Whether you are moving to be closer to family, relocating for a job or downsizing, moving can be stressful. Here are nine smart moves to ease the pain of moving.
1. Minimize Beforehand
Minimizing might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t do it. Moving time is the perfect time to sort through your stuff. Be ruthless; it will pay off later. Clean out your closets, basement, and garage. Donate, give away, or sell anything you haven’t used in the last year. Throw away tatty or broken household items. If you haven’t fixed it already, you probably won’t fix it later. Return items you have borrowed. Consider donating used furniture to college kids or someone in need. It might be cheaper to pick up a sofa at the other end, rather than paying to haul your old one across the country. A good goal is to try to reduce your household by 1/3. The chances are you probably aren’t using 1/3 of what you are storing anyway. You might even be able to rent a smaller moving truck and save some money!
2. Create a Moving File
You can find all kinds of moving checklists online, like the one from Real Simple. Create files according to categories like receipts, to-do lists before you leave, and to-do lists when you arrive, etc. You can also put together a go-to contact list of need to know numbers, such as the pharmacy closest to your new place or the kids’ new schools. Also, file any legal documents and contracts (like a moving van contract).
3. Plan Ahead
Are you moving closer to family or friends? Ask if one of them will take the kids while you move in or petsit at their place while you shuffle boxes into your new home. Setting up help ahead of time will ensure things go more smoothly, and no one gets overlooked in the hustle and bustle of moving day. Maybe your relative or friend can run to the store and pick up starter items like milk and sandwich fixings to get you through for a couple of days.
4. Plan to Pack
Make time in your schedule to pack. Don’t squeeze it in among all of your other obligations. Throwing stuff in a box without thinking about it is easy. Organizing will make it much easier for you when you unpack your new place, set time aside to pack mindfully.
5. Pack Strategically
Be prepared. Collect boxes, newspapers, markers, tape and other packing supplies about six weeks before you move. Store them in an accessible place. Five weeks out from your move, pack up all the things you are not using. Each day make it a goal to pack up a box. Keep like things with like. Don’t mix bathroom things with the shoes in your closet just because they are in the same general area (like your master bedroom and bath).
6. Label Everything
I cannot emphasize the importance of labeling! I use colored tape and color code each room. I know just from looking at the tape where a box belongs. It helps the moving people too if you have hired them. I also label each side and top of the box. That way I can look at a stack of boxes and know what is in that box. It will come in handy if you have to get to a particular box in the middle of a moving truck (because you have accidentally packed your meds!)
7. Envolve the Family
Get everyone in on the action. You don’t have to do it all yourself. The kiddos can go through their things and declutter. Give them a box to fill with items to be donated. You might have to take a look later, but they will have done the major sorting. Assign a person or two to group things together. Perhaps your teenage son can collect all the sports equipment, and your daughter can gather all things pet related. Delegating other members of the family will help cut down the stress of having to do it all yourself.
8. Attend to the Details
Make sure you pick up a change of address card at the Post Office. You will need to notify your bank, employers, credit cards, insurance and utility companies of the changes too. Don’t forget to change auto ship addresses and the addresses in your online shopping accounts. Make a list of all the places you have changed addresses and the date you made the change, so you don’t have to second-guess if you called the power company, or not.
9. At Your Fingertips
There are four things you should have at your fingertips. First, you should have your moving file with all of the important contacts and contracts. If you need to check in on things or call someone from the road, the numbers will be accessible. Secondly, you will want a small suitcase or overnight bag with a couple of changes of clothes. If you roll into your new place late, you will want to be able to brush your teeth and change into night clothes before crashing. Thirdly, have a box of essentials packed within easy reach. When you arrive at your new home, you will want to find the toilet paper and soap without digging through all of the bathroom boxes! Moreover, last, but not least, keep important things and valuables with you. If your great grandmother’s teapot is precious, don’t leave it to chance. Moving is the perfect time for items to get lost, stolen or broken. Keep track of your wallet, purse, laptops, glasses, medications, charging cords and legal documents. In a time of high stress, you don’t want to add to it by not being able to find something essential.
What are your best moving tricks or tips?