Moving to a new home can be both exciting and stressful. A recent survey by Harvard University found that around 40 million Americans relocate each year.
While moving presents new opportunities, inadequate preparation can lead to forgotten items and unnecessary expenses. By planning, you can ensure your move goes smoothly. This article outlines ten essential things to prepare for a big move.
1. Sort and purge belongings
The first step is to thoroughly sort your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. This is an opportune time to purge items you no longer need. Be ruthless and honest about what you use.
Have a garage sale, donate to charity, or sell furniture, electronics, and more using online platforms. Fewer possessions mean less packing, moving, and unpacking.
2. Obtain moving supplies
Gather moving supplies at least two weeks in advance. Essentials include boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, furniture pads, mattress bags, and permanent markers.
Keep these tips in mind when buying:
- Buy quality thick tape that won’t easily rip.
- Bubble wrap and furniture pads prevent damage to fragile and delicate items.
- Mattress bags protect mattresses from dirt, stains, and bed bugs
- Permanent markers help you label boxes by room.
3. Hire a moving company
For long-distance or cross-country moves, consider hiring local experts who can make your task relatively easier. When looking for companies, check the services of reputable names in the industry, like Coleman Worldwide Moving. As an experienced moving company since 1936, Coleman Worldwide Movers offers full-service moves for households and businesses. They handle packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. With over 375 locations globally, they coordinate seamless interstate and international relocations. Coleman has a 97% referral rate and a 4.8/5 rating on Trustpilot. Their movers are fully licensed, insured, and background-checked for safety. For a free quote, visit their website.
4. Create a moving binder
Stay organized by creating a moving binder that contains important information and contacts in one place. Essential documents to include are:
- Real estate records
- Mortgage/rental documents
- School records
- Medical records
- Utility bills
- Change of address forms
- Driver’s licenses
- Vehicle registration
- Insurance policies
While this is just the typical list, include any other critical paperwork. Also, list relevant contacts like your real estate agent, utility companies, banks, doctors, schools, insurance providers, and more.
5. Plan for transporting valuables
Make arrangements to safely transport valuables like jewelry, artwork, cash, collectibles, and essential documents yourself. Don’t risk movers losing them. Here are some tips:
- For jewelry, use padded travel cases
- Wrap and box artwork securely
- Place cash, coins, and essential files in a lockable safe.
- Have collectibles appraised and insure them.
It’s also essential to transport firearms legally by following ATF and state regulations. Consider using a secure mailing service like FedEx for precious items.
6. Schedule disconnection/connection of utilities
Contact utility companies and service providers to cancel services at your old home and establish them at your new one. This includes electricity, gas, water, phone/internet, cable, newspaper delivery, trash pickup, lawn care, and more. Give them your move-out and start service dates and arrange for them to conduct final meter readings and transfers. Scheduling disconnection and connection avoids service lapses and ensures utilities are ready when you move in.
7. Arrange for child and pet care
If you have children or pets, make arrangements for their care during the packing and moving. Options for children include enrolling them in a day camp or hiring a babysitter to supervise them. As for the pets, look into pet boarding at kennels or pet sitters willing to care for them in their homes.
You can also ask friends or family if they can watch your children or pets as an alternative. At a minimum, have plans for them to stay with someone on a moving day so they are not underfoot while you are busy.
8. Backup computers and transfer records
Backup files on computers, external hard drives, and other devices in case they are lost or damaged during transit. Copy important documents, photos, videos, and data files to discs or USB drives.
Alternatively, use cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Save bookmarks, contacts, and calendar events. Also, update your accounts with your new address and cancel any subscriptions or accounts you won’t need at your new residence.
Make sure you transfer all the medical, dental, financial, insurance, school, and other records to new providers in the area.
9. Begin packing methodically
Start packing room-by-room at least two weeks before moving day. Begin with seldom-used rooms like the attic, basement, and storage areas. Then progress to shared living spaces saving essentials like the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom for last.
Pack and label boxes by room and contents. Wrap fragile items with bubble wrap or newspaper. Use mattress bags for mattresses and furniture pads for couches, chairs, and tables. Dismantle large furniture and label hardware—load boxes vertically with heavier items on the bottom. However, avoid overpacking boxes.
10. Update address and arrange mail forwarding
- Notify necessary parties of your address change.
- Update info with employers, banks, schools, insurance providers, credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, etc.
- Fill out an official USPS change of address form online or at your local post office so mail is forwarded.
- Consider renting a PO box for any mail you need to be forwarded during the transition.
- Add your new address to online shopping profiles and memberships.
Preparing for a big move takes time and organization. You can make the process go smoothly by decluttering belongings, procuring supplies, hiring movers, transporting valuables, arranging utilities, backing up records, methodically packing, and updating your address. Planning reduces stress and prevents last-minute issues. Be proactive by making checklists and sticking to timelines. Hiring professional movers also offers peace of mind. With adequate preparation, you can settle into your new home with minimal hassles.