Preparing for your long-distance move can feel like sitting at the top of a roller coaster. The anticipation is building about this new adventure. But you’re a little nervous about what’s going to come next. And you may be worried that the experience won’t be enjoyable.
Take a deep breath. You can do this. These tips will help you get organized for your long distance move.
Declutter One Area at a Time
A long-distance move is an opportunity to remove unneeded and unused items from your home. If you’re a college student starting a new job, the decluttering process may only take an hour or two. Homeowners with families may need more time (and a few helping hands).
For larger households, decluttering can seem overwhelming, so start with the least-trafficked areas of your home such as the basement, garage, or attic. When one area is complete, move on, tackling your busiest rooms last to minimize disruption. Consider using this four-option approach to help you make declutter decisions.
- Recycle or throw it away
Although you thought you’d repair the old toaster, you never did. Now’s the time to recycle it. The gallons of paint you’ve kept on hand for touch-ups? Make your final touch-ups, then check with your community about where to dispose of the cans. Toss out your children’s dried-out markers and broken crayons and the collection of mismatched screws and half-used sandpaper on your workbench.
- Donate it
Give items with value, like clothing, small household items, or even that chair no one sits into your favorite charity or homeless shelter. Extra books or DVDs are welcomed by many libraries and hospitals.
- Sell it
If you have time, schedule a yard sale, or put items on Craigslist, Ebay or Offer-up. Your move load will be lighter and your wallet will be thicker with money earned from sales.
- Keep it
Now you’re ready to start packing the items you want to move. Be sure to put important items like birth certificates, passports, insurance policies and jewelry in a secure location to take with you during the moving process.
A final thought on decluttering: as a rule of thumb, if an item is heavy, nearing the end of its life, or easy to replace, exclude it from your move. The money you save on moving heavy items like washers and dryers can be put toward purchasing replacements when you arrive in your new home.
Pack for Your Long-Distance Move
If you’re relying on a moving company to pack your belongings, organize items and keep them in the appropriate room. This will make the packing process efficient for the movers and help you easily unpack.
If you’re handling the packing yourself, start with items you use infrequently like tabletop knickknacks, holiday decorations, or books. Here are packing materials you’ll need:
- New (or almost new) sturdy packing boxes and packing tape
Seal box bottoms with packing tape, then line with crumpled packing paper for extra insulation. Crumpled packing paper can also be used to fill empty spaces in your boxes. Because overweight boxes are tough to lift, put heavy items (like books) in small boxes.
- Plastic bins to protect from moisture
These are handy for heavier items or items you need to protect (like small electronics). And you can use them for storage in your new home.
- Waterproof markers (like Sharpies) for labeling
Label each box clearly, indicating the major contents and the room where the box should be unloaded. Color coding or numbering by room can be helpful for you and your moving company.
- Bubble wrap, packing paper, or fabric squares (like t-shirts) for wrapping breakables
Most moving companies will have dish boxes, furniture pads and mirror boxes to keep fragile items more secure. Using heavier material for wrapping provides an extra layer of protection.
Remember, you can leave lightweight clothing and linens in drawers to save time (and boxes). Pillows and blankets can be packed in trash bags, then tucked between boxes as filler. If you’re moving any lawn equipment, be sure to drain gas and oil.
Hire a Reliable Moving Company
Finding a company to handle your belongings responsibly is one of the anxiety-producing decisions during your long-distance move. This process can help find the right moving company for you:
- Check with family and friends for information about local movers.
- Ask your realtor or a contact in your new area for recommendations.
- Research online for favorable reviews and good ratings.
- Talk with two or three companies to get quotes and learn about their:
- years of experience with long-distance moves
- bonding and insurance practices for their movers
- licensing through the Department of Transportation
- types of equipment /trucks
Close Your Current Home Accounts
After your move date is confirmed, it’s time to close out your current home accounts.
- Have your mail forwarded
Head to your local post office or online at USPS.com to choose the date you want your mail to begin forwarding and your new address.
- Contact utility companies
Share your move date with your current utility companies, including electric, gas and cable. Be sure to let the utility companies supplying your new home know when you’ll be arriving, so the lights will be on to welcome you.
- Transfer your driver’s license
If you’re moving out-of-state, you may need to transfer your driver’s license. Your local Secretary of State or Department of Motor Vehicles office will have information about paperwork you’ll need to complete.
Save Your Receipts
Keep donation and moving expense receipts associated with your long-distance move. You may be able to deduct these items from your income tax. And if your move is requested by your employer, you’ll need receipts to be reimbursed.
For more information about preparing for a long-distance move, or to get a quote, contact our team of experts at Checkmate Movers. We’ll make your next move your best move.