Having moved 13 times since I married my husband of 14 years, I know how stressful moving could be. Experiencing some of the challenges through all these moves, along with our daughter, pets, and an ever-growing number of accumulated belongings, I have learned that with proper planning and state of mind, stress can be lessened if not completely eliminated. We’ve moved for different reasons- job transfer, financial reasons, upgrading to a bigger home, wanting a home with a pool, wanting a warmer climate, then wanting a colder climate, and so on and so forth.
Our stay in each home ranges from 6 months to 3 years. It seems for a period there we really got bitten by the “moving bug”. Some of our friends do not write down our addresses and phone numbers in pens anymore, they write them in pencils so they can easily erase and change our information! They say moving is one of the stressful events one can have in their lifetime, multiply that by 13 you can imagine how high that stress level could be. And if the reason for moving is changing jobs, which is another stressful event, your stress level can hit through the roof, resulting in some couples ending up in therapy. Luckily, my husband and I did not have to go through that. Through research, and experience, we have been able to come up with our own ways to relieve stress on our moves.
Even when you have just started house hunting, it would be wise that you plan your move ahead of time. There are things to consider, estimate the date you plan on moving, list the things to do before you move and do your time tracking. If you have decided you really want to move, whether finding that next place takes 30 days, 6 months, or even a year, planning your time frame ahead can save you time.
Do a countdown list from buying boxes for your move, packing your belongings, calling and scheduling an appointment with the movers to come down to give you a free estimate. If you do not plan on using professional movers and you have friends who would easily lend their helping hands, you may want to start calling them up this early so that you can get into their schedule of activities. You would also like to request your days off from work ahead of time, so that your employer knows to block those dates and consider the total staff count.
You do not want to wait until the last minute, you may not get the days off because somebody else has it. Working while moving is something you would not want to do. Aside from this distracting your productivity at work, you can get irritated easily because your mind is somewhere else. Next, you need to also consider the time frame for when you would do your evaluation of what you need to get rid off from the things that you currently own, as well as schedule the dates you may want to schedule a garage sale, etc. If you are selling your home, you would want to consider the actual sale of your home as the basis for the move.
If you haven’t found your next place yet and you are planning to sell your current home first, you can budget your time wisely to include preparing your home for sale, like sprucing up your home and addressing some repairs if needed. Likewise, include the days you would be showing your home to prospective buyers because that could eat up a valuable part of your time. Nevertheless, it is something that you would want to get it over with first so that you can move on with your next move.
If you are a renter, you would want to think about arranging your move out date with your landlord. If you have finished your lease, consider signing up for a month to month lease. It is wise to give your landlord at least 60 days advanced notice so that your landlord would have enough time to get the place rented when you leave.
Keeping organized and giving some allowance for unexpected changes in schedule can keep your sanity in this double effort.
You can start packing up your belongings ahead of time that you would not need while you await your move, you can securely store them in your garage. Some people opt to store their belongings in a storage facility, there are some companies that would allow you to do a month to month storage and give you competitive rates. This will be good if you do not have enough space in your house to put the boxes aside. When selling your home, it is a good idea to keep those boxes out of site of potential buyers for they can distract the buyer’s attention and give an illusion that you do not have enough space in your house. Some buyers, especially the less seasoned ones, would not be able to picture the actual living space of your home if they cannot see it. So even if you have to pay for the storage, think of this as an investment that would come back if you can sell your home quicker.
As you go through the items that you would pack up, analyze if those items are things you can’t live without. In my personal experience, my husband would set aside our boxes that I have not looked at for several months. He would ask me to guess what is inside those boxes; chances are if I do not know, I do not need. True enough, even after I opened them up, there are only a few items I would want to keep- some are heirlooms and mementos. But those other things I can live without would either end up at a Salvation Army and Goodwill Store for donation or end up in the “for sale” pile if we are planning on a garage sale. The ones that we think would not qualify for a donation or sale end up in the garbage bags. You hit two birds with one stone by accomplishing this. You eliminate bringing into your next home more clutter and you save money by not paying storage to keep your items or to pay for the items to be moved.
You can start packing little by little; pack 2 to 4 boxes each day. Before you know it, the only things remaining would be the big items and day to day essentials that you will pack closer to your move date. Invest in durable boxes; it can save you a lot of headache, not to mention money, when your items are well protected. Use bubble wraps to protect the fragile items you are packing (example: china, frames, glasses, etc.). One tip that we learned on our 3rd move is that to avoid pointing to the movers where to put the boxes, label the boxes with the location you would want to put them. Count the number of boxes in each room, label them with numbers. Then run a total of all the boxes. This way you can track any items that may be loss or misplaced. Speaking of tracking, it’s not a bad idea to keep a packing list. It makes it easier to find things that you need right away after you move.
Depending on the situation, this can be done while you are packing up or after packing up. Whether or not you are selling your current home or moving from a rented apartment, you would need to make sure that the property you are vacating is in good condition. When selling a home, you may need to do a lot of things to get it ready for sale. This may mean re-painting the interior and exterior walls of your house, checking items that need to be repaired and clean up or “stage” for showing prospective buyers whether by appointment or open house. Check your landscaping, see what needs to be done. Prune flowers and trees. If you are a renter, if you do the normal clean up and touch up paint, you will get your full security deposit back if you leave the property in a good condition.
