The New Mover’s Guide
You might be a first-time mover or you might be a seasoned veteran when it comes to relocating. Whether you’re moving to a different neighborhood or a different state, relocating requires a lot of planning. There are several details and moving parts that go into making a move successful, but with preparation, you can take it all in stride. We have all the tricks and tips mapped out for you, so you can spend less time stressing and more time getting excited about the adventure ahead.
Involve Your Kids: If you have young children, let them help with small yet meaningful tasks. Pre-label boxes just for them so they can pack their own toys. Since moving can be confusing and stressful for kids — especially young ones — this is a great way to keep them occupied and help them feel included.
Measure Your New Home: This is especially important if you plan on downsizing. Having exact measurements will help you determine what you will have room for and what to get rid of or put in storage. This way you know exactly how much space you have to work with, so you won’t be surprised on moving day.
Research Your New Location: Doing research before your move is helpful when you need to learn about school districts, neighborhoods, weather, and necessities like nearby grocery stores and pharmacies. Getting familiar with your new home from afar will help you feel more settled when you move.
How to Downsize & Strategize
Start simple. Consider the things that you use consistently and envision how they will look and function in your new home. Next, begin sorting through small items like clothes, books, and movies. Soon you’ll find yourself moving on to things like decor, bedding, tools, and furniture. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used an item in 90 days, chances are you don’t need it and won’t use it in the future.
Once you’ve decided what to discard, sort everything according to what you’ll do with it. Have “donate,” “sell,” and “trash” piles so you know exactly where everything goes. Once you’ve organized these items, it will be much easier to move forward with your downsizing efforts.
Sell items that you no longer need but are still in good condition. Clothes, furniture, and appliances are great things to sell at consignment stores, in a yard sale, or online. Selling your unwanted things could bring in more funds for your moving budget or go towards new purchases for your new home.
Donate items that are gently used and in working condition. Anything that is too damaged or worn should be relocated to the trash pile. Donating is a great way to get rid of unnecessary things while helping others in need, so make sure you’re passing on intact items that will provide value to the future owner.
Rent a Moving Truck
You’ll likely need a moving truck to transport your things to your new place. Book your truck five weeks in advance to ensure you’ll have the right size truck available when you begin packing. The size of moving truck you’ll need will be based on the amount of things you plan to move. Many moving companies offer suggestions based on household sizes. For example, a moving company might advertise that their 5′ x 8′ trailer is enough to transport the contents of an average studio apartment. Measure your largest items, like mattresses and furniture, to make sure you get the right size moving van.
Whether you’re selling your home or moving out of a rental, hiring a cleaning company will save you time and ensure that every nook and cranny is left sparkling clean. If your home is a rental, this means you could get your cleaning deposit back, too. Have your cleaning company deep clean your house the day after you’ve moved everything out.
Hire a Moving Crew
If you don’t plan on moving things yourself, book your moving crew five weeks before the moving date. As you’re researching companies, get references from friends and family and look at reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask around for estimates so you can compare the pricing of different companies, and make sure they have all the necessary moving licenses. If you’re getting an estimate, show the estimator everything you plan on taking with you, so the estimate will be as accurate as possible.
Label your moving boxes by room and indicate whether the contents are fragile. To make locating specific items easy, write details of the box’s contents. Boxes containing essentials such as food, toiletries, and clothing should be labeled “important” or “open first.”
How to Make a Moving Budget
Consider Transportation and Labor
When it comes to moving, there are probably more budget factors to consider than you think. Take into account labor costs, moving truck rental fees, and mover’s insurance. Then, if you’re moving far, consider travel costs such as gas, food, and lodging.
Take Supplies into Account
To pack, you need boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, and permanent markers. For a budget-friendly option, ask friends and neighbors for extra boxes and packing supplies they might have on hand. In place of bubble wrap, use newspapers, dish towels, and old clothes to pad and protect your fragile items. Invest in sturdy storage bins to protect items that will be stored for a long period of time.
Calculate Storage Costs
If your new home doesn’t have enough space to accommodate your items, look into storage units. Do your research beforehand as storage unit pricing structures vary. Extra perks such as climate-controlled units and insurance are optional add-ons. Be sure to incorporate storage fees into your monthly budget.
Budget for Other Fees
It’s easy for large and obvious moving costs to overshadow other, smaller costs that are just as important. Make sure you’ve considered costs like setting up utilities, installing internet service, breaking a lease, and registering your kids for school. Don’t forget about driver’s license and car registration fees if you are moving out of state. It’s usually smart to pad your moving budget so you have wiggle room for unexpected costs as well.
When to Change Personal Info
Change Your Address
Submit your official change of address to the U.S. Post Office at least three weeks before your moving date. This will give them time to process your forms so important mail and deliveries are sent to your new home as soon as you move. You can complete a change of address form at your local post office or online. Don’t forget to give your new address to friends and family!
Notify Your Bank
Find out if your bank has a location near your new home, especially if you’re moving to a new region or state. If you plan on staying with the same bank, notify your branch of your address change so your billing address will be up to date. If you’re moving out of state, also let your bank know so your credit card won’t get shut off for fraud protection.
