Sooner or later pretty much everyone moves. Whether it’s moving out of your parents’ home as a young adult, buying your first house, relocating for a new opportunity or downsizing in retirement. Studies show Americans move an average of 12 times during their life. I guess that makes me above average as I’ve had 19 different addresses in my life. But then, I grew up in a military family—at least for the first few moves.
So, I’ve had a little experience moving and, at least during my adult years, they have all been do-i t-yourself moves. We’ve scrounged the boxes and rented the truck. During our last two moves, though, we got smart and rented a truck for someone else to drive. So much nicer when you are moving a long distance.
Whether you are moving across town or across the country, moving is a big job. To do it sanely and economically it requires a great deal of planning. Waiting until the day before, or even the week before, your move is a sure recipe for disaster. To help you survive your move, you’ll find a free downloadable checklist (no opt-in required!) at the bottom of this post.
For your next move, here are ten tips to help with making your move easier.
- Get estimates from movers. Whether you are using a full-service mover, a cross-country hauler or renting a truck and driving yourself, begin getting estimates so you can budget for both time and expenses. Getting quotes from different types of movers will help you see which is the best choice is for you.
- Begin collecting moving boxes. You can buy them new, check with friends and neighbors who have moved recently, check craigslist for free or low-cost used moving boxes or check with local businesses that might be willing to part with their used boxes. Word or warning—be wary of using produce or meat boxes from the market. Boxes that have contained this type of food can sometimes harbor little pests you don’t want to move with you to your new home. If your goods are going to be in storage for a while, you may want to consider using plastic storage boxes for packing.
- Pack and purge. Begin going through less-used items. Decide what you really need to move with you and what you are ready to part with. Bear in mind that moving costs are calculated both by space and weight so moving unnecessary items not only costs you money in the move but means you have to figure out what to do with them when you get to your new home.
- Create an Unpack-Me-First box. Put the supplies you’ll need for your first night in your new place together in one box—things like bedding, bath linens and supplies, disposable dinnerware, and similar items that will reduce the stress of moving day and eliminate that frantic first-night hunt when you’re already exhausted and stressed.
- Pack out-of-season items first. If you’re moving in the winter, sort through and pack summer clothes and supplies that you know you won’t need until after the move. If you’re up to it, once you finish the purge, generate some extra cash and dispose of your unneeded items with a yard sale. For bigger ticket items, consider selling them online through a site like Craigslist. If a yard sale seems overwhelming, donate the items to your favorite charity. The tax deduction is often worth more than the garage sale profits.
- Begin notifying people of your new address. For personal correspondents, consider creating a change of address e-mail or moving announcement with all of your new contact information. Pick up a change of address packet from the postal service and make sure your mail is forwarded. Notify subscriptions and creditors of your new information. Most of the time this can be done through the company website.
- Clean the pantry. Inventory your pantry and plan menus that will use up as much of your food on hand as possible, especially perishables. Not only with this make moving simpler but it might also save you a few more dollars as you prepare to move.
- Make your travel arrangements. Whether you’re driving a rental truck across country or just moving the family, determine how you’ll get to your new home, whether you need to purchase plane tickets or arrange for lodging along the way. And don’t forget a place to stay on your last night in your old town and your first night at your new city. And if you’re moving pets, make sure you know how they’ll get to your destination. Make sure hotels and airlines can accommodate them–not all do.
- Arrange for utility disconnections and service transfers.
- Organize and pack essential documents. Whether it’s the kids’ immunization records, birth certificates and social security cards to enroll them in their new school, or critical medical records and prescription information, these are documents you will want to transport with you to your new home instead of trusting them to a moving truck.
What are your best moving tips? What has worked to help make your moves go smoothly? Please share your thoughts and suggestions below.
And click the button below to download my moving checklist. No opt-in here. It’s my gift for you.
It has much more than is in the article, and it will definitely help you with making your move easier and less stressful.