12 Tips For A Successful Move
By Debbie Ginsberg
- Start Planning Early. Organizing a move reduces the stress associated with moving. Give yourself three months before a move to begin your plan of action.
- Keep or Toss? Decision-making is a huge stumbling block for many. Ask a friend or a family member to help you choose the items that will serve you well in your new home. Although decision-making is the hardest of the tasks, it’s the best way to begin. Once the decision is made, downsizing, donating, and discarding techniques can be easily used to rid the home of the extras.
Use a space-planning board to help you accurately lay out your furniture in your new space. Take only what fits well, or you may face downsizing again, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Measure the width of hanging rods in clothes closets and the width of pantries and utility and storage cabinets to help provide guidelines to how much your new closets can hold. Keeping the measurements in mind, you can then pare down the extras and keep the clothing that you wear more often or items that are used the most.
- Get Movers’ Estimates. Wait to call in movers until step two is complete. This will give you the most accurate price for the move.
Ask friends and family for referrals of moving companies. Beware–not all are alike. Have your questions ready. Does the mover charge extra for steps? Does the mover assemble and disassemble furniture? There are many questions you should ask, but another major question is regarding their insurance coverage. Most of the time, consumers must buy extra outside insurance to properly cover their possessions, since movers only give pennies on the dollar. Keep this in mind for long-distance moves. Ask yourself if something breaks how much it will cost you to replace it. This will help you determine how much insurance you should get.
Make sure that the moving company you choose is properly insured for their business. Do they have workmen’s comp? Are their men bonded? Who comes on the job? The owner? A foreman?
Book early, since the first, fifteenth, and last days of the month are the busiest days for a moving company.
- Create a Moving Folder. Place estimates, business cards, and notes in this folder. Keep the folder in a place for easy access as you will be adding other notes and information about your move in this folder.
Make a task list for yourself. Transfer prescriptions, arrange for refunds on last-month deposits, start using up your food and cleaning supplies. Create a list of your bank, credit card, car and investment companies, etc., to inform them of your move. Make a date when you will fill out your forwarding cards at the post office. Arrange to stop your gardener and utilities. Forward your phone number to your new address.
- Create a Vital-Records Keeper. Gather your birth certificate, copy of your driver’s license, passport, titles of cars, insurance papers and cards, marriage license, ketubah, burial-plot records, medical records, family death certificates, and bank accounts together with the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of your lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.
Place these items in a waterproof tote and have this ready to take with you personally when you move. These papers are too important to pack in a box. If possible, have this information scanned into your computer, and saved in a cloud for safekeeping.
- Buy Packing Supplies. A good rule of thumb is to pack heavier items in smaller-size boxes. I recommend Home Depot heavy-duty boxes. You can order your supplies online and have them delivered to you. Always ask for inside delivery as supplies can be too heavy to carry in from the outside.
Order newspaper print without the ink. This can be purchased at Amazon.
When ordering bubble wrap, choose the smaller-size bubble for wrapping most items. The larger bubble is good for cushioning the bottom of a box.
Permanent markers help mark boxes with numbers and box contents.
When you buy packing tape, don’t go cheap. Buy the 3M/Scotch products. The heavy-duty tape will stick best and won’t rip during use.
Don’t forget to buy different bag colors to help you recognize garbage from donations. We often use black, clear, and blue 3-mil bags.
- Pack Well. The more effort you put into packing, the more expeditious the unpacking will be. Keep a notebook handy as you pack, and make a list of every item you place in the box. Mark down the box number, both on the box and in the notebook to help create an accurate spreadsheet. When all the boxes are complete, create three spreadsheets. One spreadsheet should have the list of boxes and their contents. Spreadsheet two should have all the contents in alphabetical order and showing the box they can be found in. The third spreadsheet tells you the room the contents came from and in which room the moving company should place the box. Make sure the boxes are clearly labeled with where it is to be left in your new home. There are preprinted color labels to place on the outside of boxes for easy recognition.
When packing, pack every item next to each other, not allowing for space gaps. The goal is not to let any item have room to move around in a box. When possible, use three pieces of the non-print newspaper to wrap the item, and if it’s fragile, we recommend placing bubble wrap around the paper.
Cushion the bottom of the box with crushed paper, large bubble wrap, or newspaper. We don’t like using newspaper as the ink gets on your hands and that can get on your items. Many people use it because it’s the least-expensive paper. Cushion where there are gaps or fill in with paper.
When packing dishes, make sure you pack them on their spine, not flat. This creates less pressure on the plate.
If you would like to see how professionals pack, look it up on YouTube. You will be pleasantly surprised by the tips you can pick up. No, this isn’t rocket science, but there are smarter ways to pack to assure your items don’t break.
- Gather Your Valuables. Prepare your valuables by taking inventory of what you have and take pictures of each item for insurance purposes. Plan on taking these with you and don’t pack these in a box. By the way, most movers now know the word silver in Hebrew, so don’t use Hebrew for code words.
- Review Your Task List. We can’t rely on our memory during a move process to be certain that we have completed everything on the task list. Review your task list, checking off what has been done and highlighting what has yet to be done. Use a printed calendar or your online calendar to remind you of each task that needs to be completed. Assign days and times to complete these tasks. This will assure you that everything is done on time.
- Hire a Clean-Out Crew. Houses don’t get cleaned out on their own. Even after you’ve donated, distributed, or discarded many items, there are always things used during the days leading up to a move. There may be beds and dressers, kitchen tables, and other items that couldn’t be thrown away before the move. You may need a clean-out crew to help you get rid of the balance of the items in the house and broom-sweep (as mentioned in your contract). Have peace of mind and use a reliable company to take care of this for you.
- Moving Day. Ask a family member or neighbor to be with you on moving day. If possible, ask two people. You should be the one directing the movers in each room. One person should use spreadsheet one, and mark off each box number that is taken to the truck. Someone else should be at the truck making sure that each box goes into the truck.
If there are multiple stops, be clear as to what is getting off the truck first so that the boxes are placed into the truck in the correct order.
When you arrive at your new home, have friends and family with you. Mark off each box that comes into the home. You will know right away if something is missing since you created a clear spreadsheet. Go to the truck before it leaves and inspect it for missing table leaves, drawers, or for other items that are easily missed in a move.
Use your third spreadsheet to tell the movers where each box should be placed. This eliminates the need to schlep boxes from one room to another.
- Unpack and Settle In. If you were diligent and followed these steps, the unpacking should be relatively easy since all the boxes are in the right places. Have garbage bags with you to collect all the paper wrappings. Be sure to have scissors near you as you will need to cut open the well-wrapped boxes.
Arrange for someone to come and help you make your bed, hang up your pictures, and put some items away for you. There is no better feeling than having all the boxes put away, garbage taken out, pictures hung, and a fresh, clean bed ready for you to fall into after your hard day.
Mazal tov! You did it!
Debbie Ginsberg is the owner of Uncluttered Domain Inc., a Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers company. Debbie and her team have been assisting seniors in Nassau, Queens, and Brooklyn since 2010. Visit www.UnclutteredDomain.com or call 855-226-7426 (855-2BORGANized)