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Move stress-free with this moving house checklist for South Africans

Moving house is no walk in the park. In fact, it’s more like a rollercoaster of emotions and endless to-do lists. Whether you've braved the chaos of multiple moves or you're about to embark on your very first solo adventure in the world of moving, the stress and uncertainty can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders. But among all the half-packed boxes, there's a beacon of hope: the moving house checklist. 

Curated by our moving house specialists at Stor-Age, this trusty guide ticks off everything from packaging supply lists to who to notify and when in the 6 weeks before your big move. Armed with this, you’ll be able to navigate the twists and turns of the moving homes with ease, confidence and a lot less panic. Let’s get into it! 

How much does it cost to move house in South Africa?

According to, a half-day local move in South Africa can cost anywhere from R 750 to R 5 000, depending on the volume of items, ease of access and travel distance to your new home. If you’re moving long distance, the cost can range from R 10 000 to R 25 000 for half a day, and up to R 40 000 for a full day. 

This can be a major knock to your moving house budget, so be sure to look around for a reliable and affordable removals company in your area and only hire a professional mover for the large or fragile items you can’t move yourself. Some companies also offer a convenient van hire service which can cost significantly less and give you more control over your move on the day. 

Before moving house checklist 

You’ve found your new home, signed the lease and are ready to go… now what? Before you pack up and speed off into the sunset, there are a number of things you need to do first. This comprehensive moving house checklist includes all those essential moving duties for a smooth and stress-free transition into your new home.

6 weeks to go

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  • Notify your landlord 

First things first, notify your current landlord or estate agent in writing about your decision to move out. Be sure to include your exact moving date. It's crucial to check your lease agreement first for any specific notice period before sealing the deal as this could cost you your deposit. 

After sending off your notice, keep an eye out for their response. If you haven't heard back within a few days, it's a good idea to send a gentle follow-up. This step might seem minor, but it helps prevent any potential snags along the way.

  • Declutter and pack unessentials 

Set aside a weekend and go through each room in your house, sorting items into three categories: toss, donate and storage. Focus on non-essential items like books, lesser-used appliances, seasonal clothing, decor, frames and artwork. Packing these items early will help declutter your packing space and streamline the process later on. 

If you don’t have the space for these items at home or want to free up room in your new place, consider putting these packed boxes into a self storage unit. As you gradually clear out clutter, you'll find that packing becomes much easier, and maybe even therapeutic! 

Also read: Tips to decluttering your home

  • Stock up on packaging supplies 

Buying packaging supplies ahead of time saves you from last-minute scrambling and makes sure you get the right materials to protect your belongings. Yes, there’s more than one kind of box! Plus, having everything ready to go makes the packing process more efficient and less stressful.

Here's our moving house checklist for essential packaging supplies:

  • Moving boxes in various sizes (small, medium, large)
  • Special boxes for fragile items such as wardrobe boxes
  • Packing tape and tape dispenser
  • Bubble wrap or packing paper for wrapping fragile items
  • Protective padding such as foam sheets or foam peanuts
  • Permanent markers for labelling boxes
  • Box cutter or utility knife for easy opening of boxes
  • Moving blankets or furniture pads for protecting large furniture pieces during transportation

Remember to estimate the quantity of supplies you'll need based on the size of your home and the amount of belongings you have. It's always better to have a few extras on hand than to run out halfway through packing. 

  • Change address

Updating your address avoids mail delays while also keeping you connected with friends, family and other important institutions during and after your move. It's best practice to notify relevant parties at least 30 days before your move.

If you’re living in South Africa, save and tick off this moving house address change checklist:

  • Friends and family
  • Employers
  • Schools and universities 
  • Banks 
  • Doctors, dentists and vets
  • South African Revenue Service (SARS)
  • Post Office
  • Municipality
  • Roadside recovery organisations like AA
  • Electoral register
  • SABC TV licence
  • Subscription services (e.g., magazines, newspapers)
  • Vehicle licence registration
  • Insurers for your vehicle, household and medical
  • Investments, pensions and retirement annuities
  • Mobile and fibre providers
  • Memberships, clubs and societies

You should be able to change this easily enough online but get to it early to avoid administrative hassles at the last minute.

  • Arrange moving services

Get ahead of the game by locking in a reliable moving company or hiring a van early on. Take your time to shop around, compare prices and read reviews to find the perfect fit for your move. Once you've found "the one," don't procrastinate—book it ASAP to secure your spot on moving day. 

