“I love preparing for a big move,” said no one, ever. Let’s face it, moving can be pretty difficult. It’s time-consuming, it’s exhausting, there’s never enough time no matter how far in advance you plan, and it can be kind of emotional, especially when you’re moving out of a home you’ve been in for a long period of time, or when you’re making a long-distance move and possibly leaving friends and loved ones behind.
But there are steps you can take to make your move a more hassle-free, stress-free, and enjoyable (okay, maybe slightly more enjoyable) experience. Here are the 10 best tips for preparing for a long-distance move that you need to know before you start.
1. MAKE A PLAN – THE SOONER, THE BETTER
If you’re not typically a fan of the traditional to-do list, this may be a tough one, but when you’re planning a long-distance move it’s important to make a plan and make a plan early. Even if you think you can go with the flow when planning your big move and that everything will be fine, inevitably there will be that one thing that creeps up last-minute and you don’t want to have to deal with that hassle. To help you get started,
HERE ARE A COUPLE ITEMS THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADD TO YOUR CHECKLIST.
- Create a “moving” folder on Google Drive where you can save things like price quotes for long distance movers, receipts, and any other pertinent records or information related to your move.
- Make a moving expenses budget that you know you can stick to. You know you need to hire a long-distance moving company, but do you really need to buy that rose gold bar cart right now?
- If you have a full-time job, make sure you request off ample time to prepare for your move. Or, if you’re moving to a new city where you’ll be starting a new job, make sure you give yourself a long weekend to settle in and get organized.
- Planning to “Marie Kondo” your home before you move? We highly recommend getting rid of anything you don’t plan to keep ahead of time. Plan a garage sale, and then donate any items you don’t sell.
- Take an inventory of any fragile or odd-sized items you have (instruments, pool tables, snowboards, skis, you get the idea) and research the best way to move those items. Make sure you check with your long-distance moving company ahead of time and brief them on any of these items you’ll be expecting them to move.
- Plan a going away party. You’ll want to make sure you make time for friends and family before you head out of town. Invite them over to your place for one last dinner or have everyone meet up at your favorite local bar or restaurant. Oh, and make sure to bring a box of tissues.
- Acquire recycled boxes from wherever you can find them – liquor stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and office supply stores usually have a large quantity of cardboard boxes they toss every day. Or, you can also rent plastic moving boxes for as long as you need. Plus, they’re sustainable. Then, label your boxes with stickers, tape, or different colored Sharpies to identify items for each room of the house. This will make packing a whole lot easier. Make sure you note which boxes have fragile items in them. The last thing you want is your husband’s “Salesperson of the Year Award” getting shattered in the move.
- Start packing a little every day. A little daily packing will go a long way once you’re ready for the big long-distance move.
There are plenty of more items you can add to your check list as you’re preparing for your long-distance move, but this should be a good start!
2. THE PRE-MOVE CLEAR-OUT, OR “MARIE KONDO-ING” YOUR HOME
As mentioned on the check-list above, we can’t stress enough how important it is to take inventory of the items you’ll be leaving behind before you start packing. If you’ve been in your home for years, you’ll likely have more stuff to sort through. The sooner you can get to this the better. You can start with a pile or list of things you know you want to get rid of, and those you’re unsure about, and then review that list a couple weeks later.
If they don’t bring you joy, let them go.
3. HIRE A REPUTABLE LONG-DISTANCE MOVING COMPANY
When you’re hiring long distance movers, you want to feel confident that they’re going to deliver on what they promise. Make sure you research your options for Bay Area movers and call your prospective long-distance moving company in advance to clear up any questions or concerns you have.
4. CHECK YOUR MOVING COMPANY’S RULES
Now that you’ve found your Bay Area moving company of choice, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of any reasonable exclusions in their contract. You should also check whether the long-distance moving company has any rules about what they can and can’t transport. You’ll save yourself from much unneeded stress and wasted time if you check these rules before moving day.
Some items that moving companies won’t be held responsible for are:
- Expensive items such as jewelry
- Dangerous items such as firearms
5. DETERMINE YOUR DELIVERY WINDOW AND MAKE A PLAN
When moving long-distance, the delivery window for your belongings can sometimes be more than two weeks after you arrive at your new home. Plan out your first month or so in your new home with the limited items you’ll have on-hand. This is why it’s important to pack an essentials kit, which brings us to our next bullet point.
6. PACK A “MOVE-IN SURVIVAL KIT”
One of the common mistakes we all make when packing is putting nearly everything we need on a daily basis in a box. This makes sense, because you of course don’t want to leave these items behind. But it’s helpful to keep the essentials you’ll need for the first few nights in your new home in one box, clearly labeled, so that they’re easily accessible.
While specific items to include in the “survival kit” differ for everyone, here are some items that you’ll need for your first few nights:
- Checkbook and credit cards
- Car keys
- Keys to your new house or apartment
- Laptop power cords
- Phone chargers
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Toiletries such as face wash, shampoo and conditioner, and soap
- Basic food supplies
- Bed linen
Items such as these should be put to the side right away, especially if you’re also hiring your long-distance moving company to take care of the packing for you. You’ll want to make extra sure that you’ve put your absolute necessities aside so you’ll remember to take them with you when you leave.
7. RESEARCH THE MOVE-IN RULES AND POLICIES AT YOUR NEW HOME
Once your long-distance moving company has arrived, you’ll want to make sure you’re clear on where they can park to load-in. You’ll want to make sure you research your new neighborhood’s parking regulations, and, if you’re moving into an apartment, check with your landlord on any parking restrictions and move-in day requirements, such as whether you’ll need to reserve a freight elevator. It’s also a good idea to brief your moving company on these restrictions, if any.
You’ll also want to check if your Homeowner association, or the building you’re moving out of or into, need certificates of insurance for your moving company to move you in or out of the property.
8. GET YOUR VEHICLE READY
If you’ll be driving your car to your new home, you’ll want to make sure you get it serviced ahead of time to avoid any road trip break-downs. Or, if you’ll be shipping your car, make sure you plan ahead of time to have your car arrive when you do. Also, make sure to remove any valuables from your car before it takes off.
9. THE TIME OF YEAR YOU MOVE MATTERS
Before you take that second dresser and king-sized mattress on the road, take a site survey of each room in your new home (if you can) to see if everything will fit. Rather than going off the square footage of the whole house or apartment, try to measure how much floor space there is in each room. That way, you won’t be frustrated when you get to your new place and your king-sized bed takes up the entire master bedroom, or your bookshelf doesn’t fit in the corner you had in mind.
If you’re flexible with your move, you could save yourself some money by moving during the off-season. Most people move during the summer, and as a result, it’s typically the most expensive time of year to hire a long-distance moving company. If you’re flexible, move during the off-season to save money. Moving on a weekday or in the middle of the month can also help on savings.
10. UPDATE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS CONTAINING YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
When you’re approximately six weeks out from making your long-distance move, you’ll want to start putting in a change of address. It’s helpful to make a list of all of the people and places you’ll need to notify regarding your change of address. Here are a few instances where you’ll need to make the change:
- Utility companies
- Credit card companies
- Insurance companies (both auto and home insurance)
- Loan providers
- Employer (if you’re staying within the same company)
- Magazine subscriptions
- Post Office
Now that you’re ready for your long-distance move, sit back and enjoy the ride. Change is exciting!