ADVICE on preparing to move house in the run-up to Christmas is being offered by leading developer Barratt Homes Manchester.

The company has new homes for sale at two sites in Lancaster - Quernmore Park and Riverside View - and sales director Michaela Lancaster said: "Moving home is undoubtedly a stressful experience, especially in the run up to Christmas, but by being prepared you can make the move as smooth and relaxed as possible."

One month to moving day

- Make sure you have all packing materials ready, not just boxes and containers but paper, bubble wrap, tape and pens to mark what’s in each box. Start packing the non-essentials as soon as possible, especially in storage areas like the garage or attic.

- Clear out unnecessary belongings to cut down the amount you have to shift on moving day. Try and sell any unwanted items so you have extra money to spend on Christmas presents, festive food etc.

- Consider whether you’re going to use a professional removal company or hire a van and move your belongings yourself. Either way, book the company or the vehicle in advance.

Two weeks to moving day

- Start changing your details over to your new address. Make sure you update your address with your insurers, banks, credit card providers, DVLA, employer, credit card or finance providers and any medical organisations such as your GP and dentist. To avoid missing any important documents (and Christmas cards), consider setting up a redirection with the post office.

- Get smart with your food shopping and meal planning to use up the contents of your freezer.

- Finalise your accounts with all utilities such as water, electricity, gas and telephone.

- If you’re prepared enough to have done your gift shopping before your move, pack them separately, so you can hide them from the children.

On the big day

- Keep all precious items, valuables and important documents with you when you move so you have peace of mind they won’t get lost.

- Ensure all rooms have working lightbulbs before it gets dark so you know you won’t get caught out in the evening.

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