Moving house checklist – how to plan what furniture you need

This is an in depth to do list with tips to help guide you step by step through preparing for moving house. Moving house can be stressful, is always frantic, and can be productive without leaving you wanting to hide among your boxes.

The aim of this project was to plan for our move from one rented house in the UK to the next, to the next village not too far away. Now I’ll share with you how we planned. This is for those of you who like to be prepared and stay happy.

We wanted to make sure that moving home was stress free, that we would have all the furniture we need, and within budget; we didn’t have piles of money and didn’t want to splash cash on hiring a man with a van or other unnecessary expenses.

I won’t talk you through how to pack boxes, but hopefully show how you can design this step in your life, to make sure you have everything you need and want, and pick up more insights along the way whilst doing so.

Make a list and declutter

moving house checklist of furniture - how your to do list could lookPutting everything clearly down on paper is so useful. Find a coloured pen and a pad of good paper and start. Where do you start?

We moved from a rented, part-furnished house to renting an unfurnished house. We started by listing all the items of furniture we had, that we would not have when we moved. Then assessed whether we really would need them once we had moved.

We added to this list over the course of the week, as we used things around the house and had eureka moments – “Oh yeah, we won’t have a bin when we move, we’ll need one of those!” You might find this too, so leave plenty of space on your list for additions and amendments.

So you know that makes sense and want to do this now, what could this list look like?


What to put on your checklist to make it really useful

  • Plan by room
    Keep it simple, work from one end of the house to another, with notepad in hand.
  • Do you need it?
    Realise that this is an opportunity to get rid of things, changing habits (that new recycling system you know you wanted to do ages ago, or spending less time watching tv). Getting rid of things means relocating them, perhaps to someone else’s life, who will appreciate and use them – think Freecycle, Gumtree, eBay.
  • How will you get it?
    Think Freecycle, Gumtree, eBay. You sow what you reap – giving away your clutter and unneeded items through these ever useful online communities, or in your ‘real’ communities with a garage sale, means sowing the seed for future karmic return. So to speak.
  • Is it sorted yet?
    It’s great to see lots of ticks, that’s what to do lists are for! Having this column will also put your mind at ease that definitely haven’t forgotten anything.

You can include different and other categories on your list, of course. Using a design process like SADIME (see below) is useful to help you make sure you are well organised and have included everything.

Going a bit further than a simple list means you can get a lot more out of this process, read on to see how we went from a checklist to a great process we will definitely use again, the next time we move house.


What is stopping you?

Also called limiting factors, these are things that may hold you back from achieving your aims. We thought of the following 5 things to consider throughout our move planning:

  1. Money – realistic and informed
  2. Physical Space – house is only so big. Don’t want clutter of unused things
  3. Time – limited effort, and traveling distance. Need certain amount sorted for move in day/week
  4. The next move – we want to be able to fit everything into ‘a van’ for a future move
  5. Ethics – don’t want to waste things that could be reused or recycled.

How to control the above to stay within your limits, is what I call controls. We set out the following, the numbers correspond to the numbers on the above limiting factors.

  1. Set a budget
  2. Declutter first. Only get what you need. Pack well, using boxes and labeling them.
  3. Plan together and try to do it together. Many hands (and brains) make light work.
  4. Any new purchases should be quality so that they last. Nothing too big, so it doesn’t take up too much room in an inevitable hired van for a future move.
  5. Don’t want to support ‘evil’ businesses and corporations (you know the sort) so be deliberate in deciding where to look for furniture. Local as far as possible to support the wider community & limit our carbon footprint. Spend time in advance repurposing and relocating the decluttered items.
Trees lose their leaves, we should declutter to benefit everyone
Trees lose their leaves regularly to add life to the wider system via the woodland floor, which benefits them and gives them energy to carry on living.

Your to do list

This is what we did and are passing it on as advice to you, that you can use as a detailed moving home checklist. It’s worth the little bit of preparation to make sure everything runs smoothly.

  • Take some time to look around you and realise what you use and whether you must and if you want to in future
  • Declutter by making a pile. Sort that pile into sub-piles depending on what you will do with the things, i.e. a bag for charity shop, a bag for selling on eBay
  • Make a plan on paper in advance, using the tips above to set out a solid plan
  • Think about what might hold you back, to list your limiting factors
  • Set your limits to address your limiting factors
  • Start looking around online, in charity shops, at shopping centres when you can for ideas and to source new furniture you have identified you need
  • Tell people about your plans – they may be able to help you
  • Start to source new items of furniture, and keep getting rid of what you decluttered
  • Keep packing
  • Return to your checklist to track progress and see what still needs arranging
  • Move house and celebrate, enjoying your new home with no clutter and the right amount of lovely furniture


This blog post as design write up

This can be seen as a design write up, to be used as part of the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. This post could be used as a template for other write ups, whether mine or others’.

I used the design process of SADIM:

Survey – talking with my girlfriend about how to do this and what we want out of it, to inform the limiting factors, and form of the design. Observing what we have around the house. Measuring up and referring back to the online listing of the new property

Assess – will we need it?

Design – thinking about and setting controls.

Implement – Decluttering. locating, viewing, securing furniture, thinking it over and taking stock of our options for each detail whilst seeing how that fits with the pattern.

Maintain – referring back to the plan: Have we got this yet? Is that in keeping with our controls?

Note though that I haven’t specifically referred to the application of permaculture principles in the main body of the blog post because 1. I didn’t consciously apply them when going through the design 2. I’m not using this design as part of a diploma portfolio. I think particularly Observe and interact, Use existing resources, and Produce no waste are inherent in the design.

“If nothing else, permaculture gives us the tools and confidence to take responsibility for our lives and actions.” Graham Burnett (Vegan Permaculture, 2014, xi).


Specific design write up considerations for creating this blog post

This blog post is the presentation of my design. It took around 3.5 hours (in two sittings) to write up including the following 11 stages, in order:

  1. Observing changes to WordPress and interacting with recent stats from my blog. I always do this first.
  2. Keyword search – if you want people to find your content, you should use this tool. It helps with SEO.
  3. Tags – I added tags in line with the most searched terms, with considerations to competition levels.
  4. Using keywords – referring back to my tags I tried to incorporate as many optimum keywords as possible, within a natural feeling sentence, and early on in the post. (Can you spot them now)?
  5. Edited URL
  6. Blog post layout – I added some structure with formatting headings, adding a Read More tag, and a horizontal line. See this really handy article from Buffer on  How to write the ideal blog post.
  7. Drafting – I wrote lots, saved, wrote some more, kept saving.
    (Also, because my internet is unreliable I used Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C to copy the whole of my post text to my clipboard so I knew I had it paste in if it all went wrong).
    I kept an eye on consistency of formatting, particularly as there are so many lists, including this one. Watched word count increase (a handy WordPress tool).
  8. Adding to bottom sections, checking against SADIME & Diploma notes.
  9. Reviewing and tweaking previous sections
  10. Yielding feedback from peers and creatively responding to feedback
  11. Publishing and sharing

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