Planning your move


The physical process of moving house can be a huge task! We acquire possessions as we go, filling the space available. Only when it comes to packing it all up and moving it all out do we notice how much we have accumulated.

First step- How much do you have? 

Before you choose how to move, you need to know hove much you have to move. What’s in the attic, the garage, the shed? How many possessions do you have? Do a thorough inventory. Take a pen and paper to every room, nook and alcove. Write it down. When it’s done, you’ll be happy to consider the next stage: throwing things away! There is no better time to have clear-out. Be ruthless. Ask yourself- how long since i used it? Will i (ever) use it again? Do i want to make room for it in new house? As soon as you decided to move, start sifting and sorting getting obvious junk out of this way.

Who’s going to do the moving?

Address this early. There are three basic options: do it yourself, hire a ‘man with a van’, or instruct a professional removals firm. If you are moving by yourself, be prepared for a lot of hard work. You’ll need to hire a suitable vehicle. Consider the size of your largest objects, the volume of boxes and other items you need to move. If moving a short distance, you may get by making several trips in a day but remember, you will have to unpack at the destination to empty the vehicle for a return trip. You will need help at both ends. You will have time pressures if someone is moving into your old place, or if you have to wait for the previous owners to vacate the new home. You’ll need kids and pets out of the way. You’ll want insurance in case things are damaged in the move. You can expect a very long, hard day’s night. Moving yourself is often the cheapest, but it is not to be undertaken lightly.

An intermediate step is a ‘man with a van’ (and it invariably is a man!). Agree i advance how much assistance you need with fetching and carrying. Ensure your quote includes VAT and any extras. Ask about insurance. Check all eventualities, such as what happens if the driver is ill.

Although professional removals companies are expensive, their skill and effort are well worth it. Get several quotations. Be absolutely honest as what has to be moved, and be clear on who is responsible for what. Are you going to do all the packing? Who will fetch things down from the loft? A professional firm will ask for an inventory upon which to base their estimate. Be thorough. Don’t forget about the attic and garage, garden furnishings and pot plants. If you miss things off the list you will still have to pay for their removal, and it will cost more in money and time if the removals’ firm hasn’t brought a big enough van or sufficient staff. As with all professionals, your decision as to which company to use depends not just on the lowest fee, but on the reassurance you receive about service quality. Often the best way to choose is by recommendation.

If you are moving from a city to a small town, you may get cheaper quotations from a local firm in the smaller place, as they have opportunities to book a return journey. There is more chance of them finding another client moving from a small town to the big city than vice versa.

If you are moving appliances, you will need electricians and/or gas filters to disconnect and reconnect them. Being without a cooker for a week could be a problem! If you need carpet fitters, either to move your own carpets and/or to put in new flooring at the destination, you’ll want them booked too. Moving caret is rarely worth it, but putting down new carpets will ideally be done before furniture arrives.

When you have a confirmed completion date, call your van hire or removals firm, and any skilled tradesman you need, and get written confirmation that you are booked in.

Packing to a plan

Start early – it takes longer than you think. You need a few things in advance. Boxes are vital! Supermarkets recycle boxes almost immediately, but if you are polite they may let you collect almost-empty boxes from the shelves. fruit boxes are ideal for smaller items like books. They are sturdy, built to stack, easy to carry, and hard to over-fill. For bulkier items, you may need to buy packing boxes. Removals firm have solid cases to hire. Get plenty of old newspaper – it’s good for wrapping fragile ornaments and crockery, and as a lightweight filler to keep things still in transit. You need duct tape. Made with cloth, it binds almost everything and is very handy. You’ll also want scissors, sreing and labels.

Have a plan of your new home. Use the agents details for room dimensions. If there’s no floor plan, draw your own. Before you move, sketch out on graph-paper where your large items of furniture will go. Number each room. On the day, blu-track numbers to each door. It may be obvious to you which is he main bedroom, but when the old furniture has gone to your helpers see he house for the first time, a number system is easier. When you pack boxes, label the room number it is going into, and a short description of the contents. With a hundred such boxes stacked together, you’ll be glad of a ready-reference. Number the furniture, too.

