Moving house tips

We've put together some helpful tips for every step of the moving journey – right from planning and organising what you need, to the moving day and after the move.

To make the move even smoother, we have put together a checklist so you know you've got everything sorted – and you can organise your power move online easily in just three steps. If you have questions specific to moving power, check out our FAQ's or give us a call.

Planning

Utilities, services and memberships to organise

Check out our in-depth checklist – no more worrying about what you might've forgotten! We've covered everything from all the utilities and services to notify, or organise reconnections for.

Don't forget your power connection! There's nothing worse than spending the day moving house only to start unpacking and realise you don't have any power! Get the connection organised in advance easily online, in three easy steps.

We provide electricity, gas and LPG so whatever your power needs, we can get it sorted for you. For specific questions relating to moving power, check out our FAQ's.

Revisit the new house

If possible, try to get to the house before the movers so you have a chance to check everything is in order before your contents arrive.

Take the time to check over the house for any damage or other issues. The house may have been full of the previous occupant's furniture when you saw it last. This is especially important if you are renting. You'll want to check and document any damage prior to moving in (stains/anything broken). Make sure your landlord notes down any damage so it doesn't become an issue for you later on.

Moving transportation/ choosing a moving company

Don't just go on price. See how long the company has been around. Ask your friends and extended network for recommendations. Now you've narrowed your choices, call them and rate them against the following:

  • Are they helpful on the phone?
  • Do they provide packing materials and boxes?
  • Do they remove packing materials at the end of the move?
  • How many movers will they send for the job?
  • How long do they estimate the job will take?
  • What are their rates for overtime?
  • What is their insurance policy?
  • What happens if they break anything?

If you're moving inter-island, or your household contents will be in storage with the movers for a while, make sure you know how securely it will be stored between the moves.

Costs

DIY moving

When considering if you'll move house yourself, your biggest DIY expense will be the truck, van or trailer hire. Shop around and hire any vehicle well in advance.

Then you'll need to buy packing materials: boxes, pens, any colour coding system you're using, sturdy tape and lots of bubble wrap. You'll need a lot more of this than you expect.

Use this packing calculator to figure out how many of these items you might need and read our complete house moving packing tips below.

Even a small move is a huge task by yourself. Ever tried to carry a bed on your own? Enlist the help of your strong friends and family. Add to your budget any pizza or drinks you might need to buy as a thank you.

Hiring a home removal company

Unless you're only moving a small number of items a short distance, it's usually better to get a home removal company to do it.

Professional movers are strong, efficient and they're skilled at fitting everything in. It might cost a little more but it will take far less time overall. Most offer no-obligation quotes, so it's best to shop around a little.

Pack yourself, or get the professionals to do it?

Having professionals pack up your household can lower stress levels. It can be good if you don't have the time, and it's worth weighing the cost versus what your time is worth. The moving company will give you a quote which covers all packing materials plus the cost of moving. This means there shouldn't be any surprises later.

Some companies also give you the option to partially pack yourself, so you can work within your budget.

If you do choose a removal company, make sure you know their policy around breakables. It's always a good idea to pack and move your own valuables such as jewellery and your passport/s, and it's always worth de-cluttering your home before the professionals arrive.

Professionals will usually pack up your house the day before moving day.

Other costs involved in moving

Skip hire

One thing you can guarantee: you'll have more rubbish than you imagined by the time you've finished packing. Hiring a skip can save you going to the rubbish tip if you have big, bulky items and also help get rid of day-to-day rubbish. This is especially relevant if you live somewhere where you can't purchase extra rubbish bags for your home collection.

Make sure you shop around. Some companies offer recycling/green waste skip bins also.

Storage

Remember to budget in the cost of any storage you might need and the insurance needed to cover these possessions.

There are many options. You can take your items to a storage container. Or you can hire a container to be delivered to you and then taken away to store. This will then be delivered to your new address. Pricing for these will vary depending on the solution you choose.

On average, a three to four bedroom home requires around 31 to 33 cubic metres of storage costing around $265 - $285 per month . A one-bedroom flat equates to about eight to ten cubic metres costing around $115-135 per month.

