How to prepare for a move
Learn helpful hints to get started on moving from one home to another.
Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. If you are moving with a loved one or family member, you may want to delegate and separate responsibilities. Start by making a list of the rooms or areas of your home most occupied by you. Announce that you will take over packing those areas. If some items belong to your friend or partner, keep them separate or, if possible, move those items into one of their designated spaces.
Break Down the Process
Getting ready to move will be a daunting task for many people. There are several ways you can break down this process into manageable chunks that won't monopolize your life.
Complete the Project in Stages
Stage One: Declutter
As soon as you decide it's time to move, it's time to start de-cluttering your home. If you've lived in a house for several years, chances are that unused items have piled up in the garage, the storage shed, under the beds and the closets. Start tackling the items with which you have the least attachment and put them into four categories.
- Give to friends.
- Give to charity.
- Save for yard sale.
You may want to plan an early yard sale so you can offer any remaining items to friends before hauling the rest to Goodwill or other worthy charities. Fortunately some charities will pick up unwanted items for your convenience. Be sure they are interested in the items you want to donate.
For example, some charities will accept anything from clothes to cars, while others do not accept furniture or other large items. For a list of charities, you can visit Donations. Once you have cleared out your garage and other storage areas, you will have more room to re-evaluate other items and start to pack.
At this point, you will want to start scouting around for boxes. If you start collecting early, you will not need to pay for them. Supermarkets and liquor stores are great places to obtain clean, strong boxes aplenty. Ask the manager when is a good time/day to pick up boxes and be there early. Otherwise, they get flattened.
Stage Two: Evaluate clothes
Once your closets are trimmed of clutter, you need to tackle the clothes. The general rule of thumb is that if you haven't worn an item in six months, it's time to let it go. Set aside a few evenings or a weekend to scan through your closets and drawers. Be prepared to try on clothes and conduct an honest assessment of their worth. Don't forget to consider items like socks, undergarments, coats and hats. Each member in your family needs to self-evaluate and contribute to this effort early in the process. The less you have to deal with on moving day, the better.
Stage Three: Pack All Out-of-Season Items
Many of us have Halloween decorations, artificial Christmas trees and inflatable floaties for the kids. If you know you won't be using these items before you move, pack them up as early as possible. If you find you don't have enough space to store the boxed items, consider renting a storage unit for this purpose. For those of you who are simultaneously trying to sell your home while preparing to move, this is vital. People looking to buy their next home want to visualize themselves living in it; this includes picturing their furniture and décor in the home. If your house has been cleared out, it will be easier for potential homebuyers to do this. Your house will also appear more spacious, which is a real plus.
Stage Four: Tackle the Home Office
Now that you have a little more space in your home, dig into your home office. Look at your financial files, credit card bills and health records. Tackling the office is a task that should be surmounted early on because it will inevitably lead to many other mini projects that need attention before you move. Consider completing the following tasks:
- Back up all of the documents on your hard drive. Buy and install additional memory if necessary.
- Organize the last seven years of tax records and store them in a portable file box.
- Prepare all of your receipts for the upcoming tax year if you are itemizing deductions.
- Shred any outdated bills, records or mail that contains personal information.
- Assess and consolidate your office supplies. Do you really need that third letter opener?
- Are there any letters you've been meaning to write? Emails you've been promising to follow up with?
- Do you have any half-completed projects that need attention? Don't wait until tension rises and life gets really hectic to get these chores out of the way.
Stage Five: Develop your plan of action
The pack-as-you-go method is easy and efficient. This way, you can keep boxes containing different types of items open and fill them a bit at a time. To do this, designate an area in your home where you will accomplish your packing. The area should have the following items handy:
Packing material, such as foam peanuts and newspaper
Professional movers offer a major benefit: convenience. If you are busy working, going to school, selling your home and/or raising a family, this may be your only realistic option. However, if you plan ahead and follow the suggestions above you can tackle this feat on your own and save money. Plus, you will have control over when your items arrive to your destination and how they are handled.
Keep in mind that if you use professional movers you should:
- Use a reputable company that readily provides you with references.
- Verify that they are insured.
- Try to be present to oversee the move.
- Label all of your boxes by room (don't mention specifics if possible).
- Number each box and check them off a list when movers reach their destination.
- Write down the contents of each box on your list.
If you get ready to move by planning ahead, taking your time and staying organized, you will find it is not as difficult as you think.