Key Steps to a Smooth Move

Posted: January 11, 2014 in How to...?
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This is a follow-up on my previous post, which also reflects what I am currently going through. I already found a new home and I am going through the process of moving. And since I like being organized and having some check-list of steps to follow, I decided to write down this check-list in case someone else funds it useful someday. This post assumes that you have already found a new home. If not, this might be a good starting point.

So here are the things to do when you are about to move to a new home:

Deciding how to move

The first decision you need to make is whether to do the moving by yourself, or hire professional movers. Both options have their pros and cons of course.

Moving on your own is much cheaper. You know what your valuable and fragile things are, so you are more likely to be careful with them, assuming you know what you are doing. The disadvantage of this option is that it is much more stressful and physically challenging, especially when moving heavy items and large furniture. Also, if you do not have the proper equipment and protective gear, you can easily cause injury to yourself and/or damage to your belongings. This is generally the better option if you are not moving too far away, and do not have too many belongings to move.

Hiring professional movers is better when you are moving over a long distance and/or have a lot of furniture and belongings to move. Movers have the proper moving equipment. They (mostly) know what they are doing. They have experience in wrapping items to reduce the chance of damage. They can help you disassemble and assemble furniture if necessary. But of course, this all comes at a cost. So basically using this option, you pay for your peace of mind. However, if you choose this option, make sure to research different movers in your area, and get quotes from them then you can compare. Also, try to find customer reviews about them to see whether they are professional and careful enough when moving your things.

Setting up utilities for your new home

If possible, try to do this step before you move. If you are responsible for things like water and electricity, you will have to set them before moving in anyway. So make sure you call the power company and set up your service for your move-in day. The same applies to cable/phone/internet service, although these can normally be set up after you move in.

Packing

Make sure you have all the supplies for packing your things: boxes, packing tape, mattress covers, bubble wrap/paper, etc. If you decide to hire movers, many of them will give you some helpful tips on what supplies you would need. You can buy a lot of these supplies from hardware and home improvement stores. You can also get some of them for free from websites like freecycle.org

Once you have the supplies, start packing. It is best to have separate boxes for fragile items. Also, use smaller boxes for books and heavy items. Trying to pack books in large boxes makes it almost impossible to move them afterwards. Fill the boxes all the way, and pad your items using the bubble wrap and/or paper. Try to leave no empty spaces in the boxes. This will prevent your items from shaking or moving inside the boxes during the move, which reduces the chance of damage. Mark the room on each box you pack.

Changing your address

Remember to notify everyone with your change of address. This not only applies to your family and friends, but also companies, service providers, government agencies, and anyone who must have your updated contact information. Common examples of that include:

  • Your bank/credit card provider
  • Your Workplace
  • Cellphone company
  • Drivers’ license
  • Insurance provider
  • Healthcare provider
  • Shopping websites where you have items shipped to your home

Also, you may find it useful to notify the post office of your change of address if this is applicable. The post office can then forward any mail that comes to you to your new address for a specified amount of time, just in case you forget to update your mailing address somewhere.

Cancelling services for your old home

Remember to stop services like cable/internet, electricity, etc. for your old home. In many instances, you can actually transfer these services from your old address to your new one, if the same service provider serves both addresses (and you wish to keep using the same provider). If that is not the case, then remember to cancel these services before you leave. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying for things you no longer use.

If I have forgotten anything important, please feel free to add it in the comments.

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