The Beginners Guide to Moving House

Find out the essentials of moving for the very first time with our basic guide to moving house. We have tips on packing, decluttering, budgeting and more.

Moving house ,a new front door

Moving house is known to be one of the most stressful things you can do throughout your life, along with divorce, having children and other life events. That is no surprise to you if you have been through a house move before. There is so much involved in getting the job done isn’t there? More than you might think if you haven’t moved house before. You settle somewhere and you settle in, amassing more and more as you go along. Then you don’t realise how much you have until you move house. You have all of that stuff to pack and unpack, along with sorting out children and pets, overnight accommodation and transport for long journeys, key collection and drop off, house cleaning. The list is almost endless! And that is if everything goes to plan, which it often doesn’t.

If you’re about to move house for the very first time, this basic guide to moving house is here to help your move run as smoothly as possible.


As packing is such a huge part of the moving process and you can choose to pay a company to pack for you. Doing your packing yourself does take more time and is free. Having a company pack for you sometimes costs a substantial amount, depending on what you have to pack. Most people choose to pack the house up themselves, so we will focus on that process in this guide.

Being prepared for packing is really important. It means that you have everything you need to pack, when you have time to pack. You will need a wide range of materials to pack with, including strong boxes, tall boxes, strong bags, packing materials and labels. You can buy boxes from self storage facilities or packing companies, online moving companies or stationary shops. Alternatively you can get free boxes from supermarkets, you just have to ask.

Banana boxes with the lids are strong and have handle holes as well which is ideal. Just make sure you always have lots of strong packing tape to seal up boxes and give them extra support. With items like televisions, laptops and computers, if you have the original boxes that will be really useful because they are ideally shaped and design to hold the original contents.

With large items like garden furniture, large toys and tools, you should try to work around their shape. If you have to take them apart, bag up what you can and tape it to the rest of the item. If the item has to stay in the shape it is, wrap padding and bags around it and tape it up so that it is protected and so that whatever it goes near stays protected from scratches and bumps.

moving house - living room

Making Time To Pack

One of the most important tips in this basic guide to moving house is to try not to leave it until last minute. It will result in rushed packing when you finally do move. Try and do a bit every evening, and leave out essentials like kitchen equipment you use regularly and gadgets you use every day. It may be that you can set aside a week or a weekend do solely focus on packing. This could be a really good idea if you want to feel you have gotten the bulk of the job done.

Labeling Boxes

It is so important to ensure you label everything that you pack so that it is completely organised ready for unpacking in your new house. It is useful for transporting as well so nothing gets crushed or damaged, and everything is placed in the right room in your new home. Big sticky labels are ideal for this job because you can write them up and place them on the boxes really easily.

Packing Boxes

When you pack try to keep everything in the same category in boxes together. This will be really useful when it comes to unpacking, and it will help to keep items safer and intact during transport.

self storage - moving to new house

Preparing Your Current Home, And Your New Home

You have sold your house as it is, and bought your new house as it is. However, there are a few things you could do with both during the moving process. Leaving your home clean is a courtesy, along with a note to explain basic things like when the bins go out, how the boiler works and so on. Think about what you would like left for you when you move into your new home. Hopefully you will also be able to get in to your new home before moving into it.

Sometimes exchanges happen on the same day so, not everybody has this luxury. If you do, you can get into your new home and give is a good scrub and clean because even if it is tidy, you’ll want it to be cleaned for your family and to your own standards. It also helps you get a good look everywhere empty to see any DIY that needs doing.

See how much you can save on self storage costs


Arranging Transport For The Move

You have lots of options for transport for the move, depending on your budget and preference. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money then you can get moving vans along with people who will pack your items into the van and unpack them for you at your new home.

