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101 Tips for Moving House:

Planning & Preparing For Your Furniture Move

  1. Prepare a detailed plan and checklist for your move. This should include an accurate and detailed budget so costs don't get out of control.
  2. Get quotes from multiple furniture removalists. Price is important, but it should not be the only determining factor of the removalist's that you choose.
  3. Make sure your list of furniture and other items (your inventory) is accurate. This is crucial for getting an accurate fixed price, but is also important for hourly rate jobs. The furniture removalists will need to know what size truck to send and how much space to allocate. Don't forget about your garage, shed and outdoor furniture when getting quotes for your furniture removal.
  4. For all services you have booked relating to your furniture removal (furniture removalists, flight bookings, cleaning services, etc.), ensure that your quotation and booking confirmation are printed out in writing. In whatever form, you should keep these details available to you at all times over the course of your move – not packed away in the truck.
  5. Don't over-schedule. Planning for your furniture removalists to load your household furniture, to have cleaners in (or clean the house yourself) and to catch an afternoon flight is a recipe for disaster.
  6. Supply your furniture removalists with as many contact numbers as possible and remain contactable throughout the course of your move.
  7. On your inventory, list any pre-existing damage to any items prior to transport.
  8. Ensure that you have adequate insurance for your move. Check whether your current house and contents policy has any cover included for items in transit or obtain coverage from your furniture removalists.
  9. Always be clear with your furniture removalists as to any special handling requirements for any of your goods. Any special handling requirements can be dealt with if discussed in advance. Don't leave it until moving day to discuss these requirements.
  10. Make a list of all access issues for the property you are moving from and to. Are there any overhanging trees? A long or steep drive? A long walk to gain access to the house or apartment? Height restrictions for car parks? Clearways or other parking restrictions? Any other issues that may increase the amount of time for your furniture removalists to load or unload your furniture, or require specialist equipment? All access issues can be overcome, but it's important that you aware yourself of them early and communicate them with your furniture removalists.
  11. Confirm details and go over your inventory with your removalists the day prior to your move. Hopefully, you will have finished packing at this stage and will have an accurate list of everything you need moved. If you have more items and haven't told your removalists, they may not send an appropriately sized truck and you may need price adjustments. If you have fewer items you should tell your movers the day prior so that they can re-allocate that space and reduce your price. If you haven't told the movers in advance you will need to pay for the space that has been reserved for you.
  12. If you are not going to be at either pickup or delivery, ensure that someone you trust is nominated as your representative. Communicate regularly with them and provide them with copies of all your documents, any special instructions and ensure that you remain contactable should they need questions answered in a hurry.
  13. Dispose of dangerous goods in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Your removalists will not be able to transport items that are explosive, combustible, or otherwise hazardous in nature. Refer to our article on 'What NOT To Pack When Moving House' for more detailed information.
  14. Sell or donate unwanted goods to reduce the cost of your move.
  15. Ensure that all your furniture will fit into your new house from an aesthetic and physical point of view. There's no sense in paying to have something moved if it won't go into your new home.
  16. Ensure that larger items can be brought into your new home. If the doorways are not as wide or small elevators/lifts, winding staircases or stairs with low height clearances are involved, the goods may not even get into your new property.
  17. For fixed price removals, consider an items nature when deciding whether or not to have it moved. Fragile items, like a fish tank, may cost more to move because nothing can be stacked on top of them. Such items require more room than their physical volume or actual size. Get your removalists to quote with and without such items to determine whether or not they are worth taking.
  18. Always have a first-aid kit on hand. Moving can be a dangerous process. Important medications and first-aid supplies are no good to you if they are tucked away in a box on the furniture removalist's truck.
  19. List all your incoming mail in the lead up to your move to make updating your details easier.
  20. Organise for Australia Post to redirect your mail.
  21. Leave a note welcoming the new residents of the house you are moving from, including a forwarding address for any mail or packages that arrive. It can be handy to tell your neighbours where you are moving to, so that you can easily be found.
  22. Prepare a list of all emergency services in your new location. If you are moving to a bushfire prone area you should prepare an adequate action plan in advance.
  23. Organise for utilities (like gas, electricity and water) to be connected at your new home in advance. Don't be left in the dark!
  24. You should always plan for bad weather. Refer to our article on 'Moving In The Rain' for more information.
  25. Moving to or from an apartment building? Check to see if you need to book a lift for the furniture removalists and enquire about whether any Liability Forms will need to be supplied by your furniture removalists.
  26. Let your kids be involved in all aspects of the furniture removal. Allow them to help pack, find your new home, plan out their new bedroom, etc. Moving house can be dangerous, so always keep their safety in mind.
  27. Keep your pets in mind when moving house. It can be stressful for them too. To reduce the impact you move has on your pets:
    • Maintain their schedule as much as possible;
    • It's best if your pets are not present on moving day. To ensure the safety of your pets, keep them locked away or tied up so that they don't escape, injure themselves or the people involved in your move;
    • Gradually introduce your pet to the new house and surrounding area.
    For more information on moving with pets, refer to our articles on 'Moving With Dogs' and 'Moving With Cats'.
  28. Update your pets microchip information. It'll help you find them if they get lost at your new house!
  29. If you are moving interstate, aware yourselves of any differences in driving rules to avoid hefty fines and accidents.
  30. Be flexible, especially when moving long distance. Cyclones, floods, road closures, bush fires, break downs are all a fact of life and do effect people who are moving. Even when moving with the most reputable of removalists you should always be prepared for what can go wrong.
  31. Cancel or update details for subscriptions, newspaper deliveries, gym memberships, etc.
  32. If you are feeling stressed by the experience of moving house, share you feelings with friends and family. Always seek professional help when required.

