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Moving house checklist

When you are moving home, there are a million things to do, but being well-organised can take away some of the stress. Planning, a few tricks, and a checklist will help you stay on track. So, let’s get packing.


Plan the timeline (and budget)

Moving day can come around quickly, so it’s useful to create a calendar with all the important tasks and dates before you start packing. Allowing four to six weeks prior to your moving date is probably a minimum timeline to get everything sorted comfortably and remove that last-minute madness.
 

Make sure you budget accurately. Using this guide could help you identify costs you may not have considered.

Things to think about when you’re moving

  • Make an inventory of your possessions, furniture etc.
  • Choose and book a removal company, or hire a van
  • Source packing materials like boxes and bubble-wrap
  • De-clutter by sorting out items such as clothes, crockery and old linens to be donated or disposed of
  • Book a pickup for bigger unwanted items, such as a bookcase or old fridge
  • Notify utility companies about the move and sort out final meter readings and reconnection fees
  • Transfer or cancel home and contents insurance
  • Allocate time for cleaning the property thoroughly, or arranging a cleaning service
  • Organise help with the moving or cleaning
  • Book any time off from work you need for the move
  • Organise care for kids/pets on moving day
  • If you’ve been renting, organise to get your bond back and check the property inventory

Staying organised and stress-free

Make an inventory

Your inventory will form the basis for getting a quote from a moving company. Do your inventory room by room, and remember to include the garage, the shed and your loft or attic.
 

Roughly estimate how many moving boxes you’ll need for clothing, books and so on. There are online apps that help with this process.
 

While you’re doing your inventory, be on the lookout for any damage to the house that you may need to repair before you leave.

Declutter your stuff

Moving is the perfect time to declutter. It’s a win–win: you get to make a fresh start plus you can donate these goods to a charity, or even have a garage sale (COVID allowing) or sell them online.
 

You might also want to use up what’s in your pantry and refrigerator to avoid unnecessary waste.

DIY or professional removalists?

Get removal quotes

A good moving company can help your move run smoothly, so it’s a good idea to do some research. In addition to online reviews, and any recommendations from family or friends, the Australian Furniture Removers Association is a good place to look for accredited removal companies.

Most moving companies offer a range of services from a total door-to-door pack and unpack, to a self-pack and delivery. The level of service is price dependent and will also affect things like insuring for loss or accidental damage.

 

If you’re doing all or part of the packing yourself, most movers will also supply a range of packing materials, such as boxes and tape, so that you don’t have to source those yourself.
 

You can opt to only pack personal items like clothing, books, linen, even your computer, and leave the rest to the experts. It’s also worth transporting some things yourself, such as important documents, jewellery, or treasured heirlooms.

Moving large or dangerous items

Your removalist should offer advice on what they can and can’t move for you and advise on any potentially dangerous goods that need to be specially handled, like gas bottles, paint, and pool chemicals.
 

If you have a long journey ahead, think about how to transport food or plants (or even whether you can or should) and whether you need a storage facility between the old and new place.
 

You may need to separately arrange transport for cars, trailers, boats, or pets to your new home.

DIY moving

Doing it yourself has the potential to be a lot cheaper, but it can demand a lot of effort.

 

DIY is a great option for more simple or short moves, or if you don’t have too much to move. You’ll need to borrow or hire a moving truck and get hold of your own packing materials – don't forget the bubble wrap for fragile items. You’ll likely be doing all your own packing and unpacking, so it’s good to have a few friends or relatives on hand to help as packers, lifters, and drivers. Nearly everyone has done it at least once!

Important things to do before you move

Check your home and contents insurance

Check your existing home and contents insurance policy to see whether it covers goods in transit, or whether you need to arrange a separate policy. Notify your insurance company of your new address and any changes you need to make to your policy for your new home.
 

If you need home and contents insurance, Westpac can help.

Arrange cleaning

Should you clean the home you’re leaving yourself, or pay a professional? The trade-off is your time and energy versus the cost. When moving out of a rental property, it may be worth having a professional ‘bond clean’ done so the release of your bond is not delayed. It's also about being considerate to future new residents.

Who to notify?

Make a list of the key people and organisations you need to inform about your move. Looking at your direct debit payments on your online banking, and bills which are posted to you, are good places to start. Most companies can be notified and updated online. If you shop online, don’t forget to update your saved billing and delivery addresses.
 

There may be more people to notify than you realise.
 

