Moving home at Christmas [12 top tips]

With presents to wrap, cards to write, decorations to hang and food to prepare, it’s easy to get a little tense during the festive season. But there’s no reason why your home move has to add to the pressure. Follow these 12 tips to ensure your Christmastime move goes without a hitch.

1. Book well in advance

As soon as you know your move date, book your removal company. Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for moving, so book early to ensure you get the dates you want.

2. Choose a morning slot

The night draws in early at Christmastime. Book your move early in the morning to ensure as much daylight as possible throughout the move.

3. Prepare for darkness

If you’re moving long distance or carrying a large household, even an early start may mean your winter move ends in the dark. Pack some torches to help you find the unfamiliar light switches in your new home.

4. Tell friends and family

Make sure all your Christmas cards arrive at your new address by letting friends and family know you’ve moved.

5. Set up post redirection

Even after telling everyone your new address, forgetful friends might still send Christmas mail to your old property. To make sure you get all your seasonal post by signing up to the Royal Mail redirection service.

6. Contact your utility suppliers

With the high costs of gas, electric and water in the winter months, ensure you don’t end up paying the new residents’ bills after you move out. Contact your utility suppliers and let them know when you’ll be moving.

7. Pack a Christmas feast

Don’t forget that shops close earlier over Christmas, so stock up on some essentials before the move, ready for a festive feast after you’ve unpacked.

8. Keep  the kids occupied

Children hyped up on the excitement of Christmas will likely be obstacles to a safe, successful move. Set up a play room or ask a neighbour to babysit until the removal is complete.

9. Ask for help

Even if you opt for a full packing service with your removal company, asking friends and family for a little help with the initial clear-out will go a long way.

10. Keep pathways clear

Most of us pine for a white Christmas, but winter weather can prove disruptive on move day. You can help your removal team by gritting or shovelling any snow or ice clear of pathways and parking areas.

11. Wrap up warm

Moving your belongings in and out means your doors will be open most of the day. Protect yourself against the winter breeze by wearing plenty of warm layers.

12. Invest in seasonal storage

A Christmas move risks exposing Santa’s presents to prying children. Keep your gifts out of the way by placing them into storage for the duration of the move.


Planning a home move this festive season? Book now and Pickfords’ little elves will deliver your belongings in time for Christmas. Contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team today.

How to disconnect your washing machine before move day [3 simple steps]

Removal teams will not typically disconnect your washing machine for you. For safety reasons, most crews won’t tamper with mains, and washing machines ideally need to be fully disconnected, drained and dry before the day of your move.

One solution is to hire a professional plumber, but the extra cost for this straightforward job may be off-putting. If you’re feeling handy and want to avoid paying out, you can disconnect your washing machine yourself. Follow these simple steps to prepare your washing machine for move day:

1. Gain access to the mains and water valves

Most washing machines are installed directly in front of the water valves and mains supply. To gain access:

  • Take any washing out of the machine and switch the machine off.
  • Open the door and place one hand beneath the top of the plastic door seal.
  • Keeping your back straight and lifting with your knees, pull the machine up so the front is off the ground.
  • Slowly shimmy the machine forward, being careful not to damage the floor. If you start to get tired, slowly place the machine on the floor and rest.
  • Keep pulling the machine as far forward as you can without putting stress on the hoses or mains wire, until you have clear access behind the machine.

2. Disconnect all pipes and wires

  • Switch off and unplug the mains socket.
  • Turn the hot and cold water valves clockwise until they cannot be turned any further.
  • Place buckets and towels underneath the water valves and washing machine.
  • Unscrew the hoses from the machine by turning them counterclockwise; point the hoses towards a bucket to catch any excess water.
  • Unscrew the hoses from the wall in the same way, and again for the waste water pipe.

