Out of all of life’s experiences, moving is often ranked as one of the most stressful. Even though it should be an exciting step towards the future, it’s an awfully demanding activity that can leave you both physically exhausted and emotionally drained. However, if you want to take the stress out of it, the single best way to do that is to make sure that you’re well prepared.
This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
Stress-Free Moving Tips You Need:
Know what your family’s getting into
A move is a big change for everyone, and it can have a huge emotional impact on all of you. As an adult, you probably have intense memories of your old home that you’re leaving behind, whether good or bad.
I remember the last time I closed the door on my single-gal home and made the final cross-country drive to my new life. That home was from a chapter of my life I’d completed. By the time I sold my condo, I hadn’t lived there in more than name for several years. During that interim, I’d held several jobs, married my husband, and made it 2/3 of the way through my pregnancy with Kimmie,
It may have been the pregnancy hormones, but I still cried when I shut and locked that door for the final time.
So that’s one adult’s experience. If you have children, imagine what this process must be like for them.
RELATED POST: Helping Your Child Cope With Moving
Besides the suggestions in the related post I just linked to, there are several other ways you can help your child(ren) adjust to the process of moving:
- If possible, make several trips with them to the new area before you visit. Give them a chance to get to know their new neighborhood and city/town, so it won’t feel as strange and unfamiliar come moving day.
- Explore some of the kid-friendly local attractions. Identify fun things you can do there, such as new parks, bowling alleys, or other activities that will be in close range. A visit to the nearest amusement park, water park, or science museum in their new locale can leave kids wanting more, and feeling more excited about the move.
- Visit your kids’ new school in person, well before their first day, so they can have a sense of where they’ll be attending. See if they can meet their new teacher(s) and visit their new classroom before their first day in residence. Ask if they can be paired with a current student in their class, who can act as a “buddy” to help show them around during their first days.
Get a notebook
Or whatever your preferred planning method is. (If you’ve got space, you can even devote a chunk of your Bullet Journal to your move.) Your notebook is where you’ll keep track of everything related to your move. You can (and should) have checklists related to finding your new home, to visits with your mortgage broker and potential new homes, and to what you need to do in the final months, weeks, and days before you move.
Your notebook is also a great place to keep your master box list. One of the best pieces of advice I read before my last move was to label every box with two pieces of information: a number (or a letter if you prefer), and the room where it was going in the new house.
We moved into our current home when I was pregnant with Kimmie and on modified bed rest. I remained on modified bed rest until past her three-month birthday. Thanks to this unfortunate timing, it literally took me years to unpack everything from our last move and get all settled into our new home. And some of the boxes were things I’d packed up from my prior single-gal home, half a country away, as much as two years before we found our new home.
In the months and years after our move, those packing lists were crucial to finding what I needed, when I needed it. Without those lists, I would have been sunk.
RELATED POST: My Top Packing-To-Move Hacks
A moving notebook is also a great place to record paint chips and color ideas for your new home, conversations with contractors about any pre-move repairs you want done, and all those other details of relocating to your new home. (Or, if you’re like me, measurements and supply lists for the new custom closets you plan to build in your new digs.)
With everything in one place, you’ll always be able to find what you need, when you need it.
Know who you need to update
Months before you move, create a page in your notebook of addresses to change, so you remember to notify all the right people when you move. Add to this list whenever you think of another one. Jot down phone numbers or websites as you go, and record the date of all changes as you make them.
Some examples of places that you’ll need to notify include
- Extended family
- Credit-card companies
- Cell-phone providers
- Banks and investment companies, including non-job-related retirement accounts;
- Loyalty programs and memberships (club-store memberships, frequent flyer programs, store loyalty programs, etc.)
In addition, there are several services you’ll need to change if you’re moving across a longer distance than a few towns over, and/or if your move also involves changing jobs. This will involve several steps:
- notifying the old provider of end of service date;
- researching options at the new location, and choosing one;
- establishing service with the new provider; and, where appropriate,
- making sure there is continuity between the old service and the new. (For example, ensuring there is no gap in health coverage or auto insurance, and transferring records from the old location to the new one.)
Examples in this category include:
- Internet, cable/dish, electrical, water/sewer, trash, and other utility providers;
- Primary care physician, pediatrician, and specialists;
- Auto, health, and (for employment-related term plans) life insurance providers;
- Work-related retirement plans;
- School and immunization records;
- Driver’s licenses and voting registration;
- Church memberships, Scouting memberships, and other family/kids’ activities or clubs.
Once you’ve made these lists, it’s easy to jot down which companies you notified on which date, as well as the actual date(s) of termination or activation of services. That way, you won’t forget any.
Plan the logistics well in advance
DON’T leave things until the last minute that should be dealt with well in advance! This is especially true for the logistics of your actual move itself, whether you plan to do it yourself, or you have a relocation budget to hire movers.
Make sure you check with local movers early and find out their availability. Know what your relocation budget will cover, and find out what things the movers will NOT transport for you. (For example, my sister-in-law Alicia has pet lizards that live in several rather large habitats, one of which she custom-built for them. Not surprisingly, the lizards and their homes were Evan and Alicia’s responsibility to move cross-country a few years ago.)
Before you can hire a mover or book a moving van, you need to know how much stuff you’re moving (rooms’ worth and/or weight), so you can get more accurate quotes on price.
And for things you’ll pack yourself, start weeks – if not months – in advance. Yes, a moving company can and will pack things for you. But doing it yourself (and labeling your own boxes) will save you money upfront, and time and frustration on the other end. Plus, you’re less likely to do silly things like pack a butter dish half-full of butter before it sits in storage for three months. (That was one of the unpleasant surprises my brother Evan discovered after his last move, when they could finally get the last of their belongings out of storage.) And let’s face it, do you really want some stranger emptying your underwear drawer for you?
Oh, and one final note: Did you notice where I mentioned labeling boxes NOT by where things were in the old home, but by where they’ll go in the new home? (E.g., blue bedroom vs. yellow bedroom) This will help whoever’s settling you into your new place – whether professional movers or friends – get things to the right place. Printing out large signs and labeling rooms accordingly will also help.
Purge, purge, purge
We all build up clutter over the years. But there’s no time like a move to reassess what you no longer need in your life, and just let it go already. The sooner you start getting rid of things, the better off you’ll be, And the more stuff you can get rid of before you move, the less you’ll have to pack, store, ship, and unpack on the other end.
RELATED POST: Ten Things To Purge From Your Garage NOW
My single-gal condo spent almost two years on the market, during the Great Recession, before it finally sold. During that time, I was mostly living across the country with my new husband. But every few months, I returned to my condo and did several things:
- packed up my clothes and teaching materials for the next season/semester, and brought them back to my husband’s house; and
- brought AT LEAST one car-full or truck-full of stuff to the nearest Goodwill. (Ideally, more than one load.)
If you’re having a hard time deciding what to purge, begin by making an inventory of everything you have. And I mean everything – furniture, toys, knick-knacks, pots and pans, etc. Figure out what you need and what you don’t. If you have the time, you could sell the things you don’t need, whether on your community bulletin board, on Craigslist, or on Ebay. You could also hold a garage sale, or consign relevant items (e.g., clothing to a resale boutique). Or there are loads of charities who would be happy to accept your excess furniture, housewares, etc.
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The sooner you start planning in advance of a move, the smoother it can go and the easier it can be to get it all done in one trip. Hopefully, the tips above help you get geared up for a move that’s quicker and simpler than the usual debacle.
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