Tips to help make moving house less stressful

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do and can really put a major strain on relationships. The husband and I moved house just a week before Christmas and I thought I’d share some pearls of wisdom.

We wouldn’t have been able to move and unpack so much without the help and support of both sets of parents for which we are extremely grateful.

Thankfully we also had a lot of stuff already packed from our previous move so we didn’t have to spend too much time packing this time round.

Tips to help make moving house less stressful

So you’ve found your new home and moving day is looming and you realise that you can’t actually put off the dreaded packing any longer.

The thoughts of panic start creeping in.

Have you got enough boxes?

What about those breakables?

Do you have enough bubble wrap?

The best thing to do is pause and think ahead to reduce the potential for disaster on moving day.

Before you start packing:

  • Make a priority packing list.
  • Take some time to sift through your belongings and have a clear-out. You can make up a box for charity and take a trip to the local tip to get rid of any rubbish.
  • If you’ve got time, hold a car boot sale or log onto an online auction, and put the proceeds of any sold goods towards re-decorating or furniture for your new home.
  • Try to calculate how many boxes you will need and get these well in advance.
  • Find boxes in a variety of sizes.
  • Think about what else will be useful, such as strong tape, bubble wrap, and self-seal bags for keeping nuts and bolts together.
  • Don’t completely fill large boxes, as they will be too heavy to move.
  • Save old newspapers for lining boxes.
  • Use sturdy packing boxes, particularly for heavier items to avoid breakages. Boxes made from corrugated cardboard are stronger than regular ones. You can usually find these at supermarkets, off-licences or large retail stores, but make sure that they are clean.
  • If you run out of boxes don’t worry get creative – use bags for life and suitcases too.
  • Check that your contents insurance will cover damage and breakages during the move.
  • If you can get wardrobe boxes these are fantastic. You can hang shirts, suits and other items that are prone to crease and unpack them quickly at the other end crease-free. We only discovered these in our move back to the north and it was such a time-saver.
  • Put all hazardous materials, such as paint, bleach and aerosols, into a separate box and keep them away from the rest of your stuff. Some removal firms may not move these items so it’s worth checking first.

Remember to pack an essentials box/bag for your first night:

  • Pack an essentials box/bag for the first night in your new home and carry it with you – don’t put it in the removal van.
  • Remember to pack whatever is essential for you and your family to make sure you have instant access to coffee, tea, snacks, cups and a kettle. As well as a few plates, bowls, mugs, utensils and some cleaning products.
  • Prepare an overnight bag for everyone in the family, and make sure that there is enough toilet paper and toiletries for everyone.
  • Have items such as clean bed linen and towels ready for that first night.
  • Other useful items you might want close to hand include a torch, a first-aid kit including pain killers (somebody always stubs a toe or gets a migraine), pencil and paper, and re-sealable plastic bags, along with a small tool kit.
  • If possible, finish any laundry well before you move to avoid packing damp clothes. Keep a separate box/bag for dirty washing.

Sensible packing

Before you dive into packing up your home it’s wise to take some time to consider how you are going to pack up your belongings.

Books are easy but heavy, valuables need careful wrapping and will take time, and some furniture may need to be dismantled (shelves inside units, table legs, bed frames).

  • Start early. Packing always takes longer than you first think, particularly when you start taking a walk down memory lane when you unearth old photographs and mementos or you realise that you do need to dismantle the wardrobe to actually get it downstairs.
  • Begin at the top of the house and move downwards. If you have a loft, it’s a good idea to sort it out first.
  • Always pack heavy items in small boxes. I promise it will make transporting them easier. Also, keep the weight of all boxes to a minimum to avoid any back injuries.
  • Pack one room at a time, clearly labelling each box with details of its contents and the room to which it belongs. It’s best to label the top and the sides of boxes as when they are stacked you can still read what the box contains.
  • Clearly label boxes that contain breakables and also those that are load-bearing and can be stacked in the van.
  • Keep all boxes for each room together and label the box with which room it needs to go into the new house. This will save time unpacking and your sanity!
  • It may sound obvious but pack heavier items on the bottom of the box and lighter items on top.
  • Wrap items individually and place in a box that’s been lined with several layers of newspaper and a sheet of bubble wrap. Any breakables should also be wrapped in bubble wrap.
  • Use clean tissue or wrapping paper for the first layer to prevent newspaper print transferring and leaving marks.
  • Pillows and blankets are also handy for wrapping valuables and protecting furniture prone to dents and scratches.
  • Pack important documents together, such as birth and marriage certificates, and keep them in a safe place. Mark this box with important documents.
  • Use re-sealable plastic bags to keep any bolts and screws together and try to keep wires for electrical items together so you don’t have confusion when it comes to plugging everything into your new home.

