Hints and Tips for Moving House

Moving is stressful, but whether you’re moving across the road or across the border, we’ve got tips to make the process smoother.

Start early

As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s time to start preparing. Clear out and then pack what you’re not using ASAP.

Clear out

It’s important to conduct a really thorough clear out of your stuff for a few reasons:

  1. If you’re paying your removalists per m3, less stuff = less space = less cost.
  2. If you’re paying your removalists by hour, less stuff = less time = less cost.
  3. If you’re moving yourself, you’re guaranteed to get halfway through and wish you owned less.

Here are our tips for owning less. Throw out or donate something:

  • if you haven’t used it in two years.
  • if you don’t like it, but are keeping it because it was a gift. Don’t feel bad for disposing of knick-knacks from other people’s trips.
  • if it’s broken or in poor condition. You don’t need to be carting around an old computer/saggy bookshelf/button-less shirt. Either fix it before the move or toss it.
  • if it costs too much to transport. It is cheaper to buy a new standing fan than to transport one interstate.

A good goal is to throw out at least 30% of what you own. Only donate to charity if the item is in decent condition, and don’t forget to book a hard rubbish removal or skip the week before the move to dispose of the junk.


Spreadsheets are common moving tools amongst the computer-minded. These should include:

  • a detailed timeline for every task that needed doing, from booking the truck, to getting doctor’s records, to cleaning the skirting boards.
  • a detailed budget, including multiple quotes.
  • a list of large furniture items, their size and as well as a record of how many boxes and what size (important for updating your moving quote)

Colour-coding is another popular method. Tag boxes with a strips of coloured tape from Kmart. Categories could include red (fragile), blue (need soon), green (take to work), yellow (stay boxed for storage).

The most important organisation task is often over-looked during frantic, last-minute packing. Label your boxes—preferably with the destination room and a summary of contents e.g. Kitchen – crockery.


Choose the right type of box

  • Go cheap for short moves where boxes will be unloaded and unpacked quickly.
  • Invest in heavy duty boxes for a bigger moves that involve stacking, shuffling and storage
  • Use small boxes no bigger than 45cm x 35cm x 45cm for heavy items (books, crockery etc.) Some removalists will refuse to move large, overly-heavy boxes for OHS reasons.

Secure it

  • Bubble-wrap very delicate items (perfume bottles etc.)
  • Use paper for things like crockery and everyday glassware. Ensure that there are several layers and a bit of scrunching between items. Plates are safer if stacked vertically.
  • Anything super-fragile or precious can be placed between pillows, clothing or linen. Just remember to record it on the outside of the box so that you don’t accidentally fling your favourite champagne glasses across the room when you’re unpacking the towels.
  • Ease up on the tape. Over-taping boxes is a rookie error, as is using it to secure bubble-wrap and newspaper when protecting your breakables. When it comes time to unpack, unnecessary tape will just prolong the job, and you’ll be cursing every inch of it.

Prepare your whitegoods

  • Make sure all your whitegoods (fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer) have been turned off, wiped out and air-dried with the doors open for at least 24 hours (preferably 48). This ensures no mould grows during storage.

Have an overnight bag packed that has the following:

  • All important documents (moving documents, passports, etc.)
  • All valuable items (jewellery, laptops, cash etc.)
  • Two days’ worth of clean clothing
  • Towels for each person in the household
  • Phone/computer/tablet chargers and an extension cord + power board
  • Toiletries + any medications you take, along with your prescriptions

On the day

  • Make sure that you’re completely prepared the night before.
  • Drink lots of water, particularly in summer. Make sure that anyone helping you is drinking water. If it’s going to be a scorcher, start early in the morning.
  • Keep pets out of the way—send them to a friend’s place.
  • Be appreciative. Whether it’s your mates or paid removalists, have a six-pack of beer waiting for them at the end.



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