So, You're Moving! A Simple Checklist
We’ve all had to move at one point or another. Sometimes we move from one place to another for work, sometimes it’s for a new job and sometimes we move because we’ve heard that a rogue volcano is about to erupt right down the street and frankly, we don’t want to stick around for it! Whatever the reason for a move, when they occur a move can be a rather stressful event. However, there are a number of ways that you can mitigate the stresses inherent to moving. The biggest way to ensure that your move is a painless and stress-free move is to hire the right company for the job, but we’ll start with a simple checklist. Most of the items on this checklist will apply to a local move, a move across the country or to the other side of the planet. These items aren’t in any specific order, but all points can help get you to a more stress free move experience!
- After you’ve chosen your new home, take the time to decide what you’d like placed in each room. A schematic of the new house can be very helpful for this step. During this process, you’ll have an opportunity to try a few different furniture layouts before the items are brought in which can save considerable time and money on moving day.
- Decide which items you actually want in your new home. Moving is a perfect opportunity to get rid of those things in your home that you rarely use or don’t want. Why pay to have a few thousand pounds of items moved that you haven’t even thought about for the last few years? Consider selling or giving items away, or even donating them to charity. Again, this is a practice that can save you time and money. The packing process is a good time to take care of this step. For a great article on spring cleaning and thinning out, check this article out!)
- Addendum to the list point above – There are certain things that shouldn’t be transported. Liquids and contents under pressure are two of the biggies. Cleaning products (and most liquids) can wreak havoc if a bottle breaks open. Those liquids are going to spread into absolutely anything that will absorb them. This will leave you very unhappy. Imagine bleach dripping all over your beautiful purple ultra-suede sofa. Not good… Flammable items should be dealt with as well. Propane tanks, matches, fireworks, ammunition and other dangerous items often cannot (by law) be transported by a licensed moving company. More often than not, it’s not worth the risk.
- Be sure to fill out the proper change-of-address forms and mail forwarding cards with your local post office or at the USPS website. Usually, a change-of-address request will stay active with the post office for six months. (In my last personal moves not only did I use the change-of-address and mail forwarding forms prior to my moves, but I also resubmitted the forms after those first six months to ensure that everything continued to get to my new home.) It’s also handy to put together a list of important contacts; family members, friends, doctors, service providers, etc.
- Don’t forget to notify your utilities and service providers of your upcoming move. Allow me to pose a scenario here: You’re at your new home and everything is in place. The beds are made, the dishes are unpacked and put away and Fido’s dog bed is in its preferred spot right next to your favorite chair. You’ve even made it to the grocery store to stock up on provisions. Life is good. You fall into your recliner, ready to relax and binge watch a season of CSI Paducha. (Great show, right?! Tom Sizemore, playing the William Petersen, playing the David Caruso, playing the Gary Sinese role. Excellent stuff, to be sure…) You turn on the TV and fire up your cable box only to realize that you never called and let them know that you were moving. Result? No TV for you until the techs can make it out to your home. (Which will, undoubtedly, be sometime just after the next forever, between midnight and three a.m.) The lesson here? Don’t forget to call your utility and service providers and advise them of your move in plenty of time.
- There are occasions where you may want to take your appliances to your new home. If you plan to move any appliances, have them disconnected by a qualified professional at least a day or two before move day. This will give your dishwasher and washing machine a chance to drain and dry out. Unplug your refrigerator in plenty of time to defrost and to come down to room temperature. (Be sure to have someone available at your new home to reconnect said appliances as well.)
- When it comes to moving food, there will be more purging, particularly if you are planning a long distance move. Non-perishable foods that haven’t been opened are usually fine to pack up and move. If you choose to move non-perishables that have been opened, place the item into a securely closed zip lock storage bag or a Tupperware container. If you have a shorter distance move coming up and you’d like to take some of your fresh or frozen foods with you, have a cooler available with plenty of ice and plan on moving the cooler in your personal vehicle. (Trust me when I tell you that the back of a moving truck gets hot. I mean HOT. Your ice will not last more than a few hours in a space that can easily get up to over 100 degrees and if your items are on the truck for more than a day or so, you’ll be greeted by the delightful scent of fresh food gone bad.)
- Remember Fido? That furry little guy who watches CSI Paducha with you? You need to plan for him as well. Moving can be extremely stressful for pets. They don’t have the good fortune to grasp what’s happening, so it can be a pretty traumatic affair for some pets. If it’s possible to let them stay with a friend or family member during the move process, it can help to make the transition easier for them. While your items are being loaded up into the truck and then unloaded into your new home, the doors will more than likely be open for extended periods of time. It will be then that Fido will inevitably channel Usain Bolt and see just how fast he can run, far, far away from your home. When you get to your new home make sure that if your pet has a favorite bed that it is situated next to a familiar piece of furniture in the new home so that not all is completely foreign to them.
- If you decide to utilize a moving company for your move, ask around your friends for a company that they’ve had a good experience with. THIS IS IMPORTANT: While there are good moving companies out there, there are many, many more bad moving companies. Most of us have heard at least a few horror stories about moves gone bad, companies that have lost or broken items and who simply do not care. Even some of the larger more well-known companies have been known to have been involved in bad moves. Place a valuation on your goods and know your chosen company’s policies regarding damages and lost items. Your best bet for finding a good company is to talk to friends and acquaintances about their experiences. Check references, reviews and the Better Business Bureau. Stay in contact with them and get estimates and contracts in writing before move day.
Posted by Jim Henderson