We have moved 8 times in 11 years and I’m fairly confident I could write a book on moving do’s and don’ts! Most of our moves were local, however, we have pulled off a major move spanning 1,000 miles, two 26 ft. Uhauls and two personal vehicles on our own. Quite a caravan! We also hired professional movers for another long distance move. (definitely the better choice!)
If you think you may be moving in the near future or even mid-distant future, begin planning now. You will be glad you did. The statistics are that the average family moves every five years. Clearly, we are above average, folks! Haha.
Here are my best tips when preparing to move:
- Purge. Begin setting aside items you no longer need, want or love to donate or sell. Seriously consider whether it’s worth it or not to pack and haul whatever the item is.
- The Salvation Army makes house calls! We had quite a bit to donate during one of our recent moves and they sent a truck out, loaded it up and away our large pile of donations went…just that easy! (Tax deductible too!)
- If you own your home, decide whether to sell or rent it out. Contact realtor.
- Begin making necessary repairs or upgrades.
- If you rent, notify your landlord of move out date.
- Start deep cleaning. Ask a friend or pay a professional for assistance if needed.
- Research housing, schools, churches, necessary businesses, etc. in your new location. Write notes.
- Collect Cardboard Boxes. Inquire with friends, stores, Craigslist, etc. We actually got a ton of free moving boxes from someone who’d recently moved on Craigslist. That was awesome! (Consider offering yours after your next move.) As a last resort, buy moving boxes. Save your pennies; they’ll be needed elsewhere during your move!
- Purchase copious amounts of packing tape (you always need more than you think!), bubble wrap and black permanent markers.
- Designate a spiral notebook/binder as your “Moving Resource Manual”. Write down all pertinent info. related to the move and always keep it close by. During the busyness of the move, you’ll be organized with necessary phone numbers, dates, etc. It’s also a great place to write “To do” lists.
- Techies can store a lot of info on smart phones, but you will likely still benefit from having a manual.
- Make a list of names/addresses of those you do business with & will need to mail a change of address notice. For many, this can be done online.
- Type up a generic letter with spaces to fill in the name/address/account # for change of address notice. This will save you time and effort. Be sure to include the effective date and your new information and a phone # should they need to contact you.
- Complete a change of address form with the USPS online when you have a concrete moving date. This can be adjusted if dates change.
- Transfer/cancel utility services, security company, lawn care, newspaper or magazine subscriptions.
- If you’re using a moving company, begin getting quotes as early on as possible so you have plenty of time to compare.
- If you’re moving yourself, begin asking family, friends and church family early so they can set aside your moving date on their calendar. Remind via text, email, phone calls a week or so out. People get busy …
- If you have small children, consider a friend or family member who could watch them while you assist with the move.
- Uhaul has this nifty service offered on their website for moving assistance. We had plenty of help loading our Uhauls on the front end of our move, but knew we would need help on the back end. We reserved local moving helpers for a set amount of time via their website! We thought it was very reasonable and well worth every penny! We had the moving helpers assist with the heavy furniture and large items and we unloaded the miscellaneous boxes ourselves. One of the best choices we ever made.
- Begin using up food in the fridge and freezer in the weeks prior to moving. Discard or donate to friends any you don’t use. (We blessed a good friend with spices before a recent move & she was very grateful.)
- Start packing up items that won’t be needed in the weeks prior to the move first. Clearly mark outside of box with black marker for easy identification. I like to mark every side of the box, as well as the top. That way, no matter which side is visible in the moving truck, you know right away what it is without shifting it. Mark “Blankets” and underneath write the room it belongs in – perhaps “Linen Closet”.
- Some may like to color code rooms with colorful stickers. (i.e. Master Bedroom gets a blue sticker, etc.) The problem with this is unless everyone knows the “Code”, it can prove useless. Of course, the master code would be kept in your “Moving Resource Manual”, so you can remember too. I, personally, never found this useful, but some might.
- Try, try, try hard to only put what belongs in, say a box marked “Living Room”, items that actually belong in the living room. That said, when you’re trying to top off a box and it’s the day before the move, your standards may be sorely tested. It just makes it easier on the other end to locate things if they are grouped in the correct room. 😉
- Jewelry and anything of immense value should be kept with you during the move, if possible. Don’t risk it. Obviously, large paintings may not be feasible, but designate a box with your name on it and label it whatever “nickname” you like, so you’ll know to take extra precaution. Yes, you may have insurance if you’re paying movers, but heirlooms or special pieces cannot be replaced.
- Medications and vitamins should also be set aside and kept with you during the move.
- It’s a good idea to designate a box “Shower Essentials” & place towels, washclothes, soap & shampoo inside. This will eliminate much scuffle upon arriving at your new place!
- Pack an overnight bag for each family member (kids can have a backpack) that includes a change of clothes and toiletries, as locating the box marked clothes for each person may take a while, depending on the size of your family/move.
- Be sure to keep cell phone chargers with you.
- Upon locating a new physician and dentist, request your medical and dental records to be transferred.
- Order sandwiches, pizza, Gatorade, water or sodas for moving help. If hiring professional movers, set aside cash for tip.
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The above is, in no way, an exhaustive list, however, it will get you started in the right direction. If I think of any others, I may update the list. The main thing to bear in mind is to plan! Plan, plan and then plan some more. Anticipate your family’s needs and prepare accordingly. Think of every scenario that could happen and provide a contingency plan, if possible.
They say that moving is one of life’s top stressors and I tend to agree. However, with proper planning, the stress can be vastly reduced. Here’s to a positive, productive and smooth moving process, my friend!
What moving advice has helped you the most?