It’s ranked as one of the most stressful life experiences we will have to encounter – alongside divorce, bereavement and new parenthood.  But when it comes to moving house, there’s plenty you can do to scale down the stress factor.

Whether you’re down-sizing, setting up home for the first time or moving up to something bigger, the moment your property purchase or rental agreement is confirmed is the time to start planning for moving day.

Being well prepared goes a long way in taking any potential sting out of the moving in process, and that starts with getting measurements of all the rooms, making notes of any fixtures and fittings that will be remaining (and which you’ll therefore have to work around) and starting to build up a plan of where your furniture and possessions will go.

Anything that clearly isn’t going to fit into the new place should be disposed of well ahead of time – either passed on to friends or relatives, taken to a charity shop or maybe even sold to help pay for some of your removal costs.

If you can get into the new property to clean it ahead of moving in, that’s always a good idea because the previous inhabitants might not have left the place exactly as you’d want it – and it will be much harder to clean once your stuff is unloaded from the removal van.

Make a checklist too before removal day, for essential tasks such as finding out who the energy and broadband suppliers are, where the stopcock and gas/electricity meters are located, and if there are any warranties or instruction manuals for appliances. 

You’ll also need to arrange for re-direction of your post and get some quotes from removal companies – or van hire firms if you plan to do the job yourself.  It’s an idea to book your removal as soon as possible, especially if you plan to do it on a Friday as that’s often the most requested day.  On the other hand, if you’re prepared to be flexible, firms may quote a lower rate for less busy days of the week.

You can never start packing early enough! Doing one or two boxes a day is far less stressful than trying to cram everything in at the last minute. Take care not to over-fill boxes, though, especially with things like books, as they’ll be too heavy to carry and are more likely to break open in transit. And don’t forget to write the contents in big, easy-read letters on the box.

It’s also worth taking a little essentials box and carrying with you rather than putting it in the removal van.  In there, you might put tea, milk, biscuits and snacks along with your kettle, and life-savers such as light bulbs, screwdrivers and spare screws and bolts.

Finally, take some deep breaths – and enjoy your new home!