Moving can be a pain or a pleasure (well, almost pleasure) and the difference often lay in just being organised. The following is a guideline for developing your own checklist to help make your move go as smoothly as possible.
Although this is an "Ideal World" situation which may not apply if you are having to move unexpectedly or have already left it all a bit late, it will hopefull still help to ensure that nothing important gets overlooked.
Decide if you are going to use a removal company or do it yourself. If it's going to be a DIY job, start shopping around for your van or trailer hire if necessary and make arrangements for labour or any friends and relatives who can be roped in to help. If you are using a removal company, start calling around for quotes and availability on that.
Start a file for all moving notes, documentation, receipts, etc. and keep this somewhere handy and safe.
Start going through your home and decide if there are any pieces of furniture, appliances or larger items that are not going to be moving with you. Get these together and dispose of them before the main foray of the move begins. Second-hand stores as well as charity donations or private sale are possible ways to get rid of unwanted goods.
A good way to start this process is by doing a floor plan of your new home to see where everything goes and identify what may be excess.
This clearance becomes particularly important if you are relocating over a large distance. As well as looking at what your new home can accommodate, also consider the cost of moving your goods (and in some cases, storing them as well) vs. the cost of replacing.
Check whether your insurance covers your goods in transit and make necessary arrangements. If you are not covered and are using a removal company, see what cover they provide.
If the move involves children changing schools, do your research, select a school and make the necessary transfer and enrolment arrangements.
A Month Before the Move
- If you have any home delivery services, cancel these. This includes any home services such as pool maintenance or gardening.
- Pay your new area a visit if possible. Get a copy of the local newspaper, spend some time online and generally begin to familiarise yourself with local information. This includes municipal services, utilities, medical services, places of worship, interest groups, clubs, etc. If you are moving to the Durban North area, this information is available within this website. Try using our search engine for the quickest search.
At the same time pay another visit to your new home and make a note of whatever needs to be sorted out before you move in or immediately after moving in (eg. carpets cleaned or replaced, painting, etc.)
- Find out where to go for all your essential services and arrange for the transfer/connection of electricity for the day that you move. If you are moving over a weekend, be sure that you will be connected by the Friday. If you are moving to a new area, remember to both cancel your existing water and electricity and arrange for the new connections. Also remember to check on deposit refunds.
- Contact Telkom and arrange for your telephone service to be transferred or apply for your new service and arrange for your calls to be forwarded.
- Start cleaning out cupboards.
- Where applicable, make arrangements for the transportation and boarding of pets.
- Book the removal company.
- Make the necessary arrangements for whatever needs to be done on your new home before you move in or immediately thereafter, eg. painting, cupboards fixed or replaced, carpets cleaned or replaced, etc.
- Make all transit arrangements if applicable. This applies if you are not going to be moving directly into your new home and relates to things like organising storage, booking temporary accommodation and flights, etc.
- Make arrangements relating to the transporting and/or temporary boarding of pets.
- Arrange child care for very young children on the day of the move so that you are freed up and the children are as unhassled by the move as possible. It's good to involve children in the move so that they are part of the process, but having an extra pair of hands to keep them entertained can make life a lot easier for all of you.
- Send out change of address cards. People to remember are: banks, postal services for forwarding of post, insurance companies, credit card merchants, creditors, relatives and friends, subscription services, Receiver of Revenue, Home Affairs (change of ID), traffic department (licensing), TV services.
- Notify any rental companies (eg.TV), etc. of cancellations where applicable.
- Check that your insurance policies are still fully applicable and have these changed if they need to be. For example, vehicle insurance can differ vastly from one area to the next and you may find yourself making a saving.
Two Weeks to Moving
- Start to use up freezer contents.
- Start to pack non-essential items and especially all the accumulated stuff in those "forgotten" areas. Remember to pack cloves in with clothing and paper items to ward off fishmoths. Also remember to boldly label each box according to the room it belongs to and itemise, on a separate sheet of paper, the contents, with the room reference. For security reasons it may be best not to have the actual list of contents visible on the box.
It's also time now to become brutal about getting rid of the clutter that we hoard and never use. It is also a good time to toss bottles and cans of various content, with only dregs left that "may come in handy sometime". This is especially true of anything flammable or which can spill or cause any problems in transit.
- Organise new school uniforms and start making arrangements for transferring memberships (eg. girl guides, clubs, etc.)
- If you are going to be using service providers for dismantling electrical equipment, stove, etc. now is the time to book their services for the day before the move or the morning of the move.
- Arrange for cleaning staff for both homes on the day of the move.
One week to Move
Pack, pack, pack!
- Prepare a "start-up kit". This is a box that contains all the essential items for your first few hours in your new home and can make an enormous difference once you get to the other side. A basic list of contents would be sheets, towels, toiletries, phone, alarm clock, change of clothes, a torch, scissors, utility knife, coffee cups, instant coffee/tea or a coffee maker, kettle, water and soft drinks, snacks, paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, pencils and paper, local phone book, masking and/or PVC tape, bin liners, shelf liner, aspirin or ibuprofen, some basic tools, a pot and pan, can and bottle opener, tumblers, basic medical supplies, dishwashing liquid, tea towel.
- Gather important documents, jewellery, etc. into a single container, to be kept with you during the move.
- If you are using a removal company or someone else will be driving on the day, prepare detailed directions and emergency contact numbers for them.
- Collect any outstanding repairs, dry-cleaning, items you've lent to people, etc.
- Return library books and any other rented or borrowed items and pay any outstanding local bills.
- Check that pets are prepared for the move with a check-up at the vet and arranging any travel sickness medication, where applicable.
- Give away all pot plants that will not be moving with you and which the new occupant does not want.
- Clean outdoor equipment and machinery. Remember to drain hoses and lawn mowers, etc.
Two Days to Moving
- Defrost fridge and freezer and keep them open until it is time to move. Make sure they are thoroughly dry once defrosted and cleaned.
- Get all washing and ironing up to date to minimise stress in the first day or so after your move.
- Prepare your electrical appliances for transit. For example, disconnect the washing machine and check that all hoses, etc are secure for the move. Check if you need to fit transit bolts.
- Go through the house and all its nooks and crannies to make sure nothing has been overlooked. Remember to check in any secret hiding places (ceilings, under floors, etc.)
- Make sure you have the keys to your new home or that collection of keys have been arranged and confirmed.
- Take meter readings.
- Have one family member at the new home and one at the old so that the move and cleaning activities are supervised on both ends at all times.
- Oversee all cleaning that you have arranged at each home.
- Check everything one last time. Also check that all windows and doors are locked, electricity is switched off at the mains and that you have left behind any items or documentation that is for the new occupants. Drop keys off at a pre-agreed point if the new occupant is not present when you leave. If the property was rented, ensure that the agent or owner goes through everything with you so that there can be no dispute on the deposit refund later. - Forgive the cynicism, but this is generally not a good issue to leave to trust.
- In the new home: put each item of furniture and box into the room that it belongs in. Check for any missing items. Unpack your start-up box and put your box with important documents, jewellery, etc. somewhere safe and easy to find. Get new keys cut. Switch on the geyser so that you will have hot water as soon as possible.
Welcome to your new home!