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A Timetable for Moving House

Make your house move much more organised, more straightforward and less stressed with a timetable. This checklist counts down from when you’ve accepted an offer on your house and exchange of contracts is imminent. Obviously things sometimes have to go more quickly, or slow down when parts of a chain collapse or the lawyers take longer than anticipated with searches and contracts. But this is a useful list of the steps and their ideal timing.

Fix the date. This is key. Without it, you can’t do much else. Sellers and buyers through the chain need to agree on one date for completion of contracts. This is usually also moving day. It’s certainly when keys are handed over. Try and avoid bank holiday weekends, as the traffic may well slow things down considerably.

Book the removals firm. The national chains have lots of bookings, so you need to shop around to find one who can accommodate you. Fridays are the most popular day, so if you can arrange to complete on another day of the week (weekends best avoided) then do. An interesting fact: removals companies tend to have very few bookings on Friday 13th! This really is the first thing to get straight, after which all can follow.

Notify the big companies. Many will need a month’s notice. Telecomms, gas, electric, water, council tax, satellite TV, internet providers, insurers, TV licensing … make a list of all who need to know you’re on the move, especially if they’re going to be supplying you with utilities in the new house too. This kills three birds with one stone: you’re making sure you get final bills and are no longer liable once you’ve moved out; you’ll have services like a working telephone and power in your new home on day 1, and you’ve crossed out notifying changes of address to some of the biggies.

Get your packing materials ordered. These may be offered by your removals company, but you may like to shop around. Internet packaging specialists may give you the best value for money – and check they can deliver fast. Because it’s time to…

Start packing. It’s never too soon to start. Our tip is to start with your loft. After all, you rarely go up there. Then, move on to sheds and outside storage, garage, cellar and spare rooms. A month out is a good time to start: it can take a lot longer than you think. As a room is cleared, clean it and lock it. Set aside one room you don’t use much as packing central. It should be on the same level as your main access, so no-one hauls full boxes up and downstairs.

Two weeks to go … there’s a lot to do. Check all is on schedule for the moving date with your solicitors and the removals company. You don’t want any last minute surprises.

• organise your postal redirection service and change of address cards
• check you’ve informed all authorities, banks, store cards and anyone else of your COA
• go to car boot/table top sales, charity shops, the dump and council to dispose of unwanted items
• arrange your accommodation if you’re move involves an overnight stay
• book time off work, if you haven’t already. Ideally, for the week leading up to your move
• keep on packing …

One week to go … hopefully you’re now off work and able to concentrate on the nitty gritty of packing. There’s no point putting off any rooms any more, you just need to get it all boxed or binned, cleaning up after. Pack an essentials box for every member of the family with the things you’re going to need in these last few days. Pay local bills and check where to drop keys off. Now you’re all ready for the big day itself.