So you’ve finally decided on moving to a bigger space, but the excitement is hindered by that worrisome feeling in your gut that moving won’t be a walk in the park? You’re probably right. Moving for the first time is a stressful and long process; you need to keep track of a hundred things, pack everything, find movers, and ensure you don’t go above budget.
However, everything can be made simple – including moving. We’ve put together a complete guide for moving out for the first time with a checklist that includes everything you need to ensure you don’t forget anything and have a stress-free move.
First-Time Moving Checklist
1- Set your moving budget
One important thing we forget about during moving is how expensive it can get if we don’t set a proper budget. Before setting a budget, you need to consider things like moving companies, gas money, moving supplies, security deposits, mortgage, and moving insurance.
Your budget will help you decide whether moving yourself is a good idea or if you can afford to hire a moving company. Most people worry about moving companies because they’re expensive, but you’ll have to do your research and decide on that before setting your budget.
2- Research moving yourself or hiring movers
If you’re moving in the state, then maybe moving by yourself is the right move, and you won’t need to hire pricey professional movers. But you should also consider gas money and truck rental when you’re looking for affordability because it will increase the cost. However, if you’re moving out of state, packing and renting a truck on your own may not be the best call.
If you decide on moving yourself, be sure to contact family and friends two weeks or so before you move so they can help you out with packing and moving. As for professional movers, they do relieve a lot of the stress with moving as many of them offer packing, heavy lifting services, insurance, and moving services. Do your research and take your time to find your moving company; check their reviews online, ask people that have previously moved before who they’ve used, and most importantly, call these companies and don’t just get a quote online. Ask about their cancellation policy, liability coverage, and anything else you think is important.
3- Let the purge begin!
It’s time to do a deep cleansing and get rid of anything you don’t need, whether it’s those books you’ve never read or those pair of jeans that no longer fit. This is a great chance to lessen the clutter in your closet and remove unnecessary weight while moving. There are multiple ways to do this, and you can have a garage sale, donate to donation centers, or even sell things online. There are many Facebook groups or websites like craigslist where you can sell things quickly. Getting rid of things before moving will lessen the number of boxes you’ll move with also make unpacking easier and faster.
4- Get packing supplies
Before you move by a month or so, start collecting free cardboard boxes from the local stores or recycling centers, you’ll need plenty of boxes. Unfortunately, these boxes aren’t always the best quality. Moving companies, hardware stores, and home improvement stores sell higher quality boxes and are designed to carry heavyweights, which is necessary when moving and for storage. These boxes will cost from $0.75 to $1.25, depending on the box size. Other supplies you’ll need include labels, bubble wrap, paper wrap, scissors, scotch tape, and markers. Be sure to wrap fragile items and label these boxes with fragile thoroughly!
5- Start packing early
Packing takes time and isn’t as easy as throwing items in boxes; don’t leave everything unpacked until the last few days, so you don’t rush yourself and end up forgetting or losing things. A month before moving, start packing your non-essential items like books, home décor, toys, etc. Everything that you can live without this month, box up! As for the essentials, like toiletries or kitchen cutlery, you can pack such things during your last week before moving. Being organized and having a system in place while packing is key to a stress-free move.
6- Labeling matters
Nicely organizing your items into boxes isn’t enough. Take an inventory by labeling your boxes and create a list per box with everything it includes. For example, it isn’t enough to label the box “kitchen,” You need to include what kitchen tools are in the box like cutlery, pots, etc. This is a huge time saver when you move to your new home and unpack. Packing similar items together will simplify your inventory system, and it’ll help you keep track of everything, so you don’t lose anything during the move.
7- Change your address
It is recommended to change your mailing address with USPS at least two weeks before you move. You don’t want an important bill or credit card statement to go to your old address after moving; it is risky and inconvenient for you. You can change your address at your nearest Post Office or online for a $1.05 charge at Official USPS Change-of-Address; the process takes a few minutes, and you can set an effective date of when you want to start forwarding mail to your new address. You should start receiving mail at your new address from 7 to 10 postal days after your move effective date.
8- Update your contacts with the new address
Even though your mail will automatically be forwarded to your new address when you apply for a change of address, but your contacts will continue to send mail to your old address unless you update them with the new one. You’ll need to change your address on bank accounts, credit card billing addresses, memberships, subscriptions, business contacts, and so on. You’ll also need to give the new address to your children’s school, the DMV, health insurance provider, and auto insurance provider. It would be best to create a list of all the contacts you need to reach out to and change the address with. USPS will only forward mail for the first two weeks of your move. Afterward, your mail would be returned or held at the Post Office.
9- Separate valuables in a safe box
On moving day, you’ll be busy with a hundred things. Hence, a few days before moving, gather all of your valuables like jewelry, savings, important documents like medical records, contracts, etc., and place them in a safe-deposit box. You can buy a safe box at Amazon, Walmart, or Home Depot.
Keep this box in the car with you on moving day; knowing that all of your valuable belongings and important documents are in one safe place will reassure you and help you focus on other tasks on the big day.
10- Transfer utilities before moving
A few weeks before moving, contact your utility providers to get services at your new home. These utilities include TV cable, electricity, gas, water & sewer, trash removal, internet, and a phone line. If you’re moving within the same city, it should be easy to transfer these services to your new address.
However, if you’re moving further away, you may need to research other utility providers with services in your new area. You should stop by your new home before moving and make sure everything is working fine; no one wants to move into a new house to find out the power is out. Be sure to contact your auto insurance company and health insurance provider as well to confirm their services are available in your new area; you might need to change them too, especially if you’re moving out of state.
First-time moving is stressful, and you’ll be busy with multiple tasks that need to be done simultaneously. With this helpful checklist, you’ll be able to navigate packing, moving out easily, and unpacking, then starting the next exciting chapter in your life.