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Move Smart: How to Decide What to Pack and What Stays

Posted on 22/11/2023 by Nick Johnson
Move Smart: How to Decide What to Pack and What Stays

Have you ever been stumped about how to handle the nitty-gritty of moving house? It’s not just about packing boxes and hiring removal services. There’s this thing called driving house etiquette that many folks need clarification on. It’s about leaving your old place in a condition you’d love your new house to be in. It’s about what to leave behind, what to clean, and even some sweet gestures you might consider for the new owners.

No worries – we’ve got your back! This is Johnson’s Removals’ friendly guide on moving house etiquette to help you roll out the welcome mat for the new owners. We’ve also tackled some questions that often pop up to keep you on top. So, please sit back, read on, and let’s get you ready for a smooth, stress-free move.


  • Making Your Move Smooth: 5 Protocol Tips
  • House Viewing Manners for Buyers
  • Securing Moving Help and Assisting Your Removals Team
  • Who Should You Contact When Moving House
  • FAQs: Dos and Don’ts when Moving
  • Using a Moving Checklist and Preparing Appliances
  • Why Johnson’s Removals is Dorset’s Top Choice

Making Your Move Smooth: 5 Protocol Tips

Moving house isn’t just about boxes and bubble wrap. There’s a bit more to it. Here’s a rundown of our top tips to leave your old place tip-top shape.

1: Take Inventory

Are you planning to take some items with you? Things like garden plants or fancy doorknobs? Make sure to let the buyer know before you sign off the inventory. Apps like Evernote can help you create digital lists. But remember, if you’ve promised something stays, it stays. And honestly, it’s just common courtesy to leave fixtures and fittings behind.

2: Leave What’s Expected

When you move, leave behind what’s listed in the TA10 Fixtures and Fittings Form. It’s hard to imagine walking into your new place and finding no light fittings, plugs, or kitchen counters. Not a good idea. Your conveyancer usually sorts this stuff out. If you’re taking a lot, the buyer might feel short-changed. If it’s hard to remove, you’d better leave it.

3: Clean Up

A little extra cleaning goes a long way. A deep clean for carpets, a thorough hoover for your sofas and armchairs—especially if you have pets. Consider a self storage unit if you’re in a rush or have too much stuff. It gives you more time to sort things out and keeps your old place clean for the new folks.

4: Leave a Few Goodies

Leaving a few thoughtful things around is a kind gesture. A bottle of wine, bread, milk, or necessities like toilet paper and soap can surprise you. And if there’s anything quirky about the house or neighbourhood, leave a note about it. For instance, a heads-up about a dodgy bathroom handle can be helpful.

5: Inform the Neighbours

Letting your neighbours know you’re moving isn’t necessary, but it’s good manners. They’ll appreciate the heads-up about new neighbours moving in and any details you can share, like if it’s a family with kids or pet owners.

A moving house protocol is about considering the new occupants. It’s about leaving your old place as welcoming as you’d want your new house to be. It smoothens the whole process, making it more pleasant for everyone involved.

House Viewing Manners for Buyers

House hunting can be exciting, but remember, the house you’re viewing is still in progress. Let’s keep it courteous and considerate. To help, here’s an expanded list of Dos and Don’ts.


  • Keep it polite.
  • Be punctual.
  • Ask away.
  • Offer to take off your shoes.
  • Respect the owner’s privacy.
  • Keep your feedback constructive.
  • Stick to the scheduled viewing time.
  • Give the owner your undivided attention when they’re speaking.
  • Use sanitiser or wear gloves if provided or asked.


  • Bring in food or drink.
  • Tag along with kids or pets if you can.
  • Bargain on the spot.
  • Snoop around in drawers without asking.
  • Snap photos without getting a nod.
  • Overstay your welcome.
  • Discuss negative aspects of the house loudly.
  • Touch personal items or move around furniture.
  • Bring a crowd (limit the number of people on the viewing).
  • Ignore the owner’s or agent’s instructions.

Handing out this list at your viewing can be a great help. It’s a gentle reminder for potential buyers to respect the space they enter. Good manners make house hunting smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Securing Moving Help and Assisting Your Removals Team

Moving house? It’s okay to ask for help. And yes, that includes your family and friends. Just remember to be respectful and not assume they’re free. Please give them a timeframe and show your gratitude. A thank you card, food ordering, or popping open champagne can do the trick.

Professional removal companies can also be a great help. But remember to book in advance to snag a date and time that suits you. And while you’re at it, compare quotes to get the best deal for your budget.

Now, let’s talk about your removal team. They’re pros, but a little help from your side can make things smoother:

  • Show your appreciation. Offer them tea, biscuits, or water.
  • Label your boxes and assign them to specific rooms.
  • Let them know where fragile items are packed.
  • Clear any obstacles from their path.
  • Try to arrange a close parking spot for their van.

Don’t worry if you forget a few things. Moving house is chaotic. But remember to take it easy, ask questions, and show gratitude. It makes the process easier for everyone involved.

Who Should You Contact When Moving House?