3. Prepare the machine for removal

  • Double check both water valves are completely off.
  • Wipe up any stains or spills on the machine, the wall and the floor until everything is clean and dry.
  • Clean the water intakes with a bristle brush.
  • Remove the power cable or securely tape it to the machine.
  • Secure the drum, ideally with the original brackets supplied by the manufacturer.
  • Shimmy the machine back in place, again take to lift with your legs and not to strain yourself.

Your washing machine is now ready for move day!


Pickfords safely and securely packs and moves all your household belongings to your new home. Contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team today.

Canadian culture: a British expat guide [infographic]

Canada’s open immigration policy, quality healthcare and multi-sector job vacancies makes The Great White North a high-sought destination for British expats.

As with any new environment, expats will face a number of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to emigrate:

Canada expat guide


With partner offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Canada every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

Give Your Home a Refresh this Autumn

Say goodbye to summer’s lethargy and have a sort-out at home. It’s time to channel that back-to-school-feeling for domestic good!

Original article first published on Houzz

Jo Simmons, Houzz Contributor

Even if your school and uni days are far behind you, there is something about September and October that always feels new and purposeful. The summer is over and the streets are full of young people bustling off to school each morning and adults settling back into a working routine. OK, so you no longer need to organise your pencil case and cover your textbooks with wallpaper, but you can still channel this new-term energy by whipping your home and yourself into shape, ready for autumn. A touch of targeted tidying, some clever organising and a few small lifestyle tweaks should help you start afresh.

 

Take care of yourself
Growing children need new shoes and clothes at the start of an academic year and while your feet may not have gone up a size over the summer, this could be a good time to book in for any key health appointments. Is it time for an eye check? Are you overdue at the dentist? Perhaps you just need a haircut! Channel the new-term feel by booking health reviews, check-ups or personal grooming sessions now.

 

 

Overhaul your diet
Don’t wait until New Year to start a new healthy-eating regime. After a summer of rosé and holiday food, now is a great time to rethink what you eat. Injecting some new, healthy dishes into your tried and trusted repertoire will perk up the shorter evenings and help to ensure everyone in the family is fighting fit and able to cope with school, work and the coming sniffle season.

 

 

Prepare the garden for autumn
Clean and store garden furniture safely for the winter. Leaving wooden chairs out in the rain can damage them and shorten their life, while chairs with any metal detailing can rust. Pack up your barbecue, too, and take down any summer bunting that might not survive the winter. Now is also a good time to hang bird feeders, as the weather grows colder and our feathered friends find their food supplies drying up.

 

 

Look at your lighting
Before the clocks change and we plunge into winter, take some time to think about your lighting. Over summer, we are able to overlook any deficiencies in our lighting, but come the shorter days these become more obvious. Use your new-term energy to tackle lighting now, before autumn fully arrives and you lose impetus. Dealing with domestic problems outside the season when they are most apparent is the smart thing to do, so using that logic, get any roof repairs, draft-exclusion work or insulation done now, ready for when it will be truly needed.

Welcome winter with new lighting products

Blitz a junk drawer
Every home has one, and it could be anywhere in your house (although the kitchen is the usual suspect for harbouring a junk drawer). This space supposedly holds kitchen utensils, stationery or underwear, but in fact it’s become a wilderness of junk, containing everything from elastic bands and takeaway menus to dead batteries and odd socks. Time to take action.

Discover 9 ways to deal with clutter in your home

 

 

Bring winter clothes out of storage
If you have stored winter clothes in boxes over the summer, think about getting them out of storage now. This gives you time to check over your jumpers, scarves and coats to see if any need dry cleaning before the cold weather arrives. You can then whizz through your wardrobe and store any seriously summery clothes away, too.

 

 

Service your bike
You might remember to service the car once a year, but how about your bike? Servicing it will ensure it’s safe to use and can prolong its life, so direct some new-term zeal towards your two wheels. If your children are cycling to school, perhaps after a summer of not using their bikes much, it’s a good idea to get their bikes serviced, too.

