Moving can be a challenge. Whether you are moving down the block, across town, or to another city or state, there are some basic rules you can follow to make the challenge a little less of a headache and eliminate some of the stress that comes with the whole process.
First, consider the alternatives available to you whether it is hiring a moving company, or renting a truck and doing it yourself. Most of the "do it yourself" moving companies offer packing materials, advice and assistance with everything you might need to make a smooth and successful move.
If you are considering a moving company, better get a quote from at least two. Here’s why; generally speaking, movers charge by the “man hour”. This means you’ll pay an hourly rate multiplied times the number of men they send to do the job. One company may suggest three men and another may suggest two. A large job may get finished quicker with three men, even though the total hourly rate for the three men may seem higher than the rate for only two men. There are many ways a moving company can charge you so make sure you have an estimate in writing and consider all the alternatives.
If you do consider doing it yourself, try using one of the portable on demand storage companies (PODS) for example. They will deliver you a container(s) which you pack yourself and then will move them to the new location or even store them in a high tech air conditioned storage facility until you need them. Realtors often have discounts available with companies like PODS so you should ask your realtor for help.
A second important tip is to make a checklist of all the things that have to be done either prior to and on the moving date. For example, you’ll want to have power and utilities shut off at your old home and turned on and ready for you at your new home. You would be surprised how many people forget this simple item. Don’t forget to forward your mail, update your subscriptions and by all means if you have cable or satellite internet, be sure you have it ready to go when you arrive. In today’s world, access to the internet is a necessity and not being able to get online in your new home will be frustrating.
While you’re thinking of lists, make a complete list of every box and the contents of each box. A good idea is to photograph the contents of the box and tape it to the box itself. This will give you a quick reminder of the contents so you don’t have to go crazy opening up every box to find the essential things you need.
Your realtor should have already given you the advice to pack up non-essential and personal items before your home was listed, but if you still have a lot of stuff to pack, better to start early than waiting for the last minute. A good tip is to rid your home of every item that is not necessary in your new home. Throw or give away old clothes, shoes, books, dishes, kitchen items, and even furniture early. For many people it is hard to give things away, but doing so before moving will save you money by not paying for it to be moved, and a lot of time when you unpack.
If you have old towels or linens, save those for packing your breakable items. Also, begin stocking up on newspapers early as you’ll need a lot of them as well.
Important items like jewelry and documents like birth certificates and tax returns as well as other items you will need easy access to during or after the move should be packed separately and kept where they can’t be lost or misplaced. Keep them separate from other boxes and don’t put any labels on them that might give away the contents to prying eyes.
When the house is empty and before the moving truck leaves, do a thorough walkthrough with another person to make sure you haven’t left something behind. There is a great story about a woman who was moving to a distant city and after she sent the movers away realized that the chair she had been sitting on while the movers emptied her home was left behind. That large chair had to make the trip in the back seat of an already over-crowded car and over quite a long distance, too!
Being considerate to the next family moving in is a matter of common courtesy. Leave your old home clean and free of debris and clutter. This is especially true if you are a tenant because a landlord may feel inclined to charge you for cleaning and repairs made for the next tenants.
Before your movers arrive or you begin to unload and unpack, thoroughly clean your new home. It is easier and faster to do this before the house gets filled with boxes and furniture. This is one of the items that should be on your checklist and arranged for prior to moving.
Another good idea is to measure and make a floor plan of your new home so you can plan in advance where your furniture will go. You’re paying the movers by the hour so having a general idea of where things should go and be arranged in advance will save you time, money and a sore back.
If you have pets, you need to think about what you will do with them and how they will be transported. This can be problematic if you have pets like fish which require special packaging and preparation of tanks. But even dogs and cats can be a concern because moving creates a lot of stress on them. Some forethought will keep your pets happy, safe and well adjusted.
The bottom line is you can never plan enough when you are moving. The earlier you start thinking about it, the smarter and easier your move will be for all concerned.