Let’s face it: Moving is a horrible job, and one that seems overwhelming in its scope before you actually begin. Having moved a few too many times in my lifetime, here are my top ten tips to help you get organized and make the job manageable.
1. Sort, sort, sort
Before you even begin to put anything in a box, decide if you need to give certain items to charity, or hold a garage sale to thin out your possession herd. There is no point in dragging the dress you haven’t worn in five years, or the ugly lamp Aunt Sally gave you for a wedding gift if you won’t use them. Get rid of things you don’t use! Why go through the time and expense to box up items only to languish in the corner of the garage in your new home?
2. Give yourself time
Last-minute packing is a recipe for disaster. Items will be thrown willy-nilly into boxes leading to either: a) the items arriving at your destination in pieces, or b) you’ll be searching for that power cord for your kid’s video game system for the next six months. Give yourself enough time to do the job right. Packing is such a huge job, that the temptation to keep putting off getting started is great. Don’t hesitate; don’t procrastinate! Packing a few boxes everyday makes the task seem less daunting.
4. Pack one room at a time
Concentrate on only one room at a time. Packing this way lets you make sure that you’re not forgetting something important stored at the back of a closet.
5. Invest in high-quality boxes
If you have never purchased boxes before, they will seem horribly expensive. Bite the bullet, and buy them anyway. There are specialty boxes available for items such as dishes and electronics, and they are worth every penny. Dish boxes have double walls to help protect delicate china and glass items, and you can also purchase dividers and sleeves designed for these boxes that offer extra protection for fragile items. Another excellent item to invest in is packing paper. Packing paper is essentially newsprint paper without any printing, and comes in 10-lb. boxes. It’s great for wrapping dishes and glasses, and you won’t have to wash off the nasty, messy ink off your dishes like you would if you wrapped them in the daily newspaper. Just unwrap your dishes and pop them right into the cupboard.
6. Decide if you’ll be hiring movers, or renting a truck
Movers are expensive, and notorious for ripping people off with extra charges. Always ask for references, and shop around before selecting a mover. Another option to utilize movers but save some money is to hire them only to load a truck you rent yourself, then arrange for help to unload when you reach your destination. As for renting a moving truck, call around to several truck rental agencies for quotes. Ask if mileage is included in the the quote. A lowball price may not seem so great when you are responsible for mileage fees if you have a long-distance move.
7. Arrange for storage at your destination
If you know that you’ll need to store your items for a time at your destination, shop around before you go. Most storage facilities have websites that advertise their features. Look for onsite managers, individual door alarms, cylinder locks and computer-coded access when shopping around for a storage facility, as this means an extra level of security for your possessions. Make sure that the facility is within easy driving access of your new home for convenience. When you are calling facilities, make sure to ask if they are offering any specials at this time. Many facilities offer specials such as one month’s free rent, but they won’t be inclined to offer them if you don’t ask in advance.
8. Decide when to turn the utilities and phone off
When your actual moving date is confirmed, call the utilities, cable and phone company to have these services turned off. You may want to add an extra day’s services past your moving date in case there are any unforseen delays in your departure. Don’t forget to visit the post office to have your mail forwarded to your new home.
9. Check the internet for deals on hotels
By booking in advance, you can often score deals on hotels. Many even offer internet specials for booking online. When you are checking prices, see if there are any additional discounts for being a member of an organization such as AAA or AARP. Besides, you don’t want to find out the unhappy news that there are no rooms available when you decide to stop for the night because of the local Cabbage Festival, right?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t move in a day either. Even when it seems overwhelming, you will get it all done by planning, packing carefully and methodically. You’ll arrive safely at your destination by following these tips and be ready to enjoy your new home.