Moving house checklist
Moving house can be a daunting task. Not only is it an emotional journey but you'll have reams of admin to do. Our list will help you tick off the boxes!
Change your addressStart doing this 30 days before the move. Sometimes a phone call will do, but often you may have to fax proof of the new address to certain institutions or go into the bank or muncipality to fill in forms, so giving yourself a headstart will help to shorten your to-do list.
In some cases you may have the option to receive statements and accounts per email – this not only cuts down on paper wastage, but ensures an easier change of address process.
Here'a s list of institutions you have to notify of your new address, plus a few extra things to keep in mind.
Utilities & bills
- Council rates, water and electricity: Make sure you get and pay your last bill at the old residence, and fill in the necessary forms to transfer the account into the new tenant's name so you won't be held liable for their bill. At your new residence, check that the account is paid up by the previous owner/tenant and transfer the account into your name.
- Telkom: Arrange installation of a phone line/ADSL line at the new property for the day you move in. You'll need to book a date at least a month before the move. Even if there is a line already, a technician would have to come out to "switch it on".
- Internet service provider: Arrange for your account and internet service to be transferred to your new address on the day of the move so you're connected immediately.
- MNet/DSTV: Inform them of your change of address, and remember to get technicians to move your current dish or install a new one at your new propery.
- SABC TV licence: Remember to inform them of your change of address.
- Cellphone service provider.
- Alarm/armed response: Check the security at your new house, speak to the neighbours and drive around the area at different times of the day and week. Inspect the walls and doors and, if you feel it's needed, get in a quote from 2 different armed response companies to make recommendations about the house's safety features. If you want additional security to be installed, book in advance so the installation takes place before or on the day of the move.
- Insurance: Change your address for household insurance for the exact day of move. Many burglaries occur in the first week after a move, so you want to be insured. If the moving company also offer insurance for your goods in transit, weigh up the cost and risk involved.
- SARS: Inform the Revenue Service of your change of address.
- Bank: Let your bank know – you may have to transfer bank branches and get a new sort code too. Also remember to inform other institutions with whom you may hold mortages, short-term loans, student loans, additional savings or credit cards.
- Policies: If you hold retirement annuities, life and disability insurance, funeral cover or other annuity policies, inform those institutions too.
- Store and loyalty cards: Ask to receive your statements at your new address.
- GP, paediatrician, dentist, vet: These healthcare workers need to know to send you bills and reminders at your new address, and have your new address on record in case of emergency.
- Medical aid: Your medical aid or hospital plan needs to be informed too.
- Gym membership.
Work & business
- Your employer (and clients if you work from home).
- Post Office: Inform the Post Office and set up re-direction of your mail.
- Postal address: If you have a PO BOX, move your account or remember to close it.
Entertainment, leisure & social
- Newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
- Clubs, including your children's activity groups (sport, gym, hobbies).
- Library: Return all your books and enquire in your new town about library memberships there.
Family & household
- Have you informed relatives and friends?
- Staff: make sure your nanny/cleaner/gardner knows how to get to your new address – it may require new routes and a hike in fares, so check with them in advance.
- Your child's nursery, crèche or playschool needs to know in case of emergencies.
- Pets: are pets allowed in your new residence?
- Private nurse, night nurse or your midwife.
Before the move
- Movers. If you're planning to use a professional mover, book one well in advance. Many will offer to pack up your house for you at an additional cost, or supply you with boxes in advance, and even offer optional insurance covering the move from house to house. Consider your options: You could perhaps ask them to pack your kitchen breakables and other fragile items, as many movers won't accept responsibility for breakages if you packed these yourself. Read the terms and conditions carefully.
- Painting and renovations. If you'd like to paint the house or do certain alterations, it's a good idea to do this before taking occupation of your house. It'll go a lot quicker if the house is empty, and you won't have to worry about dust and fumes. If there are wood beetles in the floors, cupboards or skirting boards (especially coastal areas) you should also fumigate the house now.
- Cleaner. If you'd like someone to help you clean your old and new houses, book some help.
- Clean out. Start going through cupboards and throw out anything you don't need or want so you can start with a clean slate in the new house (and have less packing to do later). Divide these up into recycling and charity piles.
- Get measurements at the new house. This will help you decide whether to move over your curtains and blinds or to have new ones made, and help you plan where to place heavy furniture like pianos, which can't easily be moved again later.
- Dryclean and steam clean. Dryclean or wash your curtains, and steam clean your upholstery.
- Dispose of unwanted furniture or appliances and make sure whoever is taking them collects them before the move.
- Return all borrowed items.
- Make a list of your items you need to retrieve. Dry-cleaning, items you've lent out, sports equipment stored at schools, and so on.
- Get cardboard boxes and packing tape. The movers may be able to supply boxes, and you can also ask your local supermarket or book dealer for boxes.
- Start packing early. It always takes longer than you think. Send your children to their gran's for the day or weekend to enable you to work quicker.
- Tighten the lids on all jars.
- Wrap your breakables with bubble wrap or newspaper and fill any gaps in the boxes with pillows or books. Boxes are often stacked and boxes that aren't filled to the top will collapse and tear under heavy weight.
- Don't make any box too heavy to carry. Half-fill a box with books and top up with light items.
- Mark each box with a number and its destination room (kitchen/study) and then make notes of what goes in which boxes so it's easy to find often-used items like your hair dryer or bedding on the other side.
On the day of the move
- Put aside valuable items, money, documents.
- Defrost your refrigerator.
- Take down and dismantle the TV/DSTV aerial.
- Disconnect the stove (if you're moving it with you).
- Clean the house properly, in every nook and cranny.
- Do a last check: are all rooms, garages, atticks, outhouses and treehouses empty?
- Are all taps closed?
- Is the gas turned off?
- Are the windows and doors secured?
- Leave all sets of keys for the new occupant and if necessary, request that your post be forwarded to your new address.
- Say goodbye to the neighbours as you embark on a new journey to a new home.