Are you aware that over the past five years, approximately 40 million Americans relocate each year? This represents 13% of the population. Such moves are inspired by reasons such as work, family, or getting a bigger house for a growing family.
Regardless of whether you are moving to your own property or switching apartments, moving can be exciting. However, there are many things that need to be done in the lead-up, during, and after the move that can make the process stressful.
In this article, you will find a step by step checklist that will make the moving process a lot easier for you. If you'd like your own copy of the list, you can download it here!
8 Weeks Before
Not unless you are moving due to an emergency, you will have ample time to prepare. However, this is where most people fail as they assume that there's enough time. Ideally, you should start preparing eight weeks before your move.
1. Check Out Your New Community
Once it's settled that you have to move, choose a suitable area to relocate to. Go there in person to get a feel of the neighborhood and to see the amenities available. Before taking your family to a new location, it is best to see how it is.
2. Set Aside Funds for the Move
When moving to a new house, you can either hire a moving company or elect to go the DIY route. If you are moving within the state, a DIY approach may be plausible. However, for a cross-state move, you're better off hiring a moving company. Either way, there are costs that you will incur.
Determine how you will move and figure how much it will cost you. If you are moving within the state, set aside $1,000. For long-distance moves, your budget could rise to as much as $5,000. For job-related relocation, inquire from your employer whether they offer any assistance with covering such costs.
3. Find a School for Your Children
If you have school-going children, you must find a suitable school for them. Before you begin your search, notify their current school that you will be moving to get copies of their school records. Fortunately, finding good schools for your children is easy these days. Instead of doing a physical search, you can log in to greatschools.org/, a platform designed to help parents find educational opportunities for their children.
4 Weeks Before
Most of the preparation for moving takes place in the month before the move.
1. Start Packing
If you wait till the day before moving to begin packing, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary stress. Go through every room and drawer in your house and categorize things either as used frequently, rarely, or never going to use.
Find ways to get rid of the things you are never going to use. You can donate them or organize a yard sale. Anything that is not used frequently should be packed in well-labeled boxes.
2. Take Your Car for Servicing and Update Your Address
When preparing for a move, it's easy to get caught up with the 'moving' part and forget other minor yet crucial things. If you're moving out of state, you need to make sure your car is ready for the journey. Take it to your mechanic for tire fixes, oil change, and the necessary tune-up.
Also, notify parties such as your current employer, credit card companies, bank, subscription services, and landlord that you will move. To change your address, visit your local post office or do it online via USPS.gov.
2 Weeks Before
Contact the moving company a couple of weeks before the move to confirm your preparations are going according to plan. One area to focus on is insurance. Make sure it is sufficient for your valuables. Other things you need to do during this period include:
- Clear out safe deposit boxes, storage units, and any place other than your house that you have property
- Schedule enough time off work to prepare for the move
- Have the rugs cleaned to make sure they're ready by the time you're moving
1 Week Before
During the last week before your move is when things can become a bit hectic.
1. Finish Packing
As you count down the days to the move, step up your packing efforts. Your goal should be to have everything packed and ready to go a few days before the planned moving day. This will save you from last-minute stress.
If it will take a few days to get to your new home town, pack a to-go bag. It should contain essentials such as a toothbrush, toilet paper, chargers, and at least one change of clothes for everyone.
2. Visit the Pharmacy
A few days before the trip, visit the pharmacy for a refill of prescriptions while arranging to have prescriptions transferred to a pharmacy in your new area of residence.
3. Confirm the Date with the Movers
You can never be too careful with this. Get in touch with your movers again to confirm the date and time of your move. Other details to inquire about at this time include total cost and the payment methods they accept. Make sure to get the contact information of the crew that will come. To make it easy for them during the trip, prepare written directions to your new home.
Don't Pack Items
While you are finishing with the packing, some items should be kept separate from the things that will be loaded in the moving truck. They include:
- Documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, passports, and documents that have details such as social security numbers and bank account information
- Credit cards
- Irreplaceable items such as family heirlooms
With all the packing done, you will not have a lot to do on moving day. Wait for the movers to arrive and make sure each of them is an employee of the moving company. Show them everything that needs to be loaded and give special instructions, especially for boxes with fragile items.
Even if you are moving to a better house or neighborhood, leaving the place you've called home for a long time is difficult, especially for kids. Do a final walkthrough of the house to say a proper goodbye before leaving.
Supervise the Loading
Once you arrive at your new place, lay down the plastic carpet protector. As the movers prepare to bring things inside, show them around and direct them to where specific boxes should go. As they offload, check for missing or damaged items.
Complete the Transaction
After the movers finish loading everything, you and the mover in charge should sign the inventory sheet. Get a copy of it to keep in your records. Proceed to pay the movers and if the job was done satisfactorily, add a ten to fifteen percent tip.
To turn your new house into a home, start unpacking your belongings and organizing. Begin with reassembling furniture so that the moving crew can assist you. If you notice any damaged items while unpacking, take photos and set them aside. The moving company will send someone to inspect them.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Moving Company
The biggest decision you have to make when relocating is whether to hire a moving company or not. Each option has some advantages and disadvantages. Here they are comparatively.
For most people, the cost is the biggest factor when deciding whether to hire a moving company. A moving company will provide the truck and crew to help you with loading and unloading, which will, of course, come at a cost.
Though a DIY approach may be cheaper, it comes with other hassles that you should consider when deciding.
2. Time and Stress
One of the primary benefits of hiring movers is the time and stress that they will save you. Instead of worrying about all the logistics of moving, they will help you with a lot of the work on moving day. A DIY approach will involve help from friends and family, which can make it a bit hectic as there will be no organization.
Arguably the biggest concern of hiring a moving company is the safety of your belongings. Is it safe to trust strangers with my assets, or will I become a victim of a moving scam? These are legitimate questions. However, they can be easily addressed by doing your due diligence and only hiring a reputable moving company.
The real safety concern comes to matters loading and unloading. It's not just about putting things in the truck but doing so in a way that minimizes risk. So, are your belongings better off being handled by professionals or your friends and family?
Is Hiring a Moving Company Worth It?
When taking upfront costs into account, hiring a moving company is expensive. However, this does not mean that a DIY approach is significantly cheaper. In essence, the only extra cost you are incurring is for a truck suitable for moving and professionalism. Either way, you will still need a moving truck and people to help you. Even if it's friends and family, they will expect something small in return, even if it's just dinner.
Considering the benefits professionalism brings, the added cost is unquestionably worth it, as it may just be the difference between arriving with your belongings intact or not.