Preparing to move? A Comprehensive Guide to Relocating Efficiently and Effectively

Blog / Preparing to move? A Comprehensive Guide to Relocating Efficiently and Effectively

Although moving to a new location can be an exciting, much-needed change that kickstarts a new chapter in any person or family’s life, it can also be exceptionally overwhelming and challenging. Anecdotally, it is described as being second only to divorce in terms of general stress levels. While we can’t speak to the scientific accuracy of that statement, it certainly illustrates how anxiety-inducing and stressful many people find the experience to be. 

If all this does little to alleviate your concerns, fear not—help is at hand. To counter all this stress and anxiety, the team at Adlam Transport provides comprehensive relocation services. Whether you need a complete service when relocating corporate offices, one man and a van for smaller moves, or professional packing and unpacking at either end, we’re here to help. We can even provide packing materials if you’re struggling to find what you need. 

This article examines the systematic planning and execution of an efficient, effective relocation and how frustrations and holdups can be minimised using a few simple yet effective steps we have learned through years in the industry. 

Start Early and Keep Everybody Involved in the Loop

As soon as you know the rough date for your move, speak with your chosen relocation team (amateur helpers included) and outline the general situation. Clear, concise communication is invaluable at every step of the way, and the sooner people know dates, times, and expectations, the easier everything will be. Your removalists must be informed of any awkward, heavy, or sensitive items in advance, and you must refrain from springing the existence of a grand piano on them when they arrive to start moving boxes. 

You may not have completed your organising system at this early stage (more of that shortly), but once you have that locked down, let them know and give them any room plans or information that will make their job easier. 

Giving yourself and others enough time to absorb information and make their arrangements is not only responsible and courteous but also the most practical and effective way to proceed. When things change, and you are forced to alter your plans accordingly, inform everybody whose assistance you will need. 

Planning and preparation

The truth about relocating an entire property’s worth of belongings from one location to another is that their actual physical movement is probably the shortest, least complicated phase. As with all complex endeavours, careful planning and preparation are the only ways to give yourself the best chance for a straightforward, incident-free outcome. 

Each scenario is unique when discussing relocation, yet some principles can be applied and modified across the board. Planning is the first of these and the most crucial as far as Adlam Transport is concerned. Without a bare minimum of strategising and preparing for the upcoming move, the potential for chaos and lost or damaged items is exponentially bigger. 

Where to begin?

The first thing you need to do is start early and collect as many packing materials and useful items as you can. Whether you turn to Adlam Transport and ask us to supply what you need or find them yourself, the more you accumulate ahead of time, the easier things will be. If you have friends, family, or employees you can turn to and ask to help you collect materials, it will take the initial burden off your shoulders. Items to collect include:

  • Boxes: All sizes and thicknesses are welcome. You can use smaller boxes to protect items inside larger ones, and you will always be surprised by just how many you need once you start packing. Any extras can be recycled or flattened and stored for another occasion. 
  • Packing materials: Bubble wrap and bespoke packing blankets are superb, but balled-up newspaper will do in a pinch.
  • Tape and scissors: Try to have multiples of each to prevent constantly passing them between helpers.
  • Plain paper and sticky labels: Labelling everything will be game-changing; the more materials you have, the better. 
  • Markers and other pens: Coloured markers are especially handy.
  • Tough string and zip-ties

Deciding what to pack first

The key to successful packing lies in planning, preparing, and knowing where to start and what to eliminate first. This period of organisation is a natural product of the process, but focusing on it from the outset will pay dividends in the long run. The steps to take are as follows:

Choose a room 

Using the same process you will apply when packing the boxes themselves, start with the least-frequented/used rooms and spaces that will have less impact on your continued time in the property. Lofts, cellars, outhouses, and storage spaces are the perfect choices. 

Arrange items in a sensible manner

If possible, group items that naturally belong together. For example, if you have a set of small porcelain figurines, putting one in each of several boxes is counterproductive. Don’t pack anything yet; just work systematically and group objects naturally. Consider each item’s frequency of use, and put things you need before relocation day in a separate group to one side. It is of little use to pack your kettle three weeks in advance, but you might safely put your bread-making machine to one side if it is not used regularly. 

Cull what you don’t want or need 

This can be a struggle for many people, but it will make a massive difference in the outcome of your move and give you a feeling of freedom and an invigorating fresh start. As you are grouping items as mentioned, assess them and remove any you don’t want or need. Make separate piles labelled: 

  • Donate 
  • Throw away/recycle
  • Sell

Your level of engagement with this process is a personal choice and depends on your focus, efficiency, and ability to ‘multi-task’. Some people are happy to donate everything they don’t want to worthy charities, and others prefer to list things for sale and make back some of the cost. Either way, they have to go, and the process of their leaving must not be allowed to delay or derail the bigger picture. 

Move to the next room

Before anything is packed into a box, making these groups of objects in each room of the property is more efficient. Repeat the original process until every room has several piles, and you are ready to start disposing of some and packing others. 

Select nonessential items and pack those first 

Your ‘natural’ groupings should now contain items you have a less imminent need for but nothing you will never need again. Take a few photographs of each pile of objects before commencing, in case your labelling system is compromised or you need a quick reference when the list is not at hand. 

