Now that you’ve found your new home you can smile and let out a big sigh of relief! But as soon as you catch your breath, you’ll realize that the thrill of the hunt is now being replaced by the anxiety of the move. Buying the new home was just the start … now you gotta get moved in there.
As a professional who’s seen more than my fair share of moves, I’ve prepared this quick checklist that I believe with help. By taking care of these 10 items, you can take a lot of the anxiety out of your move.
1. Switch Your Utilities
As soon as the closing date is set, start calling the utility providers. This includes television and Internet as well as your common necessities like water, gas, electric, and waste management. If applications or other paperwork is needed, get it done right away. If technicians need to be on-site for installation, get them scheduled (most commonly with TV and Internet).
By the same token, make sure to call your current providers and let them know you are moving. Sometimes the buyers will take care of this, just like you are for your new home, but don’t count on it. If you leaving a rental, all utilities should just revert back to your landlord and the companies should have that info on file. It’s still important to call and let them know the bill isn’t going to be your responsibility after a certain date.
2. Pack Smart
You can save yourself a lot of time on the other end by packing smartly. Too often we tend to rush our packing and in the process create a nightmare on the other end. Try to organize your packing by destination room (i.e. all things that go into master bedroom, living room, etc.) into individual boxes. Then use different colored duct tape to label them boxes. You can typically find at least four different colors at your local Walmart or Target. Packing tape is still cheaper for putting the boxes together, but a single strip of colored duct tape with clear markings of destination room (i.e. “LIVING ROOM”) will make life so much easier for your moving help.
In lieu of the multi-colored duct tape, you can use stickers or different colored permanent markers. The key is make everything as simple as possible so that you’re not answering the “where did this go?” question 10,000 times on moving day.
3. Don’t Pack Your Closets
If you are using professional movers, there is no need to pack your wardrobe. The moving companies have boxes constructed specifically for any clothing you would put on a hanger. If you’re packing yourself, contact the company about obtaining some of these boxes — often called “wardrobe boxes” — ahead of time. If they’re packing you, don’t worry they’ll bring them.
Now if this is strictly a DIY move, consider moving your wardrobe with everything on the hanger. There are simple ways to mount a temporary doll rod inside your car to put everything on (businessmen who travel using their car do this all the time). You’ll save a lot of time at the new home by now needed to re-iron or re-press your clothes.
4. Complete Your Change of Address
The US Postal Service has made it so simple to forward your mail to your new address. Hey, I still remember the days when you had to physically walk into the post office and fill out the forms. Today you can simple go online and complete the proper forms there. Don’t wait until the last minute on this … you can set a future date to activate the forwarding of your mail. Important note: the USPS states that they will forward your regular mail for up to 12 months after your move and periodicals up to 60 days. Don’t forget to update your addresses with those pesky folks who send you regular mail!
5. Put Your Vision In Pinterest
It’s okay to get a little emotional about moving. A home is place full of memories. So even if your new house is an upgrade, leaving your old home can bring on a few tears. One idea to help in the transition is to capture your vision for the new home. Again, I can remember when we did this with notepaper and scrapbooks … but thankfully there’s a better alternative today.
Pinterest is social media’s premiere bulletin board. If you’re new to Pinterest, I think you’ll find it’s one of the easiest platforms available to use. You can save literally just about anything you find on the Internet by simply “pinning” it to your own custom boards. I use Pinterest now both professionally and personally. I think you’ll find this activity will help ease the pain of leaving your current home by keeping you focused on all that will be great about your new one.
6. Learn the Neighborhood
One of the best ways to make a successful transition into a new neighborhood is by getting to know your neighbors. Ok, maybe you’re not the bake some cookies or casserole type. There are plenty of ways to meet your neighbors in this modern world.
Consider having an informal get together at your new place (yes, sans furniture). Just create a simply invite and ask everyone to stop by for a cookie, a slice of pizza, a beer or whatever, and introduce themselves. Treat it like an open house so your neighbors have the freedom to come and go. If you have kids, be sure to set up activities for children so your own will have a chance to meet potential friends in the neighborhood.
Meeting your neighbors isn’t just about going door-to-door. Take some time to drive the area of your new extended neighborhood. Make a few runs back and forth from the new house to your job, grocery store, and other frequently visited locations. One of the most stressful things about getting used to a new home is feeling uncertain in your new surroundings. You can take a lot of that uneasiness away by just driving and walking around the new neighborhood.
7. Contact Your Insurance Agents
You may not be aware of this, but insurance rates are often determined by your address. That is to say, where you live can sometimes impact price as much as what you are insuring. Make that proactive call to your insurance agent to let them know you are moving. Make sure they give you updated numbers on your homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Some people have been surprised to find out that their auto insurance premiums change with a new address as well. Again, contact your local agent for all the details.
8. Haul The Basics Before The Moving Truck
With local moves, this is a must. Take some time to organize your essentials (think what you’d take if you were in a hotel for a night) and pack them separately. Then make sure that box is clearly marked and at your new home before the organized chaos of loading the truck begins. In all likelihood, moving day will be a long day. The last thing you want to do is end the day with frantic search for your toothbrush.
As Americans, we like to accumulate stuff. Nearly all of us do it … we purchase, we inherit, we just find things we think we need. And in fairness, there are things we legitimately need. But a lot of our stuff outlives its usefulness. There is simply no better time to downsize then when you are about to move. As a bonus, if you’re parent this is a nice opportunity to teach your children about giving to others.
Just a couple of simple rules to donations: (1) Don’t give away junk! If it’s broken or otherwise useless, please throw it away. (2) If you’re kids are older, better ask them first. There are countless tales of young men and women who have been scarred by unwitting parents who donated their “priceless” Barbie doll or baseball card collection. (3) Get a receipt if you can. Your accountant will love it if you can provide an itemized receipt for the items you donated. Most organization that take in a lot of donations have forms already prepared and you just have to ask.
If you’re stumped on where to take your old treasures, consider the Goodwill. All across the United States the Goodwill helps so many people learn job skills and find employment through the things we donate.
10. Plan To Celebrate
If you’ve ever helped someone else move and then just politely left when the work was done, you understand exactly why #10 made the list. Look, it’s been a long process and moving day is just not fun. Plan to top is off with some beverages, pizza, or whatever will put a smile on your face. And don’t forget those true friends who lugged your bedroom furniture up two flights of stairs either. Let’s make sure you keep them as friends.
And don’t forget to invite your real estate agent!