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5 top tips for moving house

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Moving house

Written by a seasoned mover

Moving can be exciting as well as stressful, and if done well, moving house can reduce the impact of the move on your family, work and your bank account.

My name is Sam Morgan and I have moved 28 times in 10 years - sounds crazy, but boy do I know how to move.

Whether you are moving interstate or overseas the process of moving is much the same (it just takes a little longer for your belongings to arrive and you will require a specialist overseas moving company).

Here are my 5 top tips to moving.

Packing tips you must read

1. Prepare for the move

Sorting your belongings - This can be done well ahead of time (even months ahead) making the actual move quicker and more efficient. Tackle one room/weekend to ensure sorting is less painful. Get rid of those items you haven't used for a while. You will need 4 different box types:

  1. Essentials items - These are items that you'll  need to setup with in the new location (keep these items to a minimum if you're moving O.S. this type of moving attracts top container fees). It's often cheaper to sell what you can before you move and buy these items on arrival at your new location.
  2. Garage sales, friends and charity stores - This is a great way to pass on good items to friends and neighbors and the rest can be dropped at a charity store. Keep in mind that most Australian charity's don't accept electrical goods as they can't guarantee the safety of these items. They will most likely get thrown into land fill. However that said, call your local charity and confirm, some charities do take electrical items. These items are checked by certified electricians and are certified for resale.
  3. Garbage - Things for the tip.
  4. Slow Boat to China items - If you're moving to another country the most affordable way to transport your move is by flexible date shipping container. Items that should go in this container are things that you can do without for a while (about three months). Start talking with an international mover at least 3 months before your move. If you don't have time on your hands movers will charge top dollar for short notice bookings, so limit what you send with short notice. International movers usually charge on container size not weight and they'll provide the container dimensions so you can estimate what will fit into your container at home.

2. Find a good movernot a cheap mover

It is important to choose the right mover for your unique move.

  • Local or international? - The company that moves state-to-state will not necessarily move internationally.
  • Services available - Look into the different types of movers in your area and what types of services they can offer. Are you looking for somebody to pack your items, deliver them, and unpack them? Or do you simply need your boxes and furniture moved from A to B?
  • Interview the movers - Treat choosing a mover like a job interview. Judge them on everything you can: How they answer the phone, professionalism of their quote and friendliness of the staff you may have dealt with. This will give you a good indication of how the rest of the move will go.

Prices will vary depending on:

  • Quantity & quality of items - The moving company will need to charge more for large moves as they will need to hire more staff. If you have expensive items to move you may also be charged extra so that the movers are able to take the time and care special items require.
  • Access to items - If access from the existing home or to the new home is difficult you will be charged more.
  • Moving company - Quotes from furniture removalist's will vary greatly, so shop around.

3. Tie up loose ends

Make sure you have submitted a mail forwarding form to your local post office and have changed the mailing address for all of your bills and subscriptions etc. This can be done a few months ahead of time allowing you to form a good list of all your contacts. Don't forget to cancel or transfer your internet, phone and television.

4. Tips for moving to another state

If you are making a move to another state, there are a few other things you should make sure to keep in mind.

  • Unique emergency kit - Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car so that if something does happen, you will be prepared. Like a pet drink container, paper towels, pain killers (highly recommended), sun glasses, plastic bags for garbage, entertainment for kids.
  • Get your car serviced - If you're driving to another state don't forget to have the car service a few weeks before the moving day.
  • Think about pet travel - If you have pets think about the best way to transport them - a short air flight might be a much better option than a 20 hour-long drive for your pet.

5. Tips for moving internationally

Make sure you take possessions that are both usable and useful in your new country. For example, most Australian electronics will need a converter and transformer to work in European & American outlets. If you are moving to Alaska in Australia's summer period for example, your favorite summer wardrobe will not be needed as soon as you arrive. Consider having these items shipped out at a more economical rate later on.

Think ahead and only bring what you need. Also be careful about shipping anything that is highly valuable and remember :

  • Accidents happen - Shipping accidents do happen. Cargo containers do get lost at see and items such as paintings can be damaged during quarantine spraying. If you have any doubts it’s best to leave valuables at home with family until you return, or call a specialist moving company that specialising in moving valuable items.
  • Choose a reputable mover over a cheap mover - Choosing removalists that have a history of 'quality moving services' can help remove some of the fears you may have about relocating.
  • Vaccinations and medication - Don't forget to organise vaccinations and medication that you may need, before moving overseas. Some diseases are more prevalent in certain areas of the world and some medicines are not available everywhere you may go, so be prepared.

IMPORTANT - Ensure you are able to carry your medication onto the plane and into the country you are moving to. Some countries will not allow certain medications into their country.

  • Pets & quarantine - Traveling from Australia to America for example will require that you have your pet tested for various diseases before you leave. Check this requirement early so you have everything in place. Animals traveling to the U.S. from Australia will not require to be quarantined but traveling back from the U.S. to Australia will require a 6 month quarantine period for your pet.


  • Referral from a friend - Get a referral from a friend that has moved recently. Were they happy with the price? Were they happy with the team that moved them on the day?
  • Pack cleaning items last - Always pack your cleaning items last and label the box well. This will be the last items you will need at the old house and the first items you'll need at the new house.
  • New home survival Kit - Always pack a box that has the basics like; tea and coffee supplies (including mugs, a jug and long life milk), toilet paper, 2 minute noodles and medication etc. Everyone's survival kit will be slightly different.
  • Label all your boxes - Soooo important!