Congratulations! You got a new job offer or finally managed to save a down payment for a starter home. But before you can nestle into your new routine, you have to survive the challenge of moving. How can you transport your entire life without losing your mind?
If you have plenty of time to prepare, make your job less stressful with a systematic approach. You’ll save yourself a headache when you work step-by-step as opposed to rushing things. Hiring the right help and setting aside money for emergencies will also help.
So where should you begin?
1. Start Packing Early
The minute you suspect you’re approaching a move, begin thinning out everything you own. Look at this as a heavy-duty spring cleaning and show no mercy. If you haven’t worn an outfit in over a year, sell or donate it, unless it has sentimental value like a wedding dress.
Be sure to label all boxes containing possessions you intend to keep. Go room by room, leaving a small number of essential items like dishware unpacked until the last day. You might decide to use a moving container instead of a truck so that you can pack items as you go along. This method spares you a backache from lifting too many heavy objects at once.
2. Schedule Your Address Changes
You are responsible for notifying the people that you love or merely do business with about the change. Even if you pay your bills electronically, your bank and the IRS both need to know where to mail crucial correspondence. Make a change-of-address checklist to ensure you’ve notified all parties of your destination.
Remember, if you participate in any monthly subscriptions, you need to update your address with these companies, too. It’s a wise idea to notify each vendor when you receive your next shipment so that you don’t forget.
Also, take the time to update your address for online shopping sites like Amazon if you use them often. There’s nothing more infuriating than ordering a new laptop only to have it arrive at your old address.
3. Select a Reputable Moving Company
If you do an online search for moving company horror stories, you’ll find tales far scarier than anything Stephen King ever penned. Some companies hold your belongings hostage unless you pay an outrageous fee you never agreed to pay. Others disappear off the face of the earth (with your stuff in tow).
To spare yourself heartache, research your moving company through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. This step ensures they have the proper license and insurance. You can also read online reviews, but look for patterns when you do. One or two negative reviews shouldn’t turn your head, but a stream of lousy press indicates a less-than-savory organization.
4. Establish Utility Services
Depending on your credit, you may or may not need to pay deposits to establish utility services. If you haven’t had any late payments, you can request that your utility company write you a credit letter so that you don’t have to pay an extra fee.
If you’re moving in the middle of the summer or winter, it’s wise to have a local friend turn on the heat or AC before move-in day. That way, you’re not sweltering or shivering while you unpack. Plus, you’ll need water for washing your hands before you have
5. Budget for Incidentals
If your move takes you more than one day to drive, you’ll need to arrange for a hotel for the night. You’ll also need snacks on the road, and if you have kids in tow, activities to keep them from whining, “Are we there yet?”
Make arrangements in advance as much as possible, but carry cash on you during moving day. That way, if you pull into a roadside stand that doesn’t take plastic, you’re covered. Don’t flaunt your bankroll, but do keep a decent stash of small bills handy.
6. Plan to Take a Break
Hey, moving involves some serious physical labor. If you’re starting a new job on top of your move, you probably feel considerable stress, too. If at all possible, plan to give yourself one day of rest before you need to tackle any new endeavors.
If you’re moving to attend school, for example, plan your move-in day two days before classes start so that you have a day to explore the campus and get your bearings.
7. Forge New Friendships
Finally, if you formerly enjoyed strong friendships with your neighbors, you could feel lost in your new home. When you’re feeling low, it’s tempting to isolate yourself, but doing so will only make you feel more homesick.
If your new colleague invites you to lunch, accept the invitation and offer to reciprocate. Get involved in volunteer opportunities in your new community and join online networking groups like Meetup. You can look into joining a recreational sports league or a crafting club at your local community center, too.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about the outdoors, survivalism and similar topics on his site. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!