It’s moving time! You’ve found the perfect new spot and it’s time to say goodbye to your old home. Even if you’re not due to move for months, the time does go by quickly – and there’s quite a bit to organise.

On this page, you'll learn things like:

  • Useful tips during the moving process.
  • Reducing clutter to make shifting easier.
  • Packing tips.

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Moving on up!

Kiwis aren’t known for staying put for long – it’s in our nature to travel and move around a fair bit. It’s common for the number of houses we’ve lived in to hit double digits by the time we’re 30. With the number of renters on the rise as house prices grow, moving frequently is just the norm. While we’re moving more and more, the actual process of relocating can seem exhausting. We try to pick up tactics with each move to make the next one easier, but in reality we can forget the stress as soon as we’ve settled.

We’ve pulled together some useful moving advice to help you along your way – some may be very familiar, or you may be a first time mover looking for help. So fear not, New Zealand, the move is going to be fine! Let’s dive in...

The search for a new home

You’ve decided to move – or perhaps the decision’s been made for you. Long story short, you need to find a new place to live. If you have a short amount of time to find somewhere, this can be stressful. Regardless of the time you’ve got to hunt around, there’s some things you should keep in mind.

Think about the location very carefully

You aren’t just finding a new house – you’re fundamentally changing your daily routine. Travel, environment, local amenities, weather, schools. If you’re moving out of your current area these are all important considerations.

When you’re browsing potential properties to purchase or rent, consider the following:

  • Is it near public transport?
  • How far is the drive to shops, work, schools and other frequent locations?
  • What sort of sunlight does the house get? At what time of day?
  • Is the access good for moving stuff in and out? Any shared driveway to think about?
  • Do I know anyone in the area?
  • Is it a good area for kids or pets?
  • Will there be on-street parking freely available for visitors?

It’s quite easy to get caught up in how nice a house is without thinking about this stuff. Just take your time and be sure to look at the location as much as the house itself.

Write down what you need

There are a few ways to tackle house hunting. You can jump online or look in local publications to browse what’s on offer. Or, you can be quite prescriptive as to what you want or need in a new house. This can be a really good proactive way to cut down your options.

You can use the location list above to get you started, but here’s some other house-related criteria that many of us have used:

  • Sufficient number of rooms
  • Rooms are big enough to fit people and furniture comfortably
  • House has a garage or carport
  • Kitchen will fit existing appliances – e.g. fridge cavity is big enough
  • House is north facing and/or gets plenty of light
  • Heat pump and/or ventilation system installed
  • Good oven and rangehood for cooking
  • Deck and/or lawn for entertaining and relaxing
  • Security features like alarm
  • Privacy from neighbours and the road

Make sure you list out all the requirements you have before you start looking. Of course, keep an open mind – something a bit out of your criteria could pop up and be worth investigating. But we’d suggest knowing what you’re looking for can cut down your search time drastically. 

Budget out everything – not just the mortgage or rent

The costs of a new house doesn't stop at house payment – there’s also insurance, rates (for owners) and any impact on your travel costs to consider

Create a spreadsheet of all your current costs and then have a second column with the potential costs of any given new home. Does your rent go up? How about travel? Understand how the move is going to cost or save you long term before committing. 

Just remember to leave some padding in your budget for surprises – while that extra $20 in rent a week might not look like much, it all adds up. That’s a thousand dollars a year that might be needed to buy a new fridge or pay the mechanic. If it feels tight, the house is probably too expensive.

Found a place? Great! Let’s get planning.

Knowing where you’re going to be moving is a big part of the job done. It also allows you to make concrete plans around things like travel, utilities, and schooling. Like all things, preparation is the key to success. You may even wish to set up a ‘moving house’ planner online – there are cloud-based options like Google Sheets that can work wonders, especially given you can share everyone into the plan at once.

We’ve put together a Moving House checklist which can also help you complete the move. 

Planning for the move requires time, and to be honest, a bit of patience. Start as early as possible and get things arranged now – this will mean you’ve got the time for unexpected jobs that inevitably crop up.

Arranging the move

Moving houseHow are you going to move from old house to new house? Moving isn’t exactly cheap but you have some choices when it comes to the physical shifting of your stuff. 

