My Top Ten Tips For Moving House

Some of the lovely 'new home' cards we received!
After all my bluster about getting back into blogging, unfortunately it's gone on the back burner because our life has been slightly taken over by our house move. We finally moved in on Friday and so far it has been a blur of unpacking, building IKEA flat packs and trying not to notice all the little things that were covered up by furniture at viewings (thankfully all cosmetic though!). So, as a stopgap post before I can upload pictures again, here are my top tips for anyone who's moving imminently...

1. Start packing as early as possible
The packing will take longer than you think, as every cupboard turns up new things you want to take and you wonder just how you've accumulated all this stuff. For that reason, start as soon as you can so it doesn't end with you sitting in a mountain of stuff at midnight the day before you move. Also think about what you've got that you won't need right away, as these can be packed first; out-of-season clothes are an easy win, so pack your heavy winter coats if you're moving in July or your floaty summer dresses in January.

2. Pack little and often.
That said, the overwhelming feeling of having so much stuff to pack can be knocked on the head if you do a bit of packing as and when you can. In the run-up to the move, my husband and I would pack for an hour each every night - usually with an episode of a TV programme we liked on in the background - whilst the other cooked or did jobs around the house. That made it feel slightly less like a huuuuge task and helped us get the job done a lot quicker by focusing on a smaller area.

3. Declutter as you go.
There's no point in wasting valuable removal van space and money on stuff you're not even going to keep when you get there. So use the move as an opportunity to get rid of all the bits and pieces you've been meaning to clear out. Take advantage of sites like MusicMagpie for old CDs and DVDs, give books and clothes to friends or the charity shop, and send any unwanted toiletries to Give and Make Up.

4. Make up meals for the freezer (if you have one).
After long days of lugging boxes around and putting furniture together, it's very easy to fall back on takeaways or ready meals when you're too tired to cook. We did that, and consequently my skin went to pot and I felt incredibly lethargic for the first few days. Instead, take a weekend to make up a couple of batches of meals - curries, stew and a Bolognese sauce (which can become the basis for chilli con carne or lasagne) all work well. I'd also recommend doing a big online supermarket order of supplies such as herbs and spices, tinned goods, staples like pasta and rice, cleaning products and washing powder to arrive shortly after you move in.

5. Pack a 'first night' box.
This should contain: bed linen, pyjamas (if you sleep in them), clean clothes and underwear for the next day, toiletries (shower gel, deodorant and face wipes as a minimum), contact lenses if you wear them, any medication, chargers for gadgets, kettle, mugs, tea bags, coffee, milk, a healthy pre-made meal (see point 5) or the number of a takeaway, and supplies for breakfast. It might seem like a faff now but you'll be grateful when you're not scrabbling round in bin bags at 6AM looking for shoes or getting lost en route to the nearest supermarket.

6. Take some time off (if you can).
We moved at a time when for various reasons we couldn't take time off work, and in hindsight I wish we had - even just a couple of days would have been hugely helpful rather than doing a full day at work and then coming home to unpack yet more boxes. Even if you aren't taking that much stuff with you or the house/flat doesn't need anything doing to it, it's nice just being able to explore your new area and get settled into your new home. This is the one thing I'd do differently if we were planning the move again.

7. Assess what needs doing vs what you want to do.
Maybe more one for anyone who is buying rather than renting (depending on what your landlord/landlady will let you do), but I'd advise making a list of any DIY that needs doing in your house. If you've bought, some of this should be obvious from the survey; other things will only turn up once you've seen the place when it's empty. Then write down which tasks need to be prioritised and start looking for quotes from professionals or buying tools/equipment to fix it yourself, before you focus on the decorative side. This also applies to furniture; a sofa is more likely to be urgently required than, say, a dressing table. That said...

8. When you move in, put some of your own things on display.
When we completed on our house, it looked very different to when we viewed it because it was completely empty. However, once we'd put up a few pictures and filled the shelves with our books and DVDs, it felt much more welcoming. So keep some of your favourite knick-knacks aside to add a few personal touches to your new place, or go shopping to find a few items that show your personality - Tiger, H&M, Zara and Primark all have great affordable bits and pieces.

9. Accept it won't be perfect right away.
This is particularly true if you're buying all-new furniture or moving to somewhere that needs a lot of work, but even if you're not, accept that things will be messy initially. Yes you will be living out of boxes (I recommend making up boxes of tops, bottoms and socks/underwear so you can easily find stuff to wear) but try not to look at the house and be disappointed. OK, so it won't exactly look quite how you remember it, and the work might not be done as quickly as you want, but think about how great it will be when it's done and it's exactly how you want it. If it helps, try to do as much as you can before you move, or alternatively space out work (depending how urgent it is) so you don't feel overwhelmed by it all.

10. (Try to) Enjoy it!
I'm not going to lie: moving house is a stressful experience. You will probably cry, shout, swear and just want it all to go away at some point. But equally, it's brilliant; it represents a great opportunity for a new start, to put your stamp on somewhere, to create a home that fits you perfectly. So try not to stress out too much and instead take the time to step back and enjoy an exciting new time in your life!

I hope that was a helpful post for anyone who is moving soon or has moved recently - let me know if you liked it in the comments. Do you have any tips for moving house?


  1. This post is perfectly timed, we should be completing on our new house purchase a week today - ahhhhh!!! We then have about 3 weeks to clear out our rented flat but like you we'll have to do this in the evenings after work (and not even started yet!). Not looking forward to building furniture but so excited to move and start our adventure!!

    Chloe x

    1. Ooh exciting times! Good luck and hope it all goes well :)

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  3. Great tips on moving! I especially appreciate the idea of doing a little at a time. I find this to be difficult as I hate projects that need to be continued over time. I like to finish what I start as soon as I can. Lengthy moves can be exhausting but I do understand the importance of it.

    Vanessa Walters @ Stellar Movers