From finding your next home to packing boxes, there's no doubt that moving is a herculean task.
But whether you're relocating across the country or simply down the block, some advance preparation can ensure your move goes smoothly and you avoid any added stress.
Two months before moving
- If a company is paying for the move, review the company's policy regarding what services are covered and how much you have to spend. The most commonly offered relocation assistance is a lump sum you can put toward moving costs, according to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management.
- Research moving companies. If you're moving across state lines, make sure the company is licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For moves inside your state, review your state's resources. Also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if it has received complaints about the companies you're considering.
- Get price estimates from at least three different companies and compare the services they offer. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) recommends that you receive the quotes in writing, and if possible, have an estimator come to your home.
- Pare down your stuff. Take inventory of what you have and contemplate what you want to take with you and items you may like to give away or sell. Consider holding a garage or yard sale to make a little extra money off what you're leaving behind.
Six weeks before moving
- Inform your children's schools you'll be moving and contact their new schools for enrollment information. Don't forget to ask for copies of your kids' school records, or have them sent to their new schools.
- Notify your insurance agent about your move. Transfer your auto, property, medical, and any other policies to your new address. Rates on car and property insurance can vary by neighborhood and city so be sure to ask whether your move affects the cost of your policy.
- Notify your doctors if you're leaving the area. Ask for recommendations of medical professionals in your new town and get copies of medical and immunization records for everyone in your family.
One month before moving
- Call your current cable, internet, and utility companies to disconnect services the day after you move. Then contact your new providers to ensure those services will be activated by the time you arrive at your new home.
- Order packing supplies. There's many options online and you can have boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, and other necessities delivered right to your home. Then begin packing things you aren't immediately using.
- Make travel arrangements for your family. Plan to arrive at least a day or two ahead of your moving truck.
- Arrange for child care and pet care for the day of your move. You'll want to be available to finish packing, supervise movers, and take a last walk through your current home.
Two weeks before moving
- Confirm your moving date with your movers, as well as the delivery date. Make sure the company has your phone number and travel itinerary.
- Gather important documents that you'll want to keep with you such as your will, passports, deeds, and any other financial statements. You can make copies to send in your stuff, but keep the originals with you.
- Fill out a change of address form at the post office or online. Then send notices to organizations and people that contact you regularly including friends and family, creditors, credit cards and banks, magazine subscriptions, and current and former employers.
- Begin cleaning any rooms that you have already cleared out. Consider hiring a cleaning service to do one last deep clean of your home after you move.
- Pack suitcases for you and your family members with what you want to bring yourself. This should include enough clothes and toiletries to last for two weeks, as well as any jewelry and other valuables you want to keep nearby.
- Fill any prescriptions you'll need over the next month to ensure you have access to medication before you find a new pharmacy.
Week of move
- Arrangement payment for your movers. Also don't forget to get cash for a tip, usually $20 to $25 per mover.
- Dispose of any flammable items that can't be transported such as chemicals, paint ,or aerosol cans.
- Back up any important information stored on your computers.
- And of course, keep on packing.
- The AMSA suggests you walk through you home with the movers as they inventory your possessions and make condition reports.
- Check to make sure your name, address, and phone number are listed correctly on the bill of lading before you sign it. Then keep a copy in a safe place.
- Leave a note for the new residents of your home with your new contact information in case they need to forward mail or any items left behind.
- Take a picture of your home. Then look forward to the memories you and your family will make in the next one.
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