This post was originally published in 2017. Today I’ve updated it with new information.
My friend is contemplating a move in the next year, and it made me remember all my moves. I only vaguely remember my first move when my family moved from Mobile, Alabama to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I do remember being sad about leaving the only home I knew and my friends in the neighborhood. Everything I knew in my short 5 years was changing. Once we drove to north Alabama from Mobile, the view from the car started looking different. When we arrived in east Tennessee, I loved the mountains we drove through. I had never seen mountains before. Moving was exciting!
I have moved so many times since that first move. From my first move to a college dorm, to my first apartment with room mates, on and on to my first coop apartment, my first home, etc. I’m retired now in a small home in Tampa Bay, but since my 18th birthday, my moves have been extreme. Since nearly half of all American moves happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day, moving season will be here soon. Today I’ll share a few tips I’ve picked up in moving. I hope you hear a few new ones to add to your moving strategy.
Start planning early
Moving can be a new start – the next chapter of your story. It‘s an adventure! Although it can be so much fun, it can also be extremely stressful. What can you do to avoid feeling this way? The earlier you start planning your move, the better. This will give you plenty of time to research potential moving companies, figure out your budget, and start packing. Do research on your new location, plan and organize your move. Start as soon as you know you’re moving. 60 days is not too early to start planning. If you live at your parents’ home, in a dorm, in an apartment, or in your own home, start researching your options for your new location. Will you rent short-term? Are you buying a new home? If you are moving out-of-state, I suggest you make a visit to your new area and check out homes to buy or rent. An inexpensive way to rent a room or home when you travel is through AirBNB. I suggest staying in a local host’s home not only to save money but for lots of local information you’ll need. Need a good car mechanic? Need to know local restaurants? Any tips for someone new to the area? Ask your host. You can even rent for a month while you start work and find a new home. If you’re buying in your new location, a good real estate agent is invaluable.
Make a plan
It’s always wise to plan ahead. Are you moving everything you own? Are you selling some of your current furniture? How many boxes do you need? Are you and family and friends moving you DIY? Are you hiring professional movers? What day will you move? Start evaluating your possessions and be ruthless. Purge. Donate. Throw away. Sell. Download my Moving Checklist. This will help you plan what needs to be done. Add more items if needed. Make notes.
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I. Start a folder or binder for the move. Put quotes, receipts for expenses, home inventory, and more in you MOVING folder. If your move is work related, check on your company’s policies for moving assistance. When my brother-in-law moved from Wisconsin to Michigan for a new job, his new employer paid most of the cost of the mover including packing. Check online for current IRS credits for a work related move. For 2022, the form was Form 8222. Besides your GPS, have maps for long distance just in case. Do research on routes to new location – sometimes the GPS doesn’t give the best route first. Depends on your needs and situation. Or GPS gives you a route in a new city on a street that doesn’t exist. (It happened to me.)
II. If you are using professional movers, get at least 3 quotes. If you are moving out of state, hiring a professional moving company is an important decision. Be sure to do a search for interstate removalists to help you move your home to a new state. For local moves I found the best mover through a recommendation from a friend. He was with a local mover who lived in Miami. My friend said he was great and he was. He and his worker loaded their truck in South Florida, followed me across Alligator Alley, north on I 75, all the way to Tampa Bay. They unloaded, set up my bed and my futon, and asked if they could do anything else before they drove back to Miami. I gave them both a good tip. It’s better to tip each worker instead of the guy in charge. You’re recognizing everyone’s contribution. Does your mover provide insurance on your items in transit? What is covered? What isn’t covered? Have recent appraisals for expensive items – art, antiques, jewelry. You may need to buy insurance for transit for those items. Check with your insurance agent and update address for all your insurance policies. Do you have enough people to move your vehicles? If not, check out car movers. Mark all important dates on your personal calendar.
III. Make a list of things to do at the new home. If you’re in a new state or city, change your voter’s registration, your driver’s license, send change of address to publications and organizations. Are you using the same bank? Are you using new utility companies? Send an address change for all credit cards and other creditors.
Use apps to plan your move
All of the above information is pertinent and valid but a little old school. Need an app to get organized? Moved – Your Personal Moving Assistant is available for iOs. This app will help you plan every step of your move.
