How Should I Prepare For My First Move?

First time moving? Awesome. I’ve moved a few times and luckily the excitement of the next, new phase makes up for all the work involved in moving process! The one good thing about having a few moves under my belt is that I now have a pretty good idea of how to prepare and what to expect. Hopefully the lessons I learned the hard way will benefit you in some small way.


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Start Early – Financial

The first thing I would say is to begin planning ahead by a couple months. Start putting away some extra cash for the expense.  Moving is not cheap, even if you handle all the labor yourself. When you move into a new place, there are tons of fees like your new rent payment and deposit as well as all the other deposits required for the electric, gas, and internet companies. And if you’re not doing all the labor yourself, consider the cost of your movers and rental truck. Start your research of moving labor and trucks early so you can budget enough to get it all done.

Assess Your Needs: If you will need help loading and unloading your truck, how many movers and how much stuff do you have to load? And if you don’t happen to own a moving truck, how large of a truck will you need to rent? These two things are the main issues to consider when planning this aspect of your move.  Here are two sweet help guides from Hireahelper if you have no idea what you will need:


Truck Size Guide

Labor Guide




Unexpected costs: Once you figure out how many movers and what size truck you’ll need, you can begin to think about all the other costs that are often after thoughts! For instance, make sure to ask your mover what kind of fees they charge for insurance, packing materials, and other fees for flights of stairs and carrying loads to your truck if you can’t get your truck right by the front door. These questions will help you get a full picture of exactly how much everything will cost, instead of being surprised by extra fees later on. By getting a jumpstart on saving for your move, you won’t have to stress about the costs at the time of your move!


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Start Early – Packing

Another thing you can start about a month in advance is packing prep. Think of the materials you’ll need – boxes, paper/cloths/peanuts used to keep breakables safe, markers for labeling, packing tape, etc. Plot out how you will pack and organize your things. Packing things up according to rooms is a great way to organize. Box and label. No matter how big or small of a place you have, it always seems to take longer than you think. So give yourself time and invite a friend or two to help! Crank the music and get started. As you begin packing and organizing, you’ll probably run across things you haven’t used in a year (or five). If you can let go of these things, you just have that much less to pack and carry! Moving is a great time to purge.


checklist

Create a Checklist and Timeline

In the beginning stages, creating a checklist and timeline will help keep you organized through the process. You can list hiring movers and even include each room and the goal for when you want it to be packed by. Setting up a timeline will help you maintain some sanity as you go.

Here are a few things you don’t want to forget on your list: Call the electric, gas, internet, phone, satellite/cable companies to switch your address. You don’t want to be without electricity at your new place or continue to receive a bill at your old residence. These aren’t difficult things to do but they are easily lost in the shuffle. Write them down on your “to do” list.  In addition to those changes, make sure you call any other important companies to let them know about your change of address – Post Office, magazines/newspapers, insurance companies, and anything else you can think of.  Fill in the blank! Or, if that sounds too time consuming or complicated, checkout Updater.com. They offer a service that changes your address and updates any subscription services you have with your new address.


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Survival Kit!

Last, but not least, make sure you pack a survival kit for your first week at your new place. Unless you are superhuman, you probably won’t unpack all your things the very day you move in. So pack a couple suitcases or boxes of everything you’ll need during those first few days – daily vitamins, a pillow, blankets, clothes, phone charger, laptop, alarm clock, toiletries, silverware, plate, glass, and snacks (unless you plan to eat out until you unpack kitchen items!). I’m sure you can add to this “necessities” list! Everyone has their own specific list of needs.  Like for me, I would need my nespresso machine and a coffee cup!


These are the few things I’ve learned about packing and moving over the years. I’d love to hear the things you’ve learned from your own moves! What is the top tip you’ve picked up about moving? Share them below!


About the Author: Victoria grew up in rural Nebraska but has lived in Iowa, Hawaii, China, and Montana. She aspires to move somewhere warmer after grad school! At the moment, she works for HireAHelper and lives vicariously through her co-workers who live in Southern California.

(Photo Courtesy: Peretz Partensky, 401(K) 2012, Becky Stern, Chris Potter, and Jeff Keyzer

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