  • Energy supplier, such as electricity or gas
  • Council and water rates
  • Internet and telecommunications provider
  • Your bank and credit card provider
  • Your work/personnel dept.
  • Your superannuation provider
  • Car, health, and personal insurances
  • Driver’s licence
  • Car, trailer, caravan, or boat registrations
  • Centrelink
  • MyGov
  • Medicare
  • ATO
  • Electoral roll
  • Regular internet shopping sites
  • Online payment services such as PayPal
  • Family and friends

Mail, utility providers and other services

Mail

Contact Australia Post to have your mail forwarded to your next address. There will be a small fee for this.

Disconnect and reconnect utilities

Moving house is a great time to take stock and research the various utilities that you need to connect at your new home. Often there are deals to be found.
 

Remember to have utilities such as electricity, gas, and internet, connected before you move in. This will help the day go more smoothly.

Change and notify other suppliers

Depending on how far you’re moving, you may also need to seek out new service providers. These could be medical services, education facilities, childcare services, and personal services.
 

If you have a pet, check with your vet that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, and get any paperwork you may need. You may also want to get any microchip tags updated with your new address.
 

Cancel or rearrange any home or personal services, such as the gardener or cleaner. And don’t forget to return any library books or hired items.

Preparing to move in

The more preparation you’ve done, the smoother moving day is likely to go.
 

Get a floor plan of your new home to help you work out where your furniture will go. It’s a good idea to make some signs to stick on the doors, so that the movers know which room the boxes need to go to.
 

Has the home been cleaned so you can move straight in? Or do you need to arrange carpet cleaning while the home is empty? Do you need a locksmith to change the locks?
 

Check manufacturer instructions for moving tips on your large appliances, such as washing machines and fridges.

Moving checklist for the day before

There are a few essential tasks that need to be done just prior to moving. Make a separate checklist and allocate who’s doing what. Put the list somewhere visible so everyone can see what they need to do – and when.
 

  • Clean your fridge and defrost the freezer
  • Prepare appliances such as the washing machine, dryer, microwave for moving
  • Prepare TV, hi-fi, routers, printers and scanners, and label all cables and remote controls. Take pictures on your phone before dismantling so you can remember where the wiring goes
  • Back up important computer files and put important documents and passwords in a safe place
  • Collect and identify all keys ready for delivery to the real estate agent or your conveyancer
  • Have somewhere to charge your phones – you don’t want to run out of power on moving day
  • Take a photo of the old house for your memory bank

Tips to help

The essentials

To save yourself searching for stuff on moving day, start to pack a ‘first night box’, with daily essentials that you use. ;This might include towels, toiletries, toilet paper, medications, phone charger and bed linen.
 

It’s also worth taking special care of valuables such as jewellery and watches by packing them in a separate box so you don’t lose them.
 

Set aside the kettle and toaster, together with an esky for essentials such as tea and coffee, milk, bread, butter and so on.

Your moving toolkit

An ‘unpacking box’ can also be useful. This might contain Allen keys, screwdrivers, box cutter, tools for putting furniture together or performing running repairs, scissors, a measuring tape, marking pens, masking or sticky tape, and cleaning gear like a mop and bucket, a vacuum cleaner, dusting cloths and light bulbs etc.
 

Having all these items in one place, and easily accessible, will save you time and angst when settling into your new home.

Moving day

Kids and pets

Having your little ones or your pets clear of the removalists will keep everyone safe, so having a plan for them helps.
 

Try and keep to their normal routine as much as possible. If you can, have them spend the day with a family member or friends, with a babysitter, or in the case of pets, in a cattery or kennel.
 

The children might like to pack their own small bag with some of favourite things that they can easily access on the first night in the new house. Similarly, pets will appreciate familiar bedding and some extra TLC to help them settle in.
 

Thoroughly check the new garden, or outside area, before allowing children or pets to play and explore.

Priorities for getting settled

Prepare a plan for unpacking too. You may want to get beds reassembled and made up first. The kitchen tends to be the next priority for many people, to help get back into the routine of family meals.
 

Don’t expect to get everything done on the day of your move. If the basics are covered, you might want to just appreciate your new surroundings and relax for a second – you’ve earned it!

To sum up

  • Start planning 4 to 6 weeks ahead
  • Prepare a timeline and budget for the move
  • Consider using accredited professionals
  • Use the opportunity to declutter and review suppliers
  • Tell key people and suppliers you’re moving
  • Check your insurance
  • Enlist help when you need it
  • Prioritise tasks

Other guides to help

property data report

Free property data reports

Get estimated property values, recent sale prices, expected rental yield or capital growth, trends, and more with our Property Reports.

What insurance cover do you need?

Moving house? Cover your new home and belongings. We also offer contents insurance if you are renting.

 

Repayment calculator

Estimate your home loan repayments by adjusting your loan amount, loan term, repayment frequency and interest rate.

 

Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.