Like many big life events, moving house is both incredibly exciting and, if not planned correctly, very stressful. Getting the go ahead to move somewhere new is the start of an enjoyable adventure, but it can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, help is at hand. We’ve created this checklist for you to follow to make sure you don’t miss any important steps in the process of moving house.
The Moving House checklist UK
Two months prior to your move
Two months, or 8 weeks, might seem like a long time away, but the gap closes fast and there are some essential things for you to do now before you will be ready for the later tasks such as packing and actually moving.
- If you currently live in a rented property you will need to give your landlord notice that you are leaving. Follow the process outlined in your contract, as it will tell you how long your notice period is and any steps you must take.
- Inform your internet, landline, water, electricity and gas providers that you will no longer be responsible for the property, and provide them with your new address if necessary.
- Begin the pre-packing, de-cluttering phase, where you get rid of excess possessions you haven’t used in a long time or things that really need throwing away. Try to strike a balance between being overly sentimental and ruthlessly minimalist about which items you keep.
- Have a look at more specific places and areas of interest around your address. Hopefully you will have already researched the street and surrounding area, but now is the time to really get to know your new home territory. Look for supermarkets, convenience stores, pubs, schools, parks and sports facilities.
- Start hoarding boxes, bags and other containers that will be essential when you start packing. Friends, family, colleagues, supermarkets and other stores are often willing to give away packing boxes.
One month prior to your move
You now have one month, or approximately 30 days left until the big moving day. Feeling stressed yet? Don’t worry, if you follow our next steps you will have a smooth transition from one location to another with everything handled in plenty of time.
- Arrange a moving company to transport your stuff – it may be tempting to wait until after you’ve done some packing to know how much transport space you will need, but it never hurts to be informed of the options available.
- Ensure your moving van will be able to access both your current address and your new home – if there are parking restrictions, try and arrange for a time where parking is free, or purchase a permit or ticket to allow you to park legally.
- Get in touch with HMRC and inform them of your change in address. You may be able to do this through your employer, so do ask them first.
- Arrange to have your post redirected with the Royal Mail. You don’t want any important letters or parcels turning up at your old address.
- Update the electoral roll so you will be registered to vote at your new address, (democracy is important!) and inform the council you will now be responsible for the new property.
- Check with the movers you hire as to whether they provide insurance for your property during the move. If not make enquiries for getting appropriate insurance cover for you specific needs.
- If you currently have home insurers, enquire as to whether you can transfer property and contents insurance over to your new property. If you would like to take out a new buildings or contents insurance policy, have a look at our advice on these types of coverage here (link to the home insurance page here).
- Take a proper inventory – make a list (with pictures) of all your furniture and other items so you can prove what condition it was in prior to your move, just in case anything gets damaged or lost in transit.
- Clean and sort out any outside areas you have such as the garden, garden shed, greenhouse or summerhouse. Ask yourself if you are really going to need that rusty old BBQ at the new house?
Two weeks prior to your move
There are now two weeks remaining until you’ve successfully relocated to your new life. The following steps will make sure everything is in order when you get there.
- The real packing begins now. Pack up and store anything that you won’t need to use in the next two weeks, for example spare items (clothing, linen, towels) or seasonal items such as the Christmas decorations. It can be confusing remembering what went where, so try and start with an organised systems of packing up specific rooms into their own boxes and bags, then labelling them clearly.
- Carefully plan your food for the coming days, as you won’t want to be left with lots of wasted food. Frozen and perishable items won’t travel well, so only buy what you will definitely use in the next two weeks.
- Ensure your car is in good shape, check it over yourself or get it serviced at the garage. You don’t want to add stress and frustration to an already busy moving day by breaking down halfway to your new place.
- If necessary, arrange to have your children or pets looked after by friends, family or professionals. You might love them dearly, but you also don’t want to trip over the dog when it’s excited about all the new sights and smells.
- Get in touch with the DVLA to update the address on your driver’s licence and your Vehicle Registration Form.
- Book some time off work as it will create an easier time slot for your move to take place.
- If you have concerns about immediately fitting all your worldly possessions into your house, consider booking a storage unit to hold them for a while until you get settled. This will give you time to organise your new space without it being crammed full of things.
One week prior to your move
With only one week to go, there are still a number of important tasks to complete, so make sure you factor enough time into your schedule.
- Get in touch with your moving company to confirm the exact date, time and location that your move will take place. You might also need to provide them with directions to either or both properties.
- Complete the packing process; it probably feels like it’s been going on forever, but it’ll be over soon. All items should be packed and ready to go by the end of the week. Keep a separate bag or box for essential items you can’t risk losing and will need on the day of the move. There is a packing list for moving day essentials provided later on in this article, so don’t fret about making one immediately.
- Take apart any furniture that will be moving with you, as it’ll be much easier to fit into the moving van in pieces. Similarly, take down shelving, pictures and any other fitted items that are yours and you want to take to the new property.
