How to Prepare for the Big Move

By Ana Connery


Moving into a new home should be exciting, not stressful. By planning and organizing, you can make the moving process an enjoyable experience.

Photo: GettyImages/Kali9

Perhaps there’s no more seemingly daunting task than moving, but it doesn’t have to be. The key words you’ll need to get you through: “plan” and “organize.” Here’s, a timeline to get you, well, moving:

Two Months Prior

This is the time to pare down. Go through and set aside anything you want to donate or sell and make the necessary arrangements. The less extra baggage you have to drag to your new place, the better.

Research moving companies if you plan to use one and make arrangements as needed.

Have rugs, curtains and carpets cleaned. The latter is important if you’re selling your previous home or if it was a rental. This will help you avoid any problems with deposits or new owners.

Arrange for temporary digs if there will be a lag between when you move out of one place and into another. You may want the in-between time to paint and clean your new place, too. It’s easier to get that done when a house is empty.

Every time you go to a grocery store or other large retailer, ask for boxes they’re planning to toss out. Stack them up in one spot each time you get home, so you’re not scrambling or spending a fortune on boxes when it comes time to pack.

Identify old blankets and sheets you can use to wrap large or heavy objects. You have to move those, too, so you might as well have them perform double duty.

One Month Prior

Assuming you have access to your new home, this is the time to have floors refinished and walls and ceilings painted, if needed. Unless you’re moving into a newly built home, you may also want to have the cooling and heating systems cleaned, too.

Make arrangements for pets and kids come moving day, so you’ll have free time for any last-minute packing and moving.

Two Weeks Prior

Change your address both at the post office and with friends and family. This will ensure important bills and documents aren’t lost in the shuffle.

Set up utilities in your new home, so you can have access to things like water and wireless services the minute you move.

One Week Prior

If you haven’t already, start packing! If you do a small amount each day, such as one room at a time, it will make the task seem less daunting. Cramming everything into one exhausting day makes it harder to stay organized.

Use stretch wrap and large press and seal rolls sold at home improvement stores to keep things like jewelry boxes intact. Some people wrap drawers this way with the contents still inside, too. When you arrive at your new home, all you have to do is unroll and set up.

Pack breakables like plates vertically and they will be less likely to crack.

Mix heavy items with light items in each box. A huge box filled with nothing but dinnerware is harder to lift that a mix of plates and sheets, for example.

Reduce the number of perishables you buy this week and you’ll have less to toss out on moving day. Give what’s left to neighbors or friends.

If possible, have the locks changed on both your old and new house to ensure safety.

If you already have access to your new house, this is a good time to customize closets, pantries and other storage areas. This way, you can slide everything into its permanent place from the moment you move.

One Day Prior

Place toiletries like toilet paper and toothbrushes as well as immediate necessities like trash bags into a box tagged “open immediately” and keep it handy on moving day.

Use the camera on your phone to snap pictures of how electronics are connected. This is one of the most confusing parts of moving into a new home, as few people have these things memorized.

Moving Day

If you do a small amount each day, such as one room at a time, it will make the task seem less daunting. Take plants and other items that most moving companies won’t transport to your new place.

Arrange to have one person receiving the merchandise at your new home and another making sure everything is out of your former house.

Make a drawing of how you want the furniture to be set down and hand it to the movers.

Put your feet up and enjoy your new digs!
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Ana Connery is a Florida-based content strategist and storyteller whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and websites, including Cooking Light, HGTV, Travel and Leisure, and Better Homes and Gardens. While editor-in-chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine in 2006-09, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market and travel destinations.

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