Whether you’re a renter or whether you’re among the 35 percent of homebuyers who are settling into their own home for the first time, you probably have a lot on your mind as you approach your first move. From creating a broad overview to getting down to the nitty-gritty details and then into the execution of the plan, these tips will help you through organizing and carrying out this enormous project.
As Early As Possible
Find the movers you’ll use and get your moving date locked in at least a few months ahead of time. You may also wish to arrange other moving services, such as:
- Car shipping
- Extra insurance for valuables
- Packing services
- Move-out cleaning
- Child care or pet day care
Other tasks to start immediately include downsizing, making travel arrangements, arranging to transfer utilities to your new home (or canceling utilities and finding new providers), and getting paperwork together. Personal documents, medical and vet records, referrals for new doctors and emergency contact info are all included here. Keep this moving paperwork together in a binder or file folder for easy access.
One Month Before the Move
Some tasks to work on a month ahead of time include:
- File a change of address with the post office
- Notify credit cards of your new address
- Find a new bank if necessary
- Have school transcripts sent to your kids’ new school
- Fill prescriptions, then transfer to a pharmacy near your new home
- Start packing (beginning with infrequently used items)
You’ll also need to identify all the things you own that can’t go on the truck, such as:
- Cleaning solutions
- Pets (obviously)
These can either go in the family vehicle or find new homes before the move.
Before Moving Week
Moving week will be filled with last-minute preparations, and you’ll probably be in a rush to finish packing. Before that week arrives, try to complete these tasks:
- Use the perishable foods in your fridge and freezer
- Donate extra non-perishable foods to a food bank
- Take your car in for a tuneup
- Make sure you have equipment for move-out cleaning
Now is the time to wrap up loose ends before the movers arrive. These last-minute tasks include:
- Defrost the refrigerator the day before the move
- Fill nail holes in the wall
- Make a list of everything you’re taking in the family car
Look for online ads for free moving boxes or call local businesses like bookstores, print shops, liquor stores and grocery stores. Ask if they have any extra boxes you can take for free. Next, supply yourself with equipment, such as:
- Permanent markers
- Padding material
- Moving dollies, straps and blankets (if it’s a DIY move)
Using soft items, such as hand towels and dishrags, to pad breakable items can save both money and space. Don’t skimp, though; it’s better to spend money on some bubble wrap than end up with broken dishes because you didn’t have enough hand towels to go around.
Other clever packing strategies you can implement include:
- Use containers you already own (like suitcases, laundry baskets and pots) to pack other things in
- Use plastic wrap to hold dresser drawers shut
- Be sure to pack an overnight bag and an “open first” box
- Pack glassware in wine cases
- Pack plates vertically to reduce chances of breakage
As you put these tips into practice, remember to factor in time to relax and de-stress. If you feel overwhelmed, stop and remind yourself of the good things that await, like better opportunities at work or better schools for your kids. If the moving stress is negatively affecting your health, work or relationships, consider hiring additional moving help. Making your first move doesn’t have to mean doing everything yourself!
Author bio: Kim Schachtele is Director of Consumer Sales at Berger Allied, an agent for Allied Van Lines. Throughout her 13-plus years in the moving industry, Schachtele has held many positions ranging from inside sales to most recently managing Berger Allied’s new call center. Schachtele is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and the Professional Sales Association (PSA).