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A Step-by-step Guide to Moving in South Africa

Moving, as with most other activities, can be made a lot easier by breaking the entire process down to simple, chronologically ordered steps.
By · December 22 2021
A Step-by-step Guide to Moving in South Africa

Intro

Siyakuhalalisela. (congratulations!) It's finally time to make that move to the new home that you’ve worked and looked forward to for the longest time, but then you immediately realize that it is more work than you imagined? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. 

Every adult in South Africa who’s had to move homes at least once has also faced this. And seeing that it’s not exactly a fun activity poised to be punctuated with torrential waves of fun like, say, the Safari, we’re here to be your minimum fuss, Godspeed (with some sprinkling of cheeky vibes!) partners-in-move to help you make this an absolute stroll in the park! 

Moving, as with most other activities, can be made a lot easier by breaking the entire process down to simple, chronologically ordered steps. And that’s why, in this post, we’ve unpacked a practical checklist covering every technical (and mechanical) aspect of the process, topped with a few tips to adequately prep you for a cleanly executed move within the rainbow nation (as SA is so-often popularly called): 

Movers or DIY? 

Being what it is, it’s hardly surprising that an industry has been built around helping people outsource the task of moving their belongings. After all, the point of money is to afford comfort—the variety provided by professional movers.

There’re varying moving protocols provided by movers. You could pay them to help you pack and move, or you could pack yourself and just pay them to help you move stuff to the new location. There are other options on the moving menu as well, and it ultimately boils down to your budget constraints or the abundance of it. 

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Conversely, some folks choose to do the entire move with assistance from only family and friends. There’re many factors that go into choosing whether to employ movers or go it alone. Our counsel, however—and, believe it or not, not because we're calling the shots on this post—is that it’s always best to hire professionals. Come to think of it. No one can be more skilled at moving home items than actual professionals in the field. 

Moving Checklist

For efficient, seamless outcomes that’ll remove you completely out of your misery when moving, we recommend a checklist. A checklist puts some order in your steps to help you to maintain a workflow that sets your moving task up for deserved success when moving.

Below, we outline our checklist in 10 simple steps:

— First things first. Book with Pro Movers.

The very first thing on the checklist is to find moving companies in your area, discuss prices with them, and then book a date. It’s with whatever date you get that you can proceed to set up a timeline for moving. When making decisions like which moving company to employ, it’s not unusual to have the cheapest options top-of-mind in your search. 

Here’s the kicker, though: 

Making that your priority will set you up for entering into dealings with moving companies who want to nick your rands (ZAR) off you without delivering that first-class moving experience you so crave. 

Hence, there’re a ton of factors to consider when choosing a moving company. When consulting, you should be looking to pop these questions:

  • How well are their staff trained in handling various kinds of delicate properties? If you own a piano, for instance, you want to be sure that they know how to move it. You don’t want your most prized (and treasured) furniture falling unfortunate casualty to a moving quack. So we’d spell it out for you: Your piano is too precious to pass as collateral damage!
  • What is their protocol for moving your properties?
  • What is the company’s policy on risks? Do they offer any kinds of guarantees against damages? What are the insurance options, if any?
  • Then, you should never fail to research reviews. Any sales manager can dole out flowery information to get you to stay, and say all sorts of cheesy things under the sun to ‘close a sale’, but only reviews from past clients will give you the true picture. You can simply search Google, or meet anyone around you who has employed them in the past. Don’t sleep on that word-of-mouth account of a business’s customer experience. It’s usually the most reliable!

We’ve not forgotten that not everyone reading this is (thankfully) going to employ movers. So, you should be contacting the friends and family members who you hope will help you with moving. You may ask why? See, it’s not exactly the science of rockets—we’re all adults with busy lives of our own; It's best for them to be aware, so they can make necessary arrangements and put it on their calendars weeks ahead. 

Additionally, unless you’re a student with few belongings, you’ll be needing a truck to move. This is where you contact truck rental companies around to book an appointment for the D-day. And then, purchase all the supplies that you’ll need for the move – boxes, wrapping paper, old newspapers etcetera.

— Inform necessary authorities and agencies

The next thing to check off is having to contact the relevant government agencies and inform them about your impending address change, and also give them the details of your new place. Most likely, the post office and the South African Revenue Service. 

Informing them ahead will make sure that they promptly redirect all your correspondence to your new address when you make the move. For similar reasons, you also have to inform your bank and insurance providers. Also, if you hold subscriptions for any newspapers, magazines and similar publications, they need to be informed so that they can redirect all mail to your new address. 

You never know when a response to that application you’ve been waiting all summer for gets in. You don’t want your nasty, nosy old landlord to be the one to open it and break the good news to you. I mean, how are you supposed to react?! Good news is good news. But all the merrier when you save yourself the awkwardness. : )

— Check utilities

Inform the utility providers about your move. But first, ensure that you’re up to date on your utility payments on your old apartment. If you don’t want to be slammed with bills for utilities that you did not use, you want to check the electricity meter to be sure that the old occupant of the place that you’re moving cleared their payments too.

You want to do the same thing with phones and the internet too. These have become very essential parts of our lives, and any delay in getting them up and running at your new home could prove unbearable. So, initiate the process of migrating your account from the old place to your new home. 

And if the move is taking you out of the jurisdiction of your utility providers, just make sure that your account is closed, and that the records show that you no longer reside there. Then, set up new accounts with the utility providers at your new residence to be activated immediately you move in.