Use the four-box method. Pack things you don’t use, and get rid of items you don’t want, well in advance. As you fill boxes and empty your furniture, create a schedule of condition. Make notes, and take pictures, of each piece of furniture. Have the removals company confirm the condition of your belongings before the move. If there is damage in transit, you’ll have a record of the original state of the items. The removals’ company will be happy to know there will be no claims for pre-existing marks and scratches! A word of caution: flat-packed furniture is not built to be moved. You” either need to dismantle it, or you can expect some damage, regardless of how carefully it is handled.

Once you get within a couple of days of the move, live like you do on holiday, out of suitcases and an overnight bag. Pack away everything except your immediate requirements. Clothes and spare linen between the furniture in the van. Throw away rubbish, and don’t mix things up. Removals porters take everything, including rubbish if it’s ‘bagged up.’ It’s better than throwing away wanted items. Equally, you don’t want to take your clothes to the tip because you’ve got the black bags muddled.

Having planned where things go in the new house, pack the van accordingly. Move boxes and small items first. Leave large items until later, and save big furniture in the rooms furthest away from the front door until towards the end. That way, you move big items through an empty house. As they’ll be unpacked in reverse order, you can do the same at the destination and put furniture in the right place from the start. Then, you can unpack the boxes into the furniture as you go.

Have your beds loaded last of all. They are big and can be heavy. You don’t want them carried through a home with boxes in the way. When you arrive, unload them first while the pathway is clear. You” have somewhere to rest your head at the end of this long, hard day.



Moving can be bad for your health!

Research has shown that moving house is one of the most stressful life events, right up there with divorce, bereavement and losing one’s job.  It’s capacity to cause distress is immense and often underestimated.  It is no exaggeration to say it is one of the greatest stresses we can face in our lives.

Both buying and selling produce stress in different ways.   There is a lot of fear involved; the fear of your sale falling through; the fear of losing the house you have fallen in love with.  It all takes its toll.   From the minute the For Sale board goes up outside your house, to the minute you put the key in the lock of your new home – moving house can be an incredibly stressful business.

The impact of stress on our health

Stress and health are closely linked. It is well known that stress can induce body-mind disorders. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and makes us more likely to get ill.  It can also make physical or emotional problems we already have worse.   It can result in:

  • Dizzy spells
  • nervousness
  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • irritability
  • lack of energy
  • lack of concentration
  • eating too much or not at all
  • anger
  • sadness
  • higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
  • tension
  • muscle cramps
  • stomach cramping
  • stomach bloating
  • skin problems
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • weight gain or loss
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • diabetes
  • neck and/or back pain
  • less sexual desire
  • harder to get pregnant
  • panic attacks


coping with stress

There are many things you can do to minimise the impact of stress on your body and your health during the whole moving process by looking after yourself.

  • Make sure you have some early nights and good rest in the run up to your moving date.
  • Eat a balanced diet to give your body everything it needs to stay healthy.
  • Take a day off work, domestic chores, family and everything else that puts pressure on you. Spend the day doing only relaxing things that make you feel good
  • If you start to feel things are getting on top of you, give yourself some breathing space – book yourself a massage or other relaxing treatment
  • Talk to someone – meet up with a good friend or see a professional
  • Let off steam in a way that causes no harm (shout, scream or hit a pillow)
  • Practise slow breathing breathing right up from the bottom of your tummy
  • Use relaxation techniques or go to a relaxation expert

If moving house is worsening an existing condition then maybe it is time to pay attention to it.  This could be the time to take control and start to resolve any underlying health or psychological issues.

Treat yourself kindly and take the time and help you need to keep as relaxed and healthy as possible during this stressful but exciting time.