Advice from a removals expert on making your move to a new home is as smooth as it can possibly be

Vital tips from a removals expert on moving home

Research has revealed that the average person in Britain moves house every 23 years and, if that is the case, it’s no wonder it can feel like such a daunting task. But moving house doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan and prepare in advance.

Mike McCarthy of McCarthy’s Removals, Yorkshire’s largest, privately owned removals and storage company, says: “In well over 50 years of removals handling at McCarthy’s, we have seen it all.

“Of course, not everything can be planned for, but the more you are prepared, the less likely it is that you’ll be thrown by the unexpected.

Be organised and take the stress out of moving

Here are Mike’s top tips for a smooth move:

*Plan early. The property market is still extremely busy so to ensure you get your choice of removal firm and your preferred move date, the best bet is to get in early. Avoid certain days. If you don’t have to move on a Friday, choose a quieter day of the week if you can. Typically, the end of the month is always busier too, so bear that in mind. Ensure the removal company is up to standard by choosing a removal company that is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) and has the relevant British standards for removals.

Flag any specialist items which will need moving. If you have anything out of the ordinary, such as a grand piano or a 10ft fish tank, for example, let your removal company know about it sooner rather than later so they can plan ahead.

Go for quality packing materials. You will regret cheap boxes and cheap tape. You don’t want to have to lightly fill boxes or have them fall apart if they get a bit wet in the rain.

Consider a packing service. Packing is a laborious job but experts like ourselves do it day in and day out. We can safely pack your belongings up for you in a surprisingly quick time. We can even just pack your breakables for you, if that’s something you’re particularly worried about.

Fully fill boxes but consider weight distribution. Put heavy things in the bottom and then fill the top with lighter items such as cushions or towels. Fully filling boxes will ensure things don’t get damaged moving around but whatever you do, do not overfill with heavy items.

For the sake of those carrying them and to prevent the box from being overloaded, 22kg is about the limit. Pack plates on their sides and individually wrap them in bubble wrap or tissue paper. This way, they will be much less likely to break. However, pack wine glasses on their stems (i.e. upright) to protect them, especially as you will probably want them in one piece to toast the new house.

Use bags. It’s perfectly fine to use good quality bin or garden waste bags to transport soft items. Just bear in mind that things will be stacked in the van, so soft items only in bags. Don’t worry about unloading drawers. We can usually transport them with the items still in place, so it’s one less thing to pack up. Ask about wardrobe boxes too, as then clothes can be hung straight from your wardrobe.

Label, label, label. We can’t overemphasise this point. Make sure it’s clear what is in the box and where it needs to go in the new house. You will be grateful later on. Also make sure it’s clear which things are not to be taken to the new house.

Keep children and pets away from the action. On moving day you will feel a lot less stressed if children and pets are safely with family or friends, so you can concentrate on the job in hand and don’t have to worry about children and animals escaping or feeling unsettled.

Consider parking. Will you need to secure spaces or get a parking permit for the removal van at either end?

Does your removal company offer storage? Sometimes with the best will in the world, moving dates don’t tie in and you have to vacate your old home before your new one is ready.

We can pack up your belongings as we would for any standard move, but instead we place them straight into sealed containers. These are then transported to our secure storage centre and kept safely until you are ready to have them brought back to you.

Think about insurance. Speak to your removal company about what insurance is in place and what insurance you may need or want to take out yourselves.

Remember to: Make a list of everyone you need to contact, from subscription services and utilities to doctors. Remember meter readings and have a box of essentials. Keep this with you in your vehicle. It might include medicine, tea and coffee, snacks, toilet roll, a torch, chargers, a small toolkit and pet food. It is also a good idea to make sure bedding and nightwear is easy to find in case you are late getting in.

*McCarthy’s Removals & Storage is based on Meanwood Road, Leeds. www.mjmccarthy.co.uk