If you want to know how to pack for moving house, it would be prudent to heed the famous motto of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement: Be prepared. Whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned mover looking to learn some new tricks, we’ve got you covered with our step-by-step packing tips for moving house.
Make a checklist
It can be tough to know how to start packing when moving house, so the best thing to do is make a plan. Before you do anything, get yourself organised and download or print off a moving house packing list template. Listing all the rooms in your home as well as spaces such as garages, lofts, cellars and gardens, this will give you a clear idea of everything you need to pack up. You can detail which items or areas still need to be packed, and tick off each room when it’s done.
Get your priorities in order
Not all your possessions are created equal. While you can probably last a day or two without your favourite childhood cuddly toy, those vinyls stored in the loft and your vintage books that look so good collecting dust on a shelf, the same can’t be said of other things. Like your bed, for example. Other items of furniture such as your sofa and wardrobe may also be priorities, along with most of your kitchen utensils, pans and crockery. If you’re going to need it straight away, prioritise it in your packing list to get a clear idea of what’s important on moving day.
Have a clear-out
Now that you’ve realised what’s integral to your daily life, you may find yourself marvelling at how much stuff you have which never gets used, or even seen. Having a ruthless clear-out can be a great way to help yourself with packing a little later down the line. You could even make a bit of cash by holding a yard sale, or selling some of your stuff on eBay. Alternatively, do a good turn and donate your things to charity.
Get your supplies in
No one ever moved house without a box. Big box, little box; cardboard boxes are often integral to packing for a house move. You can usually get free boxes from the supermarket, while you’ll also need things like tape, bubble wrap, old newspapers and a marker pen.
Little and often can be a good way to spread the chore of moving, especially if you have a large home and lots of things. Starting a month or two in advance of your move will allow you to do this, as you begin to pack up rooms and items you don’t use very often. This would include things like your big coats and Christmas decorations if you’re moving over the warmer months, or your garden tools if it’s winter.
Go from top to bottom
Moving your way down through the floors of your home – starting with the loft if you have one – can be a good idea. The same principle can be applied to unloading your things at your new home. Start with the upstairs rooms so you won’t have to climb stairs when you’re tired later on, and also begin by finding a convenient place to leave the boxes that don’t need to be unpacked straight away.
Label as you go
There’s nothing worse than having to sift through boxes and boxes of your things looking for something, especially after a potentially long and likely stressful move. Label your boxes according to what room they’ve come from, along with an outline of what’s in them. Keep boxes from the same room together, and label things like wires for appliances by wrapping some masking tape around them and writing on what they’re for.
Get a clear plastic box for essentials
Make essentials such as your toothbrush, phone charger and laptop easy to spot amongst a sea of brown cardboard boxes by placing them in a clear plastic one. You could even include a change of clothes, towel and some essential kitchen items in there too. Pop in important documents such as your passport and birth and marriage certificates, and keep a close eye on this all-important package.
Don’t pack too heavy
The easiest way to stop yourself from packing big, heavy boxes that are going to be at risk of breaking and a chore to move, is to get several smaller boxes for things like your books and other weighty items. Label boxes as heavy if they are, and put them at the bottom of any piles to avoid damage to lighter, breakable things.
How to pack clothes
Leaving your clothes on their hangers is the easiest way to pack them up. Tie the hangers together with elastic bands or string, make a hole in the bottom of a bin bag and pull your clothes through so the hanger hooks poke out the other side. Remove with a flourish at the other end and hang them straight back up in no time at all.
Don’t let your toiletries spill
You can avoid any unwanted spillages by covering up the openings of your shampoos, creams and makeup with cling film. Pop the tops back on and your toiletries will be protected from what can be a bumpy journey to their new home.
Packing fragile items
It’s always a good idea to remove drawers from furniture before you move. You can pack your fragile items in these, along with some clothes to give them the protection they need. Wrap some cling film around each drawer and you’re all set. For things like mirrors, artwork, crockery and pots and pans, use paper to wrap them and then tape on a layer of cardboard if necessary. If you put fragile things into a box, label it.
Label your furniture
Putting furniture such as beds, cupboards and even sofas back together can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the original instructions. Label everything from the largest parts to the smallest screws, and write a set of instructions as you work backwards if you feel like you need to, or take photos on your phone of each stage. Keep all screws and fittings in a labelled bag, and don’t forget some bubble wrap for things like chair legs which can easily damage walls.
Moving your kitchen appliances
A few hours should be enough to defrost your freezer but try to leave as long as you can in case it takes more time. You may be comfortable with disconnecting your washing machine yourself, but you’ll need a qualified gas engineer if you’re taking a gas oven with you. A jack can be useful for moving big appliances, while a tool kit can also prove valuable on moving day.
If you’re moving house, when to start packing is a crucial step, as is the legal process. We can help you with the latter rather than the former, which you can read more about thanks to our downloadable conveyancing guide.