 

 

Ditch what’s out of date
Have a new-term tidy up, but give it a focus, too. Chuck out any expired medicines, lotions or bath products. There will be a use by date on medicines but apply common sense with less serious products. If you haven’t used that tube of foot exfoliator this summer, you probably never will. Bin it! Take the same approach with make-up. Old make-up can harbour bacteria and lead to eye infections, so check the labels for how long each item should be open and in use for, and ditch accordingly.

Discover more bathroom ideas

Go back to school yourself
Many adult education colleges are still enrolling for courses, so if you have always wanted to improve your Spanish or learn how to throw a pot, see if you can book onto a course now and go back to school this autumn. Failing that, set aside some time to enjoy learning at home. Create a list of books you have always intended to read, or go online for suggestions. The broadsheet Sunday supplements and review sections often have lists of the best new books – these could become your autumn reading list.

 

 

Purge the dodgy plastic
Bulky plastic containers are essential for food storage, but many of us are guilty of keeping too many. So have a plastic cull. Ditch any containers that are stained, smelly, distorted or without a lid. Pare down your collection of old takeaway curry containers, too. One or two might prove handy; a whole stack of them will not.

Long distance moving: how to prepare

Whether for work, retirement or to be close to family, many of us will find ourselves moving from one end of the country to the other at some point in our lives. Whatever your reason, moving long distance takes a bit more planning and consideration than a typical local move. Here’s how best to prepare for your move across the country:

Move in the summer

The summer months provide more daylight hours, meaning you can get more done each day. Plus there’s less chance of having to carry boxes through bad weather.

If you have children, moving in the summer will prevent disruption to their schooling, allowing the kids time to settle in before starting somewhere new.

Plan your journey

Familiarise yourself with your journey before you travel, and plan for rest stops. The AA recommends taking a 15 minute break every two hours, and not driving more than eight hours a day.

Minimise delays by using a satnav or smartphone app that responds to traffic.

If you need to drive over multiple days, book your hotel or Airbnb well in advance to ensure the best price.

Pack the essentials

Load the car with plenty of snacks, music, and entertainment for the children.

Pack a small box with toiletries and a few kitchen basics so your new home will be functional as soon as you arrive.

Choose a national moving company

A large removal company with branches near your old and new address will have strong local knowledge to ensure the best traffic routes are taken, and will be able to manage unforeseen circumstances quickly and efficiently.

Many national moving companies provide local storage facilities to keep your belongings secure for as long as you need.


Pickfords is the UK’s largest removal company. With local branches and storage facilities across the county, we move customers’ belongings from and to every UK postcode. If you are planning a long distance relocation, contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team.

Emigrating to Spain: what you need to know [infographic]

With great food, a laid back culture and, of course, fantastic weather, Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British expats. Whether you’re emigrating for work, retirement, or just a change of scenery, there are a few things to arrange before making the move to Spain:

 

Emigrating to Spain

What paperwork will I need?

Within three months of your arrival, you will need a “Número de Identidad de Extranjero” (‘NIE’) identity card and a “Tarjeta de Residencia” residency card.

An S1 form is vital should you require medical treatment. You will need to sign the “Padró Municipal d’Habitants” register at the local town hall.

When applying for any of the above, make sure you have proof of your previous residence, proof of having ceased residence there, a copy of your work and residence permit, and your passport.

What should I do about finances?

It is best to set up a Spanish bank account and be able to prove how much money you have in your British account. When you come to transfer your assets, Pickfords’ foreign exchange service can help you move your money safely and securely.

You can still receive your British state pension while living in Spain, as long as you inform the  Department of Work and Pensions of your move.

Can I take my pet with me?

Certain pets are allowed in Spain with a European Pet Passport. Appropriately vaccinated and microchipped pets should be able to travel without being placed in quarantine.

Pickfords’ pet shipping service will arrange all the details of your pet’s relocation.

What will happen with my belongings?

