • TV License
  • Mobile phone company
  • HMRC
  • Local council
  • Electoral roll
  • Gym
  • Online shopping companies such as Amazon or eBay
  • Online or instore loyalty cards such as Nectar or Boots
  • Paypal
  • Uber
  • Anything else you’ve noticed you’ve had mail for in the last few months. For us, we had forgotten about our Give Blood accounts.

That’s about all the advice I can give you to make your move as organised as possible. I honestly hope it all goes well for you so let me know if you implemented any of these tips and if they worked for you.

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