Direct Line magazine

How to survive a house move

Updated on: 22 May 2020

a couple with packing boxes hug in their new home

Along with divorce and getting married, moving house is one of the most stressful things in life.

For the best chance of making your move as smooth as possible, plan ahead, get organised, and follow the tips below:

Get cracking on packing

You have two choices when it comes to packing: do it yourself or call in the professionals. Doing it yourself is not only cheaper, but also gives you the chance for a ruthless clear-out.

Label all the boxes with what’s in them and which room they need to go in when you arrive at your new property.

Removal firms

Get quotes from removal firms well ahead of your move. You’ll pay more if you want them to pack your stuff too – but it will be less work (and stress!) for you.

The British Association of Removers (BAR) and the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) list approved removal firms in your area. Some will provide insurance during the move, but you may find your home insurance provider covers you.

Make a survival kit

Pack essentials separately and clearly label the box. Your survival kit should include a kettle, tea, coffee, water, long-life milk, a packed lunch, mobile phone charger, toilet roll, light bulbs, cleaning materials, tea towels, cutlery and plates.

Pack another “first night” box including bed linen, towels and toiletries.


Make a list of companies and individuals you need to inform of your move well in advance of moving day. This should include banks, building societies, insurers, HMRC, your employer, your doctor, the DVLA, and utility companies.

Arrange with the Post Office to have your mail redirected for a minimum of six months.


Take final meter readings for gas and electricity when you leave your old property and initial meter readings at your new home. Inform your utility provider of these.

You’ll also need to inform the water company and council tax billing authority of your move.

Telephone and broadband services will need to be stopped at your previous address and installed at your new property – you may need to give several weeks’ notice to ensure this runs smoothly.

Pack a survival kit including a kettle, tea, coffee, water, long-life milk and a mobile phone charger

Important documents

Keep important documents – such as your passport, driving licence, birth certificate, bank cards, and paperwork related to the move – with you at all times.

Kids and pets

Neither pets nor young children are much help during a house move. Dogs and cats are better left with friends or in kennels on moving day and collected later. Arrange childcare for children who are not at school.


Unfortunately there are no rules about how clean a previous property owner must leave a property when they sell up – so be prepared for the worst. Either be ready to get scrubbing yourself or hire a professional cleaning firm to give your new pad the once-over as soon as you move in.


As well as ensuring your possessions are insured while in transit, you also need to arrange buildings and contents insurance for your new home (tenants only need contents insurance). Make sure your car insurance is transferred to your new address as well.


Think about getting the locks changed on your new property – you never know who the previous owners may have given spare keys to in the past. If the property has been let out, there could be several ex-tenants with keys.

Raise a toast

However organised you are, moving day is always crazy. Either pack a bottle of champagne and a takeaway menu to celebrate your new home at the end of the day, or check out the nearest pub.

Related articles

A home with solar panels.

A guide to green homes

It's more important than ever to think about the environment. We can't just flick a switch and improve things overnight, but we can do our part at home to make things a little better.
Tags: Tips
Neighbours discuss the issues.

Resolving disputes and arguments with neighbours

Falling out with neighbours can be awkward, especially as there's nothing you can do to escape them other than moving house. Most arguments are caused by similar things and can be easily resolved. Find out how to amicably settle disputes and when it's best to seek further advice.
Tags: Tips
How to knock down a wall

How to knock down a wall

If you've never knocked down a wall before, it's important to know it can be quite a complex job and can require some heavy duty equipment. It's a skilled task, so before you get your sledge hammer out, find out what to take into consideration.