A little planning can save you a lot of hassle when you move.
There's no doubt about it. Moving takes a fair amount of work, and
there are multiple details to remember. At the same time, moving can
be an exciting adventure, full of possibilities.
Here are a few suggestions to help you work through the details, along
with a six-week schedule of what to do and when to do it. Your
circumstances may vary, of course, but these tips can put you on your
way to a smooth move.
• Complete a change-of-address form at the post office, effective
on your moving day. As bills and magazines come in, send in the
change-of-address forms. Some magazines now offer a toll-free
subscriber number where you can call the change in.
• Keep a file of important papers you'll need over the course of the
move. You can use a portable plastic file cabinet, an accordion file
or a three-ring binder with pocket dividers to group items by
category. Be sure to keep all your receipts. You may be able to deduct
moving expenses from your taxes.
• Call at least three moving companies for estimates, and check with
the Better Business Bureau for any complaints. The peak months for
moving companies are May through September, so plan accordingly if
your move is scheduled for the summer.
• Call the chamber of commerce in your new city for a new resident
information package. Most chambers or Realtors offer one, and you'll
find it to be an invaluable resource when settling into your new home.
• Choose the moving company and confirm the date for your move.
You can save money by packing items yourself. If the movers are doing
the packing, they generally come the day before your move.
• Get rid of everything you don't need or won't ever use again. Clean
out closets, cabinets, garage, attic and basement. Have a big garage
sale or donate anything you don't want to charity. Be sure to save the
receipts from any donations to deduct from your taxes.
• Make an inventory of your valuable household items. Include an
estimate of their value and when purchased if possible. Many insurance
agents recommend photo or video records as well.
• Start packing the items you won't be using before you move, such as
books, off-season clothes, tools and yard equipment. You don't want to
live with moving boxes all over for the next few weeks, so designate a
spare room or the garage for storing them.
• Consider shipping some items such as glass or valuables by
registered mail or UPS; it may be cheaper than putting them in a
• Get your financial, legal and other affairs in order. You can handle
some of these items on your own, but for more complicated matters,
you're better off consulting with an attorney, insurance agent,
accountant, and/or your Realtor. The trouble you'll save is well worth
the money you'll spend on professional assistance.
Financial items that may require your attention include:
• Closing out utility service at your old home and setting up service
in your new one.
• Transferring bank accounts and credit cards. If you have investments
with a national firm, ask your broker for a contact in your new city.
• Transferring polices for homeowner, automobile, medical and life
insurance. Your current agent should be able to refer you to an agent
in your new city.
• Making arrangements for transferring wills, trusts and other
financial or legal documents you may have in a safe deposit box.
• Have your pets examined by your veterinarian and get any necessary
shots. Pick up their records as well, and ask your vet for a referral
in your new city if possible. If you're flying to your new home, check
with the airline about any traveling restrictions for animals. Some
states have quarantine restrictions on pets.
• Pick up your medical and dental records as well as your
children's school transcripts. Ask you doctor and dentist for a
referral, if available, in your new city
• Fill any prescription you might have. Ask your doctor for a copy of
the prescription you can take to the pharmacist in your new city.
• Pick up any items you've dropped off to be repaired. Also pick up
any dry cleaning or items on layaway.
• Go back to your list of address changes. Be sure you've notified
• Map out your route if you're driving to your new city, and make
motel reservations for your trip along the way. Don't plan to drive
more than 400 miles per day, especially if you have small children or
animals. Collect games and books for the drive to keep your kids
occupied, and have your car serviced.
• If you're flying to your new city, make your reservations. Most
airlines have restrictions on changes or refunds. If you choose the
lowest fare, you won't be able to change your tickets later on if you
• Check the owner's manual on your major appliances to see if they
• Start saying good-bye to friends and neighbors and verify their
addresses for writing letters. The last few days in your old house
will go quickly, and you may not have a chance to see them again
before your leave.
• Try to use up the food in your kitchen before you move.
• Return any library books or other items you may have borrowed. Be
sure to get back any items you've loaned out.
• Arrange to send children to a friend's house on moving day if
possible. It will keep them out of the way and give them a chance to
• Stop your newspaper subscription effective on your moving day.
• Call the utility companies to schedule turning off service the day
after you move.
• Arrange to have utilities turned on in your new home the day before
you're scheduled to arrive.
• Drain the oil and gasoline from your lawn mower and other gas
powered tools into an approved container.
BEFORE YOU MOVE:
• Pack a box of essential items such as toiletries, cleaning supplies,
canned or dry food and light bulbs for easy access when you arrive at
your new home. Load this box with personal items in your car.
• Go to the bank and close out your account or, if possible, transfer
your account to a bank in your new city. Get traveler's checks for the
trip as well as a cashier's check for the closing on your new house if
necessary. You may also need a cashier's check to pay the movers
because some do not accept personal checks.
• Finish packing any kitchen, bathroom, or personal items.
• Strip the beds if they haven't already been dismantled. Pack the
dirty linens in a box to be washed when you arrive at your new home.
• Mark the contents of your boxes and the rooms they go in before
they're loaded into the moving van.
• Be available to the movers if they have questions, but try to stay
out of their way. Check the inventory carefully.
• Make sure the movers have your new address and phone number and give
them a map to your new house. Also give them the number of a friend or
relative with whom they can leave a message if necessary while you're
• Check all rooms, closets, cupboards and drawers for items you may
have forgotten. Check the attic, basement and garage as well.
• Empty the trash, and borrow a broom, or vacuum cleaner from a
neighbor to pick up any remaining debris.
• If you're leaving any appliances behind, leave the owner's manuals
and warranty information with them. Leave your new address as well so
the new owner can send any of your mail that isn't forwarded.
• Give the house a final check. Leave the key and garage door opener
with the neighbor, Realtor or other designated party.
ARRIVE AT YOUR NEW HOME:
• Try to arrive at your new home early, at least a day before the
moving van comes.
• Make sure the utilities are connected.
• Unpack the box of essential items. Clean anything that needs it
before the movers arrive with the rest of your things.
• When the movers arrive, give them a floor plan sketch to indicate
where you want furniture placed.
• Check items off the inventory list as they are unpacked. Check for
any damage before signing a receipt.
• After the movers have finished unpacking, start putting everything
else away. Take your time and put things where they're most
Settle in and enjoy your new home!
MAKE MOVING EASIER:
If you're considering a move, your Realtor can help you market
your current home and negotiate the best available selling price. And
if you're moving to a new city, he can refer you to an agent who can
find the home that's just right for your family. Call your Realtor to
start your move off right.
a Move Don't Forget About Your Checks