Packing For Your Furniture Removal

  1. Start packing early, it is likely to take longer than you think.
  2. As a rule of thumb, If items can be boxed they probably should be. Loose items are more exposed to loss or damage.
  3. Aim to pack your cartons so that they could be dropped from waist height without causing breakage.
  4. To prevent injury, always lift with your knees, not your back, and try to pack cartons at waist level.
  5. Order your packing so that items used less frequently are packed first.
  6. Don't overload your boxes.
  7. Only use proper, purpose-specific packing supplies.
  8. Tape your boxes securely with packing tape on the top and bottom, from corner to corner (in an X shape).
  9. Make sure you line all cartons containing fragile items with crushed paper on the top, bottom and sides.
  10. Over-estimate how many cartons and removal supplies you will need. You can usually get a refund from most suppliers. It is never a good idea to cram too many items into your boxes, or have to run around last minute in search of supplies.
  11. Using second hand cartons is a fantastic way to save money and lessen your impact on the environment, but be sure that they are in good condition.
  12. Consider professional packing services. Experienced packers will not only save you time, but they will reduce the likelihood of breakages in transit.
  13. Prepare a “Handy pack” for your move. You may want to include tea, coffee, cups, UHT milk, a kettle, toilet paper, a First Aid Kit and anything else you are likely to need quick access to when arriving at your new home.
  14. Clearly label your cartons and other belongings with:
    • an arrow indicating whether the box should be kept upright, and if so, in which direction;
    • a clear instruction to take care with delicate items by labelling boxes with the word 'FRAGILE';
    • a description of the boxes contents;
    • information about where the carton should be delivered once it has reached its destination along with your name, job number and delivery address and any other important details of your move.
  15. Items that are not to be moved by the furniture removalists should be kept separate and clearly labelled "Do Not Move".
  16. Remove the bulbs from your lamps and pack them separately.
  17. When packing for your furniture removal only use newspaper as cushioning around already wrapped items to avoid getting grubby marks on your possessions.
  18. Empty all fuels from lawn mowers and garden tools in advance to prevent leaks. Clean BBQ surfaces of grease and lawn mowers of grass clippings. Ensure that all items are cleaned thoroughly.
  19. Bicycle handlebars should be loosened and turned to the side. To avoid dirt and grease getting on any other items, you should cover the chain and pedals.
  20. Dismantle swings, trampolines, garden sheds, TV aerials, bed-ends and other items that can be broken down or that will not otherwise fit through doorways.
  21. Wrap sharp objects and edges to prevent injury to you and the furniture removalists and to make sure your other furniture isn't damaged in the removal truck.
  22. Empty all drawers, wardrobes, trunks/chests, filing cabinets and other furniture. They'll be too heavy for your furniture removalists and may damage the furniture or its contents!
  23. Take the knobs off cupboards and chests of drawers. You may find it handy to screw them back on, on the inside, so they won’t get lost.
  24. Remove the plate in your microwave when packing for your furniture removal - it will likely damage your microwave in transit.
  25. Always follow manufacturer's instructions for packing electronic devices and appliances.
  26. Specialist cartons for plasma, LCD and LED televisions can be expensive. You should always ensure that these items are packed correctly in appropriate materials. You may be able to save money by asking local electrical retailers if they have any left-over suitable boxes you can use.
  27. Taking some pictures of your wiring configurations can help you to identify how your electronic devices were connected previously. Mobile phones are perfect for taking these snap shots.
  28. Pack your remote controls and wires in a separate box so they don't scratch your electronic equipment and so that they are easy to locate when you are moving in.
  29. You should remove the ink cartridges from you printer and pack them separately, placing them in plastic bags before boxing them. This can help to protect the rest of your goods in the event of a leak.
  30. Back up your computer files onto a portable hard drive, USB memory stick, or a laptop and carry it with you.
  31. Ensure that any packing materials used for sensitive electrical equipment is anti-static.
  32. Clearly label boxes containing electronics so that the furniture removalist's can identify and top-load them.
  33. Liquids – it's best to avoid transporting liquids as they can cause significant damage to other goods if they leak in transit. Extra care should be taken when packing liquids and appropriate packaging should always be used.
  34. Plants should be watered and left with enough time to dry completely before the furniture removalists arrive to avoid them leaking. Some states prohibit the import of plants and other organic material from other states. If you are moving interstate, ask your furniture removalists or regulatory bodies in the state you are moving to for any applicable quarantine restrictions.
  35. Pack hidden treasures in you children's cartons so that they can be excited when they arrive at their new house.
  36. Suitcases and large striped bags are ideal for transporting clothes, cushions and manchester. If you choose to use plastic bags, make sure you double-bag as they may tear in transit.
  37. Place packed boxes around the perimeter of your rooms, with labels facing out so that they won't be tripped over and are easy to identify. Don't stack them high.
  38. Colour coding your labels by room can make them easier to identify when unloading, so they can be located more quickly and placed in the right place.
  39. Fill voids in boxes with crushed paper, towels or other soft materials. They'll be less susceptible to crushing this way and, if dropped, the contents will have less room to move about.
  40. When moving long distance, interstate, or into storage don't pack perishable or frozen food items.
  41. When moving long distance, interstate, or into storage, ensure that all food is properly packaged and is not an open invitation to vermin.
  42. Flat-packed style furniture should be dismantled prior to transit. Such pieces are more susceptible to damage than solid furniture.
  43. When dismantling beds and other furniture, seal all screws, nuts and bolts in a plastic bag and tape them to the item of furniture to which they belong. Alternatively, dedicate a box to all such components and clearly label each bag, so you know where it belongs.

