Moving can be one of the most stressful personal upheavals there is. You’ve made a nest where you are and now you’re about to take it apart and set it up somewhere else entirely. In the midst of that, of course, you’ve got to stay on top of everything else that’s going on in your life: your job, your kids, taking your dog to the vet and all the rest.
There are lots of website articles out there with tips that claim they’ll make a move easy as pie. But if you’ve ever done it before, you know that there’s nothing easy about it. It’s like trying to keep half a dozen plates spinning while you’re tying your shoes.
So in addition to studying all those articles that tell you how to pack your dishes with potholders between them (a neat idea if you have enough potholders) and how to label boxes so the movers put everything exactly where it belongs (which will never happen), here are three general tips that will keep your wits in place while you go through the process of moving:
Actually, what’s even more important than #1 is to contract with a moving company right away. Whether you’re staying in the same neighborhood or going from Dover to Detroit, movers can be hard to book, particularly from May to September. And now:
1. Start Packing Early
Don’t waste any time before you gather boxes, packing paper, tape and a bunch of marking pens and get to it. Going through every single item you own is definitely going to take longer than you’d imagine. Before you start, you can Google to find all the detailed instructions you need about how to actually go about it.
2. Take Detailed Notes
Get a notebook or a pad of lined paper and use it to keep track of every single thing having to do with the move. Don’t bother creating a fancy Excel file or putting everything into your phone. Go old school on this so you can write things down whenever and wherever they occur to you. That means:
- A first page with your new address and names of the cross-streets for giving directions to service people, the movers and the pizza delivery place. It’s surprising how many people ask for the names of those streets even though a GPS is right at hand.
- A page for the contact information of your moving company, realtor, escrow, mortgage and insurance people or of your current and future landlords or property rental company.
- A page of the contact information for both your old and new power, water and gas or other utility companies (one page for each) and the dates you want services stopped and started. Each time you have a conversation with these people, write down the date, the name of the person you spoke to and a confirmation number for your order. Then if there’s an issue you’ll at least have a starting point to get it resolved.
- A page for the info on the TV, cable and internet service providers at your old and new addresses, as well as your account numbers and passwords. If you’ve got a landline phone, use another page for that information, too, and order the line for your new address as soon as you can because of all the service providers you rely on, phone companies can be the slowest to get things done.
- As many pages as you need to draw and note the dimensions of the rooms as well as mark placement of doors and windows in your new home. Use it to pre-plan where your furniture will fit, and also as you shop.
3. Be Aware That Movers Are Fast
Crews go like the wind as they grab things and carry them out at one place and into another, and you’ll be unable to watch everything they’re doing. So on moving day keep your purse, your keys, your phone and your notebook either on you or in a closed kitchen drawer, so they don’t wind up in a box on the moving truck. And take the time to mark your packing boxes on all four sides, so when they’re piled up ceiling-high in your new rooms you can see what you want even if you can’t reach it.
Once moving day is done, order that pizza, find the wine glasses (coffee mugs will do in a pinch) and toast your happy new home.