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Is there anyone in the world who actually likes moving to a new home? Organizing and packing up years of accumulated stuff, keeping up with odds and ends, tripping over boxes—is there any way to make that sound fun?
While we may not be able to make moving an enjoyable experience, we have some tips to help relieve some of your stress. To start off, try not to think of moving to a new home as a single, overwhelming ordeal. Break the moving process down into easy-to-accomplish phases to keep you focused and motivated.
Here’s our suggestion for a four-phase move along with some interesting packing tips to make things easier.
Phase One: At Least Three Months Before Moving Day
1. Don’t waste time or space packing what you don’t use or need. Clear out closets, cabinets and any other random storage places and sell, toss or donate anything you haven’t used in more than a year. Have a pre-moving yard sale and make a little extra cash while you’re at it!
2. Start gathering sturdy boxes from grocery, furniture or electronics stores. It may take more time to get what you need, but they’ll be free!
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3. Start pre-packing! If you’re selling your home, this will help you clear out clutter and make your home appear more spacious to prospective buyers. Pack up photos, knickknacks, rarely used dishes and cookware—almost anything you don’t use on a daily basis.
—Label and/or color-code boxes to make unpacking easier. Place labels on the sides of boxes so you can see them when the boxes are stacked.
—For items that must be disassembled, keep screws, washers, and so forth in labeled plastic bags. Put all the bags in one box so they won’t get lost. Do the same with the cords from your electronics.
—Instead of wrapping each dish in newspaper or bubble wrap, separate your dishes with Styrofoam plates. Stack them in boxes vertically instead of flat. They’ll be less likely to break.
Phase Two: One Month Before Moving Day
1. Coordinate your moving dates with some overlap. Leave plenty of time between closing on your current home and the move-in date for your new home to paint or put in new flooring—whatever projects you have in mind—before you move in.
2. Go ahead and set up utilities and internet access at your new home and notify the post office of your new address.
3. Take measurements at your new home to make sure your current appliances and furniture will fit.
4. Keep packing!
Phase Three: One or Two Weeks Before Moving Day
1. Finish up the immediate updates to your new home.
2. Put up shower curtains at your new home and stock the bathroom with towels and soap so you can have a hot shower after a long day of moving. Have paper plates, disposable cups, paper towels and cleaning supplies at your new home so you don’t have to search for them the day of the move.
3. Pack a bag of essentials for each family member: medicines, toiletries and a change of clothes. Keep these handy so you’ll have everything you need for your first night in your new home without digging through boxes.
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4. Nearly done packing!
More Packing Tips
—Take pictures of your electronic hookups so you have a guide to use when you get to your new home.
—Slip your hanging clothes into garbage bags while they’re still on the hanger. Simply transport them to your new closet and remove the bag.
Final Phase: Moving Day
1. All your prior hard work should make this day a simple matter of moving your things from one location to another. Make things even easier by having a friend watch your kids and/or pets so you can focus on the task at hand.
2. If you’re relying on volunteers to help you move, organize your teams in shifts so one group of friends helps you move out while the other helps you move in. That way no one has to give up a full day, and you get all the help you need.
Professional Movers Can Do the Heavy Lifting
If your budget allows, consider hiring professional movers who will take on much of the physical stress of packing and transporting your belongings. Remember, it’s your responsibility to keep things organized.
Look for companies that have a reputation for good customer service. Be sure you understand your responsibilities so you don’t end up paying more than you expect.
A Small Price to Pay for a Great New Home
Don’t let the task of moving keep you from finding a new home you and your family can enjoy. Take your time, think ahead, and keep your sense of humor!
If you think you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we can put you in touch with a high-energy, high-octane real estate agent Dave recommends to help you make the home-buying process as smooth as your move.