without pulling out (or losing) some of your hair?
We all know moving is stressful and time consuming: add in a family and without the right organizational tools, it can turn to chaos. A few simple techniques can make all the difference in a successful move.
A sturdy clip-board is the first order of business. Keep in mind this will be your main organizational tool during your move - get one with a good strong clip and tie a pen to it! With this clip-board, you will track and reference all your checklists, receipts and paperwork. On Moving Day it will be your best friend! Keep your clip-board handy at all times, fill it with every document relevant to your move and remember to stock a few sheets of lined paper for taking notes. While you are at the office supply store, you can also pick up packing tape (and a dispenser if you need one), several good black permanent markers, and protective packing materials.
Hiring a Mover: Acquiring quotes from at least 3 different sources when hiring any professional is standard, hiring a moving company is no different. Even if you have been referred to a specific company, call others for a comparison price. You may find one company stands out as more accommodating than others in the process of obtaining your information - this is a clear indication of how they will treat their clientele. Different companies have different policies and you need to know what they are! For example, many moving companies will quote you over the phone, based simply on how many rooms you are moving; while others will send a representative to view your belongings for accuracy. How will those estimation policies affect you and your final billing? Check each candidate with the Better Business Bureau for client disputes and only commit when you feel comfortable with pricing and terms, never based upon pressure or availability. To avoid having an unsatisfactory Mover in charge of your belongings - do your homework!
Moving companies typically fill certain days of the month well in advance. If you are moving near the first of the month, the sooner you begin the process to secure your mover, the better chance you will have at obtaining their services on your chosen day. This is useful to keep in mind when negotiating a possession day for your home. If you have the ability to move on a mid-week and/or mid-month date, you can do so to avoid the crowds and inflated prices! Most Mover’s offer insurance for your belongings. Before you commit to purchasing the Mover’s insurance, check with your current home insurance policy as to whether your belongings are already covered while in transit. If you are unsure, call your insurance provider and ask, some policies already insure your belongings for damage or theft during a move. If your current policy lacks this coverage, your insurance provider may be able to add better coverage for a fee less than the Mover’s insurance.
Once you have chosen a Mover and secured a written contract with them, place the document on your clip-board and keep it until your move is fully completed! Having the contract on hand during your moving day will eliminate any potential disputes about what exact services you agreed upon. Ask for a direct, after-hours phone number to a manager and write this at the top of the contract.
Doing It Yourself: Just like hiring Movers, many of the same rules apply when renting a truck. Get 3 quotes and keep in mind the popular move dates fill up quickly. Verify if your auto or home insurance covers the rented vehicle and/or your belongings while in transit before you consider the rental company’s insurance. Confirm exactly what "come’s with" the vehicle and what is expected of you with regards to when and where you return it. Have the rental company provide you with an after-hours phone number to call in case you have an emergency during your move.
All Movers Have to Pack: If you are doing your own packing, start early and spread the job out over time. There is no need to make packing more stressful by leaving it to the last few days.
Clearly mark and inventory all boxes! Your inventory list will live on your clip-board until each box and item has been accounted for in your new home. This list will help you track boxes in the possession of the Mover’s or on a truck. The advantage of being able to clearly and easily identify any missing boxes or items will protect you from unknown loss. Additionally, you will be able to identify your boxes’ contents by sight.
Never rely on liquids to be self-sealed! Containers can leak while in transit. To prevent this, tape plastic wrap around the opening of any items that can potentially leak. Pack these items together in a box, separate from all other non-leaking items (especially papers and fabrics) and CLEARLY mark "THIS SIDE UP" on all four sides of the box.
Pack your boxes lightly. Lots of small boxes are much easier to handle than a few large ones. If you have plenty of books - spread them around in many boxes to ensure easy lifting.
Use your towels and linens to protect breakables. They have to be packed anyway so you may as well wrap your breakables in them. If you need more protective wrap, you can also use plastic bubble wrap which can be purchased inexpensively, in large quantities from office supply stores. A roll with perforated sheets will give you the most flexibility.
When packing your dinner plates, if possible, pack them vertically, as they travel better.
Clearly mark boxes with fragile contents or out of the ordinary handling instructions.
Remove the legs on tables and desks; dis-assemble any large items of furniture as much as you can to maximize your space saving options when packing the truck. Keep all hardware separate in marked zip-lock bags.
Wrap your large furniture in blankets. Use the ones provided with the truck if you can, if unavailable use your own. A little extra laundry can save your precious items from irreparable damage.
Assume items will shift or fall over during the move, be sure to pack them securely and tie down anything that can tip and cause damage.
On the outside of each box, be sure to clearly mark your name, an active phone number and the final destination address. To cut down on the chaos at the new house, also mark each box with the room it belongs in and the identification number to match your inventory list. Organization is imperative to cutting down the stress of moving and even if lists are not a familiar part of your day to day life - they will be a life-saver in a move!
As your move date approaches, create your first day survival kit. Whether you use a bag or box, plan on this kit to accompany you personally on the move. In this kit are the important items and necessities for your first day and night in your new home. For the most part, what you need will be highly individual to your families needs. However, all kits should contain: your clip-board, bottled water, healthy snacks, toiletries, any medications, your wallet with some cash, the T.V. remote (if you have small kids who will need to be entertained), an extra box cutter, tools and the hardware necessary to assemble furniture and last but not least, a menu/flyer to a local pizza shop (or directions to any easy food source). Add only items that will be imperative to a successful first night in your new home. Keep it lightweight!
When you are moving household plants over a long distance, or in winter months, place them in boxes or wrap them in plastic. A wardrobe box is great for large tropical’s. If the plants are too tall, you can cut them back to make them fit (don’t worry they will grow back), or cover them with plastic to protect their foliage. To add root protection, keep the soil moist. This does make them heavier, however the moisture acts as insulation and will help prevent the roots from freezing and ultimately damaging or killing the plant.
Use a checklist to remind you of everything that needs to be done, as well as what has already been done - write everything down! Keep track as you notify services and accounts of your impending address change. Make note of all new service hook up dates. Your bank, doctor, credit cards, government departments and mail subscriptions all need to be notified of your new address. Keep in mind, a mail forward can take up to 2 weeks to be in full effect and will eventually run out, so treat all mail arriving with a forward sticker as a reminder of who is yet to be informed of your new address.
When transferring phone and cable services to your new home, organize and coordinate the companies at least 3 weeks in advance to ensure all your services will be up and running on the day you want.
Finally, on your move day, take a final meter reading for your utilities and call this information in to the billing office to ensure you only pay for services you used.
These simple organizational tips can save you stress, time and even money when making a move.