DIY removals, moving house yourself

DIY Removals - The essential guide to moving house yourself

Moving house by yourself can seem daunting - but it doesn't need to be. Simply put, you need to:

  • Think about how you will pack everything and work out what size van you need.
  • Book your van well in advance to avoid last minute panics.
  • Load and unload your van carefully - so that everything arrives in one piece!

Follow the simple steps in this guide and save hundreds of pounds by doing your own house removals - without getting stressed out.

Work out what size hire van you need

  • Start by making a list of furniture, kitchen appliances and white goods and a rough count of boxes and other stuff.
  • Work out what size van you will need to hire. Check out our What Size Van Do I Need guide for everything you need to know about van sizes and what size van to hire.
  • Tips on van sizes: If you're living in a studio or one-bedroom flat and do not have a lot of furniture, then a long wheel base (LWB/XLWB) or a Luton should allow you to do the move in one go. If you have a larger home, you may need to make two trips in a luton.
  • What about something bigger? You could consider a 7.5t box van. These offer roughly twice the space of a luton, but are more expensive and much harder to drive. Ask yourself if you will be comfortable driving it and whether you have suitable access and parking at both ends of the journey. Make sure that you have the necessary C1 entitlement on your driving license, too (see here for details).
  • Whatever you choose, check that there will be access and parking for your van at both ends of your journey - remember any height and width restrictions that may apply when hiring a van.
  • Always overestimate and make allowances for delays.
  • If you're still unsure about what type of van you need, ring up your friendly local van hire firm and ask for their advice. They'll be happy to help and should be able to answer all of your questions.


Consider making more than one trip with a smaller van if distances are short and you're more comfortable driving a small van. It can also make access and loading much easier.

If it comes to a choice between a regular panel van and a Luton van, go with the Luton. It's wide, square shape makes it easier to fit furniture in efficiently - that's why most small removals companies use these vans.

However, the load floor in a luton is higher off the ground than a panel van, so you may want to make sure your Luton has a tail lift. Or find some strong friends to help.

Packing Tips When Moving House

  • Remember that boxes have to be carried. Put a few heavy items (e.g. books) at the bottom and then fill up with lighter stuff, such as clothes or cushions.
  • Colour code or clearly label every box with its contents so you know where it goes when you unload the van.
  • When packing glass or china, wrap each object in bubble wrap or newspaper. Box them carefully so they won't move too much.
  • Set aside a day or two to pack up your home and do nothing else in this time. You'll get it done a lot faster this way.
  • Have a read through our Packing Tips guide for further hints and tips.


Buy or acquire plenty of strong packing boxes in advance.

Online packing stores sell complete sets for quite low prices, saving you hunting at the last minute.

Loading Your Van

  • Put all the heaviest objects - such as sofas and wardrobes - on the floor towards the front of the van. Make sure they cannot move by tying them to the side of the van or wedge them in.
  • Put the lightest boxes and objects highest up but always make sure that nothing can move - a few cheap ratchet straps, available on the high street, are useful for this.
  • Use old blankets or sheets to protect your furniture from damage. Wooden furniture especially can easily become scratched and damaged. Make sure that the furniture is covered where it is pushed against the side of the van or against other furniture.
  • Box up everything possible - try to avoid being left with any loose, unpacked items.
  • Remember - if it can move, it will move while you're driving. You don't want everything sliding around at every roundabout. Lutons often have load securing rails along their sides, while panel vans often have eyelets in the floor. Whatever van you are using, think about whether you need to use some rope or ratchet straps to stop things moving.
  • See our How To Load Your Hire Van guide for further information.


Drawers provide excellent storage. To load a chest of drawers, remove all the drawers and carry them out separately.

Then reinsert them and tie them closed or push them against the side of the van - otherwise they will come open when you're driving.

It's well worth spending 10 minutes after you have finished loading making sure nothing can move once you set off.

Driving A Hire Van

  • Take it slow and steady. Remember that stopping times will be greater than in a car.
  • Always have someone guide you back when reversing.
  • Remember that speed limits are lower for vans - 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways.
  • See our Driving A Van For The First Time guide for further information.


Driving a modern van is quite easy - almost too easy.

Remember to keep your speed down on twisty sections - that way you'll avoid breakages.

Unloading & Unpacking

  • Take all furniture and boxes straight to the rooms in which they belong - this is easy if you labelled all of the boxes!
  • Once unloaded, unpack one room at a time, tidying as you go. This will save you loads of time and mess.
  • Most important of all...enjoy your new home!


Decide in advance what order to unpack in.

Then do one room at a time until you are finished.

Disclaimer: We hope the information on this page will be useful. But will not be held responsible for any damage to your possessions while they are in transit, nor for any damage or losses resulting from the use of a rented vehicle.