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Sometimes, moving home is a blessing, other times it’s an inconvenience, but it’s pretty much always a necessity. There’s a lot of things to take care of – you not only have to set aside a few days for the move to take place, but you have to sort the packing out as well as the transport arrangements.

Speaking of which, you’ve got to figure out whether you’ll be hiring a fully featured moving company, or if you want to take care of the move yourself. If you decide to go for the latter, you’ll have to get a hold of the right moving van. In this guide, I’ll run through the basics of van rental, what things to look out for and the actual moving process. If you don’t already have access to a van, this guide should prove useful.

Sorting the van out

First off, you’ll need to check just how many things you’ll be moving. How much space will all of your boxes, dismantled furniture and appliances take up? You should measure the largest objects, and make a rough estimate of how much room you’ll need. By having this information to hand, you’ll be able to rent a van that’s just the right size. So you won’t be wasting money on a bigger, more thirsty model, and you won’t have to make multiple trips in a van that’s too small.

Once you’ve got your carrying requirements in mind, it’s time to look around. If you’ve got a rental company in mind, have a browse around their web site to see the range of models they have on offer and their respective prices. Don’t just leave it at that, however; once you’ve got a good idea of what you want, head down to their lot and ask to see which van you’ll be renting. By doing this, you can check its mechanical quality first hand – see if the engine sounds healthy, the steering is up to scratch and other such checks. Treat it like buying a car, and only agree to the rental if you’re absolutely sure the van in question is in good working order.

Other things to keep in mind are things that’ll help make your loading experience easier. Depending on the firm and size of the van, you may be able to get a hold of a ramp or a lift to make loading heavier objects that much easier. Guide-ropes, and stretches of elastic are also necessary addons, so when everything is loaded, they’ll stay in one place and in one piece.

Actually moving with it

Now that you’ve got a hold of a van that suits your moving needs, now you just have to move with it. First off, planning for your journey is a necessity. Whether you use Google Maps, a road atlas or a satellite navigation system, you should have your driving directions close to hand. Getting lost when moving is a one way ticket to stress. It’ll also help if your route includes going past service stations, so you can refuel and take a break.

Load everything up the right way. Treat your possessions with care, especially those with fragile objects in them, and make sure they’re secured – make good use of those guide-ropes. Be sure when loading, that the heavier items go in first and come out last – so there’s less to get in the way.

So there you have it, the beginner’s van manual. Hopefully this provided some insight on van rental, and given you some food for thought on how to handle a move on a budget. If there’s one last bit of advice I can give, it’s to get as much help as possible. Even if you’re not hiring an outside company, get your friends, family and neighbours to chip in some elbow grease. You’re already handling the transport arrangements by yourself after all, you’ll want to avoid being overworked …