If you want to keep costs down you can hire a van yourself, or even ferry your car back and forth. It all depends on the size of your belongings, how much you have to pack, and how much you want to do. Just make sure you speak to a lot of companies for quotes before you commit to any if you are hiring. Their job is to make making the day as stress free as possible and you should check that they are working to do that.

moving home with a kitten

Childcare & Pet Care

On the day of a move, things can get chaotic and stressful. No matter what you do things won’t be serene and zen like. With that in mind, it is a great idea to get the kids and pets out of the way. They will not enjoy the process of moving which can be really emotional. When moving, your pets may become stressed, especially cats.

Paying for boarding or for a friend to care for your pets during the move is a wonderful idea. As is having your children stay with family. This enables you to move and to get some areas in the new house set up so it is at least practical for family life when everybody is there together.


Being organised during a house move is so important. The more organised you are, the less stressful things will be. So when you know you are moving, get yourself an organisation app or a notepad dedicated to the move. You can plan out when everything is getting done, and tasks that need completing. Remember to include things like paperwork, setting up bills for the new house, key collection, solicitors meetings – anything to do with the house needs to be included on there.

Booking Services Early

Spring and summer are key house moving times, which means that all the best companies will be booked up in advance. If you do want to use moving services, vans, packing services etc, you should book those nice and early. That way you will have the pick of the bunch rather than picking the best of the bad bunch left over.


For more help and advice why not read our expert guide



A lot of people forget that moving house costs more money than the cost of the new house alone. If you don’t budget for the move, you may find you get a nasty sting when you have to keep paying for things you hadn’t planned to pay for. Set up a budget and include:

  • Pet care
  • Child care
  • Transport costs
  • Costs for packing (if hiring a company)
  • Packing material costs
  • Cost of overnight stay if needed
  • Cleaning materials
  • Biscuits, tea and snacks for helpers
  • Self storage costs

Once you have budgeted the amounts for the above items, add some more money on just in case. This means you’re prepared for any unexpected costs.

Self Storage

It can help to have a bit of extra space that is separate from your current and new properties. This enables you to store items you want to sell, to store items you want to keep until you have the new house done up, or to have as storage for your household belongings whilst you sell your current home.

Prices are competitive and facilities have a focus on security. So your items will be safe. Cheap self storage is a really good idea if you want to take the pressure off having somewhere for all your belongings, and having to do houses up and clean them and unpack etc.


When you move house you have the ideal opportunity to declutter. Why pay and make the effort to move items, store items and pack and unpack items that you don’t want or need? Before packing anything up, get some bags and boxes sorted out ready to pack with items to donate to charity.

Even better, sell some stuff to get some extra money for your moving budget. List it online or in local sales magazines and lessen your packing load! If you do have to pack quickly and do not have time to be selling items you know will fetch a good amount of money. Store those items in cheap self storage until you do have the time to get them all listed. Alternatively chuck it all in the car and spend a morning selling at a car boot sale. You can make around £50 to £100 pounds for next to no effort.


Moving house is stressful, there is no getting around that fact. What you can get around is allowing the whole process to stress you out so much that you end up completely burnt out, so much so you can’t enjoy your new house. There are lots of things you can do to keep the process as low-stress as possible, including:

Asking For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. Lots of pleases and thank yous with tea and biscuits go a long way. The more hands on the job, the lighter the work.

Taking Time Out

Don’t make every living moment of your life revolve around this move. You should take regular time out. Even if it is just a long bath without any disturbances, or a coffee with friends to talk about something other than the house move. You have to have time to recharge or you will burn out quickly.

Being Organised

Being organised also counts towards reducing stress because there is allocated time for everything to get done. When everything is in one chaotic mess, anybody would get stressed trying to tackle it.

Remaining as calm as possible is really important when it comes to moving house. Try not to neglect your own calm and relaxation, it really does affect the entire experience.

Everything Will Come Together In The End

Despite all of our advice, it is likely that some things will come undone and unexpected stresses and eventualities will come up. Just remember that you can handle it and everything will come together in the end. You have to move out of the house you have sold and move into the one you have bought. The more planning you do beforehand, the easier this will happen. But it will happen regardless so don’t worry too much. Soon enough you will be settled in your brand new pad with the stress of moving long behind you.

Why not download our printable Moving House Checklist


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