Pickfords provides a complete packing and removal service to Spain. We carefully pack your goods in the UK, collect them from your home, transport everything to Spain and arrange delivery and unpacking at your Spanish residence. We also provide goods storage in the UK or Spain if required.


Ready for your move to Spain? Get a quote or book your home survey today.

How to prepare your home for a child

Welcoming a child into your home is an exciting time, but most properties need a bit of work before they’re ready for little ones. Here’s how to prepare your home for a new arrival:

Babyproof everywhere

Babies and toddlers are natural explorers with an underdeveloped sense of danger. Take these steps to keep your little ones protected in a home full of hazards:

  • Replace blinds with safe pulley systems and install cord safety devices
  • Keep wires out of the way and plug all unused power sockets with covers
  • Install safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases
  • Consider every surface and ensure all sharp, heavy, breakable or otherwise dangerous objects are out of reach, if not out of sight

Protect yourself against noise

The sound of children playing can be a joy, but we all need our quiet time. Here’s how to absorb some of that noise through home decor:

  • Purchase some thick rugs and cushions for their bedroom or playroom
  • Install thick curtains around your windows
  • Line your shelves with books
  • Fill cupboards and cabinets with towels and linen

Create a relaxing environment

Children respond to the environment around them. The following steps will help create a relaxed yet stimulating atmosphere in your home:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Install artwork that gives off peaceful vibes, such as landscapes or watercolours
  • Paint your rooms in calming colours, such as whites and pastels
  • Invest in furnishings to match
  • Buy some indoor plants (but keep them out of reach!)
  • Install mood lighting

Need more room for an expanding family? Contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

Making the Transition Between House Moves that Little Bit Easier

Say goodbye to a much-loved home and settle in quickly to a new place with these tips for a smooth physical and emotional move

Full article originally published on Houzz

Jo Simmons, Houzz Contributor

Moving house is so much more than simply relocating to a different place. When we leave behind a home, especially one we’ve lived in for a long time, we also leave behind all those years spent enjoying it. Children who were tiny when you moved in have grown into strapping teenagers under its roof. Friends have visited, meals have been shared and the small dramas of everyday life have been played out here, so it can be emotional to walk away.

Equally, settling into a new home that still carries traces of its previous owners can take time. So in the rush and chaos of moving, take time to celebrate the home you’re leaving behind and get set to enjoy the place you’re moving to with these tips for easing the transition.

How to Say Goodbye to Your Old Home

Take photos of it
Before everything is swept up into packing cases, take photos of your home. Document each room, so you can revisit it later. If you have children, snap them, too, enjoying the house as usual: drawing at the kitchen table, playing in the garden, chilling in front of the TV. You are aiming to capture an emotional record of your house, as well as images of its beautiful kitchen or big windows.

Moving to a smaller home? Discover how to downsize happily

Snap it messy!
Take pictures of your home on a typical day, when it’s not clean and tidy. This will provide a more meaningful snapshot of your house and how you used it.

You could arrange all these images in an album, with the address and the dates you lived there on the front. This serves as a lovely record of your time, but also a realistic account. If you have mixed feelings about moving on, honest images of all the good and bad elements of your last place may help you feel more positive about your new home.

 

Leave your mark
Why not leave a little something of yourself behind, before you move out? No, that does not mean a sink full of unwashed coffee mugs! Try something more subtle.

You could go for the classic time capsule, hidden in the loft. Or write a letter to the new owners, welcoming them to the house and explaining what you loved about it. You could even sign your name somewhere and date it, perhaps on the ceiling inside a cupboard or on the rafters in the loft.

 

Hold a goodbye party
Celebrate your home and the life it has given you with a goodbye party. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already started to pack – your guests can happily negotiate a few boxes. String up some lights, play some music and enjoy the house with the family and friends you’ve shared it with over the years.