Moving company. Professional moving companies in New Zealand offer experienced, strong removal professionals with proper gear. Straps, ties, carpet, dollies, protective plastic and of course big moving trucks. If you are moving any large distance, you should seriously consider a moving company with a large truck. This will be less trips back and forth (sometimes even just one trip!) which frees you up time to unpack at the other end. Some moving companies also offer quality boxes and packaging ahead of moving day for you to box up your worldly possessions securely. Not only does it free up your time, but professionals are usually much stronger than us and have excellent moving technique. A common moving day injury is a pulled muscle from an ambitious appliance lift.

Hiring a van or truck. Some opt for hiring a van or small truck to do the move themselves. If you’ve got a group of people who can help lift heavy objects then this can be a good option. Just be sure to factor in the cost of hiring the vehicle, plus filling it up with fuel to a full tank before you return it. Moving shorter distances can make the DIY approach work. Important to remember that this will likely be a much longer and tiring moving day. You should also check to see that the vehicle you’re hiring is large enough to transport all of your items.

You may even have a vehicle large enough to transport most things which can cut down costs a lot. Whether you hire a company to do everything or do it yourself, make sure you book everything well in advance. Being stuck without a way to move can become really difficult, especially if you’ve got pressure to move out for the new occupants of your old house.

Switching over utilities

We’ve got a handy guide about the process of changing power companies when you move, but there are other utilities you should consider too. Even if you’re not changing providers, you’ll need to tell them you’re moving. Every company has their own process for managing this so make sure you check with them first.

What utilities and services do you need to switch over? Here are a few common ones you may have:

  • Landline
  • Broadband internet
  • Power
  • Gas
  • Wheelie bins – recycling, greenwaste, rubbish
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Milk delivery
  • Property maintenance

This is a good opportunity to review which of these services you still require and whether you want to shop around for other providers. In most cases it’s possible to give companies plenty of notice around a move, so you can do this early and not have to worry about it at move time.

Changing address

For saleThe amount of mail that goes to wrong addresses in New Zealand is significant. Having to rely on the good will of others to forward you mail on is a bit of a risk. Ideally as our world gets increasingly paperless the most important information will reach you electronically or by phone. But there’s still a lot of sensitive correspondence sent by mail that you wouldn’t want to get lost.

So, get your address changes lined up. We’d suggest going back to that spreadsheet you’ve made and listing out all the businesses and people who’re sending you mail. Start this soon and add to it as more come to mind (and letters are received).

Scratching your head trying to remember who you get mail from? Here’s a starter for ten:

  • Bank
  • Inland Revenue
  • ACC
  • Council
  • Insurance companies
  • Finance companies
  • School/University
  • Magazine/newsletter subscriptions
  • Doctor/Vet
  • Vehicle registration
  • Online retailers

Over time we can end up with hundreds of businesses that have our address – set aside some time to update these and mark them when done.

Get packing!

Unpacking boxes

Packing. Just the word can make us feel tired. We’re not going to pretend that packing up your items ready for a move is easy. It isn’t. So – what can we do about it? Get packing early. Don’t line up a day close to moving time to pack everything – tackle a room a day for a week, leaving only the essentials out. 

Make sure you have good quality boxes and strong packing tape. Cheaping out on packaging can mean valuables dropping out the bottom of a box – not fun. The number of boxes you need of course depends on how much you have, and what sort of packer you are. Start with reasonable number and then buy extra as you need. Remember to leave a number of boxes over for actual moving day as you shift the essentials at the last minute.

Grabbing a marker to write on and categorise boxes by what’s in them and what room they’re destined for is just smart packing. The movers can also read this and leave them in the right place at the other end. If you have breakables, be sure to wrap them before packing – think glasses, vases, plates and ornaments.

When it comes to larger items, put them back in their original box if you still have this. Otherwise, take the time to pack them carefully with protective plastic. Take care to cover the mattress and things that can get scuffed and dirty in transit. 

