Let’s face it — one of the most daunting moments in many of our lives involves the process of moving. What begins as an exciting prospect involving a new home and the joys that a new apartment or home ownership offers can often be overshadowed by the logistical needs required to move out of one’s current residence. With proper planning and structure, learn how packing and moving can be done in a manner that won’t ruin the enjoyable moments in your relocation plans.
Two Months Prior to Moving Day
Once you’re aware of an impending move, the first plan is to establish a plan. You’ll need to determine what the needs are for you and your household, as well as making sure that services that are being used now will be covered once the move is completed. This ranges from cable and internet to school district timelines, as well as the actual moving needs:
- If you will use a mover, get a few estimates from moving companies.
- If you will move yourself, get costs from at least two truck rental companies.
- Create a floor plan of your new home for furniture and appliance placement. Use our Home Planner.
- Make an inventory of your household goods and begin to remove clutter (start with the basement, attic, garage, and other storage areas).
- Start a file for all your moving paperwork (estimates, receipts, etc.).
- Arrange to transfer school records.
- Choose a mover (or truck rental company).
- Get your new home ready — Contact painters, carpenters, plumbers, roofers etc., so your home is ready when you arrive. Remember to change the locks on all the doors in your new home.
- Visit Smoothmoves.com for tips on moving with children.
Six Weeks Prior to Moving Day
Now that you’re a month and a half out from your move-out/move-in date, segment your time wisely between downscaling your footprint in your current residence and ramping up the discovery of what your new neighborhood provides. If you’re moving close to where you live now, this should be a breeze. If you’re moving much further than your current city, dive into learning more about what the new town offers:
- Obtain and fill out post office change-of-address cards.
- Subscribe to the paper in your new hometown to learn more about your new community.
- Make arrangements for storage if necessary.
- Ask your doctor or health plan provider for referrals, and obtain all medical records.
- Have antiques, pieces of art, and other valuables appraised.
- Clean all closets and drawers.
- Start using foods and cleaning supplies that cannot be moved.
Four Weeks Prior to Moving Day
Schedule disconnection of all utility services at your old home, and connection of them at your new one. Be sure to disconnect the day after you leave and connect the day before you arrive. If you have “last month” deposits with services, such as the telephone company, request your refund.
- If you are moving yourself, reserve a rental truck.
- If you are packing yourself, obtain packing materials and start packing items you won’t need until after you arrive at your new house.
- Arrange for cleaning and repair of furniture, drapes, and carpeting.
- Arrange for special transportation of your pets and plants if necessary.
- Check with your insurance company to see how your possessions are covered during transit.
- Make any travel plans necessary for your move.
- Check to see if you need any moving permits.
- Plan your moving sale. Remember to check with local authorities about restrictions.
- Collect your important records – Gather personal and family records, including medical and dental, veterinary and school records; legal and financial documents; birth certificates, passports and insurance documents.
Three Weeks Prior to Moving Day
Now that the above has been taken care of, begin focusing on reducing the amount of “stuff” that you’ll be taking with you. A moving sale is ideal for ridding yourself of unwanted items (while making a little extra money in the process), and these can be a blessing if you live in a neighborhood or in a well-populated area and advertise it the right way:
- Properly dispose of items that cannot be moved, such as flammable liquids.
- Prepare auto registration for transfer (if moving to another state).
- If you are moving in or out of an apartment, arrange for use of the elevator.
- Make child-care arrangements for moving day.
- Hold your moving sale.
Two Weeks Prior to Moving Day
- Arrange for disposal of anything not sold at your moving sale.
- Service your car in preparation for the move. If you’re moving from a warm climate to a cold one, check your antifreeze.
- Return any borrowed items (including library books) and retrieve any loaned items.
- Cancel newspaper delivery.
- Notify any creditors of your move.
- Transfer prescriptions and be sure you have an adequate supply of medications on hand.
- Assemble a file folder of information to leave for the new owner of your home.
- Change your address — One week before your move, send change-of-address cards to everyone who will need to contact you.
- Pick up laundry – Laundry tickets are easy to misplace, so ask for your things by name and not just by the receipts you have.
- Pack a travel kit: Put aside critical items like a checkbook, credit cards, personal phone book, ID, flashlight, keys, toiletries, tools, paper plates, cups, towels, travel alarm clock, aspirin, bandages and games for the kids. Also, pack a suitcase with clothing and other personal items.
One Day Prior to Moving Day
- Transfer your bank accounts.
- Take animals to vet for immunization, if necessary.
- Close and empty your safe-deposit box.
- Settle any bills with local businesses.
- Drain power equipment of oil and gas. Drain water hoses.
- Find new homes for plants that will not be moved.
- Confirm any travel reservations.
- Drain your waterbed.
- Defrost refrigerator and freezer, propping doors open.
- Let movers pack your belongings (unless it’s a do-it-yourself move).
- Disconnect and prepare major appliances for move.
- Set aside anything that will travel in your car so it will not be loaded on the truck.
- Pack a box of items that will be needed first at the new house. Clearly mark this box “Load Last.”
- Obtain cash or traveler’s checks for the trip and to pay the movers.
- Confirm arrival time of your moving van/truck.
- If moving yourself, dismantle beds and other large furniture.
Once moving day arrives, you’ll find that your time will be spent on numerous pressing needs, and if you’ve followed the above plan, you may be pleasantly surprised how smooth this day will play out. Focus on final touches and making sure that your possessions and former residence are both attended to adequately, and enjoy your new home!
- If using a mover, be sure someone is at the old house to answer questions.
- Note all utility meter readings.
- Read your bill of lading and inventory carefully before signing. Keep this paperwork in a safe place.
- Delivery Day — Again, be on hand to answer any questions.
- Check your belongings carefully and note on the inventory paperwork any damaged items.
- On an interstate move, be prepared to pay the driver before your possessions are unloaded.
- Supervise unloading and unpacking.
- Be prepared to pay your mover with cash, certified check, or traveler’s checks unless other arrangements have been made in advance