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How to pack for a house move

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Volodymyr S
Two people holding large cardboard boxes in front of them

You just put everything in boxes and job done, right? Wrong. Moving house is one of the most stressful things we can ever do in life and, once you’re done dealing with solicitors, mortgage advisors and surveyors and your house sale is finally completed, there’s the not-so-small issue of packing up everything you’ve ever owned to take it to your new abode. And you need to do so in an efficient manner, to make life easier when you get to your lovely new home. There is an art to packing house-moving boxes, you know?

Here is our guide on how to pack for a move:

What you will need

Person taping up cardboard box

The essential kit you will need for your packing (make sure you’ve got it all in advance so you don’t end up wasting time running backwards and forwards to the shop).

Boxes

Lots of them, of all shapes and sizes. You could either buy them especially online from a company that specialises in house moving boxes or, if you’re feeling particularly thrifty, you can collect them yourself from your local supermarket and corner shop. If you opt for the latter, you’ll need to be doing so well in advance of your moving date to make sure you have sufficient for your needs.

Bubble wrap

You will need some of this to protect your most fragile items. However, in the interests of the planet, do try to reduce its use as much as possible. It’s a good idea to use clothing to wrap things up in (not anything you will need in the first few days after your move though - it’s no good if your favourite pyjamas are otherwise engaged wrapped around some old china that’s been stuck at the back on a cupboard and won’t need unwrapping any time soon).

The same goes for towels and sheets – they all need packing anyway, so they may as well be multi-tasking. You can put glasses and cups inside socks and use pillowcases to transport smaller pictures and photo frames.

Heavy-duty wrapping tape

Sellotape will not suffice here.

Tough marker pens

To write the contents of what’s in the box on the box

Post-It notes

For any more detailed reminders of what’s in a box when you open it

Newspapers

Start saving these well in advance of your move to both wrap items and scrunch up and stuff into any gaps to stop things moving around in transit.

Moving house packing tips

Person packing a stack of books in a cardboard box

We’ve put together all of our best advice on the art of packing:

Have a clear out

In the weeks moving up to your big move, have a massive clear out. Be ruthless. Of course, keep anything precious with sentimental value, but if you haven’t once looked at that box of old concert tickets in the loft since you moved in a decade ago, do you really need to take them with you to your new house? And do you really need all those toys your kids have grown out of and will never look at again? If you have hoarding tendencies, get an emotionally detached friend to help you - they will be able to give you good reason to chuck things you’re holding on to.

Make three separate piles - one for the recycling centre, one to give to friends and family, and one for the charity shop. And make sure you remove it all before you start packing the things you are keeping so there is less clutter in the house and you don’t accidentally take all your old rubbish with you.

Pack gradually

Don’t leave it all until the day before you move – if you want your stress levels not to go stratospheric, anyway. During the process of clearing out each room, start putting things that don’t get regular use in to boxes. Decorative items, seasonal things (you’re unlikely to need that Easter bonnet in October) and anything that is only occasional use can be packed away nice and early.

Use different sized boxes

Two cardboard boxes labelled “Kitchen” and “office” on top of table, with potted plants on left and right side

Pack weightier things in smaller boxes. So records, books, heavy kitchen equipment and so on shouldn’t be packed in large boxes, or they will be too heavy to carry. Leave the large boxes for clothes, soft furnishings and anything bulky but light such as cushions and curtains.

If you do have to lift any heavy boxes, remember to bend your hips and knees to squat down, keep the box close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift. Never lean forward or you could give yourself a back injury.

Pack one room at a time

This way, it will be much easier to unpack at the other end. Put all non-essential things in together and the same for essential items. Mark this on the box, together with the room the box is destined for, so that you know what level of priority it is when you are organising your new home. It’s also a good idea to number the boxes, just in case any go astray somehow in the removal process.

Pack essential bags – and keep them separate

Keep your everyday possessions out until the last morning and then pack them all together at the end. Do one for your kitchen, containing basic essentials such as your kettle, tea bags, toaster and bread, pet food, anything you need for young kids, washing up liquid and a sponge, plus a few mugs, plates and cutlery, so you can have a much-needed cuppa to toast your new home (you might want to put a bottle of fizz in there too, and your favourite takeaway menu for night one…). It’s a good idea to have a bag for cleaning products set aside as well, in case you need to get the bleach out on arrival at your new home.

Also pack a bag for every member of the household with enough to keep them going for a few days until you’ve unpacked all their belonging – toothbrush and paste, shower gel, pyjamas and a few changes of clothes, plus any medicines they will need. Oh and don’t forget loo roll. And make-up, if you can’t do without. Make sure these essential bags stay with you separately to a load of boxes going on the removal van, or they could end up buried under the boxes packed with things that you’ll put in the loft and never look at again. Also make sure you have your new keys, phone, credit cards, and any paperwork you’ll be needing handy. This is not the time to lose your keys.

Look after your furniture

Two people moving a Swyft box together

If you’ve got professional movers, they will offer to unassemble and reassemble your furniture for you at the new house. Yet time is money, so any that you can put together yourself is a huge bonus. Swyft sofas are easy to put together thanks to their unique Swyft-lock mechanism – seriously, you don’t even need tools (which is rather handy when they’re all packed away in a box at the bottom of a heavy pile) and it can be done in minutes. Or, if you want a brand new sofa for your brand new home, there’s no need to be sitting on the floor for months while waiting for it to arrive – your new contemporary Swyft sofa will be delivered to you in just 24 hours (and we can also offer a service to take your old sofa away).

Make sure you pack any screws and other fittings together with any other furniture they belong to, and make a note on the bag. In some cases, you may even be able to leave contents inside drawers and cupboards and just tape them shut, so long as they aren’t too heavy. How satisfying will that be at the other end?

Moving house checklist

Now that you’ve got your packing sorted, you will also want to make sure you have everything ticked off on your moving house checklist. Don’t forget to get your removal van organised in good time, and make sure you give them thorough instructions so that everything runs as smoothly as possible at both ends. Then, all that is left to do, is to enjoy this new chapter of your life in your brand new house! 

Why not treat yourself to a new sofa as the centrepiece of your new home? Swyft’s range of contemporary linen and velvet fabric sofas in Model 01, Model 02, Model 03 and Model 04 are flat-packed, will fit in any room and can be with you the day after you move in, thanks to our 24-hour sofa delivery service.

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