Request School Records
Request school and medical records six weeks prior to your move. Transferring your children’s school records will depend on whether your kids will go to public or private schools. Private schools typically require an admission process that calls for records to be sent ahead of time. Public schools usually accept school records on school registration days. Be sure to keep a specific file that includes your children’s past report cards, transcripts, birth certificates, and samples of schoolwork.
Set Up Utilities
Begin closing your utility accounts and setting up utilities in your new home one month in advance. This will give you plenty of time to pay your final bills and get security deposits back; plus, you’ll make sure your home is ready when you walk through the door. If power, gas, water, and other utilities are already on, they may still be in the previous owner’s name, so make sure you switch the accounts over into your name to avoid billing the previous resident.
How To Transition Jobs
Find a Job
If a new job isn’t the catalyst for your move, start your job hunt before you move. Use job search websites and leverage any connections you may have in the area. Plan and budget for any traveling you might need to do for interviews.
Determine a Start Date
When you’ve confirmed a position, determine a start date. A set-in-stone date will help you plan your move and your exit from your current job. It’s usually wise to set your move date a week or two before a job-start date. This way, you give yourself enough time to settle in before starting a new position.
Two weeks’ notice is standard, but the sooner you can notify your current employers of your moving date, the better. They will appreciate the extra time to hire and train your replacement. When you hand in your notice, thank your employers for the opportunities they’ve given you, ask for references, and make it clear you’d like to stay in touch. This leaves the door open for references and keeps your connections strong for future job searches.
Before making your moving budget, talk to your new employers to see if they will pay for any relocation costs. Many companies offer part or full reimbursement for the moving truck, gas, and other expenses. Make sure you know where you stand so you can budget accordingly.
How to Pack
Pack by Room
Pack each room in your home individually to keep things organized. This also makes it easier to delegate tasks to family and friends who are helping. When you begin to physically pack your moving van, pack the rooms in your home by order of necessity. For example, your bathroom and bedroom should be packed last because you’ll need to use them until the last minute, and they’ll be the first room you’ll want to unpack.
Packing supply costs can add up, but there are things you can do to make your move more budget-friendly. Utilize your moving boxes to the max by packing breakables such as dishes and glasses with towels and dishrags for padding. This helps you make the most of your space, and it saves the expense of bubble wrap to pad fragile items.
Load the Truck
When you load your moving truck, start with appliances, large furniture, and other heavy items. If you’re moving appliances, defrost your refrigerator and freezer 24 hours before loading them. Be sure to pad dressers, tables, and nightstands so they don’t become chipped or scratched in the process. Use plastic covering to protect upholstered furniture from damage and stains. Once all your heavy belongings have been loaded, begin filling in with boxes. Pack your truck as tightly as possible to avoid the possibility of things shifting, falling, or getting damaged. Then, fill in empty spaces with blankets, pillows, and cushions to make sure there’s no space for movement.
Keep Essentials Accessible
Before you close the door on your moving truck, make sure you’ve packed a bag of essentials to keep with you so you don’t find yourself digging for necessary items mid-move. Keep toiletries, a change of clothes, a book, phone chargers, and essential electronics handy in a bag that packs easily into your car or the cab of the moving van. When packing your truck, make sure cleaning supplies, bedding, and bathroom essentials are packed last so that you can access them as soon as you arrive.
How to Get Settled
Clean Your Home
Unpacking can be more pleasant when you’re working with a clean, blank canvas. Check with your new landlord or real estate company to see if they would be willing to have your new home cleaned in preparation for your arrival. If so, set up a cleaning date with them. If not, be prepared to dust, sweep, and wipe down surfaces before settling in. This will make for a truly fresh start and help you feel more at home.
Unpack Your Things
Taking simple measures will help unpacking go smoothly. First, sort your belongings by room, placing your boxed items and furniture in the rooms where they will live. When unpacking, take it piece-by-piece, starting with the most-used rooms first. Begin with the bathroom, kitchen, and bedrooms; then save the living room, dining room, and guest rooms for last.
As you unpack, take note of things you need to buy for your new home, including any damaged or lost items you may need to replace after the move. You’ll also want to make a list of basic groceries and cleaning supplies so you can restock your pantry. Keep your list in a central location, like on the refrigerator door, so you can add to it as needed.
Become a Resident
Filing a change of address with the post office before your move was your first step to becoming a resident in your new location. There are a few more things you need to do in order to make your residency official. If you’re in a new state, it’s important that you register your car, get a new driver’s license, and register to vote. If you have any professional licenses, get those transferred to your new state as well. Even if your move is in-state, you should still go to the DMV and have the address on your license changed; some states charge serious fines if you don’t promptly change the address on your license after you move.
Secure Your Home
Whether you’re moving into a new or old home, make sure you check the functionality of smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, and the security system. If you install an alarm system, keep in mind that many now come with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors, so you may not need to purchase them separately. These systems are designed to alert authorities and offer a quick response for any emergency. Having a home security system can also reduce the cost of homeowner’s insurance.
Meet the Neighbors
Nothing will help you feel more at home than getting to know your neighbors and neighborhood. Introducing yourself to your neighbors isn’t just courteous; it’s also helpful when you’re adapting to a new area. Introducing yourself in person, joining a neighborhood association, or plugging in to a local social media group are all great steps to becoming part of a community and building a supportive network in your new city.