Clean out time

You’re busy packing, but you’re starting to notice just how much you have. Do we really need all of this? Probably not. Use this house move as an excuse to throw out, recycle or donate any items you can do without. Here are some ways you can do it:

  • Donate clothes – chances are you don’t wear everything you own. Take the opportunity to give back to the community by donating (good condition) unwanted clothes to a charity shop.
  • Recycle appliances like microwaves and fridges. With a trailer or van you can get rid of old or faulty whiteware at the local refuse station. They will take the scrap materials and sell these back to businesses to make new things.
  • Give toys to the local school or kindy. Our kids can acquire a whole lot over time – and they lose interest in perfectly good toys. This is an opportunity to donate these to the local community so other kids can enjoy them.
  • Do an online sale. Social media and website marketplaces are a good way to offload things you don't need and make a few bucks in the interim. Just remember this does come with a bit of admin, especially if you’re selling a lot.

Checking the new property

House keysBefore one appliance crosses the threshold, do a sweep of the exterior and the interior of the house. Is there any damage or issues that have not been covered prior to the move? Depending on whether you’re renting or purchased the home, you have options. 

Buying

Ideally the pre-settlement inspection right before settlement day will have covered off any issues. By the time you’re moving in any damage or problems should be resolved. The property should be empty when doing this check to ensure any removal work hasn’t left dents in the wall or scuffs on the carpet. 

Appliances should all be checked to see if they’re working – oven, rangehood, heat pump etc. If you find an issue, you advise the previous owner (usually via your lawyer) to address these. 

If you have any concerns chat to your lawyer that’s helping you purchase the home (often called a conveyancer). 

Renting

The pre-move in inspection for renters is absolutely essential. Here you’ll walk around the property with the tenancy agreement and note any damage, marks or things of note in each (empty) room. This step just covers you and the landlord in the future should there be any dispute over damage to the property. 

We’d strongly recommend you take pictures in each room – sure it won’t be the most exciting section of your camera roll, but you never know down the track should there be disagreement over damage caused. Make sure you keep these on your phone or camera, and photos have date data. 

If there’s an issue with the rental property that impacts your ability to live in it comfortably, such as a broken window, or faulty oven, make sure your landlord gets this fixed before you move in.

Day of the move – be prepared to reduce the stress

It’s moving day! Hopefully you had a good sleep and a decent breakfast – today is a big day. With any luck you’re all packed, the movers are on time and the sun is shining (although there’s not much we can do about that).

If you’re hiring a vehicle, get to the depot as early as possible so you’ve got plenty of moving time.  Once the transport is ready, set up someone at the old place and someone to go to the new place in the first load. The person at the old house can continue preparing boxes and doing last minute packing and cleaning. At the new house, boxes can be unpacked as they arrive and rooms set up. After the final load is done and the empty house is cleaned as required, everyone can help unpack. 

You may have noticed we love lists – here’s another one specifically for moving day:

  • Stay hydrated and fed – low energy is when accidents happen.
  • Don’t lift anything heavier than you can manage.
  • Group items and boxes together for movers to take.
  • At the new house, unpack into rooms that are out of the way so you don’t get under the feet of movers bringing in large furniture.
  • Fill up all vehicles with full tank before the day starts.
  • Try to move items out of the old place so that entire rooms are emptied at once – this means you can clean throughout the day rather than at the end.
  • Cover any sharp-edged objects to reduce the risk of marking walls.
  • Don’t forget all the items outside – hose reels, firewood, bins etc.
  • Before returning any rental vehicles – fill them up at the gas station!
  • Thank professional movers and other volunteers for their hard work – consider putting on lunch or dinner once it’s all done!

Moving is tiring but it’s also really exciting. You’ll be waking up in one place and going to sleep somewhere entirely different. You’ll be learning about the house a bit more, starting to put things where they belong and maybe even meet a neighbour or two!

Settling in

You’re in. The planning and moving is behind you. It might feel a bit strange at first, but that will go. This house will start to feel like home. Being completely unpacked is a good way to speed this process up. 

In the week following move in, it's a good idea to make sure all the utilities and addresses have been switched over. You’ll also want to work out some other routine things like when rubbish and recycling should be put out. If you’re ever in doubt, contact your local council who’ll be able to help!