The key to moving is being prepared and organized. Whether you have friends helping with the move or are hiring a moving company, there are several steps that can make the moving process easier.
6-8 Weeks Before Moving
- Clean out all storage areas, the garage, shed, basement and attic
- Create a file to keep for all moving documentation in
- Make arrangements to have your children’s school records sent to the new school (if applicable)
- Contact your insurance company to notify them of the move
- If renting, verify with the landlord when notice of move-out needs to be given to make sure you have enough time to give notice
- Start comparison shopping for a moving company or moving truck. Check pricing as well as availability for the date you are planning the move
- Start organizing and removing all items you do not intend to keep. Organize a garage sale, donate items to charity, give items to friends or throw away
- Get copies of all records you will need from your attorney, doctor, school, veterinarian, etc.
- Cancel any clubs or memberships you will no longer need at the new home that cannot be transferred.
2-4 Weeks Before Moving
- Get moving supplies (boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap, etc.) and start packing the items that are rarely used
- Call utility companies (gas, electric, water, sewer) and schedule the transfer of utilities or disconnection dates
- Complete a change of address form with the post office. Give friends and family your new address as well as: schools, banks, doctors/dentists, loans, churches, credit cards, insurance, social security, attorney, accountant, etc.
- Compile documents such as birth certificates, financial documents, credit card numbers, etc. and keep them in a safe place
- Schedule phone service at your new home
- Confirm arrangements for your children and/or pets for moving day (stay at a friends, kennel)
- Clean out refrigerator and use the perishable items that cannot be moved
- Transfer or discontinue newspaper and magazine subscriptions
- Create driving directions for the moving company
- Remove all items from the safety deposit box and cancel
- All oil and gas should be removed from equipment or tools (lawn mowers, weed whips, snow blowers, etc.)
- If you are traveling a long distance, have your vehicle serviced
- Confirm the move time with the moving company or rental truck
- Determine how the home will be cleaned for the new occupant and make the arrangements
- Place items relating to the home in one location to take to closing to give to the new owner (warranties, keys, condominium documents, association information and anything else relating to the home or neighborhood)
- Pack moving files and valuables in the vehicle you will be driving
- Check the entire home before leaving to verify everything is packed and loaded on the truck
- Make sure all windows and doors are locked and turn in keys to landlord if renting
- Meet the movers at the new home to supervise the unloading of the truck
If you decide to pack yourself keep the following things in mind.
- Have everything packed and ready before moving day, except for items needed for that evening and the next day or longer depending on the length of the move
- If using a moving company, confirm they will move items not packed by their company
- Make sure items that are stored most of the year, such as seasonal decorations, are repacked to make sure no damage will occur during shipping
To ensure your items are safe from damage during the moving process make sure plenty of packing materials are used. The most common items needed are:
- Tissue paper
- Bubble wrap and foam peanuts
- Permanent markers
- Paper & pen to inventory items
- Packing tape
- Scissors or box cutters
Make sure items are wrapped carefully. When using newspaper in place of tissue or bubble wrap make sure that the ink from the newspaper will not cause damage to that item. Some other items to remember:
- The bottom of the box should be lined with crinkled paper causing a cushion for items to be placed in the box
- Wrap items with multiple sheets of packing material
- Do not overload boxes
- All heavy items should be placed at the bottom of the box with lighter items at the top of the box
- Before closing the box make sure to add more crinkled paper at the top of the box for cushion
- Boxes should not weigh more than 50 lbs. Books and plates should be packed vertically
- Label each box with a permanent marker with information such as type of items, room location in the new home, which end of the box is the top, if the contents are fragile or breakable and your name
- All items that are similar should be packed together
- Tape the bottom of boxes multiple times to reduce the risk of the box opening
Moving with Children
Moving can be a difficult time for children. Discussing the positive reasons for the move can help make the process easier as can showing them the new neighborhood and home. Having them be involved with the moving process can also help (organize, decide which items to move, sell in a garage sale, etc.)
Depending upon the age of the children, it may be best for them stay with a friend or relative on moving day. If this is not possible, and they are not old enough to help with the move, design a plan to have their favorite toys or games close by. Have them stay in one area to prevent them or others from getting hurt (tripping, items dropped).
Once the move is complete, allow them to help with the decorating and organizing of their new bedroom. Unpacking their bedroom first and maintaining as many routines as possible is also helpful. Meeting new friends is a great way to make the move go smoothly. Having a house warming party will help you and your children get to know your neighbors and the neighborhood.
Moving with Pets
Pets can have just as difficult a time as children during the moving process. Keeping a routine with your pet is just as important as with children.
Before moving, schedule a veterinarian visit for a routine exam. Make sure all vaccines are up to date and purchase additional medication to cover the time it will take to find a new veterinarian. Get copies medical records and rabies certificate to give to the new veterinarian. Discuss with your veterinarian the need for giving your pet a sedative if you feel the process may cause too much stress on your pet. The veterinarian is a great person to ask for pet moving tips.
Update your pet’s ID tags with new phone number and address. A collar with ID tags should be on your pet at all times during the move. Keep recent photos, medical records, leash, toys, vet’s phone number, plastic bags to pick up waste, blanket or bed and food and water in your vehicle during the move.
If your pet will be traveling by plane, try to schedule a direct flight to prevent long periods of time in a crate. Use an airline that will have an employee carry the pet on and off the plane.
On moving day keep pets isolated in one room with their toys, food and water. Put a note on the door for people not to disturb the room. Check on your pets frequently and be sensitive to their needs and insecurities.