Moving home is challenging and, for an unprepared and stressed-out mind, it can be all too easy to lose sight of one’s scruples. Tunnel vision takes over and the only thing that matters is the BIG MOVE ahead. While it’s certainly important to keep our eyes on the road, we should also check the rear view mirror to see if our belongings are littering the street behind us.
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ETIQUETTE
Making a good impression with the residents of your new neighborhood is equally as significant as kindly parting ways with the old ones. You see, relocating to a new home involves a certain etiquette that should be adhered to, a set of guidelines and standards that will make the entire process a breeze for everyone.
Leave the property clean
Let’s start with the important task of cleaning. As obvious as it is, the point should still be hammered home: leave the property in the kind of state you’d wish to find your new one. Many a buyer has been harshly disappointed upon stepping into their new home, ready to unpack after a tedious move, only to find that they must now spend several hours toiling to make the living space clean and tidy.
Aim to leave your old home as you’d want to find your new one. It’s not always easy. All the packing, the getting ready, the pressure to organise everything – the last thing you want to do is to start scrubbing the floor of the house that you can’t wait to leave behind forever. But consider how ecstatic the buyers will be upon entering their new home and finding that it has been well taken care of and that their own moving struggles are all but over.
Many rental properties provide a cleaning checklist, so if you’re unsure of where to begin, you can refer to it for a rough idea of what has got to go and what can remain. It can be a big job to clean a property that you’re vacating, but you can request the services of your moving company to take over the end-of-tenancy cleaning or hire cleaners elsewhere. We also put together a moving checklist that we are sure will come in very handy.
As important as house-cleaning is, it’s something that can be easily overlooked amid the chaos of packing and labeling boxes and moving them around from one corner to another. Still, you’re probably in for a shock when it comes time to pull back the fridge or the dishwasher and gaze into the abyss down in those long-forgotten corners – you better keep some cleaning supplies handy for tackling that old mess: some cleaning sprays, rags, a hoover, and a mop.
Wondering how clean the house should be upon moving out is a very common concern. If you haven’t agreed upon specific terms with the landlords or estate agents, then the standard is “broom clean” – this involves a good dusting, hoovering, mopping of floors, and wiping of all surfaces and walls. Take out the rubbish and open the windows to air out the property. Check with your landlord if it is obligatory to wash the outside of the windows, or if it is necessary to clean the carpet.
If you’re still at a loss on how far to push yourself in terms of cleaning, here’s the golden rule that we alluded to earlier: be considerate. The new buyers will likely have the same expectations as you had when you purchased the home.
You may consider it a departing gift to the new tenants to leave behind a set of old furniture, but it’s likely nothing more than a burden. Unfortunately, the saying that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, doesn’t ring true in this case. You are expected to leave the space as clutter-free as the day when you walked in for your first viewing.
It may, however, be worth leaving behind some leftover paint or tiles for the new tenants. Your goal is to make the house look and feel fresh, so grab a brush and a bucket of paint and go over any serious dents or marks on the walls. You can also leave the paint pots when you’re done; they may want to do a bit of painting themselves. Smaller paint pots or any of your leftover paint will do, so there’s no need for you to spend money on litres of paint. Besides, the new occupants may want to repaint the whole house a different colour.
Disconnect all utilities
If you haven’t already done so, then inform the utility companies about your move. Agree on a date with each one for when they should discontinue their services, and while you’re at it let them know where to forward all your future bills.
Remember to disconnect the security alarm service and change the address for your daily newspaper subscriptions. It is advisable to get all of this organised ahead of time so that the new homeowners don’t have any issues and prevent you from getting billed for their energy usage.
Who you must inform of the move
There is quite a lengthy list of people and organisations that will need to know your new address:
- Broadband providers
- Magazine subscriptions
- TV licensing services – if you are one of the few who are still tuned in to state-sponsored broadcasting, then you should pick up the phone and tell them where to send the future TV license bills
- Your bank, pension provider, building society, and companies you have any investments or loans with
- Credit card companies
- Local council – for voting registration and council tax
- Your employers
- DVLA – it is now time to renew your license and vehicle registration
- The schools of your children
Leave lights and other fixtures in place
No one would fault you for snatching up everything along with you that you’d purchased, but consider what it would be like to enter a new property and find that all the lightbulbs have been screwed out. As an act of courtesy, leave behind the items that make the house function as intended – lightbulbs, light switches, keys in doors, etc.