See how much storage you might require using this storage space calculator.

Costs of moving utilities

Sometimes there might be a cost involved in transferring broadband and landlines.

Redirecting mail - It costs $24 - $200 (as of November 2016) to redirect mail for 2 - 12 months within New Zealand and internationally at NZ Post. See a list of the places where you'll need to update your address here.

Packing

Getting packing materials ready

The general rule of thumb is: however many boxes you think you'll need, double it. If you're not sure how many boxes or cartons you will need, have a look at this helpful packing calculator.

You'll also need a good supply of sturdy tape, sharp scissors, Vivids and things like bubble wrap and newspaper to wrap your breakable items in.

Don't use rubbish bags for packing – unless they are clearly labelled– it could cause confusion. The last thing you want is a bag full of toys thrown into the rubbish by accident.

Declutter before you start

If you're moving somewhere smaller then de-cluttering will be essential to your move.  Even if you're not, moving house is a good time to give your belongings a thorough spring clean. It might seem daunting, but if you allow enough time to sort before you pack, then you'll only be moving the essentials. This will make your move cheaper overall – less items to move and less packing costs.

It's also worth checking that your current belongings will fit in your new home. Get a floor plan of your new house so you can consider big items. Measure carefully and think about essentials. Getting started early will give you time to ensure everything will fit.

Three pile method

A good de-cluttering method is to have three piles:

  • Keep
  • Give away/sell
  • Throw out

Online auction sites and social media are an easy place to sell items of value or op-shops are always grateful for donations. Clothes and bric-a-brak can be donated directly, and some op-shops will collect furniture items in good condition from you. Ring and ask the charity shops in your local area.

What's your packaging strategy?

Before you start, decide on a strategy for the best way to pack up your house. The key things to factor in are:

  • How much time do you have to pack? If possible, schedule more time than you think you'll need.
  • What items will you pack first? What room will you start in?
  • Do you need to declutter and get rid of some things at the same time or are you taking everything with you?
  • Do you have the moving-day essentials to hand?

Next, decide on the rooms you'll pack first. We believe the best order to pack up your house is:

  1. Kitchen
  2. Bedrooms
  3. Living Room
  4. Dining Room
  5. Bathrooms
  6. Garage / Shed
  7. Hallway

Before you start

Designate a packing station – setup a place in your house where all the packing materials are. That way you, and everyone else who's helping, will always know where the pens and tape are.

Labelling, colour coding

Make sure you label each box well so you have a fair idea what is in it. It can be helpful to maximise space by packing towels around electronics etc. But if you're going to mix and match items from different rooms/cupboards, make sure you label things well. To allow for quick set up when unpacking, it is probably better to not mix things up from the kids' bedroom/s, bathroom and kitchen.

However, for the living/dining/hall you can probably mix boxes for space efficiently without too much trouble.

Colour coding your boxes is a great idea if other people are helping you move or you're getting movers to unpack. Just clearly colour code each box corresponding to which room in the new house it's going into.

Quick packing tips

  • Tape cords to the back of the TV and stereo for easy set-up
  • Wrap masking tape around electronic cables and use a marker to identify which appliance they attach to

Moving day essentials box

When you're putting things together, don't forget to make up a box of moving day essentials that, if possible, you keep with you in your car.

  • Supplies from packing central – masking tape, scissors and pens
  • Soap, toiletries, medications, toilet paper, chargers and batteries for electronics
  • Paper towels and paper plates
  • Healthy snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Tea/coffee, long-life milk and the kettle
  • Pet items: food, bowl
  • First aid kit
  • A pocket knife
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Your moving file

Fragile items

Be sure to clearly label fragile items! Bubble wrap is great for keeping precious items protected.

Doing the move

Moving with kids

Moving house can be stressful. Moving house with children can be really, really stressful. To help we've put together our top tips on moving house with kids to help you survive.

