You've bought your place in the sun, the big day for the move is approaching, but where do you start in getting your entire home ready to move it, particularly as you're heading overseas?!
Here's a handy checklist of things we've thought of to try and help your move go as smoothly as possible. Its not meant to be exhaustive, but should help take some of the stress out of your move.
Three months away from your move date
Select a removal company and book a pre-move survey. This will give you the opportunity to discuss with the surveyor the type of service you need and whether you will be packing everything yourself or you will need the removal company to do everything for you. Insurance cover for your goods is critical, so ensure there is a contract in place including a detailed valuation list of the items and make sure you let them know in advance if there are any special items such as plants, fine arts, antiques, wine collections, IT equipment, firearms etc so that special arrangements can be made. Make sure you check with the authorities in the country you are moving to that these items are allowed to be brought into the country.
Sort through your belongings and dispose of anything you no longer use or need. Remember to check in the loft, garage and garden shed. As you are moving abroad, some electrical appliances might not work or will need adaptors. Consider whether it is really worth taking them with you. Donate items to a charity shop, offer them to friends, have a jumble sale or run an online auction. This will reduce the amount of possessions to move as well as help with the cost of your move.
Check before you arrive in the country what permits you need to obtain (e.g. for work, residency, vehicles, driving)
Check that all of your family members passports are valid and will remain so for at least 12 months after the removal date.
If you own pets, contact your veterinary and check on any vaccinations and any documents necessary for the transport. Read our article on moving your pets abroad.
If you need new furniture, carpets or any decorating work to be carried out in your new house, get quotes now and check delivery times and availability of professionals in order to have everything ready for when you move in. If you are buying new furniture, you may need original invoices for import and tax purposes.
One month away from your move date
Cancel rental agreements and memberships to club and associations.
If you have chosen to do the packing yourself, start gathering packing materials such different sized boxes, tape, old newspapers, non-permanent felt pens, scissors etc.
Check information on any prescribed medicines that you might be taking.
Start running down food and drink stocks from your freezer and cupboards. Check with the authorities in the country you are moving to if there are any restrictions on importing alcohol as part of your house move.
If not included in your removal service contract, you may need to make arrangements for electrical fittings and gas appliances to be professionally disconnected. Book these services now.
Make travel arrangements with airline, hotel and car hire agencies. Try not to arrange travel overseas for the same day of the removal so not to add more stress.
Start packing non-essentials (e.g. non-seasonal clothes, books, cd's, dvd's, tapes and remember to check inside the players)
If you are moving to/from a flat or a multi-storey building inform your mover whether there is or not a lift, its size and use regulations. Make arrangements for the use of lifts with the property manager.
Think about items that might be difficult to find and buy and take plenty with you, such as vacuum cleaner bags, infant formula milk, nappies.
Check your home insurance and make sure you have cover from the day you move into your new house.
Notify utility companies about your move (council tax, water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet service provider, cable tv). Schedule last meter reading and disconnection if appropriate but remember to keep services connected at your current home until the last day of the move.
Notify your bank and arrange to close or transfer your bank account and make arrangements to open bank and credit card accounts at your destination. You will need to have already requested bank and credit references for use overseas.
Cancel regular home delivery services such as milk, newspapers and vegetable boxes etc
Cancel home maintenance service providers such as your gardener, cleaner and window cleaner
Notify and deregister from your doctor, dentist, optician and get copies of your family's medical records.
If you have children, you must notify their schools or colleges and arrange for their records to be transferred to the new school.
Cancel subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, book clubs and journals.
Confirm the date of your move with the removal company. Let them know if you think they might be last minute changes.
Give away plants and perishable items you won't be taking with you.
One week away from your move date
If you've fallen behind with your packing, or have run out of packing materials, let your removal company know as soon as possible. If they are warned at least a day before, they should be able to help by bringing the additional packing materials you need with them.
Make sure your removal company have all your contact details (full address of your current house and of your new house, contact telephone numbers including mobiles). Do let them know if they might be any access issues, such as narrow streets, overhanging trees, bridges, parking restrictions, small doorways, spiral staircases, etc.
Clean garden tools, bicycles, outdoor furniture and equipment.
Drain fuel from petrol equipment (e.g. lawnmower).
Drain water from your iron, garden hose and washing machine.
Place your personal records and certificates (e.g. birth, baptism, marriage certificates; medical, dental, school records; work, vehicles, legal, financial, insurance records; passports, visas, driving licences; credit cards, check book, rent or purchase contracts) and photocopies in a safe and accessible place
Inform of your new address to your providers of:
• Financial services: bank, building society, credit card companies, council tax department, national savings and premium bonds, your employer, insurance companies (house, vehicles, life, health, travel), pension companies, inland revenue, solicitor, accountant and any other financial institutions or service providers.
• Services and utilities: water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet service provider, cable or satellite tv, video rental, library.
• Health: doctor, dentist, optician, veterinary
• Motoring: vehicle insurance, breakdown recovery company and in the UK, the DVLA for motoring and vehicle licensing.
• Others: friends and relatives, subscriptions, home delivery services, sports club, electoral office
Sign up for mail redirection with the British post office.
Confirm your travel reservations. If you are driving, plan your journey and have your car serviced. Check validity of your car and travel insurance cover. Read our handy list of things to remember to check before you start a long car journey.
Arrange with neighbours to leave parking space at both addresses on the removal dates.
Remember to return all library books, dvds, video tapes and any borrowed items.
Empty drawers and lockers at work and schools.
If you still have any original packing for electrical, electronics or fragile items, inform the removal company and make the material available on the removal day.
Take down curtains and take up carpets, unless the service has been arranged with your movers.
Identify and clearly label items for storage, airfreight, to be left, etc.
Back-up important computer files and send them separately for safety.
If you are moving your washing machine make sure that you have secured the drum after you have completed your last load of washing.
Disconnect, clean and dry electrical appliances including hi-fi and computer equipment. Take special care when preparing your fridge and freezer. Secure and mark cables for easy reassembling and remove batteries from electrical items (such as radios, toys, electronic games, tools, personal stereos, cameras etc.) especially if your goods are to be stored.
To avoid leakages, remove and dispose of ink cartridges from printers, fax or copying machines.
Dismantle furniture if the service hasn't been arranged with your moving company.
Disconnect light fittings and secure wiring. Your mover is not qualified to do so.
Separate personal items and documents that are to travel with you (keys, passports, travel documents,)
Pack a box of basic catering and essential items that might be needed immediately and on the first day or two at your new home including your kettle, tea, snacks, toiletries, linen, personal clothes, torch and a first-aid kit. Either load the box last onto the truck or ideally, keep it with you.
If you have children, pack a bag of books, games and activities for the trip.
On the day
Show to the foreman exactly what to move.
Keep your documents and a box of essential items in a safe place.
You may wish to have your vacuum cleaner loaded by last. Once you've finished using it at your old address, remove and dispose of the bag.
Before your movers depart your old address, check all rooms, cupboards, walls, loft, outdoor buildings, garden, garage, sheds to make sure nothing is left behind.
Review, sign and obtain a copy of the packing inventory.
Record all utility meter readings.
Sometimes the removal vehicle will arrive at your new home before you do. If at all possible, give the foreman a spare key so they can get in if they arrive before you do.
Give the driver clear directions and a map of your new address if possible.