Pass on the important information
You may not even know who the next tenants will be, but they would certainly appreciate it if you transferred the necessary details to help them navigate the property and the neighbourhood.
Information that you may want to relay:
- A list of useful phone numbers for maintenance, gardening, bulk waste disposal, and the best local takeaways
- Bin collection days
- Information regarding parking
- Neighbourhood etiquette
- How to navigate the utility meters
- Note any security or access codes
A welcoming gift
A bottle of wine or a box of chocolates will go a long toward sowing goodwill, as it will surely make the new occupants feel more welcome. It is by no means a necessity, but it is a wholesome gesture nonetheless.
Your neighbours will, of course, know that the move is on when the “For Sale” sign goes up in front of your house. But even if you don’t know your neighbours, the decent thing to do is still to let them know that you are moving out. While you’re at it, tell them that a new family will soon be taking your place and what they can expect of the new tenants, whether they have any children or pets.
If you get along well with your neighbours, you should inform them of the move as soon as possible as they may wish to see you off with a proper farewell. They could potentially even be able to lend a hand with some aspects of the move (you’ll be needing all the help you can get).
We are certain that your neighbours would appreciate knowing when to expect a moving van, especially if the local roads are a tight squeeze.
A similar etiquette applies when you’re arriving at your new home. It is polite to approach your next-door neighbours to introduce yourself and let them know what all the ruckus is about. Also, be wary of what time you choose to move in. You don’t want to disturb the entire neighbourhood too early or too late. 9 AM-6 PM is generally acceptable for weekdays, but on weekends you ought to begin relocating later.
Also, when the truck is being loaded or unloaded, make sure that no essential parts of the streets or pathways are being blocked – that is no way to make an entrance into a new neighbourhood; it is negligent and will surely annoy the locals.
Your manners should also extend to your neighbours if you’re moving into an apartment building. Notify them in advance about how long you’ll be using the lift to move all of your stuff up, and because everything is in such close proximity try to not make a lot of noise.
Make a positive first impression
Yes, moving can be a real hassle, but try your best to be friendly and don’t forget the value of first impressions. You will encounter your new neighbours, some undoubtedly nicer than others, but make an effort to present yourself as one of the friendlier folk. It is probably the case that your arrival will be on the tip of everyone’s tongues so smile, wave, shake hands, and find out more about the neighbourhood.
THE REMOVALS TEAM ETIQUETTE
When your good nature kicks in and tells you to assist the movers with hauling and loading, stop. There are better ways to help that don’t involve the risk of you interfering with the job that you’ve paid them to do. Lifting heavy boxes sounds like the most basic task in the world, but unless you are aware of the correct way to do so, you can end up doing more harm than good. But just because you should not bother on that front, doesn’t mean that you can’t be helpful. There are a few important steps you can take to make the job more hassle-free for everyone.
The first thing you can do to help out is to secure a good parking spot for loading and unloading. Find out ahead of time about any restrictions, roadworks, or specific regulations to avoid any parking fines (which would then be a part of your expense). The last thing that the removal company drivers want is to arrive at your old or new home and spend time driving around in search of a spot to park.
Organise your boxes
You’re better off not troubling yourself with the heavy lifting; there are plenty of other ways you can add value to the team by working behind the scenes.
By the time moving day comes, you should have marked and labelled each box, making sure to single out fragile and valuable items. Highlight the contents of each box, especially if they’re loaded with breakables, and urge the crew to take special care when handling them. Draw arrows and write THIS SIDE UP to make it clear which way to stack your belongings.
You should also try to organise the boxes in a way that is convenient and easily accessible. When taking care of things before the arrival of the moving truck, remember that the first boxes to go in will also be the last boxes to be taken out, so arrange things with this fact in mind.
It is also a good idea to categorise your boxes by rooms, if possible. You may want to colour code them, number them, or label them in some other ways – whatever you think would make it easier for you and the moving team to recognise them. You could also match the labels on boxes with labels that you apply on bedroom doors, which would help the movers (be they friends or professionals) to quickly identify which boxes belong in which rooms.
