Top Tips for Expats when Moving House in Germany

Moving house or apartment is always going to present some challenges, but even more so in a foreign country!


At Smoovr we aim to make your move easier, and we’ll sort you out with the best local moving companies, so you can be sure your items are in good hands.  Nonetheless, there’s also a few things you can do to make sure everything goes smoothly on moving day.


It sounds obvious, but a successful move relies on organisation and preparation.  Being a German company, this is in our blood, and we actually enjoy refining all the small details and making everything just so!  However, we also understand that just thinking about moving can be overwhelming when you are suddenly forced to take stock of all your items and must then begin to think about the chaotic process of getting them something new!


Step 1 Declutter before the move. 

Think about what exactly you do and don’t need.  Be ruthless with throwing out those things you rarely use or never even wanted. You can use sites like Ebay Klein… or even put things in a box outside your apartment Zu Verschenken – you’d be amazed at what other people see in your old junk!  Also make sure you clear the fridge and freezer of perishables.


Step 2.  Get your packing done early

If you are packing up all your loose items, this will take time.  Start at least a week before moving day, and box up all non-essential items.  Make sure you put all valuables together – important documents, sentimental keepsakes, cash, and other high-value items such as jewelry and collectibles – should be moved by yourself, as unless specifically stated, these will not be covered by a moving companies standard insurance. Also,if you are disassembling beds or large furniture by yourself, do it a day (or two!) before the move, and put all screws and fixings in a bag and tape it to the item.


Step 2.  Don’t pack boxes too heavy

No-one wants to have to be heaving and straining with ridiculously heavy boxes (unless you happen to be working on becoming the next Arnold Schwarzenegger). Aside from putting a strain on boxes integrity, resulting in spectacular blowouts with your items scattered on the floor, boxes that are too heavy can do serious damage to your back, shoulders or arms. If you have heavy items, make sure to distribute them, don’t put them all in one box. If you have a lot of books, which soon add up in weight, smaller book-boxes are available, which means you won’t overfill them.  

Step 3. Note which room boxes are from

It only takes a minute to mark on the boxes which room they are from (or if you are super-organised even the contents). It will make unpacking much easier.


Step 4. Take photos of electronic connections.

This will make it much easier to get TVs, computers, modems, etc. back in the game with minimum fuss.


Once all your odds and ends are in boxes, there are a few more things to think about to make your life easier.


Germans are quite particular about social niceties, and so in order to leave on good terms with your neighbours it’s advised to notify them that you will be moving out and apologise for any inconvenience.  Here’s a generic message you can use:


Dear neighbours. We are moving out on [DAY/MONTH]. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, and thank you for your understanding.  Best wishes.  

Liebe Nachbarn. Wir ziehen am [TAG / MONAT] aus. Wir entschuldigen uns für etwaige Unannehmlichkeiten und bedanken uns für Ihr Verständnis. Viele Grüße.


There are a couple of practical considerations that are often overlooked in the turmoil of move planning, but worth thinking about in advance.  


If you are moving into or out of a place with old wooden floors, wallpapered walls and/or narrow corridors, glass in the lift, etc. make sure to notify the movers so they can make adequate protection. Scratches and scrapes are quite common when moving large furniture, but is easily avoided by wrapping furniture in blankets or setting up protective covers on floors, walls and lifts.


Make sure the broom and vacuum cleaner are one of the last things to be loaded into the moving truck.  You won’t believe how much dust accumulates behind beds and furniture that hasn’t been moved in a while.  If you’re in a rush or don’t fancy tackling the cleaning on the day of the move then hire a cleaner for the post-move clean.  This is of course something that can be arranged through Smoovr.  


In order to make the job of loading and unloading your items as quick as possible, the truck needs to be able to park close to the entrance of your building.  This is sometimes easier said than done!  If you don’t have a driveway or courtyard, it might be possible to park on the pavement, but is not officially permitted.  If you know loading or unloading will take a few hours, it’s a good idea to get a No Parking Zone from the local authority.  However, make sure you give enough time for this to be processed, as most require submission 2 weeks before the date. Another option is to strategically block out a space yourself. If you (or neighbours/friends) have cars, you can park them a day or so before the move in an appropriate place, or sometimes the hausmeister might have a trick or two up their sleeve.  Just be aware, if you do not have a convenient parking spot reserved and you tell the moving team they will have to carry items another 50m to the truck, you will end up being charged extra for labour!


Once your items are loaded and on their way to your new place, then you also need to make sure to get a move on and arrive at your new your new place in good time.  Again, if you keep the movers waiting for a long time, you may be charged extra.  If you know they will get there before you, provide them with a key so they can get started.  Keep an open line of communication so you can notify them of your whereabouts if necessary.  If you are travelling across the county, make sure to give enough time to hand over your keys and catch your train or plane.  Sometimes, it’s a good idea to load on one day, and move out on the next.


Lastly, have some soft drinks for the movers – it’s thirsty work, and they’d appreciate hydration!


There’s a lot to think about when it comes to moving, but at Smoover we’ve carried out thousands of moves, and so know exactly what we’re doing.  We’ll take care of every step of the process, and make sure your move is smooth!

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