The Day of Your Furniture Removal

  1. Always carry important documents, valuables, and medications with you.
  2. Reserve enough parking space for the removalists truck, including sufficient room to open the back doors.
  3. If rain is expected, get all outdoor items under cover and dry in advance of your furniture removalist's arrival. You don't want to have to dry everything as it is loaded into the truck.
  4. Don't move your furniture outside in anticipation of your removalist's arrival. You never know when the weather could take an unexpected turn or a delay might occur.
  5. Secure all doors and drawers of furniture that is to be transported.
  6. Do a walk through with your furniture removalists when they arrive so that they can load your goods in an optimal and safe fashion, to make sure nothing is left behind, and to ensure that items that shouldn't be moved are not.
  7. Moving is a dangerous time. Look for and remove any hazards in the lead up to your move and point out any potential hazards to your furniture removalists.
  8. Major appliances should be turned off in advance to ensure that they have time to cool down and so that refrigerators and freezers have enough time to defrost.
  9. Ensure white goods and appliances are clean and completely dry. Disconnect washing machines and dishwashers from taps and follow any manufacturer’s shipping instructions to prevent the washing machine's bowl from moving whilst in transit.
  10. Before the furniture removalists close their truck doors make a final inspection of all rooms, wardrobes, cupboards, the garage and shed to make sure nothing gets left behind.
  11. Clean the house you are moving from after your furniture has been collected.
  12. Clean the house you are moving to before the furniture removalists have delivered.
  13. Check items off your inventory as they are unloaded. This can help to ensure that missing items can be quickly identified and located before the truck leaves.
  14. Check all the taps are turned off.
  15. Check the electricity is turned off at the mains.
  16. Check the gas is turned off at the meter.
  17. Check the phone is disconnected.
  18. Check that all windows and doors are locked.
  19. Surrender house keys to the new owners, estate agents, solicitors or caretaker.
After Your Furniture Removal
  1. Change your locks. You don't necessarily know the history of who has had access to your keys previously. If you are renting, check with your landlords first.
  2. Make a plan for unpacking. Prioritise you unpacking order to ensure that the most frequently used items are unpacked first.
  3. Dispose of your packing goods thoughtfully after your move. If packing supplies can be salvaged, take them to a storage facility or give them to someone else to use. Wherever possible, recycle supplies that are no longer suitable for use.
  4. Update your details:
    • Drivers Licence;
    • Car Registrations;
    • Electoral Enrolment;
    • Medicare;
    • Home, contents, car and health insurance policies;
    • Your details with the taxation office;
    • Your superannuation details;
  5. Check your list of 'incoming mail', as described in 'Planning & Preparing For Your Furniture Move', above, for other individuals, organisations and authorities that may require your new details.
  6. Provide your new doctor and dentist with your medical history and advise first aid officers at your children's new school or your new workplace of any special medical requirements.
  7. Sit back, relax and enjoy your new home!
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