When preparing to move house, you must notify people and businesses with your details. However, relocating is often chaotic, and forgetting this is easy. To make things easier, here are some suggestions:

  • Utility Companies: Gas, electricity, and water providers will need your moving date to finalise your bill and close or transfer your account.
  • Telephone & Internet Providers: Contact your landline, mobile, and internet providers to transfer, cancel, or set up new services.
  • Council Tax Department: Inform your local council to stop paying council tax at your current address and start at your new one.
  • TV Licensing: Update your TV license details to reflect your new address.
  • Royal Mail: Set up a mail redirection service to ensure your post reaches you at your new home.
  • DVLA: Update your driving license and car registration documents with your new address.
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC): Notify HMRC of your move to ensure all tax codes, benefits, and allowances are updated.
  • Banks and Financial Institutions: Inform your bank, credit card companies, and any loan or pension providers of your new address.
  • Insurance Providers: Update your home, car, and health insurance details. Check if moving house affects your premiums.
  • Healthcare Providers: Notify your GP, dentist, optician, and others. If moving far, you may need to register with new providers.
  • Your Employer: Your HR department will need your new address for their records.
  • Schools: If you have children, notify their school and arrange a transfer if necessary.
  • Subscriptions and Memberships: Update your address for any magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, or clubs you belong to.
  • Remember, it’s best to start notifying these organisations as soon as you have a moving date to ensure a smooth transition.

FAQs: Dos and Don’ts when Moving

Do I Need to Clean Before Moving?

Absolutely! It’s only fair to leave your house clean for the new occupants. Focus on areas with a build-up of dirt and grime, such as carpets, floors, surfaces, ovens, and showers.

What Should I Leave Behind?

Typically, doorbells, light fittings, plug sockets, carpets, and curtain poles stay put. You can take your curtains if they fit in your new place, but check with the new occupants first. Mirrors or pictures are generally okay unless they’re part of a matched suite, like in the bathroom.

Can I Leave Rubbish in My Bin?

Try to clear all rubbish before moving. However, leaving a bag or two in the wheelie bin is okay if collection day is near. Remember, the contract may specify a clean and clear house.

Can I Take My Wheelie Bin?

No, your wheelie bin stays put. There’ll be one at your new place. You can leave some rubbish in it, but ensure enough space for the new occupants.

Do I Leave the Curtains?

Unless stated in the contract, curtains can go with you. But discuss this with the new buyers early on. Curtain poles usually stay.

What Do I Have to Leave When I Sell My House?

Whatever is specified in the contract stays. Generally, fixtures and fittings that are permanently fixed, like lighting, plugs, radiators, and built-in wardrobes, should remain. No exposed wiring should be left.

Should I Fill Holes in the Walls?

Unless your contract specifies it, this one’s up to you. However, large holes causing extensive damage should be filled.

Do I Leave Light Bulbs?

Unless stated in the contract, you must not leave light bulbs. But do leave or replace light fixtures to avoid exposed wires.

Do I Leave Shelves?

Typically, items fixed to the building’s structure, like shelves, should stay. Check your contract or discuss it with the buyer to be sure.

Should I Leave Something for the New Owners?

While not mandatory, leaving a clean house, important property details, and a welcome note can make a big difference. If you’re feeling generous, a small gift like champagne or flowers is a kind gesture.

Using a Moving Checklist and Preparing Appliances

Moving house can be complex, with many tasks that must be accomplished in a specific sequence. We recommend using a moving checklist to help you keep track of everything. You can use our comprehensive moving checklist as a guide, modifying and adapting it as necessary to fit your unique needs.

Here’s a brief overview of what the checklist might include:

  • Contact all necessary parties to inform them of your move (as discussed in the previous section).
  • Organise your belongings and decide what to take with you, what to sell or donate, and what to dispose of.
  • Pack your belongings, including acquiring packing materials and boxes.
  • Book your removal service – potentially include packing in the package.
  • Arranging for the disconnection and reconnection of utilities.
  • Finalising all necessary paperwork and financial transactions.
  • Cleaning your old house and preparing your new one.

In the checklist, you’ll also want to include detailed tasks related to preparing your appliances for the move.

Preparing Appliances for Your Move:

Your appliances need special attention to ensure they are safely and effectively moved. Here are some steps you can follow:


  • Defrost at least 48 hours before the move.
  • Clean and dry it thoroughly to prevent mould growth.
  • Secure all movable parts with tape to avoid damage during transit.

Washing Machine:

  • Disconnect from the water supply.
  • Drain all water from the pipes and drum.
  • Secure the drum using the manufacturer’s transit bolt if available.


  • Empty and clean the dishwasher.
  • Disconnect and drain hoses.
  • Secure any movable parts.

Remember, safety first. If uncomfortable handling these tasks, consider hiring a professional moving company or a qualified technician.

Why Johnson’s Removals is Dorset’s Top Choice

Navigating a house move? Don’t fret. Dorset’s own Johnson’s Removals is here for you. We’re not just a removal company – we’re your partner in this journey, from the first quote to when the last box is unpacked in your new home.

Why do Dorset locals pick us? It’s simple. Our wide array of removal and storage solutions is tailored to meet your needs. We’re proud of our stellar Google ratings, but what sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to you, our customer.

We live by a stringent Quality Policy, ensuring we always deliver top-notch service. Our team, a group of seasoned pros, will guide you through the moving process with expert advice and efficient service.

Click here for a no-obligation assessment and quote or to chat about our services. Let’s make your move a breeze together.