Find a new house. Hire some movers. Enjoy a gorgeous sunset from your new patio. If only it were that easy, right?
Google “Top 10 Stressful Life Events” and you’ll find moving into a new home is on nearly every one of those lists. The good thing is that with a little planning and organization, moving doesn’t have to send you crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey!
We have a great checklist that can help keep you organized and make sure nothing slips through the cracks, from months before the move through moving day.
6-8 Weeks before Moving
This is the time to start planning the details. This may seem like a long way off from moving day, but it goes by surprisingly quickly and you want to get your ducks in a row at least this early in the process.
Make lists of which items will be going to your new home and which things you are planning to put in storage. Take some time here and really think about each item. You don’t want to move something into the new home just to move it to storage a couple weeks later.
Make lists of which things you want to move yourself and which things you’ll leave to the movers. Maybe you are super anxious about anyone even looking at (let alone touching) Great Grandma’s China set…in that case you better be the one to pack it and move it.
Donate or dispose of items that you no longer need. No sense in moving things you don’t want, need or use anymore. Again, really think about them. If you haven’t used something for six months, it is safe to say you probably won’t use it again. If you are unsure and can’t part with it just yet, add those items to your storage list. But otherwise, get rid of it!
If you’re going to use movers, you’ll want to get estimates from several companies. Discuss details such as cost, packing, timing, licensing and so on with them. Even if you think you are going to do it all yourself, it can’t hurt to get some quotes. You may be surprised at how much help you really need and it could be worth it (and less stressful) to let someone else handle it.
Call your insurance agent(s) to transfer your Auto and Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance policies. This could even be the time to get new quotes and save some money on your existing policies.
Create a file (or big envelope) for any moving related receipts or paperwork that may be tax deductible. And, put everything in there that you use for the big move – that means boxes, moving services and even the pizza for your helpers. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to write a lot of that stuff off – check with your tax person or accountant for more details after you are settled into the new home.
Place all medical records, prescriptions and vaccination records in a safe place. Don’t forget Fido and Fluffy’s records, too! It may even make sense to make copies of all of these important docs and store them in a safe place outside of your home – like your storage unit or Mom’s house. The last thing you want to do is lose this stuff!
4-5 Weeks before Moving
Stock up on moving supplies. That means everything from boxes, tape, labels, markers, bubble wrap, sanity…OK, the last one I am just kidding about. But the better prepared you are now the more sanity you will have on moving day, so stock up!
Contact the post office and fill out your Change of Address form. In fact, you can now complete this entirely online through the USPS website! I recommend taking advantage of their online system since the post office can often have inconvenient hours.
Notify your utility companies, cell phone and internet providers and all banks and credit unions where you have accounts. Don’t forget any newspaper or magazine subscriptions.
Register your children at their new schools. Many schools will allow you to tour the building and let your little ones find their new classrooms ahead of time. Maybe even meet their new teachers now so they are not meeting them on their first day.
If you have pets, make sure you have crates or carriers to keep them safe. Check to see if there are ownership requirements in your new town or if you are crossing state lines. And again, don’t forget their vet records and vaccination history. You can probably even ask if your current vet can recommend a new one in the town where you are moving.
2-4 Weeks before Moving
This is when the real action begins! You will have a lot to do, so plan wisely. Make sure you don’t have any doctor’s appointments or other prior commitments during this time. The less you have to do outside of your moving tasks, the better.
Contact your utility companies to schedule the disconnection of your current services and set up connection at your new home. Be flexible here. If you expect everything to work out perfectly to the minute, you are setting yourself up for headaches later. Make sure you have some movies on hand and in your car on moving day, so if the cable guy is 4 hours or a day late getting to your home (we have all heard the horror stories here), you have something to entertain the kids, and even yourself with until it is all set to go.
Start moving items to your storage unit. Follow the list you made and make sure you don’t miss anything.
If you have small children, you may want to schedule a babysitter for moving day; easier for you, and safer for them. Make sure if you do set up a babysitter, that it is at their home and away from the stress of moving. If you are moving far away, like across the country, have one of your friends or family members keep them occupied in the new home in one room with activities, make that their job for the day. That way your kids are out of the way and you won’t have to worry if they are hungry or anything – because your on-site helper can take care of all of that for you!
If you are moving out of town, you should return library books or any items you’ve borrowed from your neighbors. And, remember get back anything they’ve borrowed from you! If you lent something out that you really don’t care about, let it go…less to move.
Designate a box or two for valuables or important things you do not want on the moving truck. This box will stay with you and in your car at all times. Use this for items like medications, cell phone, purse and wallet, keys to the new home, medical records and documents related to the move like the contract with the moving company.
