Moving house Moving house tips

smiling man holding large brown box

Use our expert tips to make moving day go as smoothly as possible

However well you plan moving day, it will be busy and possibly emotional, too. Follow these six tips to make moving house as stress-free as possible.

When moving out of a home that you own, it's common to aim to 'complete' (ie hand over the keys to your estate agent) at midday.

However, this isn't always possible as it can take a good few hours for the removals company to get everything out of your house, and you may want to do a bit of cleaning to leave it in a welcoming state for the new owners.

The more last-minute jobs you leave yourself to do on the day, the more likely you are to find it stressful. Follow our six expert tips to make things quicker and easier when you move house.

Moving house tip 1: hire a recommended removals company

A reliable, efficient removals company will make the world of difference if you're after a stress-free moving day. 

Our Which? Trusted Traders service lists companies that have been thoroughly vetted by Which? and given our seal of approval. The site is free to use, whether you're a member of Which? or not.

Alternatively, Which? members can browse reviews of local removals companies written by other members using Which? Local.    

Moving house tip 2: send kids and pets away on moving day

Moving may be emotional for you, but it can also be stressful - or boring! - for kids. Pets may find it disorientating and scary, and accidents can easily happen with so much activity and movement going on. 

It's often best for all concerned if you can find a friend or relative to look after them for the day.

Moving house tip 3: pack yourself a moving house survival box

Pack a box of essentials to help you survive the day - and make sure you label it 'Do not pack'. You might want to include:

  • Kettle
  • Tea and coffee
  • Mugs
  • Toilet paper
  • Headache pills and other medication 
  • Spare light bulbs in case they're needed in the new property
  • Paper, sellotape and pens to label rooms in the new property

Moving house tip 4: get last-minute things ready early on the morning of your move

Strip the beds first thing and pack them in a box you've set aside. Put down sheets to protect the floor as people traipse dirt in and out. The removals men are likely to turn up early and they work very fast, so if you're dismantling furniture or disconnecting appliances, do it the day before they arrive.

Set aside the vacuum cleaner and cleaning equipment for your last-minute clear up or, better still, ask a friend or cleaner to do the work for you.

Moving house tip 5: keep everyone informed

When the removals team arrives, check the foreman knows the brief and get his mobile phone number in case of emergencies.  

Also, keep a list of key phone numbers with you, including your bank, solicitor, estate agent, mortgage lender and friends and family - just in case you need urgent help.

When you get in, label or colour code each room so the removals men know what will go where. Be clear about where you want any heavy furniture put.

Moving house tip 6: don't expect to unpack too much on the day you move in

On moving day, don't put yourself under pressure to unpack anything beyond the bare essentials. As long as you've made up the beds and are able to make drinks and basic snacks (you'll deserve a takeaway for dinner), the rest will follow. 

It might help your family to settle in if the new place feels homely. One way to help with this is to set aside a small stock of pictures, which you can prop up on boxes to make things feel cosier before worrying about hanging them on the walls.

If the seller isn't leaving curtains, having some ready to hang can be a godsend. Pack a sleeping mask if this isn't possible.

It's common to feel deflated and even upset when you first get to the property. With all of the previous owner's furniture gone, it's likely to look bare and more tired than it did when you viewed it. Don't despair - as soon as you've unpacked it will look much more homely, and you'll have plenty of time to plan your home improvement to-do list over the coming weeks and months.

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Last updated:

February 2016

Updated by:

Joe Elvin

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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