Along with labels and colour codes, you could also count the boxes and number each of them. This is a simple way to track your belonging during the move, and if you jot down the number of boxes from each room, you can easily determine whether any boxes have been misplaced.
If you are based in an apartment building, you may be able to reserve the elevator or be granted access to the goods lift. Ask your property manager about this as it would be of great use when it’s time for the team to start dragging boxes around.
Prepare an easily accessible box of essential personal items, such as clothes, medications, electronic devices, toiletries, change of clothes, etc., anything you could need in the process of moving and unpacking. The last thing you want to spend time doing is digging through random boxes in search of toilet paper.
Above is a list of things that you need to get sorted for the move to proceed without any major hiccups. But you also should not neglect the importance of providing the hardworking guys with a fair dose of moral support and refreshments.
Summer moves can be gruelling, so the moving team is sure to appreciate a cold beverage and a quick snack. Iced tea and biscuits will not fail to give a good energy boost and energise the whole team to complete the job with greater gusto.
If you’re relocating during the winter seasons, a pause for a hot cup of tea is just an obvious act of kindness. It won’t cost you much and is sure to revitalise the guys and help them get on with the backbreaking job of moving all of your belongings around. (It’s also worth noting that you should probably throw some salt along the slippery paths, as well as on your doorsteps.)
Some people will offer to buy the moving crew lunch as a tip (while some will also include a monetary tip on top of that). But there are a few things you should know if you intend to feed the crew. First of all, provide more than a single option. Due to allergies and other complications, you can’t safely assume that everyone will be able to ingest the same sort of meal.
But if there’s no time for lunch, you can always provide some snacks. Crackers, biscuits, bananas, protein bars – all are excellent options.
Just in case you’re feeling overly festive, note that you should avoid giving them beer or any other alcoholic drinks (during or after the shift). Most moving companies operate under strict policies that do not allow drinking on the job, so you’d be better off avoiding any issues of liability.
Basic courtesy goes a long way toward showing appreciation, too:
- Refer to the moving crew by their names and commend individual members to their supervisor
- Post a review on Google, on social media, or the company’s website – mention the specific names of those who exceeded your expectations
- If there are some items – furniture, appliances, garden tools – that you don’t want to take with you or intend to dispose of, you can offer them to the movers
- Provide a place for the crew to rest and take their breaks. Something as simple as a few chairs in the shade would do just fine
- Tell them where the toilet is, ensuring that it’s stocked with paper towels and liquid soap
- Be present and able to answer questions, show them around, and try to assist them however you can
Leave a tip
Moving home is a team effort, so you’ve likely dealt with a lot of professionals. Tipping is certainly a great way to show appreciation, but it generally isn’t expected in the UK. Still, the crew probably worked hard and a small tip at the end of it all would mean a lot to them (and be distributed amongst themselves).
We’ve already gone over it above, but it’s worth mentioning here, too: a great way to show appreciation is by providing the moving team with regular refreshments or buying them lunch.
Concerning estate agents and solicitors who’ve helped you sell your home, you could present them with a cute card and a gift to say thank you. Last but not least, one of the best ways to express your appreciation – and one that costs nothing at all – is by leaving a positive review online, or recommending them to anyone else who may find their services useful.
All things considered, don’t pressure yourself too much to get everything right. There will probably be something that you forget to handle but that’s okay since moving house is always a chaotic task. Ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed; there’ll always be someone willing to lend a hand. Whenever possible, show gratitude and strive to make the process flow smoothly for everyone.
Adhering to the moving etiquette is an important aspect of a complete relocation. Follow the tips above and you will make a good impression on everyone – the removal team, your old and new neighbours, and the occupants who will be moving into your former home. So make an effort to be composed in the face of all the chaos surrounding you, but also to be polite and pleasant to all the people who are a part of the moving process. It is a team effort, after all, and if it wasn’t for all these people’s hardworking hands, you would surely struggle more.
If you are someone who’s moved homes before and had a horrible experience, just imagine the kind of difference that the general adherence to the above etiquette would have made. Your new home would be clean and tidy; you are welcomed by a card and a bottle of wine; you’ve got a list of tips that explain how everything around here works; the neighbours are keen to meet you!
So whether this is your first move or your tenth, the fact is that the process is only as stressful as you allow it to be. If you take the time to prepare, much of the weight will be lifted, not just from you but from everyone who is a part of the moving process.