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How to Plan and Organize a Move
You’ve decided to move into a new house, and all of a sudden reality hits you! Where did all this stuff come from? How am I going to get it packed and moved? Is everything going to fit in the new house? I don’t know where to begin!
Packing and relocating can be overwhelming, to say the least. Before you grab the packing boxes, take a moment to get your thoughts in order. A clear, well thought out plan and checklist can make the difference between chaos and manageable chaos.
Don’t tackle the whole house at one time – this will never work, and you will only get more confused and frustrated. Start with one room or one closet. Begin with an uncluttered, open, area of the room. Designate three separate categories: Don’t Use/Does Not Fit/Out Of Style category; Broken/Does Not Work/Do Not Need category; and Keep This category.
Remove items from closets, drawers, or other storage areas one at a time! Once you place it on one of the category piles, it stays there. You will be amazed how quickly the ‘Don’t Need’ stack grows. The Don’t Use or Need items can be donated to charitable organizations, get rid of things in the Broken/Do Not Need category, and pack the Keep items. Once you conquer one room, what to keep and what to get rid decisions are amazingly easy and enjoyable.
Four to Six Weeks Prior to Moving Day:
Get price estimations/quotes from, at least, three moving companies. Choose and set a packing and pick up date as soon as possible.
Tell the post office about your move and date you will be leaving. You can get a Change of Address form on line or at your local post office.
Call friends, relatives, businesses, doctors, and any others that need to know you are moving.
Make a services list. You may have more, but some, or all, of the following may be useful:
Contact Public Utilities:
Electrical, gas, water, telephone, sewer, trash, cable/satellite, and fuel (oil/gas)
Update Medical and Insurance:
Doctor(s), dentist, accountant, lawyer, broker, and insurance agency
Cancel or forward Newspapers and Magazines:
Newspapers, magazines, newsletters, professional journals
Cancel or Change Personal Services:
Pharmacy, dry cleaner, lawn service, bank/finance companies, credit card companies, auto finance company(s), laundry service, and memberships in community or health clubs
Notify Government Agencies of Your Status Change:
Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration, State/Federal Tax Bureau, City/County Tax Assessor, and/or Veterans Administration
Get rid of miscellaneous and junk items:
If you haven’t donated all those Don’t Need items, have a garage sale sooner than later! You will not only save money on packing and weight charges, but you will put some jingle in your pockets!
If any items do not sell, donate them to charitable organizations, and get a receipt for tax deductions. And, the items will be picked up by many charity organizations.
Lessen the amount of perishable and frozen foods in your kitchen. Buy only things that will be eaten before moving day.
Two-Three Weeks Before Moving Day:
Notify the moving coordinator if your anticipated inventories change (more or less), and if the moving date needs to be rescheduled. Be sure to give your contact information to the moving agent, and let them know where they can contact you at your new location.
Notify the moving company of any additional pick ups or stops, for additional items.
Check prices with a few vehicle transporting companies if you’re planning to ship a vehicle(s) to the new location. Ask if the vehicle must be delivered to them, or if they will pick it up at your location.
Prepare Your Family:
Visit some of your favorite places before leaving the area.
Throw a going-away party, informal dinner, or barbecue for your friends and family.
Reserve hotel rooms and/or airline tickets early.
If you plan to drive to your new residence, have your vehicle serviced prior to the the trip, and map the routes you plan to take.
Prepare Your Household Items:
Federal law requires that flammables, such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, ammunition, and poisons must be disposed of properly. Drain the fuel from lawn mowers and other machinery that is to be transported. Take partially used cans of oil, paint, paint-thinner, bleach, combustibles, and chemicals to a hazardous disposal facility. Check with the moving company about what items can and cannot be shipped.
Have propane tanks properly disposed.
Prepare or have a service technician service your appliances for shipping.
Call utility company and schedule a time/date to disconnect utilities.
Have rugs and draperies professionally cleaned.
Get written appraisals for valuable items (jewelry or antiques), and keep them with you.
Don’t wax or apply oil to wooden antiques before moving. Some products cause the wood to soften. Your furniture can be marred by the furniture padding used by movers.
Do not have your upholstered furniture cleaned before moving. If the furniture must be stored, mold can build up on fabrics and filling by moisture remaining in the upholstery.
One-Two Weeks Before Moving Day:
Pets and Plants:
Be sure your pets immunizations are up to date. Pick up pet’s health records from your veterinarian. Securely attach identification and rabies tags to your pet’s collar.
