Before you start
You don’t need to leave everything to the day before the move. Consider what you don’t need to take with you, what will need careful packing, and that you are covered for potential breakages.
- Make a list of everything that needs packing and the time you have to do it.
- Take some time before you start packing to have a clear out. A few months before your move, go through each room of your house, and systematically decide what you want to bring, what needs to be thrown away, and what can be given to a charity shop. Doing this will enable you to cut down on packing time, and even the cost of the move. The great thing about donating to charity is that your possessions that you no longer need or love can find a new home, and a lot of charities will come and collect from your house so you don’t need the stress of finding the time to take it to them.
- Calculate the number of boxes you will need and get these well in advance. You can get these online, from self-storage companies, or your removal company. You can also go to supermarkets and ask them for spare boxes they have – just make sure they are clean.
- Ensure you have enough packing supplies like bubble wrap, tape and newspaper.
- Check your contents insurance will cover any breakages and damage during the move.
Unless you travel light, you won’t be able to unpack everything in the first day, so it’s worth deciding what you might need easy access to soon after you cross the threshold of your new home.
- Pack an essentials box for the first couple of nights in your new home. Instant access to tea, coffee, snacks and a kettle will be welcome when you arrive.
- Prepare an overnight bag for everyone in the family and make sure there is enough toilet paper and toiletries for everyone.
- Other useful items to keep to hand are: a torch (with extra batteries), a first-aid kit with painkillers, pencil and paper, some bin bags and a small tool kit.
- If possible, finish any laundry before your move so you are not transporting damp clothes; keep a separate bag for dirty washing.
Spend some time considering how you are going to pack your possessions. Books are easy but heavy, valuables need careful wrapping and will take time, and some furniture may need to be dismantled.
- Start much earlier than you think you need to. Packing always takes longer than anticipates, particularly when you start reminiscing over old photos stored in the attic or you realise that you need to dismantle a wardrobe.
- Begin at the top of the house and move downwards. If you have an attic, it’s a good idea to sort it out first.
- Always pack heavy items in small boxes as it will make transporting them easier and will avoid making them too heavy to carry.
- Pack one room at a time, clearly labelling each box with details of its contents and the room to which it belongs. Clearly label boxes containing breakables and also those that are load bearing and can be stacked in the van.
- Keep all boxes for each room together; this will make it easier to unpack.
- It may sound obvious, but pack heavy items at the bottom of the box and lighter ones at the top to avoid breakages.
- Wrap items individually and place in a box that has been lined with several layers of newspaper and a sheet of bubble wrap. Breakables should also be wrapped in bubble wrap.
- Pack important documents together, such as birth and marriage certificates, and keep them in a safe place.