Toast your home
Raise a glass to your home, perhaps during your goodbye party or simply with your family. Moving is stressful and busy, but it’s important to pause, look around and say, ‘Cheers!’

How to Settle into Your New Home

Clean up
When you arrive in a new home, nothing looks, feels or even smells the same way, which can feel very unsettling. So start by cleaning surfaces, floors and inside cupboards with some familiar, fresh-scented products to help make the place feel like yours.

Browse these ecofriendly cleaning tips

 

Get fresh
Fling open the windows on the first day, too, to air the rooms and freshen up the whole house. In the evening, light a few scented candles.

 

Grab a few goodies
Piles of packing boxes and empty rooms do not help a house feel like a home, so treat you and your new place to a few goodies that will make it feel special. Arrange some fresh flowers, simply bought at the garage on the way to the house or picked from the garden, or buy some quality hand soap or a few new towels. When you are facing days of unpacking chaos, these little touches can really cheer you up.

 

Don’t forget the pets!
Dogs and cats may also take a while to settle into a new home, so try to ease the transition for them, too. When you arrive at your new home, shut the cat in a single room for safety, with water, a litter tray and her bed.

You can let your cat out at the end of the day to explore, but confine her to a few rooms so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Cats should be kept in the house for a week or so to prevent them trying to return to your old home.

Discover more beautifully designed kitchens

 

Do right by your dog
Dogs should be introduced to the house by you. Keep them on a lead and take them around the key rooms, one at a time, allowing them to sniff and explore, but under your supervision. You wouldn’t expect guests to run all over the house, upstairs and down, the moment they arrived, so don’t let your dog.

Point out where his bed is and even keep upper floors out of bounds at first, so he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by his new territory.

 

Personalise the place
Paint a wall, hang up photos or order some new blinds. Even if the rest of the redecorating will take months, a few small tweaks can really help you start to stamp your personality on your new home.

Find lots of wonderful home products on Houzz

Host a house-warming
Sharing your new home with family and friends can help you to bond with it, so host a party – no gifts required. You might like to invite new neighbours, too, as a good chance to get to know them, or simply keep it small and intimate.

How to prepare for moving in [10 tips]

Once you’ve booked your home move, there are several things you can do to make the day go extra smoothly. As well as preparing your old property for moving out (see last week’s blog), there are things you can do in your new home to prepare for delivery of your belongings:

1. Set out the essentials
Make sure every room has working light bulbs, and pop some loo roll and hand-wash in the bathrooms.

2. Clean everywhere
Pre-delivery is a great opportunity to carry out a deep clean of your new home before your belongings get in the way.

3. Take lots of photos
If renting, be sure to document any existing damage to the property to avoid unnecessary repair fees at the end of your contract.

4. Set up your utilities
Make sure your electricity, gas, water, TV licence and broadband are set up so you’re home is habitable as soon as you’re unpacked.

5. Sort out some snacks
Have some refreshments ready for everyone involved in the move.

6. Plan the new layout
Decide where your furniture and effects will go in each room so everything can be put into place quickly on arrival.

7. Make room for rubbish
In your layout plan, set aside a place to discard packing materials and keep empty cartons until they can be collected by your removal company.

8. Book any post-move services
Arrange a professional for any items that will require technical installation upon delivery.

9. Check your inventory
Track down your item list and read it through before your delivery arrives so you know exactly what to expect on the day.

10. Plan your evening meal
Sorting through belongings is hard work, so the last thing you’ll want to do is cook. Book a restaurant or track down the nearest takeaway for a post-move-day treat!


Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a callback today.

How to manage your time in moving limbo [infographic]

When moving home, there’s often a gap between the time you sign for your new property and when you actually move in. We call this ‘moving limbo’. And while this waiting period can seem like an eternity, there are plenty of ways to distract yourself and stay productive in preparation for move day:

Managing your time in moving limbo


Moving limbo coming to an end? Contact Pickfords for a complete packing, removal and storage service. Find out more or get a quote today.