Planning and organising a house move after a divorce can be stressful and time-consuming. If you are moving with your children, the huge changes to their everyday lives can be scary and difficult for them to understand; maintaining some form of stability and routine will help ensure their lives aren’t too disrupted, for their own well-being.
To move house with minimal stress, you need to leave enough time to hire a removal company to help you move, pack up the house, notify all the right people while also keeping your children involved and happy. To make the process that much easier, the following guide is a timeline of the steps you need to take in the weeks and days leading up to your move.
8 Weeks Before You Move
No matter what their age, divorce and moving house are unsettling experiences that can leave your children feeling confused and uncertain. It’s important that you reassure them with a positive attitude and make them feel safe during such a transitional time.
When it comes to telling your children about the move, try and tell them together and present a united front. Avoid arguing in front of them, and make it clear that you both love them the same, and although some things will be changing, their relationship with both of you won’t. Be clear about what is happening and when, and address any questions they have about the changes they are going to experience.
The earlier you tell your children about the move, the better, as it will give them time to adjust to the idea. Try and stay positive and focus on all the benefits your new home will bring; Is it a bigger house? A garden for them to play in? Will you be nearer to family? If you help them understand that moving house is a good decision, they may adapt quicker. As soon as you know your moving date, you can set a time frame to plan around. Start preparing by researching removal companies in your area.
Before you choose your removal company, make sure they fit the criteria you’re looking for. In general, a good removal company will:
- Visit your home before the move to conduct a survey or take detailed description of the size and volume of your move. This is to determine the size of vehicle needed, what kind of equipment to use, as well as the number of staff needed.
- Provide a comprehensive and clear quotation with no hidden charges. If it’s unclear, don’t be afraid to ask if the quote includes waiting time, dismantling of furniture etc.
- Ensure staff are competently trained and monitored. You might prefer for them to be uniformed too.
- Have insurance to cover your items in case of damage. You should also check with your insurer that your items are covered, as some removal companies don’t provide cover for fragile items or valuables like jewellery.
- Provide quality customer service throughout and always put the customers’ needs first at all times.
- Be a member of the American Moving and Storing Association
Keep in mind that removal companies can be booked up months in advance, so we recommend choosing one eight weeks before moving day.
7-6 Weeks Before Moving
At this point, you should start going through each room and packing everything up. Try and be selective about what you bring with you. Of course, packing up the family home means many of your items are going to have memories attached to them, but only keep what you need and can’t go without.
It will feel overwhelming at first, but when you start to declutter and find you have less to pack, you will feel lighter and some of the stress will be lifted. If you can’t donate the items that aren’t coming with you, you might want to try making extra money by selling them online
Many of your contents may have been bought by both you and your ex-spouse. To decide who gets what, try and compromise by splitting the contents evenly or decide who needs specific items more than the other. If you truly cannot come to an agreement, use a mediator to decide who gets what.
6-5 Weeks Before Moving
If you’re moving to a different area, you need to inform your children’s school and the staff that you are moving. You will need copies of their school certificates and records. Before you move house, create a shortlist of schools in your new area that you would like to send your children to. Keep in mind that you need proof of your new address before you apply to the new schools.
5-4 Weeks Before Moving
Free up some space by packing all of your non-essentials, including large furniture and any other items you aren’t going to urgently need in the foreseeable future. Try and store them somewhere where they are out of sight while you pack everything else up.
To organise your packing, sort each room individually, label your boxes and pack similar items together. Involve your children by letting them pack their own bedrooms, label and decorate their boxes – this will occupy them and keep them out of the way while you pack up the rest of the house.
It’s important to remember that children thrive on routines. Understandably, preparing to move house often disrupts your day-to-day lives, but try and keep the same habits like meal times, bath times and bed times so your children have a sense of stability throughout the moving process. This also applies to your new house. If your children are going to be dividing their time between two homes, they would benefit from having the same routines at both.
If you’re living in a rented property, at this point you should notify your landlord that you are moving out.
3 Weeks Before Moving
When you’re going through a divorce as well as a house move, it’s easy to forget who you need to inform of your change of address, other than your family and friends. Records of your address need to be updated before you arrive at your new home, so remember to:
- Notify your bank
- Update the information on your car insurance, car ownership certificate and your driving license
- Redirect your mail
- Change the address on online deliveries
Start using up all the food you can, as it can cause mess if anything spills or breaks open, add unnecessary weight to your packing, or it will end up waste if you simply throw it away. Make sure there is nothing left in your fridge or freezer on your moving day.
2 Weeks Before Moving
Two weeks before moving day, you should finish off packing anything left inside the house. However, avoid packing any valuables with the rest of your items. Keep them together in a safe place so you can move them yourself on moving day.
Go through each room in the house and get rid of any left-over waste. Giving your children cleaning jobs to do will make them feel like they are part of the process and helping you.
1 Week Before Moving
Your packing should be done by this point, so all that is left to do is take final checks and pack yours and your children’s moving day essentials. These will include everything you will need on moving day, before and after you arrive at your new home. If you aren’t yet sure what you will need, here are some ideas:
- Pillows and bed sheets
- Towels and toiletries
- Mini toolbox
- Coffee machine
Your children are going to need to be kept occupied and happy on moving day, so their kit should include:
- Their favourite toy
- Their favourite pyjamas
- Fresh clothes to wear at the new house
- A pillow
Going through a divorce and moving house is out of your children’s hands, but letting them make some decisions about their new room will give them a sense of control and might even make them excited to get to the new house.
A week before the move, talk about what colour they want to paint their new room, where they want their bed to go and what they want to bring with them.
1 Day Before Moving
At this point, you should be ready to move house! Confirm the date and time your removal company should be arriving, and make sure all your important documents are kept together and with you. Ensure your fridge and freezer are both empty and defrosted, and do a final check around the house for anything left behind.
On Moving Day
Moving day is going to be chaotic, but make sure you are available for your children if they need anything, even if it’s just some reassurance. This is when yours and your children’s essential moving kits are useful – make sure they are kept occupied and have all their comforts with them.
When it comes to loading the van, identify any fragile boxes so the removal men know to take extra care.
Just before you set off, do one last check around the house for anything left behind and make sure lights are switched off. Then, you can move into your new home!
Of course, leaving a house with so many memories for the last time might make you feel emotional. You can always invite your closest friends or family over on moving day for support so you don’t feel like you are going through it alone.
About the Author
Compare My Move is an experienced company that provides a reliable and efficient comparison service for home and office movers looking for quality removal companies in the UK.
Not only can we help you save money on your removals, but we also maintain a hands-on approach when we engage with our customers to ensure they receive a service tailored to their individual needs. We want you to have a fantastic moving experience by helping you with any removal queries and concerns, as well as offer any hints or tips about house removals.