Home Moving Tips and Resources

Moving can be stressful, but the result is a new home. It is a place to grow your family or settle into a new community. Making it your own will be easy, but the hard part is getting there. This guide will make it easier to plan as you prepare for this new stage in life.

General Moving Tips

You probably already know the basics - grab plenty of cardboard boxes and packing tape and get ready to work. We have compiled a few tips to follow as you get everything underway.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Time your move to fit your life. Some months are busier than others for moves. Give yourself a month to get things in order and then plan to move.
  • Hire moving services well in advance of when you will need their help to ensure they save your date.
  • Get several quotes about moving prices in advance so you can prepare for the cost.
  • De-clutter before you go. If something hasn’t been used in over 12 months, consider donating it or tossing it.
  • Set aside some money to purchase any necessary items once you reach your new

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DIY Vs. Professionals

If you plan on doing the moving yourself, there are plenty of ways to go about it. You can choose a variety of rental trucks and vans from companies like U-Haul or Budget.

If you do choose to go this route, be wary that these trucks often have an initial fee that you pay, and then you also will pay per mile. Depending on how far you’re going, this may not be the best option. You may also need to purchase insurance from the company for the truck.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will want to start early. Don’t wait until a week before you move to pack all the things in your home. You will need time to gather boxes and materials. Even those of us who are minimalists have more than we think in our homes.

If you know that professional movers are for you, be sure to get several quotes for services in your area. Three written estimates is a good place to start. Be sure to show your mover everything that needs to be moved.

Any agreements you do come to with your movers, make sure you get copies of it all. The most important document is the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your items and the contract for the work they are doing. Make sure all costs are clearly explained to you and listed in writing. Consumers who moved complained most often of goods being held hostage, overcharges, and damages.

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Preparing to Move

Here are quick tips to make all the changes easy on you and your family:

Mail Forwarding - You can simply change your address online by going to usps.com/move. You even get an email when you’re done. You can do it at your local post office as well.

Insurance - While changing your life and home insurance is just a phone call away, your auto insurance will require some extra care. Call your agent before you move and indicate your new location. The agent will make sure your policy is priced for the location you’re in and check your coverages if moving to a new state. Your price may change based on your zip code or parking arrangements.

Utilities - You can end your current utilities with ease by getting organized. Make a list of all your providers and their phone numbers. A few weeks before the move, call them and tell them you are moving. You may wish to have services cut one day after the move, just in case. Provide the companies with your new address and be sure to pay up on any overdue bills.

DMV - Some states offer an online service to change your address. Other times, you may simply have to print a form and mail it to your state’s respective DMV. Check with your DMV website to find out what to do. You will want to do this as soon as possible so that your ID matches your address.

Voting - Your address must be up to date for your vote to count. The best way to do this is to contact your local election office for help. You may be able to change your address over the phone, online, or through the mail.

Medical - You can call your current doctor’s office and advise them of your new address so that they can update their records. If you get health benefits through work, your HR manager can help you change your address and provide you with forms to update health insurance information. You can call the provider and request a new card with new address info be mailed to your home.

Subscriptions - You will want to call and cancel the local newspaper, as it is not likely to be delivered to your new area (unless it is an in-town move). Your mail will be forwarded after you change it with USPS. You can also check a magazine itself for how to change your address.

Financial Institutions - Major financial institutions offer the ability to change the address on your account over the Internet. Your mail will be forwarded in the meantime but log on and change it as soon as you can. If you bank locally, you may have to call and change the address or even walk in.

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Unpacking and Getting Settled

Unpacking is probably the worst part of moving. Who wants to sort and put away all the boxes? These ideas should help you along in making the process easier.

Pack to Unpack

Put things into boxes as they were at the old home. That way, you can just put them away as you had them before. Start with the most important stuff. Get a few outfits, your mattress, your toiletries, and some healthy snacks ready, so you can get through the first few days with ease.

Just Unpack It!

Bite the bullet and put some items away if you have a few extra minutes here and there. You will feel a lot better.

Just the Kitchen Basics

Get out the essential kitchen items and lay them out. Just get what you need to get going for the first few days.

Be Safe

Decide on your family’s fire escape plan based on your new grounds. Get fire extinguishers in place. Get it in everybody’s head now so that if disaster strikes, you’re ready.

Determine where your safe weather spot is. In the event of extreme weather, like a tornado, where will your family go? Check to see if your family has a basement. If not, consider a place like a bathroom or closet away from a window on the home’s lowest level. 

Change the locks. You are the new masters of your domain, so don’t run the risk of letting a former resident back in. Change your locks soon. You may even want to buy a new lock and keep it on you, making it your priority when you arrive.

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Moving Tips for Specific Situations

Here are some ideas to make moving less stressful for everyone involved!

Kids - If possible, take your child to the new place so they can get to know it. Look for local parks and other areas to explore.  

Pets - Pets often get nervous during car rides and crate time during a move. Acclimate your pet to their crate by having them eat a meal inside with the door shut. You can even put them in their crate and go for short drives. Provide treats at the end of crate time to ensure a positive experience.

Seniors - Consider hiring a Senior Move Manager. These specialists are trained in helping people downsize while still holding onto what’s important. The best SMMs plan the whole move while taking a gentle approach.

Disabled - Check your new home to make sure it is appropriate for your needs and make arrangements to suit your needs before arrival. Financial assistance is available to those who need help with expenses in moving. Be sure to hire a mover who not only moves but helps with unpacking and setup. Be polite but firm about where you want your belongings.

College Students - Going to a new dorm can be exciting but stressful. Be sure to take only what you need so that you have less to put away upon arrival. Don’t be ashamed to enlist the help of a friend or family member.

Military Families - To help with moving, you will want to start by researching the new duty station right away. Locate schools, grocery stores, and neighborhood amenities. Second, do not delay the process of purchasing or selling your new home. It can take a while.

Moving is not the most fun activity in the world. In fact, it can be downright stressful. But by planning and doing a little work ahead of time it can be made simpler for all. Best of luck in your move and stay safe!

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