Going it alone: the pitfalls of DIY moves

When moving a small household locally, it can be tempting to hire a van and do everything yourself. At first this might seem like the cheaper option, but moving without expert help is risky and may end up costing you in other ways. Here are the main pitfalls of do-it-yourself moving:

High risk of breakages

Moving yourself means moving without professionally trained removalists or high quality packing materials. Different household items require different packing techniques and materials to ensure maximum security and minimal risk of breakage. Without knowledge of these techniques or access to the highest quality materials, you run the risk of damaging your belongings.

Lack of necessary equipment

Chances are you don’t have specialist moving dollies, carts, blankets, hoists, straps, or any of the other equipment professional removal companies use to transport customers’ belongings safely and with ease. Most van hire companies won’t provide these either.

Extra time required

Hiring a van adds extra time to the moving process, as you normally have to collect and return the vehicle at the hire company’s convenience. Many companies require you to top up the van’s fuel, and you may need to spend time figuring out a new set of controls before you can confidently drive it.

Packing yourself is also time consuming. Sourcing the right materials, planning, emptying each room, constructing boxes, wrapping and packing each item, and taking multiple trips to the hire van with heavy cartons, all adds up to a long, knackering day.


There’s a lot to consider when moving yourself. What items did you pack into which boxes? Did you wrap the crockery or glassware carefully enough? Is the van’s fuel tank full? Do you know the route to your new home? Are you confident driving a three tonne transit van? All this can create unnecessary anxiety on moving day.


Moving yourself is incredibly hard work. If you’re not used to moving hefty boxes, prepare to become exhausted very quickly. It’s easy to pack boxes too heavily, which can cause injury, or not full enough, increasing the number of trips to the van and wearing yourself out.


Avoiding the pitfalls: a better solution

A reputable removal company will use trained, experienced removal crews who know how to take the best care of your belongings. They use professional packing techniques and quality materials and equipment, tailored to your individual requirements. A professional company knows how to pack and transport with efficiency and care, eliminating the stress, exhaustion and hassle of moving yourself.

Moving locally on a budget? With Pickfords Man and Van, you benefit from a professional crew at an hourly rate; great value for small, short distance moves. Find out more or get a quote today.

Cambridge branch helps promote cycling for the disabled

A massive thank-you to Kevin Hughes and Pickfords Cambridge for helping promote cycling for all at the Cherry Hinton Festival at the Cherry Hinton Recreation Ground, Cambridge, this weekend.

Kevin transported specialist bicycles and unloaded them at the Recreation Ground for You Can Bike Too, a local community project that helps nervous, new and disabled riders gain confidence in cycling.

Ruth Brannan, Community Facilitator for You Can Bike Too, was quick to thank the Cambridge branch for their help:

“Saturday went like clockwork; Kevin was a superstar! The Cherry Hinton Festival appreciated your support and we did too.

The man with a van was so happy to help us; he was a brilliant support for our project.”

Cherry Hinton

Top tips for students moving into halls

With university starting up for many freshers, if you haven’t already finalised your first-year accommodation, time is running short!

Living away from home for the first time can be a daunting experience. What are the main things you need to consider when choosing accommodation and preparing to move into your new home for the term?

Doing your research

As soon as you find out which university you’ll be attending, start researching the different accommodation options available. You’ll want to look at things like how many people will share your flat, the size of your room and shared areas, whether you’ll have an en suite or a shared bathroom, and how close it is to the campus, local shops, and of course the nearest bar!

If you have a disability, contact your university as soon as possible so they can help you find housing that meets your needs.

Finding out how soon you can move in

Most residences will be available several weeks before the official start of the term, sometimes earlier for international students. The sooner you can arrive, unload your belongings and unpack, the sooner you can meet people and take advantage of the pre-term fresher activities!

Being aware of space when packing

Regardless of the size of your new bedroom, you will likely have far less storage space than at home, so try to be conservative while packing. Bear in mind that you will only be in halls for around 9 to 10 months, so just pack what you need.

Getting help packing, moving and unpacking

Even if you’ve managed to reduce your packing, chances are you’ll struggle to pack and move all your belongings by yourself. Ask a friend or family member to help. If you can’t fit everything in a car, you may want to hire professionals to assist. Pickfords’ Man and Van service is designed for smaller, budget moves, with the flexibility to choose the level of service you need.

Sorting out insurance

While your accommodation should already have buildings insurance, you will need to arrange your own contents cover. This will protect items inside your room, such as clothes, TVs and games consoles, against loss or theft.

Depending on the plan you choose, you can also protect against accidental damage and purchase cover for outside your room or while out and about. Explore options for laptop, phone, gadget or musical instrument cover to suit your needs.

Checking if you need a TV licence

Some halls may already have a TV licence for communal rooms, but if you want a TV in your own room, you will need to pay for a separate TV licence.

Finding out your holiday storage options

You might not be able to keep your belongings at university during the holidays, or you wish to move back with family during Christmas or Easter. In which case, you’ll need somewhere to store your belongings outside term time.

Pickfords has a national network of storage centres, ideal for students. You can share a storage container with others to save money, or visit one of our local Self Store centres for an easy-access storage solution.

What are students’ options over summer?


With the summer break rapidly approaching for many students, tenancy contracts may also be coming to an end in line with the holidays, potentially leaving several weeks or months between student accommodations.

Most students will stay with friends or family, or find temporary accommodation during this time, but what about your belongings? What are your options for storing your stuff during the summer months?

Call upon family

Many students move back to their family home for the summer. A couple of months’ worth of home cooked meals, a full fridge and clean clothes can be pretty hard to turn down!

If your family have the space, you may have the option to take your belongings back home with you and store them in your parents’ loft, garage, or any spare room they may have available. If you have access to storage space back home, all you need to worry about it safely packing and transporting your possessions.

Make sure your belongings are packed safely, with extra care taken with any delicate or valuable items. If you’re in need of packing materials to ensure the safe transportation of your belongings, Pickfords has a wide range of boxes, wrap, tape and other materials to secure your goods.

If you have too many possessions to fit in a car, or items which are too large, you may wish to hire a professional moving company to assist you. Pickfords’ Man and Van service is designed for small moves on a budget, with the flexibility to choose exactly the level of service you need.

Ask friends

If you’re an international student or have moved particularly far from your family home, going home for the summer many not be a viable option.

In this case, you may be able to stay with friends locally during the holiday period. If you have a small number of possessions, you may be able to store them at your friend’s place. If packing your goods yourself, you may find it helpful to refer to these packing hints and tips or follow our packing tutorials to ensure your items are safe and secure during transit to your friend’s home.

Take out some storage space

Whether you move back with family, stay at a friend’s or in temporary accommodation, you may find that it won’t be possible to take all your belongings with you. If so, you will need somewhere to store some of your goods during the holiday period.

Pickfords has a nation-wide network of storage centres, ideal for students. You can choose to share a storage container with other students to save on cost, or visit one of our Self Store centres at Cambridge, York, Edinburgh or Bath for an easy access storage solution.

Pickfords introduces man and van service

Whether you’re renting and don’t have a full home to move, or simply want to take an active role in your removal, Pickfords Man and Van is the perfect service for small, local moves.

Our service includes a van and a driver to help you move, and an extra man (or woman!) Should you need help packing.

We can provide whatever you need for your home move, including packing materials, a home cleaning service and handyman at the home you’re leaving, your new property, or both.

For a quote call 0330 1230 595, email manandvan@pickfords.com or visit our website (click here for desktop or here for mobiles and devices) to find out more.