  • Make minor repairs 

Don't overlook the importance of making minor repairs before you move out, especially if you're a renter looking to get your security deposit back. Take a thorough walk-through and make note of any small repairs that need attention, like patching up nail holes or touching up paint scuffs. 

Discover: The most important things to do when moving house

3 weeks to go

student pack winter clothes

  • Start packing room by room

Begin the packing process by tackling one room at a time. Let’s repeat that — one room at a time. This approach makes packing more manageable, especially if you’re moving a two- or three-bedroom house. 

Begin with rooms you use less frequently, like the spare bedroom or garage, and gradually move on to the more lived-in spaces. While you're at it, here are some packing tips to make the process easier:

  • Invest in good boxes: Go for sturdy moving boxes in various sizes for different items. Reinforce them with packing tape to prevent any mishaps during transport.
  • Label: Label each box clearly with its contents and the room it belongs to. This simple step saves time and frustration when unpacking later on.
  • Pack strategically: Pack heavier items at the bottom of boxes and fragile items on top. Use soft items like clothing or towels to cushion breakables and fill any empty spaces to prevent shifting.

  • Transfer utilities 

Make sure you transfer (or disconnect) services at your current place and set them up correctly at your new home. This covers the basics like electricity, water, gas and internet, plus any other essential utilities you rely on. 

Don't leave this until the last minute — getting everything squared away now will save you a ton of hassle later on. Just give your utility providers a heads-up about your move, and they'll take care of the rest. 

  • Plan for pets

No moving house checklist is complete without your furry friends! Planning for your pets could include finding a pet sitter to look after them while you're packing and moving, arranging for boarding at a pet daycare or kennel, or making sure they're safely contained on moving day so they don't get underfoot. 

  • Research your new neighbourhood

Time to get to know your new neighbourhood! Spend some time digging into the area. Check out the local amenities like grocery stores, parks and restaurants, scope out the schools and healthcare facilities nearby, and suss out your transportation options. 

If there's anything you can't live without from your old neighbourhood — whether it's your favourite bunny chow or essential medication — make sure you stock up before the move so you're covered until you find your new supplier. 

1 week to go

  • Pack an essentials bag

This bag is your lifeline on moving day, so make sure it's packed with everything you need to keep calm, organised and comfortable. Here are a few things to pack in your essentials bag:

  • Documents like IDs and important paperwork
  • Toiletries and toilet paper (because you never know!)
  • A towel for quick freshening up
  • Cosy pyjamas 
  • Hand wash and sanitizer
  • A change of clothes 
  • A first aid kit and any medications you might need
  • Phone charger and power bank
  • Some snacks to keep your energy up

  • Move items into storage 

Storage for moving house helps you clear up space for the movers while also keeping your belongings safe until you need them again. Whether you decide to hire a moving company for this part or rent a van and do it yourself, it’s important to pack up these items properly and use padding or blankets to protect fragile items. 

After you arrive at the storage facility, you can organise the unit, placing heavier items on the bottom and fragile ones on top. Consider investing in shelves or storage racks to maximise space and keep things tidy. 

Wondering how much space you need for your move? Check out our handy online unit size calculator

  • Deep clean

Set aside some time to give your home a thorough cleaning before you move out. This includes vacuuming carpets, mopping floors, wiping down surfaces, cleaning windows and scrubbing bathrooms and kitchens. Don't forget to clean out closets, cabinets and other storage spaces as well.

1 day to go

student pack winter clothes

  • Coordinate with removals company

We suggest touching base with the removals company a day before your move. Give them a buzz to double-check all the nitty-gritty details like what time they'll be rolling up or if they need any special instructions to find your place. Take a quick stroll around your place to make sure everything's packed up tight and ready to go.

  • Prepare big appliances 

Start by defrosting the freezer to avoid messy surprises later on. Take out any trays or shelves from the oven and give it a good clean. You also want to think about wrapping up the microwave plate to keep it safe. If you're moving the washing machine, make sure those bolts are nice and tight to keep the drum secure in transit. 

  • Do a final sweep

Before you close the door on your old place, do one last check. Give your home a final sweep, making sure every nook and cranny is accounted for. Open every closet and drawer to double-check that nothing's been left behind. 

Make your next move stress-free with Stor-Age 

Ready to simplify your move? Our moving house checklist is guaranteed to make your next move smoother, but did you know that self storage can make it even easier? Whether you need temporary storage during the transition or long-term storage solutions, Stor-Age has the extra space you need. 

Get a quote online in seconds or use our size guide to find the perfect storage unit for your needs.

Posted by Stor-Age Self Storage - 28 May 2024 | Tips And Hints