Proper planning will make any move less stressful, and that means setting a timeline with scheduled tasks leading up to your moving date.
Take a deep breath. Moving is a big step with a bigger transition to follow.
• Decide how you’ll manage the move. If you’re hiring a moving company, get quotes from at least three places, and check them out. If you’re moving far, arrange for transporting your car. If you’re going to do it yourself, figure out where you will get a truck and how much advance notice will be needed.
• Start pruning. What will stay? What will go? Start as far ahead as you can so that you will sort through the stuff instead of throwing it into a box and taking care of it at your new space. If you’re hiring someone to do the packing, ask them how they would prefer things to be sorted, if at all. This will give you an idea of what you will be trying to sell, too.
• Get packing materials. You can buy boxes, Bubble Wrap and packing tape, but keep an eye on your local Freecycle Network and the free section of Craigslist for people who have recently moved and are giving away boxes.
• If you’re selling a home, attack the inspection repair list. If you don’t have a regular plumber, contractor and/or electrician, it will take time to hire professionals. Closing day comes quickly. Keep all receipts for work in case the buyer asks for them at the closing.
• Change magazine subscriptions.
• Keep packing. There is more stuff than you will expect.
• If you’re moving into an apartment building, find out where the truck can park and if you need to make arrangements or reserve an elevator.
• If you’re selling furniture, make a plan for when and where to list the items for sale. You can probably live without that hutch if it sells on Craigslist in a flash, but not your bed.
• Schedule your change of address at the post office or at moversguide.usps.com.
• Change the address for whatever paper bills you get in the mail.
• Arrange to stop or transfer utilities. Whether you’re selling or buying, ask your broker what the title company will handle and what you should do yourself.
• Arrange for sitters for young children and pets on moving day.
• Other addresses to change: driver’s license and insurance cards (for yourself and your car if you have one). Also, make sure your prescriptions are changed to a local pharmacy or will be delivered to your new address if you get them by mail.
• Keep packing, but make sure to leave out what you’ll need on moving day, and anything else essential if it will take a while for you to be reunited with your stuff. Also, make sure those items are in luggage or boxes clearly marked “DO NOT MOVE.”
• Change or halt newspaper delivery and any other regular deliveries.
• Confirm the date and time of the move; discuss any changes because of possible bad weather, and what the company will and won’t take (plants are rarely moved, and they probably won’t take your fireworks either). If you’re moving into a building, confirm the elevator and parking situation.
• Pack up the food you’re taking with you. (For nonperishables you’re not bringing, donate them to a local food bank).
• Make sure your luggage and the “DO NOT MOVE” boxes are far from what the movers are taking.
• If you can, plan to be with the movers while they load the truck. Take whatever you consider nonreplaceable or too valuable to move with you (jewelry, wedding photos, your children), along with the documents you will need at the closing or movein and the payment for the movers, plus tip. The American Moving and Storage Association recommends $10 a person for a halfday move and $20 per person for a full day.
• Sweep up behind you, and do one more check of the house, including the basement and attic.