If you have a long drive ahead of you, consider having your cars serviced now. You really don’t want any of the vehicles being used for the move to break down when you are in a caravan of two trucks and four cars on the major interstate. That will delay everyone and can raise the stress level a lot. Not to mention the added cost of towing or repair that could have been dealt with ahead of time.
Don’t forget your Safety Deposit Box! If you have one of these at a local bank, arrange to empty the contents and prepare them for the move. Make sure you set up a new one at your new bank. If the drive isn’t too far away, it may be best to take your valuables straight to your new bank and get it done in one day.
1 Week before Moving
Now is crunch time! Use this last full week to double and triple check everything. You don’t want to be running around like a nut on moving day because you weren’t diligent at this point.
Check that all valuables are in a separate box to go in the car with you. Get this box ready now, and keep it out where you can easily access it. You may be adding little things to it here and there. It’s a good idea to toss in a digital camera, notepad and pen as well.
Finish moving items into your storage unit. Most of the large items should have been done by now, but you probably have some straggler boxes of items you came across when packing that you don’t want to take to the new place.
Back up important files and disassemble your computer. You have probably heard, “Have a back up of your back up.” Take this to heart, especially if your computer holds all your precious photos and important tax and business files. Take one set of the backup drives or discs outside of your home. You don’t want to have your computer and both sets of backups in the same place…that sort of defeats the purpose. See if you can keep your backups at your friend’s place or in your safety deposit box. Better safe than sorry on this one.
Make sure all boxes are clearly labeled. Especially the fragile ones! Be sure each box states clearly which room it is going to in the new house. For example: Kitchen, Upstairs Bathroom, Garage, Basement, etc. If there are any breakable items in the box, use a bight sticker that says “FRAGILE” on at least two sides of the box so it is not missed.
Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator a day or two before the move. Keep non-perishable items on hand for snacks, and order in for your meals to make it really easy for you. You can keep the fridge plugged in the last day with items like milk and lunch meat in there. But, be sure to have a cooler on hand and ice so you can keep those items cold in transport. Or, plan to toss them on moving day and not take anything like that with you.
Confirm all details with your moving company. Make sure they have your cell phone number in case of emergency, and give them a secondary contact’s cell number as well in case they cannot get you right away.
Pack a box with items you’ll want to have on hand immediately upon arriving at your new home, and keep this box in your car:
• Bottled water
• Disposable plates and cups
• Bathroom items
• Trash bags
• Pet food and bowls
Moving Day – Leaving the Old Home
The big day has come. Are you ready? If you followed the tips we covered so far, you should be set to go. Here are some critical items to keep in mind and plan for on moving day so all your planning and hard work up to this point is worth it.
Sign the paperwork for the movers. Check that all the information is correct, and make sure the movers have everything they need from you. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask them.
Be there to direct the movers. Make sure someone is at your old home and the new one ahead of time. That way when the movers arrive they can get started without delay. Make sure you have gone over your plans with your helpers so they have no questions and can answer any questions the movers ask.
Thoroughly check closets, drawers, cabinets, etc. to make sure nothing is left behind. It doesn’t hurt to do this twice, and have two separate people check just to be sure.
Turn off all switches, lock the doors and windows. Make sure all appliances that are staying with the home are turned off as well.
Moving Day – Arriving at Your New Home
Just because you arrived, that doesn’t mean you can just sit down and relax right away. You want to check a few things to make sure everything is in order and set to go.
Before anything gets moved into your new home, do a quick walk-through. Make sure nothing was left behind from the previous owners. If you find anything out of sorts, like damage that wasn’t there before, take photos and notate it in your notebook. Turn on the A/C or furnace, plug in the fridge and turn on lights so the movers can see where they are going.
Put your box of important items somewhere you can easily get to it. Put anything in the fridge that needs to stay cold.
While unpacking boxes and furniture, check for damaged or missing items. Make sure to take pictures and notate any damaged or missing items in a notebook. You can refer to this later with the movers if necessary.
If you’ve moved to a new state, plan to get a new driver’s license and update any legal papers as soon as possible with your new address. Take care of these items in the first week or two so you don’t forget about them.
Locate the hospital, police station and fire station near your new home. Post the phone numbers on the fridge for young children and save them in your cell phone.
And finally? Pour yourself an iced tea (or a glass of wine) and head out to the patio to enjoy that sunset. You’ve earned it!
If you have any questions about preparing for your move, you can contact us at any time and our friendly and knowledgeable property managers will be glad to help. If you are ready to start moving your extra stuff into a storage unit now, you can reserve one or rent a unit online 24/7!