One of the biggest jobs of moving is having to pack together all your stuff – Sorting out what you’re keeping, what you’re throwing away, and what you’re selling or giving away, along with categorizing pieces of your life in brown cardboard boxes. No matter how good you are, packing always takes longer than you think!
Mark the boxes with the room name, description of contents, and box #. Color coding with tape is an option to make it easy to sort boxes by rooms. Pink for the bedroom, blue for living room? Also draw a red arrow pointing to top of the box. You will readily see the box is upside down when unpacking. Amazon has a great set of 140 color coded labels for moving boxes – really makes it easier.
At the end, put totals of boxes by room on your Moving Checklist. When you arrive at your home and the mover wants your signature, do you have all the boxes? Plan a Moving Sale if you’re getting rid of lots of stuff. Have a date scheduled for a charity pickup of left overs. If everything sells, you can call and cancel the pickup. If you are moving at the end of summer or beginning of fall, many college students will take freebies from the curb if allowed in your area. My sister and I both put out unwanted furniture on the curb, and it’s gone in a day.
If you don’t have plenty of willing friends or family to help you with packing and moving, you may want to have a look at the local movers in your area that will help you to move all of your things in an efficient way, so you don’t have to worry so much. Moving alone (I’ve done it multiple times.) can be overwhelming. Plan, budget, and execute.
There are lots of apps out there to help you sell items and keep an inventory of what you’re keeping. Here are a few:
I. Sortly helps you organize your stuff – what is in what box – so you can find it later. Remember the inventory I said you needed? Here is the answer for photographing and organizing items all in the app. Your inventory on your phone when ever you need it. Sortly is available for iOS.
Description: Sortly is the ULTIMATE ORGANIZER APP
II. Thred Up helps you get paid for clothes you no longer want. The clothes must be in good condition and from a name brand store. They love clothes with tags. They will send you a bag, you fill it up,and send it back. They will buy what they want and donate what they don’t want. ThredUP is available for iOS and Android.
IV. Bell Hops Tennessee-based Bellhops operates in more than 50 cities nationwide and is staffed by local college students. Bellhops is so convenient. You can instantly get a quote online, reserve a moving crew for $1, and choose from three different types of moves.
There are other moving apps available for certain geographic areas like California or New York City. Check and see if there is one for your area.
If you are selling your current home, you’ll need to pack away and minimize your personal items in order to sell. I believe renting a portable storage pod is a great option. If I move again, there is going to be a pod in the driveway. I’ll fill it up, and have it moved to the new location.
If you are moving locally, make a list of all the things you want to personally move before the big moving day. List the things that are important to you. First I always clean the bathroom and kitchen of my new home. I set up the bathroom with tissues, toilet paper and a towel. I wipe down the inside of the refrigerator with white vinegar and store cold water and other drinks for the movers and me. I store fruit and snacks. I personally move some of my everyday china, mugs and glasses so I can eat while I’m working. I wipe down shelves in bedroom closets and bring a fresh sheet of sheets for the bed. When the big moving day is over, I won’t have to look for my sheets so I can sleep. I bring a small hammer, screwdriver, small nails, and picture hooks. When I bring my art, I try to hang the largest one immediately. It’s safer on the wall than leaning against the wall. The smaller ones I put on a closet shelf or on the floor of the closet against the wall until after the move. I bring my laptop myself with my personal items.
Clean the bathroom & kitchen in new home first
OUT OF TOWN MOVE
If you are moving to another town, pack an overnight bag with sets of clothes and personal care items. Pack a clear container or a container easily recognized with things you need first – a towel, wash cloth, sheets, toilet paper, a couple of bottles of water, eating utensils, tissues, a couple of snacks, a pair of scissors or box cutter, a power strip, garbage bags, cell phone charger, hammer with small nails, picture hangers, screwdriver, and a bottle of cleanser. When you arrive, you can use the over night bag and clear plastic container to survive while you set up your home. If need be, pack 2 must have containers. Make sure you know where they are in the move.