Getting ready for the move

Tell your children about the move as soon as possible. Make it a time when both you and they are relaxed and happy. If you're positive about it, they probably will be too. Whether you're moving near or far, there are a lot of people to notify. Even if you're just changing address, remember you'll need to talk to:

  • Children's school/s
  • Their doctor and dentist
  • Any activity groups, such as swimming or music lessons, sports teams etc

Make sure you include this in your planning, even if you don't do it until after you've moved. Acknowledge the home your family's leaving, and take some photos of your kids in their bedroom or favourite corner of the garden.

Packing with kids

Work backwards from moving day and assign tasks for each of your kids. They'll love being involved and it will save you time too. Tasks could include:

  • Organising their toys, books and other belongings
  • Sorting their clothes and shoes
  • Taking unwanted belongings to a charity shop
  • Packing toys that won't be needed in the first few days

Two weeks before you move, make your life easier by packing a suitcase of essentials for the first couple of days. Think nappies, bottles, toilet paper, at least one change of clothes, and maybe a small first aid kit. Let the kids be involved in packing it.

Moving day

If you have toddlers or small children, the easiest thing will be to have family or friends take care of them on moving day. If that's not possible, here are some tips to help get you through the day.

  • Pack your children's toys in the truck last so they're the first items into the new house
     
  • Try and arrive before the moving company so your children can look around the house first. That way they'll see their things arrive
     
  • Make sure kids' furniture is in place before they start unpacking. You'll avoid a removal man standing on toys while he moves a chest of drawers
     
  • Celebrate with pizza and ice cream for dinner. Make sure you sit down and enjoy it as a family
     
  • Pack your children's bedsheets, bathroom essentials and favourite books together so you can easily get them off to bed when they're ready
     
  • Don't forget the T.V.!

Settling in

Even with the best of intentions, moving can be hard on your children. Check out this advice from Verywell.com about helping your kids cope with your move.

Moving with pets

Choose a secure room to keep pets in. Only let them out to explore their new space once all the commotion has died down and the movers have left. It's a good idea to keep cats indoors for at least a week. Check they have a tag with your mobile number on their collar before letting them outside and update their address if they're microchipped.

  • Make sure your pet's routine is kept as normal as possible prior the move. Pack your pet's toy at the very last minute.
     
  • Remember to use a pet-carrier for safety and security reasons. All cats and small dogs need to be transported in one of them.
     
  • Keep your pet's water bowls, favourite treats and toys handy for the moving day.

Moving day

  • Pack a light lunch and a drink. You'd be surprised how a simple snack can help keep energy levels up.
     
  • Fridges that are laid on their side or back while being moved should be left for 24 hours before being plugged in and turned on to ensure the fridge coolant works properly.
     
  • Check your meter before electricity is connected. Is your meter accessible? Is it in the ‘off' position?

When you arrive & unpacking

Read your electricity/gas meter and check your LPG bottles when you arrive. See how to find and read your meter in our blog post "understanding your power meter". Then contact us with the reading.

Keep important things together

Designate an area where everybody knows they can find important items such as keys, phones, allen keys and chargers. Keep the moving day essentials box you prepared here. Have nutritious snacks and water accessible so everyone stays hydrated and fed.

Clean furniture comes inside

Unless your furniture has been wrapped in plastic it could be dusty after spending time in the truck. Try to wipe down before you bring it inside and vacuum it before you use it.

Unpack the kitchen first

Vital if you have children, but still important if you don't. Being able to make a cup of tea and knowing you can wake up and make breakfast the morning following the move will make everything feel settled faster.

Make the beds second

If you've been following our guide you will have packed a set of sheets for each member of the family in your moving essentials box. Set up and make the beds as soon as you can. It's comforting knowing you don't have to do it when you're exhausted later.

Unpacking with pets

Choose a secure room to keep pets in. Only let them out to explore their new space once all the commotion has died down and the movers have left. It's a good idea to keep cats indoors for at least a week. Check they have a tag with your mobile number on their collar before letting them outside and update their address if they're microchipped.

What's next?

You've probably done enough for one day! Put your feet up, order some takeaways and put on the TV. Tomorrow, you can continue unpacking; start with your bedroom and bathroom essentials. Next move on to living areas, then the garage then hallways.

If you're after some easy printable resources, you're in luck!

▸ Moving house checklist
▸ Packing materials checklist

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