If you see that with all the repairs and clean up that you do both inside and outside of your home would accumulate a lot of garbage, arrange for extra garbage collection. You would still need to do a final clean up as you do your final walk through on the day of your move, unless you plan on coming back for another day to do the final clean up (this is not a bad idea especially if you are not moving too far away).
If you plan on hiring professionals to help you move, call at least 5 moving companies to set up an appointment ahead of time for a free estimate. Select the best possible bids or options. Although price may be a factor, consider what is covered and how many movers to they have to do the job. It may be cheaper to hire only 2 movers but if they charge by the hour you will lose more money because they are slower compared to 4 or 5 movers that can finish in half the time. Time saved is also money saved in the long run. So think about the bottom line, insurance coverage and liability when choosing the best moving company that would do the job. There may be hidden charges so ask questions and research before you make your decision. Ask for references or better yet, if you have friends that moved before using professional movers, ask for their numbers if they have a positive experience.
After you have thoroughly made the decision, confirm the dates and sign the contract with the moving company. Make sure that they send you the garment boxes, frame boxes before the day of your move so you can have them ready before the day of the move.
At least 2 weeks prior to your move, notify the post office of you new address. Have them move your mail to the new address to coincide on the day of your move. Make sure to notify the bank of your move, as well as the credit card companies, as your bill arrives, show make those changes on the return payment form. You may also want to advice your church diocese that you would be moving, for religious folks, getting the spiritual blessings before the move can ease up a lot of worries and woes.
Notify your child’s school and daycare at least a month before your move. Get your child’s school records at least a week before your move. If you are moving while school is still on, make sure to have your child’s record transferred to the new school at least 2 weeks before. Arrange with the teacher to have your child complete additional school work and projects. Luckily, before you even got your new place you would have already considered the schools and/or daycare in the area. At least 2 weeks before your move you should already enroll your child to the new school and/or daycare so that your child will not miss school time.
Hospital & Dental
Notify your doctor and dentist of your move at last a month before. Make sure to get updated information from them that you may need. You may need to do your last visit before your move, to take care of prescriptions that you may need. This way you will not run out in case you have not chosen a new physician in your new location.
If you have pets, make sure to notify their vet and get a copy of their records. Also check that you keep enough food and water for them for the move. If you have more than one dog, in our case we had 5, use big kennels to move them. Movers may not move your pet that means you have to have enough space to transport them. If you do not own an SUV or truck, you can rent a cargo container specific for pets that you can attach to your car to haul them. Arrange for this rental at least 2 weeks before the move for they may have limited on hand.
Services to Move
Take into consideration the services you would want to stop at your current home that you would want to start on the new one. This includes the phone service, cable/satellite dish service, internet provider, water, electricity, gas, garbage collection. Double-check that these services are working at the new place at least a couple of days prior to your move date. If you have hired help – like someone doing your lawn, etc, make sure to give them their final payment and stop the service. Stop your newspaper subscription as well, unless you can move it to your new location.
Organize Personal Records
Make sure to keep updated information in a folder. It would be wise to keep your personal records that include your financial records, insurance, tax records, passports, etc. in a separate box. Do not include this box on the things that will be moved by the movers. Handle this box yourself. Keep it in a safe place.
Wake up early, eat a hearty breakfast. Get ready and pack up the daily essentials. Put some items you would need in your car, like medication, spare clothes, and toiletries. Put away the valuables, like jewelries and purses and lock them up inside your car. Have bottled water and snacks handy as well in case you are in for a long ride, you would need some refreshments.
If you are moving to a place close to your current home, consider moving small items ahead of time. Especially if these items are the valuable ones you want to move yourself, like jewelries, perishable items. It is also a good idea to fill up your new place with food in the pantry and refrigerator first before your day of the actual move.
Make sure your car has enough gas and that you have checked your car’s condition. This is especially important when you are moving far away.
Check up on the packed boxes and start clearing the path for the movers. By this time, the items that you have in storage should either have already been picked up by you unless you already notified the movers that you wanted them to pick these up en route to your new location.
Make sure that every box is labeled and accounted for. Give detailed instructions to your movers. Have a game plan; print out a map or directions for the movers in case they lose you on the way. Post signs at each room corresponding to the labels that you have put on your boxes to guide the movers to where your boxes will go. Direct the flow of traffic and be available for questions.
When the dust settles…
After all the boxes and your belonging have been safely moved in, you do not have to be pressured to unpack right away. Try to take it easy on your first day at home. You have the rest of your days in that house to go over the things that you need to do to get settled. If you must unpack that same day, try to do only the ones that you would need right away. You do not have to stress out getting your new place ready in just one day. Besides, you would like to organize your things accordingly, so unpacking without a proper game plan, can be a waste of time and energy because you will find yourself moving things several times if you do not.