Have your pet travel in your vehicle or ship them by air transportation. Consider boarding your pet(s) at your destination, or keep them in their travel kennels, until you are settled in your new home. Pets may be frightened by unfamiliar surroundings, or worse, your pets could wander outside because doors are left open when your furniture and household goods are delivered to your new home. Don’t take the chance of losing your pet. Also, keep an eye on your feline friends when unpacking boxes. Cats love to hide under the paper, and could be thrown out with the trash!
One Day Before Moving Day:
Point out fragile items to the packers. Identify or put all items that are not to be packed, or moved, in a closed room. Tell the packers that they are not to go in this room. This is also a safe place for pets to be during the packing day.
If you are doing your own packing, mark where the box is to be placed in your new home, i.e., living room, master bedroom, kitchen, etc. It’s also a good idea to indicate the types of items inside the box, for instance, bath towels, bedding, holiday ornaments, or pots and pans. Everything must be packed, boxed, labeled, and sealed before the mover arrives. Boxes will be checked, by the van (truck) driver, to be sure they are secure and closed properly.
Unplug all electronic appliances 24-hours in advance of the move, so they will be room temperature on moving day. This includes home computers, stereos, and audio/video equipment. Some movers do not transport computer equipment, so be sure to ask about transportation requirements/restrictions prior to moving day.
Last Minute Details:
Check closets, cabinets, and storage areas for any overlooked articles.
It is your responsibility to have mechanical and electrical equipment serviced for shipping before the moving van arrives. If you fail to have an item serviced, the van operator may load and haul the item, but the inventory sheet will be marked as “Not Serviced.” And, in essence, they are not responsible for damages to the item.
It is your responsibility to make sure all of your items are loaded on the truck, be prepared to be on the premises until everything is loaded. Take a final tour of the house. You will be asked to read and sign the inventory sheet. Be sure to get and keep a copy of the inventory sheet(s) with you, in a safe place. This is the only proof you will receive to verify your items were picked up and are in transport.
Read and sign the Bill of Lading/Freight Bill.
Read and sign the declared valuation statement.
Read and sign the High-Value Inventory form, whether or not items of extraordinary value are included in the shipment. If applicable to your shipment, you will also need to sign and date the “Extraordinary (Unusual) Value Article Declaration” area on the Bill of Lading.
Make sure the van operator has the correct destination address. Provide phone numbers to the van operator, so you can be reached regarding arrival time of your household goods.
Do not have your home phone service disconnected prior to moving day.
Take Another Last Look Around:
Check to see if the water has been turned off?
Check to see if the furnace and air conditioner are shut off?
Turn off all light switches.
Have arrangements been made to have utilities disconnected?
Are windows shut and locked?
Have you given the house keys to your broker, new owners, or landlord?
The Day Your Household Goods Arrive!
Be available to accept delivery. If you cannot be there personally, notify the carrier who is authorized to accept delivery and pay the carrier’s charges.
On the day of delivery, the van operator will contact you, by phone, to let you know when they will be at your location. Most companies deliver within two-hours of notification.
Check your items as they are unloaded. If there are changes in the condition of the property from what was noted on the inventory, or if there are items missing, annotate the discrepancies on the van operator’s inventory sheet. By signing the inventory sheet, you are acknowledging receipt of the items as shown. Report any loss or damage to your move coordinator.
The movers will place the furniture where you want, including rugs and setting up beds that were disassembled by the mover, at the origin. Decide were you want the furniture placed before it’s delivered, because the mover is not obligated to rearrange your furniture after placement! Remember, mattresses will not be unpacked by the mover. Appliances can be installed, for an additional charge, but arrangements need to be made prior to the delivery day.
Attach a floor plan or room name, for instance, master bedroom or dining room, to a room door or entrance, so items will be put in the room indicated on the box.
Keep your copies of the inventory sheet(s) and other documents. You will need them to verify moving expenses when filing your federal income tax return.
Allow television sets, other electronic equipment, and major appliances to adjust to room temperature before using; a rule of thumb is 24 hours.
One Week After Your Move:
Tell the new post office to begin mail delivery.
Register your vehicle(s), and transfer your driver’s license.
You may want to set up an appointment with a local lawyer, to discuss differences in state laws for wills, property transfers, investments, home/auto insurance, and taxes. Most laws become effective when residency is established in the new state and city.
Relocating is a big job, and some of this information might be helpful. But, it’s not unnatural for something to be overlooked, lost, broken, or misplaced, even with the best of plans and organization.
Emotional stress and physical exhaustion cause, even the most easy-going person, to go a bit crazy! Patience and accepting the fact that things will not return to normal in one day, cannot be emphasized enough! Expect that unpacking mountains of boxes, and reestablishing your castle will be an ongoing project for several days, even weeks! But, it will happen.
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