Not only are you upending all your belongings, but on top of that, dealing with landlords, moving crews, cleaning, utilities, and “where did I put...” It’s easy to let things get out of control! But after moving many times throughout my life, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips to help your move go off without a hitch!
Making a list and checking it twice isn’t just useful for gift-giving! The first thing I usually do when approaching a big project (like moving) is make a list and then put thoughts into categories. To help you get started, you should think about who, what, when, where. As in, “who do I need to inform of …" or “who will help me do...” and “what will I need when I first arrive,” etc.
Sometimes, it’s helpful to think chronologically about the entire process from start to end, writing down large milestones, and then filling in with details later. “When does my current lease end and what day of the week is that on?” “How many days of overlap (new lease/old lease) do I need to move my things?” You can also make calendar events and set automatic reminders to notify you when important deadlines are coming up. Once you see the roadmap of how your move will go, it’s less like a rollercoaster and more like a Sunday cruise.
Once you have dates for your move, you should start to contact your landlords, utility providers, and other service providers to inform them of your move. Some services will allow you to transfer or move your services with you, while others will require you to cancel and open a new account at your new address. You’ll also want to get your mailing address changed with your credit cards, billing accounts, and subscriptions (magazines, monthly boxes, etc.). It’s best to start this early and check them off as you go, that way you have plenty of time to remember and contact ones you’ve forgotten.
If you're choosing to use a moving company, go ahead and get that scheduled. If you’re planning to recruit friends and family, be sure to give them plenty of advanced notice.
Whether you are moving yourself or hiring a moving company, you should carefully organize your belongings so they are packed in an intuitive way. I find it easiest to work room-by room (either from your current location, OR with the new place in mind). As you pack, take inventory of what is going in which box, and LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! When dismantling furniture, put nuts, screws, and bolts in plastic bags or reusable containers so you don’t lose them! As you pack (or even before), you should take advantage of this time by deciding what items you may want to sell, give or throw away, or keep (feel free to go full Mari Kondo!) The more you can edit out your belongings, the easier it will be to move.
Another great moving tip is to get an “essential” or “day-1” box prepped that you keep separate from all the others. Add items like toilet paper, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, towel, paper towels and wipes, and an extra set of clothes. If you have any pets, you’ll want to keep your pet supplies handy as well. You might also want to plan out your first few meals in your new home before you move and put one pan and one utensil and any ingredients needed in your day-1 box as well.
If you want to maximize the return on your security deposit, you can’t skimp on cleaning out your old place! Once you’re all moved out, be sure to go through and check the nooks and crannies for any leftover items. Check with your landlord for move-out procedures and cleaning requirements. You might think it’s helpful to leave toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and shower rods for the next tenant, but landlords may consider these abandoned items and charge you for removing them. Once you have cleaned up, take pictures and a move-out inventory for your files, and make sure you give any keys or other access devices back to your landlord.
When you get to your new place, the first thing you should do is take pictures and carefully document the initial condition. Most landlords will provide you with an inventory sheet to check, but even if they don’t, you shouldn’t skip this step. After assessing your new home, use your packing list to prioritize which boxes to move-in first and unpack.
I hope these tips help to de-stress your move. Even though moving can be a tough, it can also be a great chance for a fresh start!