Use linen and towels to pack around breakables. If you have lots of out-of-season clothes, put them in plastic bags and vacuum seal. Takes very little room. From your closet, leave clothes on hangers and lay them on a blanket on your bed. Wrap the blanket around the clothes. Put bundle in the back seat of your car to move locally. Lay bundle on floor in new home, unwrap blanket, and hang clothes. I’ve been doing that for decades. If you are moving further, Buzzfeed has a great idea for moving clothes on hangers with a plastic clothes bag.
Start acquiring good boxes as soon you know you’re moving. Often people who have moved will offer the boxes online for free. Check for freebies. If you or someone you know works in an office where cartons of copy paper are used, ask if you can save the carton boxes. The paper carton boxes are sturdy and have great lids. Do not put heavy things in large boxes. The box can break and so can your back. Fill large boxes with comforters, pillows, etc. You can put small breakables which have been wrapped in the middle of the comforter. Put books in small sturdy boxes. Have a good supply of bubble wrap, tape, foam, and unprinted newspaper. Wrap sweaters around small breakables. Put glasses in clean socks. Improvise. Fill all of your baskets and totes with unbreakables. This will help cut down the amount of bubble wrap you use and will pack your clothes and linen too. Move all bottles of liquids whether make-up or cleanser using plastic bags or plastic wrap. Take the cap off the bottle, cover top with plastic wrap, and screw top back on. If the bottle is small like make up, you can put the bottle in small zip lock plastic bag.
Take a photo with your phone of your electronics set up from the back. This will help you set up faster in your new place. Make sure everything is packed before your friends or movers arrive. You’ll never know if something is packed if others start grabbing items to load.
If you are currently renting and want your deposit back, you must leave the rental in the condition you found it. If you own and are selling, no one wants to buy a dirty house. In other words, start cleaning. Let’s face it, who actually likes cleaning? … Anyone? – Didn’t think so. It’s not so bad once you start, but there are still plenty of other ways you may prefer to use your time – but it has to be done. You want your house looking as clean and fresh as it was when you originally moved in, leaving no evidence that you were ever there.
Why not throw a cleaning party? Get all of your friends and family over, have finger food on the table and some beverages to keep you going, stick some funky music on, and get cleaning! Assign everyone a specific job, so you all know exactly what you’re doing, and then boogie on down, (with a vacuum or a sponge!)
Don’t forget the stove. Most modern stoves have a cleaning cycle. Remove the racks first. Turn it on but don’t leave. Basically, the cleaning cycle turns up the heat to burn crude away. If there is a malfunction, you could come home to a fire. If there is still grime after the cycle is complete, use a natural, eco-friendly method to clean. Use 1/2 cup of baking soda to about 3 tablespoons water to make a spreadable paste. Wearing gloves, spread paste all over oven interior avoiding heating elements. Leave it for 12 hours or overnight. Wipe down interior walls. Spritz vinegar on any patches of baking soda. If you need to scrape, use a spatula. Use more vinegar or water as needed to wipe interior clean. Now you can get your deposit back if you’re a renter. If you’re selling, you know potential buyers open doors and peek inside. You’re ready.
It’s always wise to have a Plan B… Or M. Things can’t always work out how we want or expect them to – things can go wrong, like a mix up of dates for the removal company, or running behind on jobs to do. So it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan so that you’re prepared for the absolute worst, that way, if something does go wrong, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to sort it out. If you are a camper, bring your sleeping bag with your vital items. If the mover is late, you can camp on the floor of your new home.
Sleep is the magical medicine that can make anyone feel better. It revitalizes your body and mind, giving you fresh new energy to use the following day. So if you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed recently – take a day nap, and if you’re not able to do that – go to bed earlier! You would be surprised how much your body will benefit from the extra hours of sleep. Not only is it better for your health in general, but you will find it a lot easier to focus and get tasks done. When the bed is set up in your new home, immediately pull out those clean sheets and make the bed. When you’re too exhausted to think later, shower and hit the bed. That way, you can just relax and settle into your new home without worrying about anything else.
Possibly the hardest job of them all is saying goodbye. You have created memories in that home, and it’s not easy to leave all that behind. But know that the moments you shared there will never be forgotten, and you will have plenty more in the future, in your new home.
I hope you found a few nuggets to save for future moves. Thanks for coming by!
This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.
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