Last but not least when the van is finally unloaded and it’s time to sit down in your new home give yourself a treat – whether it’s a glass of red, a family sized bar of chocolate or just a good cup of tea – go on you deserve it!

Before moving day

Once we had the keys to our new home we programmed the central heating and hot water to make sure everything worked ok and the house would be warm before we moved in.

We also checked we had all the relevant keys for doors, the shed, back gate, garage etc.

We also went food shopping the day before moving day and filled up the fridge and freezer (we cleaned both out prior to going shopping).

We took down our bed the night before and slept on the mattress and had big plastic bags ready to pop the bed linen into the next morning.

Every time we visited the new house we made sure to fill the car with items. We moved most of our clothes and filled the wardrobe prior to moving day and took items such as the TVs and lighter boxes to make sure space was optimised for the big and heavy items on the van. We only wanted to pay for one trip.

Moving day

It’s a good idea to have someone at the old house and someone at the new one on moving day itself.

Steve and his dad stayed at the old house to help the removal guys and to check everything was packed and switched off.

My mother-in-law and I went to the new house first thing. She kindly started cleaning the kitchen cupboards inside and out while I hoovered every room ready for furniture to be placed and beds put up.

I also opened all the windows to air the house out.

We cleaned the kitchen cupboards inside and out before filling them up and gave the hob and oven a good clean too.

Once the items for making up the beds were in the relevant rooms they were built and linen put on.

Once the van was emptied and the guys were paid it was time for lunch and my parents to arrive.

Once we were fed and watered it was time to get the washing machine plumbed in and as many boxes unpacked as possible.

It’s a good idea to give people jobs they will like so my dad helped set up our TV and Steve’s dad did the handy jobs for us.

That night we had a chinese takeaway and an early night – bliss!

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Now we only have the little bedroom with boxes in to sort. All our furniture is built and in place and we’ve started hanging pictures to make it feel more like home.

We’re starting to settle in and enjoy our new home but we know without the support and help from both sets of parents we’d still be wading through boxes!

Have you got any top tips for helping make moving house less stressful? Please share your pearls of wisdom in the comments section below.

You can also find me on Twitter @rachael_stray

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49 thoughts on “Tips to help make moving house less stressful

  1. movingmrs says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love the part about the essentials for the first night. That is an awesome tip! I am in the middle of a move right now. We have an “essentials box/suitcase” pile right now because we are another 3 weeks away from getting into our new place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rachaelstray says:

      We learnt the hard way in one of our moves that not having any essentials box was a disaster – hunting for pjs toothbrush etc when you’re shattered after a long day moving leads to arguments! Best of luck with your move! 😊👍🏻


  2. You Can Always Start Now says:

    Great post. Pinning for later. Someone at work selling their house and I said the same thing do a purge don’t pack it if you no longer want it. Good time to sort and get rid of stuff no working, broken etc. I feel like purging lately myself and I’m not going anywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lorna says:

    I have moved too many times in my life and might do it again. I swear by getting boxes from the supermarkets like you mention. Like go in and ask when they get shipments delivered and ask the staff to set empties aside for you, camp out until they give you some. Also, four words: Banana boxes for books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ellen @ If It Brings You Joy says:

    Wow! You really got this moving thing handled! We had movers pack and move us I was able to dodge all the planning. I actually wrote a post about moving, but from the aspect of attitude. I wasn’t happy to move to a whole new city at the time, but things all worked out more beautifully than I could have imagined. I learned a life lesson about choosing to be happy. Pinned your tips to help share your helpful tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lindahobden says:

    I’m moving house in June. I’ve already filled a skip with unwanted clutter and have another currently outside awaiting to be filled. This time we have discarded cardboard boxes and packing things in big plastic lidded boxes, labelled still. We have to wait until moving day before we can get into our new house. The only part I’m dreading is going through my wardrobe & decluttering it! Still, it needs to be done! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Flossie says:

    These are all super tips, Rachael! I am SO glad this is something I don’t have to do often!!! My only suggestions are to amend the part about a “box” for charity and one trip of outgoing trash to (in my case with my last move) several car loads’ worth of each! – that is literally what I got rid of (and yet it still wasn’t enough lol…) But seriously, it is SO much easier to toss these things BEFORE you move than after, plus it will save on weight if this is relevant to your moving calculations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • rachaelstray says:

      Definitely I think it depends on the situation but it’s more about being mindful of these things and you can always do more than one box but it’s about starting it before you move and then deal with unpacking and de-cluttering – nightmare!


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