Moving Day: How to Make Moving Easier

How to plan your move from one home to another to make it as simple and easy as possible.
Years ago, a major truck-rental company's slogan was "Adventure in Moving."  "How awful!" I thought back then!  Who wants their move from one home to another to be "adventurous?"  Can you imagine someone saying, "Our move from Michigan to Colorado was, well, a real adventure!" and think it was a good thing?  Most people would prefer to describe their move with adjectives like, "easy," "uncomplicated," and with phrases like "Smooth as a baby's bottom." As a Realtor, my job doesn't stop at the closing table.  I help my clients with utilities, locating schools ... even change-of-address forms and mailing labels for their new address. So, when it is time for you to move from your old home to your new one, here are a few tips to make it a little less "adventurous." 1. Lighten the load. If you haven’t already had a yard sale for items you don’t want to move, do it now. There’s not a lot of sense in carrying an old lamp (or paying a mover to carry it) to the new house only to put it in a yard sale there. 2. Plan your move. Planning is particularly important if you are moving long distance, not just across town. a) Label items – Buy color-coded stickers that can identify which belongings are going to the new home, to a yard sale, storage, discarded, etc.   When things get hectic, it will be much easier to know what goes into which box goes if you have it labeled with color coding. b) Label Boxes – Color-Code boxes, too.  Yellow for the moving truck, for example, blue to storage, red to carry with you in the car, etc. c) Schedule utilities. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your new home after a 12–hour drive only to find out there’s no heat and the lights won’t be turned on until next Tuesday. d) Shut off utilities.  Double-check to be sure your utilities at your old home have been scheduled for final readings. 3. Pack like a pro. If you cannot afford to hire a professional packing company, at least pack like them: a) Use the right boxes, and pack them carefully.  Professional moving companies use only sturdy, reinforced cartons. The boxes you can get at your neighborhood supermarket or liquor store might be free, but they are not nearly as strong or padded, and so they can't shield your valuables as well from harm in transit. b) Use sheets, blankets, pillows and towels to separate pictures and other fragile objects from each other and the sides of the carton. Pack plates and glass objects vertically, rather than flat and stacked. c) Be sure to point out to your mover the boxes in which you've packed fragile items, especially if those items are exceptionally valuable. The mover will advise you whether those valuables need to be repacked in sturdier, more appropriate boxes. d) The heavier the item, the smaller the box it should occupy. A good rule of thumb is if you can't lift the carton easily, it's too heavy. e) Label your boxes, especially the one containing sheets and towels, so you can find everything you need the first night in your new home. f) Fill two "OPEN ME FIRST" cartons containing snacks, instant coffee or tea bags, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and brushes, medicine and toiletry items (make sure caps are tightly secured), flashlight, screwdriver, pliers, can opener, paper plates, cups and utensils, a pan or two, paper towels, and any other items your family can't do without. Ask your van foreman to load one of these boxes, so that it will be unloaded at your new home first. g) Why the second box? Carry it with you in your car.  You’ll find many of these items will be handy to have along.  In case the movers are delayed getting to your house on the day of the move, you will have some bare necessities. h) Carry your family phone book.  Since you may need to call old neighbors or businesses from your new home, pack your phone book. 4. Work hand-in-hand with your mover. a) Give the mover's foreman your cell phone numbers, text addresses and e-mail addresses so you can stay in contact. Get their contact numbers in return. b) Read the inventory form carefully, and ask the mover to explain anything you don't understand. Make a note of your shipment's registration number, and keep  your Bill of Lading handy. c) If you're moving long distance, be aware that your property might share a truck with that of several other households. For this reason, your mover might have to  warehouse your furniture and belongings for several days. Therefore, ask your  mover whether your goods will remain on the truck until delivered. If they have to  be stored, ask whether you can check the warehouse for security, organization  and cleanliness. 5. Don’t forget safety & security. a) Teach your children your new address. Let them practice writing it on packed cartons. b) Write down your emergency contact information and put it in their shoe, for example.  If they have a cell phone, make sure your contact information is in their contact list and earmark your phone number with “ICE” (“in case of emergency”) so law enforcement knows to contact you if your child gets separated from you during travel. c) Keep your pets out of packing boxes and away from all the activity on moving day.  It is best to have a friend or family member take your pets to their house while your belongings are being packed and loaded. d) Let all your electrical gadgets return to room temperature before plugging them in.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started thinking about how to plan and make your move.  You'll come up with several that will work for you.

Good luck and "Less Adventure in Moving."

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