It doesn’t take long for a move to feel like a momentous and overwhelming occasion. Not only are you deciding to relocate your life, sometimes far away, but you also have to figure out how to get all your stuff to your new home. Managing the details can make it feel like maybe you should just stay put, but the reasons why people move are important. Here’s what you should keep track of, once you decide to move, to have the best possible experience.
After you’ve completed your search for your next apartment, signed your lease and scheduled a moving day, it’s time to get to work. There are a lot of details associated with moving, from packing up your stuff to deciding how you’ll move everything. It’s much easier to get through all the tasks associated with moving if you can do one or two each day. The trick is to start as early as you can by sketching out a game plan that prevents you from doing all your move prep at the last minute. By gradually building up to your move, you’ll decrease stress levels a lot.
Based on what is in your lease, determine your moving day and schedule your move. You need to make sure you can make the move happen on the right day regardless of how you move your stuff. However, deciding how you want to move will help inform you on what steps you need to take. If you’re planning on moving yourself, in your own vehicle, you may want to ask a friend or two to block off the day to help. Offer to feed them throughout the day in exchange for their time. If all your stuff won’t fit in your car, you’ll need to reserve a moving van or larger vehicle.
If moving yourself you’ll need to hire movers. Because finding the right movers, at the right price, can take a little time, you want to begin collecting estimates as early as possible. Once you find the right movers, lock in your moving day by signing a contract.
Knowing how you’ll move your stuff can help you decide how many days off work you’ll need for your move. With movers, it’s often less expensive to move during the week, so you may want to take off a day or two leading into the weekend. This gives you a few extra days to unpack as well. Doing things on your own may require you to take a little more time off, breaking up the move over a few days. Remember, this process is exhausting no matter how you do it, so add in some time to recover.
After you decide how many days you need, request the time off well in advance to make sure there’s no issue with missing work. This also allows you to plan ahead at the office, getting projects done in advance so you won’t have to think about work while you’re concentrating on moving.
Most utility companies let you set up and disconnect utilities remotely. This way you can schedule service start or stoppage in advance. Not only does this enable you to stop paying for things like electricity, gas or water in your old place from the day you move, but it allows you to make sure everything is turned on in your new home on the right day.
For utilities like cable or internet that often require an in-person visit, you should set a reminder to schedule an install appointment at least three weeks before you move. You should be able to pick your date if you schedule that far in advance. It also ensures that you’ll get everything set up as close to your move in as possible. This means you won’t get stuck in your new apartment with only your cell phone reception to rely on for the internet.
One of the hardest things to keep track of when moving is changing your address. The best way to get in front of this is to begin having your mail forwarded starting on moving day. Set up an email for all friends and family with your new address to go out about a week before you move. Don’t forget to put the day the new address goes into effect. You’ll want to change your address with the US Post Office as well to ensure that your mail is forwarded. You’ll also need to change your address with all the delivery services you use online. Everything from Amazon to DoorDash will need your new address. You don’t want anything sent to the wrong place, especially if it’s your dinner. Go through the apps on your phone a day or two before you move and start making changes.
You’ll also need to update your address with your bank, credit card companies and doctors’ offices. Many places that don’t mail things to you will need your new contact information, just in case.
How much stuff you have directly impacts the amount of time you’ll need to pack. It also can tell you how many packing supplies you’ll need. It’s best to pack a little bit each day, over a longer period of time, rather than pulling a few all-nighters to get it done the week before you move. To do this, you’ll need enough boxes, packing tape, paper and permanent markers. Get about 25 percent more than you think you’ll need for most supplies, but double-up on tape. Make sure you have a strong pair of scissors too.
Any items you don’t use, even boxes, can be returned to most packing stores. You can also buy or rent plastic storage bins if you don’t want to create a lot of waste in your move. These can double as storage boxes once you’re settled into your new place. You can also save a lot of money by looking for used boxes. Many people post online, after they’ve moved, offer up their boxes for free. Groceries, package stores and other large retail shops may give boxes away on certain days. It never hurts to ask.
Moving is a great time to overhaul your stuff, getting rid of everything you don’t really use or need anymore. While some items may hold too much nostalgia to part with, others are just sitting around collecting dust. Lighten the load you have to move by getting rid of those things. Clean out your closets and drawers. Pack everything up and donate it to a worthy cause, whether it’s a local charity or a bigger organization like The Salvation Army. You can donate furniture you won’t use in your new place to many of these organizations. Most will even pick up your stuff.
Remember the 30-pound rule as you are packing. Keeping boxes at or under this weight limit can make moving easier overall. It decreases the risk of a box breaking mid-move. As you stack boxes, put the heavier ones at the bottom, lightest boxes on top and label everything. Labels can be as general as which room the box belongs in, although adding a few additional details can help you prioritize what you want to open first. It’s also easier to locate key items in a pinch.
Creating an “open first” box full of the primary essentials for each room can make unpacking easier. You may want to create a more detailed inventory of what’s in each box and how many boxes you pack per room, to keep track of everything as well.
Not everything belongs in a box when you pack. Certain items shouldn’t get grouped in with everything else; they need to ride with you to your new place. This includes hard-to-replace items and valuables. Things like your birth certificate and your jewelry shouldn’t be abandoned to a random box. Group all your important papers and special items into one container and hand-carry it yourself.
You’ll also want to pack a suitcase as if you’re going on a trip, and keep it with you. Pack enough clothing and toiletries for about three days, so you’ll have what you need to live in your new home without needing to search through boxes.
The remaining arrangements to make before you move are for the other special family members coming with you. For pets, book a pet sitter or board your pet on the day of the move to make sure they’re out of the way and safe. If you’re going far enough away to need a new vet, get copies of your pet’s medical records to have at the ready.
If moving with kids requires they switch schools, prepare in advance by getting copies of your children’s records from their current school. Also, contact the new school for enrollment or transfer procedures.
Even before you move in, it doesn’t hurt to spend a day or two exploring the area around your new home. You can use this as an excuse to take a break from unpacking after move-in day. Meet some neighbors, check out the surrounding area and find the closest grocery, bar or coffee shop. Knowing what’s around makes it easier to get last-minute necessities for your new place.