Moving house or apartment in Germany: Tips for a smooth moving day

Moving house or apartment in Germany: Tips for a smooth moving day

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Designed with expats in mind, Smoovr is a moving service that has helped thousands of people transport their items safely and affordably across Germany (and beyond). They share their tips for a smooth, stress-free moving day. 

One thing that every expat has to deal with sooner or later in their life abroad is packing up and moving. It might be that you’ve outgrown that old apartment and are looking for more space, maybe a new job is taking you to another city, or perhaps you’re heading to an entirely new country.   

Once you’ve managed to secure a new place to live, then you’ll be hit with the sudden realisation that somehow you’ve got to get all your items from the old place to the new one.  This is much easier said than done, but with careful preparation you can minimise stress and make moving day as smooth as possible.

Decide what to keep

The first thing to do is to take stock of everything you have accumulated. Do you really need to take all your furniture or those clothes you never wear anymore? 

If you can’t sell it, then maybe you’d better stick it on Ebay Kleinanzeigen or perhaps even leave it on the street “Zu Verschenken”. You’d be amazed at what other people will take off your hands - one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

Choose a moving service or go it alone

The next decision you have to make is whether you want to hire a moving company to transport your stuff or whether you want to do it yourself. Of course, this depends on how much stuff you have, and how comfortable you are driving on German roads. 

If you do decide to do it yourself, then book a van in good time, and make sure to check it very carefully for damage prior to signing off. It’s always a good idea to get fully-comprehensive insurance, as otherwise, you’ll be worrying about accidental dings and scratches for the rest of the day!

If you decide to book a moving company, then make sure you understand all the options available to you. There are plenty of companies to choose from, but above all, it’s important that they understand your requirements, and ideally offer a fixed price on that basis. 

You should always provide a detailed inventory of all your items, along with images of larger furniture items. Things like beds and wardrobes will have to be disassembled and reassembled, so make sure to mention these (and to save a bit of time and money, take them apart yourself prior to moving day). 

go it alone moving house

Plan the logistics

Consider how your stuff will get in and out of your residence. Is it possible to use an elevator, or will the movers have to carry everything down many flights of stairs? Do you have lots of items in the basement or attic? 

You also want to make sure that you have enough time to get to your new place before the moving truck. If you’re moving locally or within a city, this shouldn’t be a big issue. For longer-distance moves, however, make sure your schedule matches that of the movers, as, if they have to wait around for you to open the door, then prices will increase (and so will your stress if you’re stuck helpless on a train or a flight!). 

Make sure to take down the mover’s telephone number and have an open line of communication with them, so you can keep in contact throughout the day.

Pack smart

When it comes to packing all your loose items into boxes, again you have to decide whether to do this yourself or get the movers to do it. Doing it yourself is a good way to save money, but make sure to do it right. 

You can buy boxes cheaply online - and don’t forget to get packing paper and tape as well! Make sure also to write which room on the boxes, so you know what’s what when you get to your new place.  

Also, don’t pack the boxes too heavy - someone has to be able to carry them. Anything over 20 kilograms is going to put your health at risk! Lastly, when stacking the van, always start with boxes - it’s like a game of Tetris making everything fit, and boxes are the easiest part!

pack smart moving house

Don’t forget about parking!

Something that is often overlooked is the availability of parking. If you have a private driveway, this is not a big issue, just make sure the van or truck can fit. If you are in a city apartment, you should check that parking is possible on the street outside, and that a space can be reserved on moving day.  

There is nothing worse than the truck turning up and having to park half a block away, as this will greatly increase the price you pay and the work you have to put in! It’s possible to get a Halteverbotszone (HVZ) from the city for around 120 to 150 euros, or perhaps you could get friends or neighbours to strategically block out a space with their cars?

Brush up on your German

Communication is very important if you’re working with a moving company, so either brush up on basic German or hope your movers speak some English! 

Tipping movers in Germany isn’t expected, but if the team has worked really hard and provided a friendly, professional service, a few euros is always appreciated, depending on how long the move took and how positive your experience was. 

Stay hydrated

Last but by no means least, no matter whether you’re moving by yourself or hiring a company, it’s a good idea to have a few drinks on hand (save the beer for after!). It’s hard physical work transporting all your belongings, so you need to stay hydrated. 

Once you’re in your new place (hopefully with everything intact!) and everything is unpacked then you can relax a bit. The key to a successful move is careful preparation. 

Would you like to make sure your moving day goes smoothly? Visit to arrange every aspect of your move in English.

Jon Wooddin


Jon Wooddin

Jon is the founder of, a moving service for expats in Germany. He knows all about moving, having worked as professional mover in New York City before returning to...

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