- Carry out any small maintenance tasks and repairs, such as fixing scrapes, scratches, marks and holes in the walls.
- Set up a final leaving inspection with your landlord if you are renting your current property.
- If you have one, redirect your TV licence to your new property as it will not automatically update.
- Consider arranging for a locksmith to change the locks at your new house, depending on how you feel about the area.
Three days prior to your move
You might be starting to panic now, and its okay to feel a little nervous as anything truly worth doing will cause some concern. However, stick to the plan and all will be fine. These are the last things to do before you leave.
- Find out when you will be receiving the keys for your new home, then remove your old house keys from your key ring and label any spare keys so you don’t get confused.
- Make sure you know exactly where important documents and valuables are packed so you can find them easily and they won’t get lost.
- You may have done this already, but if not, get in touch with your utility companies (electric, gas and water) to inform them of when you will be moving and your new address. You must give them at least 48 hours notice.
- Write a list of people and organisations that you will need to contact in the first few days of living in your new home.
- Disconnect any larger appliances that will be coming with you, such as the washing machine, dish washer, cooker or similar. Take pictures to help with reinstalling them.
- Clear out your cupboards, drawers, fridge and freezer of food. Throw out anything that’s expiring and carefully pack any long-lasting goods such as tins of beans. Ensure that you defrost your freezer.
- Finish washing and drying any laundry that needs doing so that you don’t have to arrive at your new home and immediately deal with chores.
The big day is here! – Moving day tasks
The countdown is finally over and it is time to move on to pastures new. Say goodbye to your home. Try not to be too weepy and sentimental, but have a quiet moment to reflect on the good, the bad, and the mundane but memorable events that occurred while this was your residence – such as when your washing machine broke and you had to wash your clothes by hand for over a month.
- Make one last thorough circuit of you home to check you have packed absolutely everything. Look in all the storage areas throughout your house just in case something is hiding.
- Whilst going around your house, take photos of the empty rooms to use as proof of the condition you left it in. You may also want to do any last minute cleaning jobs.
- Lock and secure all the windows and doors.
- Grab your bag of essentials to keep with you throughout the day.
- Return the keys to old property.
- Help your movers pack the van effectively using the labels on boxes and bags to arrange everything in sections or rooms, to make unpacking easier.
The final thing to do is a pleasant one. Just look around, enjoy the moment and marvel at how new everything is, as in time you’ll get used to your surroundings and some of the magic of a new location will dissipate. But for now, just enjoy the moment, let all the stress of the past months of planning, preparing and packing leave you.
Packing list for moving day essentials
With so many items to pack, tasks and times to keep straight in your head, it can be easy to leave behind some very obvious but important things. Keep these items easily accessible on the day and separate from the main bulk of your packed possessions. Moving home is an exhausting process and you don’t want to be hunting through your entire worldly possessions for the toilet roll after celebrating your move in with an extra spicy takeaway curry.
- Important documents – passports, bank details, house documentation, and marriage license, birth certificates, anything else not easily replaceable.
- Credit and debit cards
- Medication and first aid box
- Vital technology – phone, laptop and chargers
- Water and snacks – bring extra if you have children and pets
- Toilet paper
- Kitchen towel
- A spare set of clothes – bring a set for each person who will be moving with you
- Tape measure
- Toolbox – a hammer, spanner, Allen keys and other tools may come in handy immediately
- Rubbish bags
- Jewellery or any other family heirlooms or very valuable and irreplaceable items
Having all these items readily at hand will reduce your stress when you are worn out and just want to sit down and relax without freaking out that your passport or Grandma’s necklace is lost forever.
People and organisations to inform that your address has changed
Moving house can result in a lot of paperwork as you will need to inform a number of different people and organisations that your address has changed. Here is a list of essential people to notify:
- Your bank(s)
- Your employer and National Insurance, which can usually be done through your employer
- The electoral roll
- The local council
- Your utility providers, regardless of if you are staying with the same company
- Your doctor and dentist
- Any memberships, subscriptions or regular post you have for gyms, sports clubs, magazines, and newspapers
First tasks once you have moved into your new house
Now that you’re safely inside your new property, there are some final tasks to get yourself set up.
- Before you unpack the van, do a quick tour of the property and take pictures of every room and any maintenance concerns. This is essential if you are renting, but even if you have bought the house it’s good to have a record and the pictures can help planning new room layouts.
- Make sure your gas, electric and water supplies are working and take a meter reading as your utility providers will need to know this regardless of if they supplied your old house or new.
- Set up the internet connection.
- Locate the stopcock in case you need to shut off the water in an emergency.
- One last check in the moving van to ensure everything has been unpacked.
- Start unpacking, maybe take a break to have a drink and some snacks you packed in your essentials bag.
Now you’ve reached the end of the moving process. Over the days, weeks, months and years that follow, this property will gradually be shaped by your views and tastes. Enjoy it.