Most everyone has experienced at least one move in their lives.
“Roughly 35.5 million Americans move each year using everything from professional movers to old station wagons," according to Colin Holmes of move.org.
Whatever motivates you to move, it's an intricate process with many steps.
It's no surprise that the entire process of moving contains a lot of stress. There are so many details to manage from the day you decide to look for a new place until that final box gets unpacked.
Staying organized and positive can help ease you through each step, but you'll most likely feel pressure from the amount of time and money you'll invest in the move. This is why it's important to go into your move prepared for what's ahead. Keep track of everything that has to get done to help you avoid any costly moving mistakes.
An effective way to keep yourself in check as you prepare to move is to know what to expect at each stage of the process. Creating a moving timeline, complete with items to check off at each stage, can help walk you through from start to finish.
It's best to start planning for a move about two months in advance. This allows you to give proper notice to your property manager and schedule movers. Typically, you need to give 30 days notice before moving out. If you schedule your moving date two months ahead of time, you'll be well within the legal range to move out, unless your lease says otherwise. Submit your intent to move in writing and begin preparations.
When scheduling movers, which you should do as early as possible, it's important to get everything in writing. This includes the estimated costs, as well as a schedule for their arrival. This is especially important if your move coincides with a busy day or time of year for moves.
According to the Augusta Free Press, Fridays are the most popular day to move and the summer is the most popular season. More than a third of all moves take place in the hottest months of the year. You may have fewer options for moving dates within these timeframes, so planning ahead can give you more flexibility.
Additionally, you should start thinking about the move itself by:
At this stage, it's important to tackle tasks that will help transition you from your current apartment to your new home.
Make arrangements with all your utility companies. Cancel them in your current place and set them up in your new home. Transfer anything that is the same between the two locations.
You'll also want to start changing your address, especially with the post office to ensure your mail forwards. Make a list of all the sites that store your contact information like Amazon, Netflix, Uber Eats or DoorDash and set a reminder to update your address after you move into your new place. You'll also need to update your address at your bank and with your credit card companies.
Now is a good time to begin collecting moving supplies. Track down as many free boxes as you can, purchasing any extras you might need. Don't forget to buy packing paper, strong packing tape and a few black Sharpie markers to label everything.
This is the stage where things can start to get more stressful since you're adding packing to your daily workload. Keeping things in perspective helps, according to Caitlin Renton and the American Moving & Storage Association. “Throughout the moving process, remind yourself why you're moving so you can reflect on this exciting time."
Also at this stage, consider:
It's packing time!
This is it, your move is approaching and it's time to hunker down and get the bulk of your packing done. You most likely have already started this process, beginning with nonessential items, but you need to turn your attention to the rest of your stuff.
Separate out valuables, important files and items you need on a daily basis. These are best kept with you during the move and should go into a box labeled for your car if possible.
You also want to set aside a few days worth of clothing to go into a suitcase to travel with you to your new apartment. To make packing less stressful, use whatever hacks you can find.
It's also important to take extra care when packing, even if you're in a hurry. You don't want to unpack a bunch of broken items and have to replace them. According to Laura McHolm and The Huffington Post, items most likely to break as a result of rushing to pack include:
It's not only glass that gets damaged if packed improperly. Make sure you take the time to wrap, pad and protect everything by planning out enough time to get the job done right.
In addition, you should also wrap up whatever you can that's unrelated to the move itself at this stage. Finish making arrangements with utility companies, complete any change of address tasks and set up a plan for cleaning your apartment based on what's required by your lease. Start eating up the perishable food in your pantry and fridge so you don't have to waste it or worry about trying to move it.
Lastly, this close to moving, take some time to relax. Have a going-away party if you're moving far or a night out with friends at your favorite neighborhood restaurant or bar. You need a break.
This is it.
You've got seven more days until the move. To say there are a million little things to do is often an understatement. Besides completing the all-important task of packing, you might want to take care of a few other items, including:
Moving day is here.
This is the hardest day in the process since you now have to worry about two locations instead of one. As you're leaving your current apartment, don't forget to give it a good cleaning. Take out the trash, do a walk-through to make sure all your stuff is out and double-check it's left the way your lease requires it.
Confirm with movers that they know where they're going and have your cell number in case any issues arise. Pack your own car carefully and return your apartment key before heading off to your new place.
You'll most likely arrive at your new place before your movers, which is a good thing. This gives you time to prepare. Unlock your new apartment and open any gates the movers will have to get through.
Do a quick walk-through with your new property manager to note any issues that are preexisting. This protects you from having to pay for them when moving out. If you can, unload your car and put your stuff in an empty closet to keep it out of the way and safe during the day.
As the movers begin bringing items in, be on hand to help direct them to the proper rooms. Offer them bottled waters and make sure they don't have any questions. When they're done, pay and tip them before walking them out to secure gates or doors you've left open for the move. Unpack your essentials next and then enjoy your new apartment.
With so many things to remember when moving, you may have forgotten how much there is to do afterward. If you define the whole process of moving as leaving one place to settle into somewhere else, then the real work begins after the move.
Not only will you need to unpack your boxes, but you'll most likely have to do a lot of shopping to restock your pantry and fill in any gaps in furniture you may have. Take it slow and don't feel like you have to get everything done that first week. Make a little progress every day and by the end of your first month, your new apartment will start feeling much more like your new home.
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