Whether you’re renting or buying, if you’re planning to move in the near future, you’ve probably got your hands full. In addition to getting your home packed up, you’ve got utility accounts to close and open, change of address cards to fill out and dozens of other items on your “to do” list.
There are times that moving can feel (and is) overwhelming. But if you set some goals and prepare yourself in advance, your move can be easier (but never totally pleasant). While our top 10 list of moving tips isn’t totally inclusive, it should give you a great starting point for organizing and planning a move from your old home to your new home. You’ll need patience and you may put quite a bit of sweat into it, but hang in there
Here’s a list of the top ten things you can do that will help make your move go a little bit easier.
1. Don’t take everything with you. Sort through, throw out, give away, or sell things you don’t need anymore. When you’ve gotten to the bare minimum – or everything you truly can’t live without — start packing. (If you haven’t used it, seen it, or needed it in the last five to seven years, you’re probably fine throwing it out.)
2. Save those old newspapers. As soon as you get approved for your new mortgage on your new home, start saving your old newspapers for wrapping delicate objects like china and glassware. You may want to double or triple wrap each piece, so stack away about three times as much newspaper as you think you’ll need. If you don’t want to rewash the plates after you move, buy packages of plain newsprint or tissue paper for the initial wrap (your local office supply store or warehouse club store may sell you some plain paper) and then put newsprint over that. Or, you can buy an extra large size plastic wrap and do the initial wrap in that, followed by newsprint.
3. The interim move. Will your new home be ready on time? Do you need an interim move? Will you be storing your furniture? If you’re moving across state lines, it’s best to store your belongings near your new home, not your old one. That way, if you need something you might be able to get it quickly and easily.
4. Schedule repair or renovation work ahead of time. If you need repair, decorating, or renovation work done on your new home or new house, and have the extra float time, get busy scheduling the work four to six weeks before you move. If you’re planning to paint or decorate, you may want to have that work done on your new home or new house before you’ve unpacked most things and settled into your new home or house.
5. Get your new utility accounts. A couple of weeks before the move, you’ll want to contact your local utility companies (telephone, electricity, cable, gas, water) and inform them of your move. Arrange to have these services cut off at the end of moving day (if you’re moving in the afternoon, it would be nice to be able to drink water and use the bathroom, not to mention the telephone) for the home or house you’re moving from. Don’t forget to arrange the hookup of utilities to your new home or house. And remember, there are different utility companies and vendors in each state and in each municipality. You don’t want to get stuck without electric, gas or other vital service because you forgot to set it up. Sometimes people forget to call the local municipality to have garbage and refuse pickups restarted.
6. Reserve the elevators. If you’re moving to a condominium or a co-op, or are moving out of one, you’ll need to schedule a day to move in with the building’s management. Generally, large condos (those with an elevator) require you to “reserve” the freight elevator for your move. Do this way ahead of time or the day on which you’d like to move may already be booked. There may even be a fee for having the building maintenance men “oversee” your move. Ask your new building personnel about moving-in rules, and don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay for the privilege.
7. Discontinue delivery services. Two weeks before your move, you’ll want to set the day to discontinue your delivery services, like newspapers, milk, dry cleaning, or laundry. If you’re moving to a new state, your broker may be able to offer a little advice on employing these services in your new town. Remember, in some cases it might be cheaper for you to stop a newspaper service and restart it at your new address than setting up a new service altogether.
8. Change-of-address cards. Also, around two weeks before your move, you’ll have to fill out and mail your change-of-address cards. Your local post office can give you some cards to fill out, or you may want to have change-of-address cards preprinted. These days, the United States Postal Service (USPS) allows you to make the change of address forms online. At times its easier to change the address for most service providers online than in person or by mail. If you receive Federal Express or UPS packages for your home-based business, you’ll want to inform these companies of your change of address as well.
9. Moving with pets. If you’re moving with pets, you may need to take some special precautions, according to the American Moving and Storage Association (Moving.org). Pets cannot be shipped on moving vans. They should travel with you and wear special identification tags with your name, address, telephone number, and the name of an alternative relative, in case you can’t be located. If you decide to ship your pet by air, make the arrangements ahead of time. If you move across state lines, nearly every state has laws on the entry of animals. Write to the State Veterinarian, State Department of Animal Husbandry, or other state agency for information. Most states require up-to-date rabies shots for dogs and cats. If you’re moving to Hawaii with your pet, you’ll have to quarantine the animal for 120 days. Some pets must have an entry permit issued by the destination state’s regulatory agency. Finally, your new town (or condo or co-op) may have restrictions on the number of dogs or cats that can live at one residence. If this might be a problem for you, check with your new city or village council.
10. Moving with plants. You generally won’t have a problem if you’re moving house plants, but some states do require you to have an inspection by an authorized state department agriculture inspector. Plants are susceptible to shock when moving, and it may be dangerous to move a plant if the temperature is below 35 F or above 95 F to 100 F for more than an hour. The AMC says plants can tolerate darkness for up to a week, but it’s best not to store them. Cuttings of your favorite houseplants, while convenient, will not last as long or as well as potted plants.