Secrets to a Successful Move


Moving can be an arduous process.  Following these tips can help to make your transition much smoother.


       Create a 30 day moving plan and calendar.  Be sure to include clearly outlined tasks indicating who will be responsible for completing the task.


       Create a “Moving File” for documenting all moving papers and receipts.


       Start a possessions inventory. Record the makes, models and serial numbers of your electronics and other items. Take digital pictures and or videos to serve as documentation.  Put this information, along with owners’ manuals, extra keys, birth certificates, car titles, wills, insurance information, and other vital documents (hard copy and electronic) in your “Moving File”.  Keep this file with you during the move. In your new home, find a place for this file, so you’ll always know where these important papers are and can easily grab it in case of a fire (consider purchasing a fire-proof safe).


       If you’re planning to use a moving company, call now. They usually need plenty of notice — often at least six weeks or much more if you’re moving a long distance.  Solicit estimates from at least three moving companies.  Make sure that the moving company you select is licensed and bonded.  Additionally, asking for references and checking with the Better Business Bureau and services such as Angie’s List, can help you to identify companies with positive track records.


       Make arrangements for the special needs of moving with children, elderly relatives, and pets.


       Be sure to build in some overlap between the closing/possession date of your new home and the last day of the lease on your rental (or closing date of your current home).  This will avoid any complication arising from unforeseen delays in settlement.  Also, if you want to make any changes to your new home (ex. painting, new carpeting or refinish wood floors) plan enough time to do it BEFORE you move in so your furniture and belongings are not in the way.


       If you have a home inspection report, hire a fully licensed, bonded, insured professional to resolve any hazards or items that pose a potential safety risk before you move in.


       Secure a floor plan of your new residence. Note room, door, and closet measurements, and the location of electric/cable/phone outlets — so you can determine exactly where your belongings will go. Measure furniture and appliances to make sure they fit the space available. Decide which household items you want to keep and which items to discard.


       Pare down your belongings. There’s no sense moving things you don’t need or want. Discard anything that’s beyond repair, have a yard sale to get rid of the rest, and plan to give unsold merchandise to the charity of your choice (some non-profits will pick up your items if you schedule ahead of time). Use things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.


       If the previous homeowners are taking their curtains and blinds, you’ll want to measure windows in places you want privacy immediately (like bedrooms and bathrooms) and buy curtains or blinds before you arrive.


       Call your homeowner’s insurance agent to evaluate your home insurance coverage, and find out to what degree your move is covered.


       Complete change of address notifications

  • Friends and Relatives
  • Professional Contacts
  • Employers
  • Banks
  • Credit Cards
  • Religious Organizations
  • Insurance Agent, Lawyer, CPA, Stockbroker, etc.
  • Doctors, Dentists
  • Income Tax Bureau / Social Security Administration
  • Magazine, Newsletter, Journal Subscriptions
  • Alumni Associations
  • Motor Vehicle Bureau


       Contact Utilities for service disconnection/connection

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Electric
  • Telephone
  • Cable
  • Internet Service provider
  • Trash Collection


       You can buy boxes and packing material from a moving company or other sources, but that can be expensive. Instead, ask grocery stores, electronics stores and office supply stores for their discarded boxes.   Invest in a tape gun, and start saving up newspapers (ask your friends for theirs, too) so you’ll have plenty of packing material if you don’t want to buy bubble wrap.


       Be sure to pack a box of essentials — a telephone, a couple of changes of clothes, a few pots/pans/dishes/utensils, pillows, blankets, toiletries, medications — to get you through the first few days. Also, if your mover is late and there are items you couldn’t live without for a few days (like a computer, if you work from your home), consider taking that in your own car.


       If using a mover, be sure to pack any small, non-breakable, valuable items (such as jewelry) separately so you can take it with you in your own car. Large valuable items, such as artwork or electronics, should be clearly noted on the mover’s inventory form in case of damage during transit. Buy insurance to cover any damage that may occur. (Note: movers generally will not insure anything that you pack yourself unless the box itself is missing.)


       Pack room by room, clearly label (or color code) boxes by item and room.


       Pack heavy items in small boxes/light items in larger boxes.


       Clean as you pack. Unpacking is hard enough work without the added effort.


       If you’re renting right now, be sure to clean your apartment or rental house so you don’t risk losing your security deposit.


       If you have children, let them be a part of the process by helping them pack their toys.


       Before you unpack, schedule a service to have the new house cleaned.  If this is not possible, get a clean start by wiping out drawers and cupboards, sweeping out closets and solid-surface floors and vacuuming the carpets. Next, make up the beds and put towels in the bathrooms. Then you can take your time with the rest of the unpacking.


       Enjoy your new home!