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It is amazing how much stuff a household holds. Somehow you will need to get all of this from wherever it currently is to your new home. The simplest way is to find an efficient removals firm who you feel you can trust to pack your goods into their lorry with care. The cheapest way is often to hire a small van and to pack it yourself, and there is a reasonable chance that a professional removals firm will have less 'accidents' along the way

There are a number of national removals firms that can move your home's contents between most points in the UK. We have provided a straightforward form to request a quote from one of the few national firms set up to take electronic enquiries, Moves.co.uk. Click here to get an online quote for your removals.

Hints and tips

Obtaining an estimate

You will need two or three quotations. Asking for more can be a waste of your time because it is unlikely each estimator will be briefed in exactly the same way and your quotations will therefore vary.

Be clear about what is going to move - do not forget the contents of your garage, garden, cellar or loft!

If there are restrictions at either house, warn your remover. Your quotation is based on the time needed to load/unload a vehicle which can be increased significantly if access or parking is restricted. For instance, if your new home is up some stairs and the lift is small (or non-existent!) warn the remover in advance - do not leave it until the van arrives. Remember that the removals van is usually considerably taller and wider than a car. Warn about unexpected hazards around your new home too, such as small doorways, spiral staircases, or trees close by. As a general rule it is better to let the removers know than to find that the final costs are much higher than the initial quote had suggested

The date

Arrange this as far ahead as possible and try not to move on a Friday, the busiest day of the week. You will be surprised how much you can save by booking your move for a Tuesday, for example. Bank holiday weekends and school half-terms, with their obvious appeal are often booked up way in advance and can fetch a premium

Packing

The best advice is - leave it all to the professionals. Anything you pack yourself may not be covered by the removers insurance. Be sure to separate small, valuable items (such as jewellery) and handle their transfer yourself. The Service Specification you sign with your mover will clearly state what the company will be doing on your behalf and what you agree to do yourself. Find out if the removals firm can provide packing materials if you decide to do it yourself - they may well suggest how many you'll need and also how long before you move to drop them round.

If you want to pack yourself you'll need some packing materials. Shop around for some prices and make sure you get enough boxes, wrapping (plain paper and bubblewrap) and tape before you start. People who supply this sort of thing include www.boxesandbubbles.co.uk

Insurance

For peace of mind always insure your things to be moved. It is recommended that you take up the insurance cover offered by your mover, which is specially designed to cover the inevitable risks involved in moving house. Remember that the timing on your household insurance changeover may well mean that you are not as covered as you would normally be

Special attention

If you are concerned about any items such as pets, plants, fine art, wine collections or antiques, discuss them with your remover well in advance, who will advise you.

Deep freezers
Run down food stocks. Although every care is taken, your mover is not responsible for the loss or deterioration of contents.
Drawers
Drawers containing clothes and other relatively light objects do not usually need emptying. As a general rule avoid over-filling drawers and do not lock them. Keep keys in a safe place.
Carpets/curtains
Unless specifically stated and quoted for, your mover will not normally take down or put up curtains or blinds, nor lift or re-lay any fitted carpets.
System or kit furniture
This can be difficult! In theory kit or system furniture is capable of being dismantled and re-assembled. In practice, it often will not go back together again as well as it did originally and may not be covered by insurance. Make sure you discuss with your mover how such items should be handled.

Plan

Work out where you want your possessions positioned in the new home - drawing a plan or using colour coded labels is helpful. Make sure someone is at the collection and at the delivery address to oversee what is being moved.

Getting there

A map showing your new address and a contact telephone number are always helpful. Also; it happens all the time - the van is at the new house before the owner. Waiting time will cost more, so if you have a spare key to your new home, give it to the foreman. You are about to trust them to drive off with all your worldly goods so it may be foolish not to trust them with a key

Power and gas

Remember that your removals firm is not allowed to interfere with the mains services, so you'll need to make arrangements with gas/electricity boards well in advance to make sure that you've got power for the freezer or those tropical fish.

An overnight bag

Even with professionals actually doing the moving of all your worldly posessions, it will be a tiring day. The last thing you want to do when you get there is to have to unpack lots of cupboards and boxes just so you can have a cup of tea or go to bed. Pack youself an overnight bag with some snacks, some old clothes and some bed linen.

Small problems

Try to have children and pets looked after by relatives or neighbours - you will have enough to do without worrying about what they are up to. Heavy furniture coming and going with all of the doors open to the street can present a myriad of hazards to small children. Add some toys to your overnight bag to keep them amused when you bring them to their new home.

A removals checklist

  • Confirm dates with the mover
  • Sign and return contract together with payment
  • Confirm insurance arrangements at declared value
  • Arrange a contact number
  • Collect everything together
    Clear the loft and/or the cellar, sort all the garage and garden tools together and collect all the children's toys into boxes (or piles at least)
  • Dispose of anything you don't want
    You could run an online auction eg on QXL, have a garage sale or take a stand at a carboot sale
  • Start running down freezer contents
  • Contact carpet fitters if needed
  • Book mains services for disconnections and reconnections
  • Tell everyone your new address
    Don't forget your bank and savings/share accounts, the TV licence, car registration, passport offices, any HP and credit firms, and of course you'll need change-of-address cards for all your friends and relations. Cancel all rental agreements and notify doctor, dentist, optician, vet, manicurist etc An online help for most of this can be found from IhaveMoved.com. Oh, and cancel the milk and the newspapers
  • Ask Royal Mail to re-route your post
  • Make local map to new house for friends and moving company
    You can do worse than print out a copy of Multimap's map of the area of your new house - you'll need the postcode of your new house
  • Plan where things go in new home
    You are best off doing this during a visit - remember to take a note of any access problems the removals people might have and to work out where everyone is going to park
  • Clean out the freezer
  • Arrange minders for children/pets
  • Find and label keys
  • Separate trinkets, jewellery and small items
  • Sort out linen and clothes
    this way you don't have to unpack everything before going to bed the first night. Include some basic catering stuff - some teabags and biscuits or even the microwave and some pizzas
  • Take down curtains/blinds
 
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