Moving Essentials

Securing a new place to call home is exciting; you can probably already envision your life in your new neighborhood. And making the leap from imagining to reality doesn’t have to be as scary as you might think, even if it’s your first move. We’ve put together a list of essentials to help you ensure a move that goes smoothly and is as stress-free as possible.

Budget Your Money

There are a lot of expenses that come with moving, but if you budget and track things, it will make the process a lot easier and help you identify areas where you can save.

Moving Companies
Make sure you get quotes from several moving companies so you know you’re getting the best deal. Be sure to ask for prices of all their services and any extra or conditional fees they may have. If you can’t afford to have a moving company pack and unpack for you, consider looking at just having the movers ship your belongings.

Truck Rentals
Just like with moving companies, look around for the best prices on renting a truck. If you’re only moving across town, see if you can get the truck for half the day instead of paying for a full day.

Other Expenses
Don’t forget to account for these often overlooked items when you create your budget.

  • Packing Supplies: This may include boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc.
  • Gas: You’ll need gas for the moving truck and/or your car, if you’re driving.
  • Food: You’ll likely go out on your last day at your old house and the first day in your new house, as everything is boxed up. If you’re traveling a long distance, plan for snacks and meals along the way.
  • For the Kids and Pets: You may need to pay kennel fees or for babysitting to keep your dog and children out of the way on moving day.
  • Tips: It’s a good idea to tip your movers. If you can’t afford a good tip, consider offering them cold drinks or snacks during moving day.

Make Schedules

There’s more to moving than just packing. To help you keep track of everything, create a full schedule that details what needs to be done and when. When you develop your packing schedule, work backwards from moving day. (We’ve built a schedule with a checklist for you if you want to use ours!) Here are some things you may not be thinking about as you’re putting everything into boxes:

  • Utilities: Check with your utilities and learn the timelines for canceling or switching service. Your power, water, cable, Internet, phone, and gas companies may need up to a month to arrange a change in service.
  • Mail Service: USPS allows you to set-up mail forwarding online, but you’ll want to arrange this a couple weeks in advance so none of your mail gets lost in the shuffle. Learn more about how to change your address.
  • Personal Items: What are the things you’ll need the first morning after your move? Toothbrush, hairbrush, a pair of shoes, etc. These will obviously be the last things you pack and you’ll want to set aside a duffle bag or suitcase for these last minute items. Also, think about your sleeping arrangements. Do you need to save your air mattress for your last night or will your move from one house to the next happen all in one day?
  • Food: Start raiding the pantry and freezer to eat as much of your existing food as possible. Not only is it awkward to pack food, but you risk spoilage with frozen and refrigerated perishables if there’s a delay on moving day. You’ll also want to defrost your freezer the day before you move.

Organizing Your Belongings

You’re going through everything in your home and it likely is a lot more than you realized. Getting everything organized can help your move go as easy as possible.

Labeling Boxes: Have a plan and label boxes with your new residence in mind. Will your basement furniture become the family room furniture? Will your upstairs office furniture go in your new den? Whatever you decide, plan accordingly. Consider using color-coded stickers for boxes and furniture so both you and your movers can easily identify where everything goes at your new house. Remember to be as detailed as possible when you label your boxes, especially the ones with your first night must-haves (toothbrush, sheets, dog beds, coffeemaker, dog food, etc.).

Get Rid of What You Don’t Need: Take advantage of this opportunity to go through your things and to sell or donate extraneous items – clothes that don’t fit, unwanted toys, old electronics, and so on. Not only is it a waste of time and money to move things you no longer need, ridding yourself of these extra belongings helps give you a fresh start in your new home.

Know What You Can’t Take: Depending on where you live and where you’re going, there are some things that moving companies simply can’t transport. Some movers have rules about hazardous, perishable, and sentimental items. To be certain about specific items, ask your moving company. But, some common items that make the “banned” list include plants, produce, fertilizer, nail polish remover, SCUBA tanks, fire extinguishers, jewelry, stocks and bonds, cash, and medical records.

Ask for Advice

Don’t be shy about asking for help. Even if you’re trying to cut costs by doing some of the move yourself, consult with professionals about your specific needs. First-timers tend to drastically underestimate or overestimate the number of boxes they’ll need, the amount of time necessary to pack, or even the size of the truck it will take to move their stuff.

You don’t want to face the surprise that only half of your belongings fit on the truck you rented or that you and your partner can’t lift your antique armoire by yourselves. Realistically assess your situation and don’t be afraid to ask a million questions when you’re getting quotes from moving companies. Even if you don’t use their services, the information they provide during the quote process could be invaluable.

Staying organized and prepared for everything that comes with a move will help make it as easy as it can be so you can focus on the excitement of this new chapter in your life.

Featured image by Guy Kilroy/Flickr

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