An essential guide to moving house

Top Tips for making moving house stress free…..

‘Mortgage enquiries jump more than 50 per cent since election’

With the excitement of a new home comes the anticipation of a big move. Making moving home a relatively stress-free process is all in the preparation.

You have found the perfect new place, had your offer accepted and started to plan exactly where you’re going to put the sofa when you move in. But in all the excitement, have you given much thought to how you are going to get the sofa, and all your other furniture, there in the first place? When I moved from a flat to a house with my partner and three children a few years ago, this issue became the source of heated debate for a week or two. I wanted to get a removals company to do it all, even though it seemed to cost a lot. My partner wanted us to do it ourselves, avoiding the cost. As far as I was concerned this would add a lot of worry to an already stressful situation (they say moving house is as stressful as divorce) and, should be best avoided.

As far as he was concerned, the money it would cost to employ a removals company was money we didn’t have to spare. So what to do? In the end, we begged some (more) money from parents and got a house removals company in, and boy am I glad we did. They were quick, efficient and friendly. I don’t know how we would have found the time to do it ourselves, particularly with work and small children to consider.

Not everyone has a good experience though. The people moving into our flat had removals men who were surly and chain-smoking, and who started to demand more money because of delays that were not the fault of their customers. The National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) says the single most important thing to consider when choosing a removals firm is whether it is registered with the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme. “This is a properly constituted ombudsman scheme which offers the best consumer protection in an otherwise unregulated industry,” he explains. Companies registered with the scheme are subject to inspection and must conform to certain standards. “If you choose a firm registered with the Ombudsman, you cannot go wrong,” . He advises that you should never choose a removals company just because they quote a low price or have a flashy advert, and always make sure you get written quotations. All members of the NGRS are registered with the Ombudsman Scheme.

Pack it up

If stories of bad experiences and the cost of using a removals company put you off, it is possible to do it yourself. You should start packing as soon as you can as it is likely to take longer than you expect. You will need lots of boxes, lots of packing paper, some marker pens, and plenty of time. If you don’t have a van you will probably have to hire one, unless you have a willing, van-owning friend.

Measure the width of doors and windows in your current home and the new one to make sure that large items of furniture will fit.

You can buy the equipment you need from removals or storage companies, and you might like to check out the services of a company with green credentials, such as Eco Boxes, which will deliver recycled boxes to your door, along with biodegradable bubble wrap and packing tape. When you have finished, they will collect any boxes you no longer need so they can be reused. Removals experts say it is really important to make sure you use boxes that are strong enough. Be careful not to make them too heavy, but always fill them to the top so they can be stacked safely in a van. You can half fill a box with heavy items, such as books or picture frames, and then fill it to the top with lighter weight items, like sheets or soft toys. Write clearly on the box which room you want it to go in your new home. It is a good idea to measure the width of doors and windows in your current home and the new one to make sure that large items of furniture will fit. If you are going to have to remove a window to get a sofa out, contact a glazier and arrange in advance for them to come around on the day of the move.

Little extras

One more thing to consider – if you are moving with children, you will need to think about who will mind them while you are supervising the move if you have a removals company doing the work, or while you are packing and moving everything yourself. I wanted my children to be part of the move and to see it all happen, but it would have been impossible if we hadn’t had willing grandparents to take charge of them for the day and make sure they were occupied and fed. They were so excited to be the first ones into the new house and were already unpacking boxes when I closed the door for the last time on our flat. If you have pets to consider, particularly dogs and cats, you might want to arrange for them to stay with a friend or in kennels overnight while you get everything organised. They will be safer out of the house and you will be able to concentrate on the task in hand without worrying about their welfare.