Begin packing these nonessential items one room at a time, protecting fragile objects and arranging things to prevent too much shifting inside each box. There is no real problem in selecting objects from other piles to fill voids and make more effective use of your space, but try not to mix them too much, especially if the contents might be taken to separate rooms at the new location. This is where the next crucial step of the process comes into play, namely:


The best time-saving tactic when relocating to a new place is to label everything in advance. Make a detailed list of each object you put into a box and leave it under the flaps or taped directly to the box lid once it is full. Numbering each box can be helpful when creating a master list and giving instructions about which boxes go where etc.

On the outside of each box, make a brief note of which room it came from and a general description of the contents. If anything inside is fragile, write the word on each side of the box. Take photographs of the lists in case the labels are damaged. 

Create Room Plans

Your master list should include a simple representation of each room (at both locations). You can draw simple boxes and label them ‘lounge’, bedroom 1’, etc, and list the box numbers that belong in each space. This is especially useful if numbers 1-10 are located together at the original location but will be separated at the new one. Take note of any immovable fixtures like plug sockets, sinks, etc, which you may need to consider later. Dragging boxes around looking for a place to charge your phone is frustrating and easily avoided this way. 

  • Tip—Tack paper labels to the doors of each room that correspond with the map so your helpers know which room they are currently working on or where the boxes they take from the vehicle need to be deposited.   

Focus on essentials as moving day approaches

The process thus far should make identifying and dealing with frequently used items more manageable. As time progresses, you can remove and pack more items until only the absolute essentials remain. Kitchen utensils and items needed to make drinks will typically be required until the last minute. Nothing is more welcome after hours of packing, labelling, and moving boxes than a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, so keep those items available until the end. 

Encourage each family member (or employee in the case of corporate relocations) to keep a bag or box to one side for their most treasured, frequently-used items. Electronic items like laptops, phones, and tablets can be monitored this way, and the last thing anybody needs is to hear ringing from one of a dozen boxes and have to rummage through them to find the device. 

Final preparations

When the day arrives, there is no reason to leave all but the most essential objects unpacked, so finish the boxes and reassess. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there any further obstacles to getting all your belongings to the new location? Physically walk the routes out of the building and assess whether some objects will cause issues when being manoeuvred. 
  • Do you have easy access to the things you will need to spend the first night in the new location comfortably? Consider bedding, towels, toiletries, kitchen supplies, food, etc. 
  • Does everybody know when the process will start and what they will be expected to do?
  • Is the new location fully accessible and ready to be inhabited?

Upon Arriving at the New Location

Once the dust settles, it’s good to recognise that a significant portion of the task is completed and treat everyone to a nice drink and a snack. Your relocation professionals will undoubtedly be keen to unload their vehicles and get stuck into the task. Still, once you have instructed them where each room is so they can adhere to the pre-arranged plan for the boxes, it’s good to take a moment, breathe, and ready yourself for the next phase. 

Once you are ready to dive in, the second phase of proceedings can take as long as you need and be performed with much less stress and anticipation than those that preceded it.  

Take stock

Using your master list, move from room to room and establish that all boxes are present and in the correct rooms or spaces. This won’t take long but saves confusion and the need to relocate boxes and objects later.

Start with the rooms you will need to inhabit and use first. Personal choice plays a significant role in this, but it is safe to assume you will need functional, equipped bathrooms and a kitchen where you can, at the very least, prepare simple food and drinks. Nobody is expecting a perfect result anytime soon, but you must be able to perform basic functions and exist in the space moving forward.

  • Tip—Don’t neglect sleeping arrangements. Reaching the end of a long, weary day will feel good if you have achieved everything planned. Nothing will ruin that satisfaction faster than moving dozens of boxes and making beds to collapse onto. Do this ahead of time and relax, knowing you can lie down when the mood strikes you. 

Final Tips and Suggestions

  • Unpack methodically.
  • Be ready to adapt and change the plan as necessary.
  • Don’t allow the scale of the project to overwhelm you. Just keep plodding onwards with determination.
  • If particular objects require storage facilities you don’t yet have, leave them in the boxes for now. For example, you may have more clothing than you can accommodate until extra wardrobes are purchased if the old ones are an immovable fixture but the new location does not have them. This should all have been considered during the planning and preparation phase and should pose no immediate issue. 


While this whole process can seem intimidating and overwhelming initially, if you follow the steps above and work systematically and methodically, nothing can stop you from achieving your goal. If you lack the time and focus to complete the process effectively, consider engaging the services of professional relocation experts like those at Adlam Transport. Working together, we can attack the problem logically, allowing the team to take as much or as little responsibility as you prefer. 

As with any logistical challenge, the key to success lies in understanding which aspects you need to control independently and which you can delegate to others. We all understand the feeling of needing more hours in the day to do everything we want, but with knowledgeable, experienced professionals in your corner, everything becomes simpler and more achievable. Most successful relocations strike a nice balance between handling everything yourself and washing your hands of the process entirely. The crucial things to take away from this blog are the following steps:

  • Start as early as possible
  • Plan carefully and methodically
  • Work systematically
  • Expect stumbling blocks and adapt to them quickly 
  • Remain calm and trust the system
  • Fall back on the assistance of trained professionals

Contact us

When you’re ready to discuss your imminent relocation with the team at Adlam Transport, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our trained, experienced removalists have an incredible record of successful operations and can give you all the information, advice, and guidance needed to get your relocation off to the best start.