We’re not going to fib to you, moving house costs money. But there are ways to cut those costs down to size without putting your stuff, your house or your lower back in danger. Here’s how.
Book your removals firm early (and pick a good day)
Any removal firm worth its salt knows where its vehicles are going to be a week from now. If you find a removal firm that has nothing to do next week, you’ve got to ask yourself why. Removals firms are busy and the price can go up the shorter the notice. Book your removal team as early as possible to get the best price.
If you can, be flexible on the day you move. Friday is the most popular day for moving as it leads nicely into the weekend. For some firms, this means Friday is also the most expensive day to move. See also; bank holidays and the days before and after bank holiday weekends.
Moving on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday can save you a good deal of money.
Once you’ve got your movers booked in, you need to plan access at both ends. Speak to your neighbours and ask if they’d mind moving their cars for the day to make life easier for everyone. Paying for their parking and getting them a decent bottle of wine as a thank you will still be cheaper than paying for parking tickets or fines that comes from lack of access.
It’s also worth remembering that your move will take longer the further away from your front door your movers have to park. Most removals firms charge by the hour so it’s in your financial interests to make sure they’ve got adequate access to your property.
Get rid of as much stuff as possible
It makes no sense at all to pack, transport and unpack any items that you’re not going to use at the new house. Think of the space, weight and energy every item will take to transport. Your stuff really needs to earn its place on that removal truck. Further more, do you really want to start off life in your new home with unwanted clutter around?
Time to de-clutter? Image credit Wiki Commons/Jorge Royan
As soon as you know you’re going to be moving, begin methodically working through each room, getting rid of items that fit any of the following criteria.
- Items that haven’t been used or worn in the past six months (excluding items that don’t get regular use, like your best suit or electric carving knife).
- Things that exist in duplicate. If you’ve got more than one of it, ditch the one that is oldest. Obviously we don’t mean things that are useful to have in multiples, like drinking glasses or socks, but items like coffee machines, DVD players and power tools. You may even be able to recoup some money by selling these items on eBay or Amazon if they’re still in good condition.
- Stuff that’s broken. You tell yourself you’re going to get it fixed, you just need a spare day. Good luck taking advantage of all those spare days you’ve got coming up now you’ve got a new house to live in. If in doubt, see criteria #1. If it was that important you’d have got it fixed by now.
We’re by no means saying you should throw away sentimental items, we just don’t want you to have to move things that you should really have thrown away by now. Be honest with yourself when considering if something is worth packing.
Shopping smart is important too. In the run up to the move, minimise the amount of stuff you need to transport. If you’re moving house in a week, do you really want to be buying a family pack of baked beans this week? Downsize your normal pack sizes to ensure you’re not transporting half-used washing powder and open boxes of cereal.
Get rid of all perishables before you move. There’s just no point risking the mess. We pride ourselves on moving your stuff with care, but if you’re going to start packing eggs in your kitchen box, you’re sort of asking for it.
Bedding makes really good packing material for fragile items and when you get to your new home, you can use it for protecting bannisters, architraves, and counter tops when moving in and unpacking. If you plan on decorating, old bedding is great for covering carpet and furniture.
You’ve got two choices here, let your removal firm provide the boxes or source your own. Sourcing your own can be handy if you’re not doing a big move and don’t have anything particularly expensive or fragile to move. This is especially true if you’re using a man and van service for a small move.
For big moves where you’ve got a lifetime’s worth of treasure to transport, we’d strongly recommend using professional moving boxes. We provide packing boxes at very reasonable rates (we would say that though, right?), but we also happen to think using professional standard packing boxes is a money saving choice. Using the right boxes can make packing easier and quicker, especially if your removals firm are doing the packing for you. There are also insurance implications of transporting items in boxes that you’ve sourced yourself.
That said, if you do want to source your own boxes, here are some tips from the professionals.
- Check the boxes are dry before taking them. Even a slight bit of damp can be problematic once the box is full. And by problematic, we mean the bottom might fall out of it.
- Check that they are spider-free too. Especially true if the boxes were used for fruit. Spiders can be problematic on moving day too.
- Reinforce all boxes, even sturdy feeling ones, with gaffa tape.
- Two small boxes are better than one big one. You’re getting twice the amount of reinforcement and coverage for the same amount of volume. This also prevents over-filling of boxes.
Pay for packing
This sounds counter-intuitive when we’re trying to help you save money. It also sounds like exactly the sort of thing a professional removals company that offers a packing service would say, so don’t take our word for it. Here’s what other people say about letting the professionals do the packing.
“Long distances and furniture stacked together heightens the risk of damage. Consider paying your removal company to do some of the packing for you, particularly for bulky items like white goods and furniture or fragile items. It might seem like an extravagant luxury, but they know what they’re doing, and it can be a big time saver too. – The Scotsman
When asked if £300 was a fair price to have everything packed, here’s what some of The Guardian’s readers said (we don’t charge that much, by the way).
“They didn’t break anything and were very very good value for money in the respect that with a bad back I literally did not lift a finger.” – Guardian readers
This guy was very pleased with his choice to leave it to the professionals.
“Picture the scene: it’s 8:30, you awake, have a nice breakfast in your normal non-packed house, then a team of packers turn up and you go out for lunch (your only getting in the way so no need to hang around), you go for a nice relaxing walk afterwards and return at 3pm, it’s done, whole house packed and in the back of a lorry.
This is an exact description of how my last move, 6mths ago, went. My wife had a hard time persuading me it was worth it but I’m glad she did, I’m never packing myself again.”- Guardian Readers
Rightmove (the website you’re now sick of after months of over-usage) also agrees that letting the professionals do the packing is a good idea.
“If you’ve opted for the protection and convenience of having the team pack for you, help them out by getting organised – the faster your team can pack up, the quicker you can be on the way and the faster you can be ready to unpack at the other end.” Rightmove.com
Letting your removal team do the packing means we can get you moved and unpacked in less time. Since we charge by the hour, this can often result in a saving for our customers. It also means all of your stuff is fully insured. We can’t always insure a move if the packing has been carried out by third parties.
Download 08 Wizard for your phone
So you’ve moved house and now it’s just the small matter of unpacking your stuff, finding the kettle (pack a separate kitchen box and put it on the truck last so you can get it at the other end), moving over all of your bills and changing your address. We all know that no matter which tariff you’re on, your mobile company is going to sting you for those 08 numbers. And we all know that your bank is going to keep you on hold for at least three Mumford and Songs songs.
08 Wizard can’t do anything about ubiquity of Mumford and Sons, but they can make 08 numbers free to call. It’s a free app that will 100% save you money in the weeks after a house move.
Change locks and alarm code
Have you ever wondered who knows your alarm code or has a copy of the keys to your home? Do you remember the alarm code from any of your previous properties? Chances are it was something memorable. You’d be amazed at just how many people don’t bother to do it, even though it’s entirely feasible that the previous owners made copies of their keys and gave them to the neighbours for security reasons. We’re not saying your new neighbours are going to rob your house, but it makes sense to change the locks. You can always give them a copy once they’ve earned your trust.
How does this save you money? It doesn’t really, because the chances of an evil neighbour or former inhabitant using their old key and alarm code knowledge to burgle you is very low, but if it does happen, you won’t be insured. Surely the extra peace of mind and knowing you are fully, properly insured is worth the money.