Claire Thompson

Moving House Checklist: Preparing for the Move

Two-thirds of people voted moving house at the top of their stress list, “triggering more anxiety than relationship breakdowns, divorce and starting a new job”. Here's our ten point checklist to reduce the stress considerably. Part of our #MovingHome blog series

Having been an ‘army brat’ myself, with more than a touch of gipsy in my soul, I’ve moved more times than most.

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do – in a Telegraph poll, two-thirds of people voted it at the top of their stress list, “triggering more anxiety than relationship breakdowns, divorce and starting a new job”.

However, with a little preparation, the stress can reduce considerably.

1. Identify the good things about the move

It’s easy, and sometimes necessary, to focus on what you’re leaving, to say goodbye to the things about your current life that you love and enjoy.

However, a great thing to do is look at all the good things about where you’re moving to. Maybe it will be the schools or the park, the opportunity to make a new place your own, a bigger garden, or a lower maintenance space. It may just be that you’ll be financially better off.

While it may sound a little odd, get a massive piece of paper and write it down to remind you and any family/friends moving with you why you’re doing this.

This is especially important to children who need you to be upbeat and positive about the move, whilst acknowledging their fears.

2. The ‘checking out’ checklist

Make yourself a list of who needs what, when, at the moment you leave.

It may sound odd putting this at the start of things to do, but some utilities need a month’s notice before officially cutting off. You need to know who to call with the final readings on gas, electric, broadband and any other utilities - and what their processes are.

Don't forget to leave time for things like defrosting fridges and freezers, and to start using up what's in them to minimise what you move.

If you still have a milk delivery or vegetable delivery, cancel in plenty of time. You can buy milk as you need it, but getting rid of the bottles or forgetting to cancel creates problems. Only small, resolvable problems, yes, but there will be other things that need your attention.

3. Create a moving plan

Include things like which room or set of things gets dealt with first, and any booking deadlines for things like vans, babysitters, doggy daycare.

Keep it flexible, so that you can shift things around, and allocate responsibilities.

Personally I love Excel spreadsheets because you can sort by date, but everyone has their own preferences. My super organised sister even keeps lists of her lists and instructions about what time to get up.

Create the plan as if you were moving out a week before you are – because inevitably something will slip.

4. ‘Must Have’ Things

What things will you really need up until the last minute of the move?

Be realistic-looking after yourself well during a move is important, so don’t leave yourself with no saucepans, no little luxuries, etc. Make a list and keep those things separate.

5. Sort your belongings before packing a single thing

This is an ideal time to get rid of things you no longer need. There will be things you definitely want to take to your new life. There will be things you can throw away or give away. Charity shops thrive on good quality stuff, but sometimes friends will love some of the things you have and you’d rather they had them. Facebook has a great marketplace. Freecycle thrives in many areas.

Then there are things you know you’ll need and want. Pack as much of that as you can first, advance, clearly marked for removal.  This way you’re only having to make decisions about less vital things.

Anything you’re unsure about, pack and keep separately, or store. Having external storage at this time can be invaluable. You can call things into your new home if and when you need them.

If you’re having removers pack for you, it pays to have this sorted well in advance so that they can give you a proper quote, and are not packing everything, leaving you with a massive sorting job at the other end.

As a side note, make sure you book removal firms well in advance. At certain times they get really busy.

6. The attic or cellar

We rarely go into our cellars or attics if we are lucky enough to have one. So they are the easiest places to leave until the last minute, surely?

Far from it! They have been storing junk, perhaps for years. Our Christmas and Hallowe’en decorations have found their way there, our old motorcycle leathers, or long forgotten treasures.

I would argue that you start rather than end here. The mess that emptying them creates will be the greatest motivator for getting through what’s there. The amount you can dispose of will fill you with a sense of virtue. And who knows? You may even find a family heirloom.

7. Moving Children

If you’re moving with children, get them involved in the packing and make sure your plan for moving makes some time for them.

Children in the throes of moving will often want to hold onto the most surprising things. This is where you can make a judgement: if things are what they often use, great: they stay out until the last minute or go into the moving box. If suddenly a teddy or long forgotten or broken toy becomes super important, leave them out or put them into the ‘storage’ box, ready to be brought out if the excitement of arrival in the new place doesn’t remove its importance.

Plan for someone to take small children out for a treat or for a sleepover whilst the move is happening. It’s hard for them to see things leaving their home, and you won’t have the time to watch them. Make sure they get a chance to say goodbye though, both to their home and to any friends they’ll see less of.

8. Animals

Plan ahead!

Like children, having pets stay away, at kennels or with friends on the day of the move is better for them and for you. It also makes it less likely that they’ll hide in packing boxes or go AWOL just as you’re locking the front door.

I can honestly say that the most difficult animals to move have been fish! Sadly, it’s been easier to give them to a local enthusiast than to try transporting at the right temperature or without stressing them.

9. Change of address

Personally, I’ve found this one of my most overlooked tasks.

Make sure that you’ve made time to let the bank, insurers, financial agents, insurers know about your move and its timing. Fail to do it right and you’ll never pass a security check to speak with them when it matters.

And then there’s letting people know you’ve moved/are moving.  Having a change of address cards printed and printing your own name/address labels well in advance is time-saving (and the list can be reused for Christmas cards!). Just pop them in the post the day before you move!

10. Build in time for you

You’ll need to make plenty of time for yourself to refill your batteries in your moving plan. Maybe it’s walking to the school to pick the kids up rather than going by car. A session in the gym or on the golf course. Drinks or meals with friends.

If someone offers help, take them up on it. It may be wrapping and packing glass bits into boxes. It may be helping you take things to the charity shop, but any task done gets you closer to being ready.

Of course, easyStorage is here to help you meet any storage needs, temporary or long term as back up – and we come to you, help you pack, even help with inventory of what you pack. We’re always here to help.

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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