Tips for the DIY Home Mover

If you are trying to keep costs down on your house move (and who isn’t) then there are a number of options for doing some aspects of the move yourself. Taking the DIY route is definitely not the easy option but it can save hundreds of pounds in the UK, even potentially thousands of pounds on a large move, and equivalent Euro or Dollar amounts elsewhere. So why wouldn’t you want to save that amount of money?

Well there are good reasons why you might choose to pay a professional to do your house removals: pressures of work, moving overseas, a houseful of valuable antiques, expecting a child (have you ever noticed the number of people who move house just before their baby is due? Must be the nesting instinct.

But not all of those reasons apply to all of us, and the bottom line is that there are plenty of good uses for the money we would save for a day or two of hard work – and don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t be hard if you are not used to hard physical work. Carrying heavy boxes, furniture and household appliances will certainly take its toll on your energy.

It’s tempting to think a house removal is simply packing up your small possessions in boxes and shifting those boxes and all your furniture into a van; driving to your new destination and unloading the van but it sounds much easier than it really is (which is why removals companies charge the amounts they do).

But if you are still reading I guess you are convinced that the effort will be worth the savings you’ll make so let’s look at some good advice that can help you out.

10 Top Tips for a Successful DIY house move:

1. Make a list of all the items you will be moving

You might know exactly what you are taking and what is staying but you are likely to rope in some extra pairs of hands on the day and they won’t. This is particularly important when moving out of rented accommodation where you don’t want to forfeit your deposit by taking items belonging to the landlord. The list will also be helpful in estimating how many packing cartons you will need.

2. Give unwanted items to charity

Use the opportunity of moving house to have a serious de-clutter and get rid of all those unwanted possessions. Remember you are the one who will be carrying the heavy boxes so think of the de-cluttering as lightening your load. And your unwanted items will contribute to a worthy cause.

3. Get several van hire quotes

Ask for recommendations from friends or family or, failing that, check out some local websites and forums for recommendations. The van hire company will be able to advise on the size of van that will be best suited to your circumstances so take their advice. Check the small print of any agreements and remember that cheapest is not necessarily best.

4. Don’t book the removal van until the moving date is confirmed

Until you have the moving date confirmed in writing hold off on booking the van because many hire companies will charge a cancellation or re-booking fee which will defeat the object of saving money.

5. Pack what you can in advance.

Packing up boxes for a house move always take longer than anyone expects so start doing this as soon as you possibly can. There are plenty of household and personal items that we don’t use on a regular basis that could be packed early. Just some of the items that can be packed in advance are: books, DVD/CD collections, children’s toys, seasonal items such as gardening tools and also seasonal bedding and clothes. Label every box clearly.

6. Use plenty of protective packing materials.

Always use plenty of bubble-wrap for fragile items and fill any spaces in the boxes with cardboard or old newspaper. When packing plates, bowls and other crockery that is stackable wrap each piece separately and avoid placing too many heavy crockery items on top of each other in the same box. Large plates are less likely to break if they are packed upright.

7. Keep valuables and essentials with you

Pack a small bag to carry with you that has all the essentials you might need when you first arrive at your new home such as toiletries, medicines, drinks and snacks. Also put valuable items in this bag, such as jewellery, passports, insurance certificates and other important documentation.

8. Load the van.

Make sure you have plenty of old blankets or cardboard to protect your furniture from scratches and damage. Lay very tall items such as wardrobes on their side, where possible, and in all cases secure them by tying to the side of the van. Don’t forget to protect items from the floor of the van if lying them on their side. Tie or tape doors and drawers closed to prevent them opening as the van is moving. Use mattresses to add buffer layers between rigid items. Heavy boxes should always be placed on the floor of the van, as should those containing fragile items to avoid breakages as items shift about while the van is on the move.

9. Unload the van.

Depending on how long your journey is from the old home to your new home, try and unload the van the same day. If it is necessary to leave your belongings in the van overnight make sure it is well-secured. And when you do come to unload it is simply a matter of removing everything from the van in reverse order.

10. Enjoy your new home.

Place all furniture and boxes in the correct rooms – it is unlikely that you will have the time or energy to unpack all those boxes straightaway but when you are ready at least the hard work of carrying them to the right place will be done, unless, of course, you had some stuff in self-storage. Now get in a takeaway and crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate your new home and all the money you have saved doing your own house removals.