Moving tips and tricks

At first glance, moving looks pretty easy: Pack, load, drive, unpack. But as anyone who’s moved house can tell you, there are a million little things to remember. Did you cancel the utilities and arrange for them to be connected at your new place? Did you redirect the mail? Does your mom know your new address and phone number? And, come to think of it, do you?

If you’re planning a move, check out the following helpful ideas on how to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Take notes

  • Keep a notebook and use it to keep track of all the important dates and times relevant to your move, including utility shut-off and start-up dates and your moving shipment’s registration number. Keep a running tally of all of your moving expenses and keep copies of all of your receipts.

Make contacts

  • Call your local utility companies (gas, electric, water, telephone, cable/satellite/Internet providers and trash). Verify when your service will be discontinued and when it will be restored at your new address. Do the same with any lawn care, housecleaning or security firms you employ.
  • Verify your change of address information with your local post office and transfer all subscriptions over to your new home.
  • Ensure your children are registered at their new schools and that their records have been transferred.
  • Get referrals for doctors, dentists and veterinarians in your new area.
  • Make arrangements for new homeowner’s insurance coverage. If you’re moving out of state, ask if you’ll need new car insurance.
  • If you belong to any clubs or associations, find out if there are any similar clubs or chapters in your new area. You may even be able to transfer over some or all of your membership fees.

Keep records

  • Make a detailed list of all of your valuables (cash, jewelry, important documents, photo albums, etc.). Try to transport these items yourself rather than sending them with the movers.
  • Make a list of, and clearly mark, all items that will require special care such as glass or marble tabletops, mirrors and artwork.

Pack well

  • Stock up on moving supplies. You’ll need masking tape, scissors, box-cutters, moving pads, newspapers, blankets, bubble wrap, bungee cord, felt-tipped markers, plastic storage containers, possibly a hand truck. Oh, and boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. You can usually obtain several different sizes from your local grocery store. Avoid making any box heavier than 50 lbs.
  • Pack an “Open Me First!” box with all the essentials you’ll need as you unpack. Include toiletries, medications, a flashlight, phone and address books, towels, bed linens and pet supplies. Make separate ones for children containing blankets, stuffed animals and other comfort items they’ll want when they first arrive. Load these boxes and a toolkit last so they’ll be easy to find when you reach your destination.

Lighten the load

  • Try to use up all leftover food in the days leading up to your move. This will reduce the amount of food you have to pack up and take with you.
  • Most household plants will not survive a long move, so consider giving them to friends. If you decide to take them with you, check with your local Department of Agriculture office to see if there are any restrictions on moving plants across state lines.
  • Contact your municipal government or poison control center to find an approved disposal site for any flammable or combustible materials you may have (fireworks, paint cans, solvents, etc.) and poisons (insecticides or weed killers).

Remember final details

  • Do a final check of your house and property. Look in each room and closet, as well as the attic, basement and garden shed to make sure you leave nothing behind.
  • Shut off the water and lower the thermostat.
  • Get your moving van driver’s name and go over the directions. Have payment (plus a tip) ready when you arrive at your new place.
  • Don’t have your phone disconnected until the day you leave in case you need to make a last-minute phone call.

Prepare to settle in

  • If possible, try to schedule your move for a weekday so that banks, utility companies and government offices will be open should you need to contact them when you arrive at your new home.
  • If you’ve moving locally, consider leaving pets and/or small children with friends or family on moving day. The noise, upheaval and presence of unfamiliar people may frighten them.
  • Draw up a list of emergency phone numbers for your new neighborhood and post it on the fridge or by the phone.
  • Change the batteries in all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Devise a fire escape route.
  • Send thank-you cards to those who helped you with your move and mail out notifications of your new address to friends and family.


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