— Prepare your new residence

This goes without saying. Before you move, you have to make sure that the place is properly done up and habitable. A step-by-step sub-checklist should be a worthy consideration here: 

  • Firstly, get rid of pests, rodents, etc. Whether it’s a rental or an outright purchase, chances are that in the time preceding your move there, certain animals or insects have set up shop in the apartment, especially if it hasn’t been occupied in a long while. 

So, unless you plan to cohabit with them (which you damn certainly well don’t) you have to first fumigate the place to clear them out. You can then proceed to get rid of their droppings, nests and whatever other “souvenirs” they might have left behind. 

Finally, block the entrances through which they gained access into the place.

  • Next, renovate the place. When it comes to renovation, we often think that it’s about undertaking costly, extensive changes and facelifts to a property. Not so. In this context, it could be something as simple as a wall repaint, replacing broken doors, or fixing sinks. Generally, this just entails fixing things around the house to make it habitable.
  • Also, change the locks on the doors. Usually, when the old occupants of a place move out, they’re expected to hand back all of their keys to the management of the house. Well, it doesn’t always turn out as expected. There is no way to verify if the keys that they reported as lost were actually lost, and most landlords will rather not shoulder the cost of changing the locks. So, it behoves you, the new/incoming occupant, to change out the locks on all of your external doors to ensure the security of your family and belongings.
  • Finally, identify and properly mark emergency exits and put a first aid box in position. Emergencies, being what they are, can occur at any time (which in this instance could be while you’re moving in.) So, you mustn’t put off setting emergency protocols until after you’ve moved in. 

Identify emergency exits, put a first aid box together, and then, make sure that everybody who will be participating in the move knows where they are. Got it? Good. 

— Declutter and take inventory

If there’s anything that makes moving the perfect mixture of blessing and (necessary) evil that it is, it’s the sheer enormity of personal effect to move, and the possibility of finding long-lost items that you might have had stuck in negligible nooks and obsolete crannies of your old apartment. 

After taking a look around, you might begin to dread having to move all that stuff, but there’s only one way around it—you have to declutter. You may not realize it immediately, but you do not need most of all the stuff that you’ve spent so much money amassing. (Hello, Impulse buys!) Sometimes you may buy some stuff you don’t need during a spell of retail therapy, and then, some may have been useful at the beginning but no longer are. All of these end up stashed away in pantries and garages.

From room to room, move around with a notepad to write down everything in each location, taking care to write down exactly why you need the item. This trick will give you the clarity that you need to put all of those extra items up for sale. If you like, you can also donate them to any of the many charities around you. You never know how much help those old clothes may be for any of the people served by these charities. Not only is this good for space, but the few extra rands (ZAR) from selling might also come in handy.

When you have trimmed the excess, you can now begin to take inventory of what is left. An inventory is great for two reasons: it helps you to keep track of everything while packing, and it also helps you ensure that the moving company does not lose anything.

— Use up perishables and flammables

Food items and other perishable items complicate moving. When they don’t spill all over the place, they just get mashed up, leaving a nasty mess. Starting weeks before your move, begin to wind down your food reserves. Use up everything, and if you need to run out and need to buy anything, do. But only in little amounts.

In the same vein, use up flammables. Ensure that there is no fuel left in your lawnmower or gas cylinder. These things are a fire hazard, and moving them together with the rest of your belongings without getting rid of the fuel would be simply reckless.

— Make preparations for moving your Pets and Plants

Plants are very delicate items; and pets on the other hand, well, let’s just say they require some TLC (tender love & care) and special handling. You may choose to personally move them in your car. But, if you can’t, you have to make a special arrangement with the movers. 

Overall, just make sure that your action plan for the D-day includes one for your pets and plants as well. If you do not yet own a pet transit cage, now may be the best time to purchase one!

— Pack up!

Now, you can actually begin to pack up all your stuff and arrange them into boxes. With the old newspapers, wrapping paper and other supplies that you’ve bought earlier, carefully wrap and place your items into cardboard boxes (padded, if necessary). We’ve found that it is very helpful to pack similar items together. Also, make use of your checklist when packing. It’ll help you to plan and keep proper track of everything. When you’re done, label all the boxes appropriately, to inform whoever will be lifting them about their contents, so that they can handle them with the level of caution required.

— Put together an essentials bag. (Must-have if you're rocking with the fam)

Packing and unpacking do not occur in a vacuum, or a flash. In that period between when you pack, move and unpack, you and the members of your family (or friends) with you will need to eat, drink, use the bathroom, and change clothes. 

So, make sure to pack an “essentials bag” with all the supplies that you’ll need to do all of these things (and more!)

— Contact a technician to move your satellite TV

Lastly, contact a technician to take out your DStv dish, cables and all to your new apartment. As much as this might be a seemingly uncomplicated thing to do, it’s best to leave it to a pro to ensure that everything is disconnected and reconnected correctly and without any hitches.

Conclusion

Moving is no small feat, and if you’ve gotten up to this point, you deserve a pat on the back — no, a signature Al Fresco Braai (barbecue) followed up with some savoury Melktert (custard-filled pastry) with a deliciously creamy glass of Amarula (liqueur) for a little snifter to finish. 

Moving companies service in SA

What are you moving?
What are you moving?
As featured on

And after all is read and done, you can now set out on the path to your new place, let the breeze unto your face and let the trees running past remind you of freedom, opportunities and the beauty of positive change that has become synonymous with being on South African soil.

Experiencing all of this, and more, starts with hiring a professional mover. Our hybrid pool of professional movers will bring speed, professionalism and excellent delivery to your move. With them, moving is as easy as falling off a log (don’t ask how!) : ) 

Hop on this form to fill in the particulars of your moving needs, so you can start plugging away with competitive quotes and all the deets on how we can be of assistance.

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