My son and his family are in the process of moving. The Box Brigade of assorted kin and friends carried the million boxes down from second floor on Friday. I did my share in the ant army with the lighter boxes, then joined the indoors force in the new place. I guess we all greeted the new year with heavy DOMS.

10 Things You Need to Prepare Before the Move

Every move is stressful. Not only that you may be going through an emotional turmoil, but there are several things to take care of besides packing. The worst you can do is start late and turn the whole process into a chaos that can lead to missing something or forgetting to do an important task. 

To make sure it doesn’t come to that, we prepared the list of things you need to prepare before the move. So, let’s start tackling one item at a time.    

Never start a move without a plan and checklists. We suggest you buy a notebook, divide your move into milestones and assign a checklist to each of those milestones. This will give you a better perspective on how much work you need to do and what it will take, so you can organize your time better.

To make it more fun, use colorful pens and markers, stickers, and anything else that will take away the dullness of this task. Of course, you can do all this with apps on your tablet, phone, or computer, but that will take away the personal experience. However, use the calendar app to mark important dates and set reminders that you can share with others and notify yourself when something is due. 

  • Declutter and organize your things

To figure out how much time you have, what packing supplies you need, and how long can the move last, start decluttering. Divide the whole process between rooms and start examining your belongings area by area. For example, if you are decluttering your bedroom, start with the closer and go forward from there to the rest of the room.

To avoid hoarding things you don’t need or that are ready to retire, decide what you will do with them. You can use post-it notes and assign each color to a certain action, like “throw away” and “donate.” Alternatively, you can place things in labeled boxes or bags if you are sure about your decision and won’t second guess it.  

  • Make an inventory of your belongings

After you have your belongings sorted out, make an inventory of those things you plan to take with you. This will further help you decide whether you need all of it or not, as well as keep track of packing and transport. The inventory will show you how things need to be packed, handled, and secured to avoid damage when carried and driven to your new home.

If it’s not too much trouble, you can take pictures of things to have proof of their state before and after a move for insurance purposes. Printing those pictures and gluing them to their package is also a good reminder of where they are.

  • Buy packing essentials

What type of packing supplies you need depends on the things you intend to pack. The essentials include cardboard boxes, tape, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, and wrapping foil. But it all comes down to the type of belongings you are planning to pack.

For example, fragile items should be immovable to avoid damage or breakage. You can do this with Styrofoam peanuts, filling empty spaces with cardboard, and wrapping the item in plastic cushions. Before you go shopping for supplies, examine your belongings and decide the safest way to pack them. If unsure, pack them as though they are fragile, just to be sure they will arrive at their destination in one piece and without a scratch. 

  • Organize transportation

When it comes to transporting your belongings, you have two options: you can hire professional removalists or do it yourself. Although it may seem cheaper, the latter option comes with greater risk and can end up being more expensive in the end. Professionals know the ups and downs of the move so they can anticipate problems and resolve them before they cause damage. 

Some companies will take care of the packing and unpacking for you which gives them an extra advantage when it comes to the safety of your things. You can rent a U-Haul, but packing, caring for, and securing your belongings will be your responsibility. So, if you are not sure you can do it right, go with professional transport and have one less worry to stress you out.   

  • Clean your previous and future homes

Once the house is empty, organize a cleaning service to come and thoroughly clean the whole place. Furthermore, do the same for your new home before moving in. It will give you better insight into what you need to fix for new tenants, but also whether some problems need your attention at your future place.

To the very least, you will ensure that both your homes are dust free, clean, and ready for living. Keep in mind to plan this accordingly, since in some cases you may have to paint the walls to refresh the interior look. 

  • Get rid of unwanted things

Unwanted things don’t have to end up in the garbage. You have options on what to do with them and even earn some cash. For example, you can sell them online through message boards and ads, or you can hold a yard sale in the front yard. Other options include donating your belongings to charity, especially clothes and shoes that are still good to wear.

Giving unwanted things to friends and family members is a good way to get rid of them, especially if you want to thank them for helping you move. Whatever you decide, make sure that things are whole and undamaged, so other people can still use them. Otherwise, they are better off recycled or thrown away. 

  • Inform people you are moving

When you are ready, you should tell everyone you are moving to a new place. This includes friends and family, but also your employer, children’s teachers, and everyone who needs to know this information. 

Bank, insurance companies, attorneys, physicians, and other organizations you use need to know that you will be available at a new address. Your mail needs to be redirected to your future home, but also change the address in the delivery options attached to your online shops. 

  • Change the address officially

Documents, like ID and driving license, need your address to change immediately. This usually means standing in long lines and wasting hours, maybe days to admiration and accompanying bureaucracy. 

If you have a signed lease or ownership for your new home, start this process immediately. The sooner you finish this, the faster you can go back to packing things and other mundane move-related errands. It’s also a good moment to collect and organize your papers, records, and other important documents to have everything ready ahead of time.  

  • Take care of utilities and subscriptions

To make sure that you have water, power, and gas in your new home, contact the utility companies to have them running on your first day there. Do the same for your old house, only to have the same services disconnected there on your last day. 

Internet, phone, and cable need to be canceled or transferred to a new address, if possible.  Additionally, some of these services and utilities may have installation or cancelation charges so it’s better to start dealing with this sooner than later. But if you deal with this in time, you won’t have too many surprises on a moving day. 

The bottom line  

These are not all things you need to prepare before the move but are the essential ones that will help you do it stress-free. Keep in mind that timing is everything and begin with preparations at your earliest convenience to anticipate potential problems and unwanted expenses.