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You’ve found your dream home, the closing date is set, and the finish line is in sight! Though the move has been on your radar for some time now, do you have a solid game plan in place for getting all of your belongings from point A to point B? Follow these tips to help you cross the threshold of your new home with as little stress as possible.
Start a list well in advance and add tasks to it as you think of them. Spend time considering each family member’s specific needs–especially those of kids and pets. Be sure to include deadlines and arrange the list accordingly. Having a list keeps you organized, and checking off items as they get done keeps you on track. In addition to tasks, make an inventory of items you are moving for insurance purposes and to help you keep track of everything when you unpack.
Calculate anticipated moving costs and create a budget. Find out if your employer offers relocation assistance to offset costs and if so, how much you can expect to receive. Keep all of your receipts.
Factor in all expenses, such as:
In addition to changing your address with the post office, don’t forget to update any online accounts, your driver’s license, voter registration–and don’t forget friends and family! With a forwarding order in place, the USPS will forward your mail for up to 12 months (excluding periodicals and magazines, which will only be forwarded for up to 60 days). Updating your subscriptions and accounts before you move ensures that you won’t miss important bills or shipments. Don’t forget to transfer utilities, as well.
The cost for packing supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper can add up more quickly that you might imagine–especially if you’re making a long-distance more that requires specialty boxes and packing materials to protect your belongs. Before purchasing anything, check social media sites for people near you who have just moved and want to dispose of their boxes and packing material–they’re usually as glad to get rid of them as you will be to have them. Local supermarkets or other stores in your area are another great source for free boxes in various sizes.
If you are moving a long distance and have a household full of heavy furniture items, hiring a professional moving company makes sense. Follow the same due diligence you would to hire any contractor. Shop around and get quotes from multiple companies. Ask for and check references; don’t simply go with the cheapest quote. Be sure the movers you choose are licensed in the states you are traveling, offer a “binding estimate,” and are well-reviewed and trusted. For shorter moves it may be feasible to rent a truck and DIY your move. Again, consider all available options, such as hiring laborers to load and unload everything, but renting and driving the truck on your own.
Plan in advance to make the most out of the help that’s available, including willing friends and family. If you are planning on having help from others, be considerate of their schedules and plan accordingly, giving them plenty of notice ahead of time. A weekend move may maximize the availability of help, but be aware that movers often charge extra for weekend jobs. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for your crew by offering water, snacks, and/or lunch.
Now is the time to go through your belongings and get rid of clothing, appliances, furniture, toys, or anything you no longer need or use. Sorting on the front-end of your move makes for easier unpacking on the back-end, and can affect the cost of your move by not taking space, time, supplies, and labor to move items you no longer use or want. Have a yard sale and donate whatever is left. Schedule an organization to pick up leftover items right after the sale.
Coordinate with the parties moving in and out of your old and new homes to avoid being there at the same time. If you can wait a couple of days after taking possession of your new home to move in, use that time to install utilities and take care of any last-minute items that will be easier to deal with before all your belongings are moved in.
Are there any changes you want to make prior to moving into your new home, such as repainting or carpeting? Do you have a placement plan for larger furniture pieces so that you can direct the movers when they unload your belongings? Do you have boxes clearly labeled, especially for items you’ll need right away like toilet paper, hand soap, and computer or internet cables? If you’ve hired movers, do you have cash on hand for a tip at the end of the day? Thinking through and addressing these concerns before move-in day will make the whole process go much more smoothly.
Packing up your old space with your new home in mind makes unloading and unpacking a breeze. Take pictures of the new rooms for planning purposes. Include pictures or notes with measurements and the location of electrical outlets, light switches, windows and doors, and phone and cable hookups.
Purchase a roll of large stick-on labels and a broad-tipped marker so that you can clearly record the room destination and contents on each box. This is especially important if you’re using someone else’s moving boxes, as it differentiates your labels from the markings on the used boxes. You’ll thank yourself on the back-end of your move if all of your boxes are adequately marked with brief descriptions of their contents.