America is always on the move—literally. Experts estimate that one out of five households move to a new residence each year. If you do the math, that amounts to a whopping 1.5 million moves every month. Those are some amazing stats, especially if you consider how trying and stressful such moves can be. It’s a wonder that one household—let alone millions!—can pull it off.
If you’re part of this statistic and on the verge of a big move, though, don’t be daunted by the whole process of packing up your stuff, loading it, and dragging it to your new home. There is a way to move without losing any valuables, too much money, or your mind, whether you’re moving across town, or across the continent. With some common sense, some help from professionals, friends, and loved ones, and the essential “Do’s and Don’ts” list in this article, you can be successful and avoid all of the mishaps and stress that usually come with moving.
We’ll start with the positive—the Do’s on our list. Make sure to check off all of these before you even start stuffing boxes with your stuff. Do:
• Line up help for packing and moving your stuff. It depends on your budget whether you hire professional movers or call in the volunteer brigade (your friends and family). Either way, round up somebody.
• Have a chat with your post office, making sure they know to forward your mail to your new address. In many cases, you will need to fill out a mail-forwarding form.
• Purchase brand-new moving boxes from your moving company or truck-renting company. They’re worth the money. Bugs and vermin can stow away in old boxes. No need to give them a free ride to your new digs.
• Sort through your stuff for old valuables you don’t need anymore to sell. Be honest with yourself, and you may be able to pay for your move with the money you make—especially if you sell them at convenient and easy marketplaces like online classified sites.
• Drop off old valuables that aren’t worth selling at a Goodwill or other charity thrift shop.
• Think comfort and safety on move day. Pack a first-aid kit with medicines and hygiene products, as well as a change of clothes and light snacks.
Now onto the Don’ts. Avoid these missteps, and your move will feel like an exciting adventure, not painful torture. So don’t:
• Take on the entire move without any help and worse, without any planning.
• Forget to find out your local post office’s rules for transferring mail. And while you’re at it, don’t let it slip your mind to change your address, as well.
• Move without your kids and pets or leave them home alone during trips to and from your old and new residences. For pets and small children, your best bet is a sitter.
• Grab a few used vegetable boxes from the supermarket or grocery store. They may be cheap, but bugs and dirt may be hiding inside them. You want to start in your new home with a clean slate, not an infested one.
• Haul old kitchen junk, like worn-out plastic containers and chipped glasses, with you to your home. You can save yourself a lot of heartache, and muscle aches, if you use the move as a chance to get rid of this kind of stuff.
• Pack expired canned foods, leftovers, and perishables. Anything that can spill, go rotten, and cause a mess in any way is not worth the effort. Again, think clean slate.
• Throw a garage sale, sell what you can, and save the leftovers for the garage sale you tell yourself you’ll have next spring. Truth is, this stuff will probably be clogging your storage space for years to come. If you want to sell it, try an easier and more profitable way, such as online classified ads.
• Forget to unpack box after box after you move in and then when you can’t find something (because it’s buried in a box somewhere), go shopping for it. Unpack as quickly as possible. You won’t feel at home in your new place until you do.
These Do’s and Don’ts will help you have a “moving” experience when you settle into your new home. But instead of tears of frustration and anguish pouring out your eyes, they will be tears of joy.