Susan Hamby Crutchfield has moved more than 20 times as an adult. Early on, she moved because of a husband serving in the Navy. Her most recent move, from Florida to Maryland, brought her closer to one of her grown children.
Leslie Burdick moved four times in 18 months, including a move from Texas to Guam and from Guam back to Texas — all the moves were related to her husband’s work as a defense contractor. Through their many moves, Crutchfield and Burdick have each learned a lot about what to do to make moving day go smoothly.
Here are six of their suggestions to prepare for a stress-free moving day:
Making lists will help you stay organized. Start by jotting down everything you need to get done before moving day.
“One list should be everything you need to take with you,” Crutchfield said. Consider using a notes or to-do app like Workflowy on your smartphone so you don’t lose track of your lists.
Who wants to move things they don’t use or need? To make decluttering less daunting, concentrate on one area at a time over several weeks, suggests Burdick.
“As soon as you know you are going to move, start paring down, getting rid of clothes that the kids have outgrown, for example, so you don’t have so much to deal with all at one time,” she said.
The Burdicks started cleaning out their kids’ rooms first, then moved on to other parts of the house. Don’t forget the garage. When they were done paring down, they had a huge yard sale and immediately donated everything that didn’t sell to charity.
Let it Go.
This isn’t just the title of a hit children’s song. Don’t overvalue things during this process, Crutchfield advised. “You might say ‘My mother gave me this 20 years ago, I can’t let go of it.’ It may be time. Maybe you can find somebody in your church that would use it,” she says. Consider donating your unwanted items to a charitable organization. Write down what you are donating, its condition and the estimated value for your tax records. Crutchfield said she’s jettisoned a ton of kitchen gadgets during her moves.
- Arrange for utilities to be turned at your new residence and to have them turned off or put into the new owner’s or new tenant’s name at the old residence. Schedule the switch for the day after your scheduled move so you don’t end up without lights, heat or air conditioning in the midst of your move.
- Notify the postal service of your new address and arrange for mail to be forwarded.
- Transfer bank accounts if you are switching banks.
- Remember to schedule ahead of time for Internet access, phone and television service as rarely are those services provided same-day.
Will you do it yourself or hire someone? If you are hiring a professional mover, Stevens Van Lines recommends contacting a mover nine to 12 weeks before the actual move and finalizing the move date five weeks out. If you are doing it yourself, begin to gather boxes, packing material, tape and markers and determine whether friends’ pickup trucks will be sufficient or whether you’ll need to rent a moving truck.
Don’t Go Overboard.
You don’t want to pack the baby with the bathwater….As you get closer to the move date, set aside necessities that will go into your car for easy access. Include several days worth of clothing, your laptop and smartphone, your purse or wallet, toiletries and important documents. You don’t want to be sorting through boxes the day of your move to find must-have things.
Moving can be a very stressful experience at worst, and is disruptive at best – planning ahead for moving day will help you feel prepared and in control.