Our guide to moving home

The Countdown has begun and here’s what you should do.

From 6 to 4 weeks before you move:

  • If you are in rented accommodation, inform your landlord you are moving out. A six week notice period should suffice, but check your lease just in case.
  • Start acquiring boxes if you are packing yourself. Most removal firms will be able to provide these. Alternatively, there are online companies that supply such items.
  • Book time off work and start to organise help to look after kids or pets on moving day. Children and animals can feel vulnerable at this time and it is advisable, if possible, to have family or friends look after them while the business of packing and moving is done.
  • If there are fittings or furniture to order for your new home, do it now.
  • Start to de-clutter. Pack your first boxes. Many find it hard to throw things away but getting rid of superfluous junk will save time, give your new home a greater sense of space, and could save you money as it is less for the removal firm to transport. You can recycle, take things to charity outlets or even sell them on e-Bay or at car boot sales.
  • Once you’ve de-cluttered, start packing areas you don’t use much. One of the best places to start is the attic. Camping equipment can get packed up and kitchen goods like the fondue set can be boxed and marked, ready to go.


Start phoning services

  • Register to vote at your new address by contacting your local authority. They will guide you through the process.
  • Tell the DVLA to update your license and Vehicle Registration Certificate. Contact the DVLA on 0870 240 0010.
  • To avoid identity fraud, redirect your post through Royal Mail. This can take five days to set up. Visit a Post Office, call 08457 740 740 or log onto the Royal Mail website www.royalmail.com/portal/rm
  • Don’t forget your Council Tax. For more info visit: www.saa.gov.uk in Scotland or www.voa.gov.uk in England and Wales.
  • Any benefit providers should be informed.
  • Banks should be informed of your change of address. It may also be worthwhile switching to a bank near your new home. For credit cards, most statements contain change of address forms on the back.
  • Inform schools of your leaving date and register with a new school.
  • Inform the tax office. You will need your reference number from a pay slip or P60.
  • Tell your insurance provider, particularly the one dealing with your house insurance. Do you have sufficient cover for your new home? Does your policy cover items while in transit during the move? Will your existing cover switch over to your new address and will it take effect the moment you walk into your new home?
  • Doctors and dentists. You will have to de-register at your current address and register with professionals at your new address. If you are on any prescribed medicines, ensure you have enough to last until you register with a new GP. Visit www.nhs.uk for details on services by postcode areas.
  • Contact your landline phone provider. Make sure you can have your number transferred, if desired. If not, inform them you no longer require this service after your moving date and arrange for a final bill to be sent to your new address. Most companies need this in writing four weeks in advance. Do this to ensure you are not paying for a service you are not using. If your phone is being disconnected, make sure you have a mobile available on the day, in case you have to contact the solicitor or removal firm.
  • Similarly, providers of broadband and TV services etc should be informed and final bills should be sent to your new home.
  • If you are pregnant at the time of moving, avoid packing or lifting heavy items. Make sure your hospital bag is packed and in the car so it doesn’t get lost. Keep your notes in a safe place and register with your new doctor, midwife and dentist as soon as possible and get familiar with your midwife at your new address. You never know when junior will arrive!
  • Pets: Book kennels or catteries now and transfer vet registrations. As animals are vulnerable at this time, it is best to have them stay with a friend or neighbour on moving day.
  • Have your vehicles serviced, especially if your new home is a distance away.
  • If there are access issues for the removal firm, you may have to phone the local authority to arrange for a suspension of parking restrictions on the day of your move. Remember, the average removal van may require the equivalent of three car parking spaces.

From 2 to 1 week before you move:

  • Contact TV licensing. Even if you are paid up at your old address, this doesn’t apply to your new one. Find them at: www.tvlicensing.co.uk or call 0844 800 6722.
  • Gas, electricity, water. Contact your utilities service providers and tell them the date of the move and what is happening. If you need a disconnection or final bill, arrange this. Disconnections can take up to 48 hours.
  • Arrange a time to collect your keys from your estate agent or solicitor and notify your removal firm so you can plan around it.
  • Take any rental items back or have them collected.
  • Take all library books back and tell them of your change. Make sure all subscription providers know the new address to which to send your magazines.


1 week before you move:

  • All of this done, you are now in the final week. Don’t panic. Follow the instructions below.
  • Cancel all newspaper and milk orders and settle your accounts.
  • Arrange for a plumber to disconnect your washing machine the day before your moving day. And arrange for a connection at the other end.
  • Start packing what you can, remembering to write where each box will go in the new home – this helps the removal team a great deal.
  • Pack a survival bag to take in your car for the move. Include children’s clothes and toys, candles, matches, cash, a list of important numbers, medicines, tea & coffee, toilet roll, tea towels, plates, cups and cutlery and a bottle of champagne.


2 days before you move:

  • Defrost the fridges and freezers. Empty as much of the fridge as possible and pack any foodstuffs, ensuring lids are secure.
  • Pack important documents and keep them separate from boxes for removal as these may be needed on the day.
  • Send an email to say you’ll be offline for a couple of days, collect all jewellery and precious items in a bag for your car as they are not covered by house insurance during a move.


1 day before you move:

  • Finish packing except for the items in the kitchen/bathroom that you still need. Remember when packing, all breakables such as glass should be bubble or tissue wrapped individually. Take down any curtains or blinds you are taking with you, dismantle any furniture and remember outdoor items. If you have ordered a packing service, the packers will arrive to begin the job.
  • Charge your mobile phone and write a contact sheet of numbers for the big day. This should include solicitors, your mortgage provider, the people you are buying from and the removal team.
  • Put your washing machine on its spin cycle so as much water is drained as possible before the plumber disconnects it.
  • Remember to leave out the hoover and some cleaning products for a last-minute tidy-up before you leave.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep.


Moving day:

  • Drop the kids/pets off or have them safely collected for the day.
  • All the last minute toiletries and kitchen items can now be boxed up, as can the bed linen.
  • Keep the kettle boiling and biscuits flowing for the removal team – and yourself!
  • When everything is in the van and your car is loaded up, do any last minute cleaning, take meter readings and check all the doors and windows are locked.
  • Leave some spare keys for the new incumbents. If no one is moving into your old home, turn the water supply and power off. Then, say farewell to an old chapter of your life...
  • …And hello to a new one. You have arrived at your new abode. Congratulations!
  • Make sure the removal team know where all your boxes are going and check the van is fully empty before they leave.
  • Don’t be tempted to unpack everything straight away, though. You will be tired, so be kind to yourself. Do what’s necessary. Get the kids’ beds made up and your own, then order a take-away to be delivered as you won’t feel like cooking.

Finally, open that bottle of champagne and enjoy what you’ve achieved. You have a brand new home and a whole new life ahead of you.

Enjoy the journey.