Top 10 tips for a smooth move from removals expert McCarthy’s

mccarthys storage
It's often cited as one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, but does moving house really have to be something to worry about?

Not according to experts in the field McCarthy's Removals and Storage, who have handled well over 250,000 moves. "People sometimes tell us they’re dreading the actual move, and can’t see how it’s going to happen," explains Mike McCarthy, managing director. “And yes, moving day can be a bit fraught - but only if the planning and preparation haven't been taken care of. People tell us about the time they moved with only them and a self-hire van, and of course then it’s physically very hard work, as well as requiring lots of organisation. But that’s the beauty of using a reputable removals firm – they can handle the hard labour, and even the packing, leaving your head space clear to keep organised and in control. In 49 years of business we’ve seen some odd situations (the one with lion in the garden springs to mind), but thankfully the vast majority of moves are calm and straightforward."

We asked the team at McCarthy’s to give us their top 10 tips to a smooth, stress-free move:

  1. Plan in advance - you aren’t always given a lot of notice on your completion date, but you can make it far easier for yourself. “If you’ve already shopped for quotes and chosen your removal company, as soon as an offer is accepted on your property and it comes to finding out your move date, then you only need to make one call to get it booked in rather than frantically calling around companies at the last minute”, suggests McCarthy’s Move Coordinator Chris Page.
  2. Avoid the obvious - for some reason, people think you need to move on a Friday. This isn’t true. In fact, you can make it a lot easier for yourself by avoiding a Friday, as those dates can get very booked up. It also means if there’s any issues with the financial side of the move, you’re not going into the weekend, when transactions may be delayed. The end of the month is also usually busier, especially over the summer.
  3. Beware cowboys- like every industry, removals has its share of cowboys. Always choose someone who is BAR registered, which offers the reassurance that industry standards are followed. If a price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  4. Set Reminders - Move Coordinator Ann O'Sullivan advises to set reminders for key events and responsibilities that you will need to bear in mind for your move. She explains, “It is always easy to forget key issues in amongst the process of a removal. Always set reminders to arrange the re-direction of post, to take final meter readings for gas, water and electric and to ensure that any pets have somewhere to go on the day of your removal”.
  5. Pack it in - Consider using a packing service. They’re often less expensive than people expect, and you’ll be amazed how quickly, efficiently and safely a removals team can pack up your home. It helps that they have no decisions to make or memories to reminisce over, so they just get on with the job in hand – plus of course, they do this day in and day out! If taking on your own packing, McCarthy’s Move Coordinators warn not to over pack boxes and ensure that you can lift them with ease. This is to protect your items and prevent injury.
  6. Declutter well ahead of moving day - Don’t save the decluttering for when you’re actually packing up. You’ll save time and stress doing it well ahead of moving day, as (we’re afraid) it may take time! Be ruthless – there’s no point taking things to the new house which will stay in boxes until the next move. And don’t leave your ‘essentials’ until moving day – you’d be amazed how long packing those can take! Treat the last night in your old home as a camping trip and keep everything to the bare minimum.
  7. Label, label, label - label everything! Ensure boxes are clearly marked in terms of contents and destination. Consider labelling the doors in the new house so the removals team know which is “Sam’s bedroom” and can leave the relevant boxes in there. Make sure you also label anything in your old house which is NOT to be taken, or you risk someone mistakenly loading it on to the van.
  8. Survival kit - when you pack, keep a small ‘survival kit’ which you will transport with you personally on your move. In it include things like important numbers, chargers, toilet rolls, handwash, a change of clothes, lightbulbs, a screwdriver etc. Have your bedding in a clearly marked bag so that when you’re exhausted on the first night in your new home you can find it easily.
  9. Be covered - you need to check with your house insurance whether contents are insured whilst in transit. Also check with the removals firm what their insurance covers. It might be worth considering a Cancellation or Postponement Waiver – moving dates do sometimes change with little notice, and you don’t want to lose out on any money you’ve paid.
  10. Storage can be your friend - we're increasingly finding removals customers are also making use of our storage facilities. In some cases people want to sell their house before looking for a new one to make the property chain more straightforward, and they put belongings into longer term storage. Other times people declutter to a self-storage unit to clear out ahead of putting their house on the market, or because they’re downsizing and want to consider what they actually need once they’re in their new home.

McCarthy’s Removals & Storage is based on Meanwood Road, Leeds, with further self storage facilities in Harrogate and Wakefield. It carries out removals across the UK. (0113 262 3000)

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