Moving can be an exciting adventure, especially if you’re heading to your dream home! But it can also be unduly stressful with so many details screaming for attention, not to mention packing up everything you own only to unpack at your final destination. My best advice is to think ahead, pay attention to the small stuff, and give yourself plenty of time. In all honesty, I have not moved in 13 years. But like everything else, things have changed greatly in that time so there is guidance available to make your move go more smoothly.
Start with a planning checklist:
The last time I moved, it was a major operation. This wasn’t just a move across town to a better neighborhood. This was a move across the state with everything we owned so we used a major moving company. Although it did not exist at that time, these days many moving companies offer moving checklists to help you get a handle on what you need to do, and when you need to do it. Such checklists provide a timeline with things you should be thinking about 8 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 weeks before the big day. By searching online for “moving checklist,” you can find plenty of useful information.
Don’t move too much:
We all collect stuff regardless of whether or not we want to. What I mean by “don’t move too much” is only take what you really need and intend to use. Don’t pack up everything and move it just to purge things when you get there. It makes far more sense to go through your belongings first, donate usable items, and throw or recycle the rest. But do your purging now! My general rule is if an item has sat in the closet for at least a year, I really don’t need it.
Make sure to return library books and movie rentals before they get lost in the shuffle. The same goes for anything similar like items you’ve borrowed from your neighbors. And don’t forget to reclaim anything you lent out.
If you have any items being repaired or serviced (like dry cleaning), retrieve them before the move so you aren’t left wondering “what happened to my favorite little black dress.”
Plan for your pets and plants:
I also seem to collect houseplants and pets. The last time I moved my ficus tree, it was enough of a challenge. Thirteen years later, it is 6 feet tall and nearly as wide.
Keep in mind that most moving companies cannot take your pets or plants along for the ride. Be sure to make appropriate arrangements for them to minimize the stress of a move. Consider boarding your animals or leaving them with a trusted friend to prevent your pets from becoming too confused or anxious. If you take them along, please put your pets someplace safe and secure while all the physical moving takes place and the doors are wide open. Getting lost in unfamiliar territory is not how you want to introduce your pets to their new home.
Don’t forget the little things:
There are many other details that need attention when you make a move. Staying current on bills and informing creditors and utility providers of your updated information is essential to keep life flowing smoothly.
1. Change your address with the post office
First things first. Once you know your new address, contact the post office to update your mailing information. Having mail come to the right place at the right time is key to staying on top of your new life.
Having pre-printed labels on hand makes the process easier to change your address and send off mail. Keep a few in your handbag or wallet to access easily when you need it. It can take some time to remember a new address on demand.
3. Notify your creditors and subscriptions
Notify all creditors (credit card companies and loan servicers) and banks where you keep your money to update your personal information. Keeping this information current allows for timely notifications and bill-paying. Do the same with your magazine and newspaper subscriptions so they find their new home too. If necessary, cancel any services or subscriptions you won’t be using once you move.
4. Open new bank accounts
If you are moving to a new city, you may want to open new bank accounts before you move so you can access your money when you need it. As you know, many businesses no longer accept checks or will not accept those from “out-of-towners.”
At moving time, I always feel charged up but also a touch of dread at pulling it all together on time. But with advance preparation and help from the whole family, your next move may be just a walk in the park!
Author Barbara Miller is a Financial Counselor at LSS Financial Counseling. Learn more about us at ConquerYourDebt.org.