10 best shortcuts to get your house ready for a move
By moving expert Becky Harris of blog.upack.com
After six years of helping coordinate cross country moves, I’m a firm believer in preparing your house ahead of time—whether it’s a self-move or you’re hiring someone to do it all. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have a plan, and the things around me are disorganized, my life feels a little out of control. And when you’re dealing with the stress of a move, the last thing you want is to feel out of control. Besides that, in most cases, the more stuff you move, the more your move costs. That could mean preparing your house is a money saver too. Maybe it sounds intimidating, but really, if you do it right, it doesn’t have to monopolize all your time. Here my top 10 shortcuts to getting your house ready to move:
1. Purge, eliminate…whatever you want to call it, just get rid of stuff you don’t need.
Don’t do it all at once though. Make it a goal to clean out one room a day…or week (depending how much time you have before your move day). Pick a room and clean out all drawers, cabinets, boxes—anything that holds “stuff”—and separate it into donate boxes, garage sale boxes, keep boxes and trash. If you haven’t used it in the last year, purge it. If you won’t use it at your new home, purge it. If it’s stuff you want to keep, but won’t use right away, go ahead and box it up.
2. Have a garage sale.
Or give it all to charity…whatever you prefer. Garage sales are a lot of work, but if you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money—maybe to pay for a couple of nights on the road while you’re moving—they’re a great idea. If you decide it’s not worth the hassle and prefer a charitable donation, make sure to get a receipt for a tax deduction.
3. Organize the stuff you keep.
It’s OK if you’re not ready to box up the stuff you’re keeping. Just organize it. You’ll find that if everything has a place, it’s much easier for you and your moving labor crew to pack safely and in an organized manner (where you know what box everything is in when it gets to your new home).
4. Clean as you go.
The cleaner your home is when it comes time to pack and load, the easier it is to get it done efficiently. After you’ve purged and organized a room, clean it and close the door. You’re done. This is especially helpful if you’re close to move-out day and leaving a clean house or apartment is a requirement.
5. Use things you can’t take with you.
Most moving companies have a do-not-ship list that includes items like perishable foods, household cleaners, candles and propane tanks. So, have a packing party complete with candles, perishable foods, and burgers on the grill (to use up the propane). Then, finish off the cleaning chemicals when they leave. Seriously though…use it up, so it’s not wasted.
6. Begin an inventory.
If you’re doing a do-it-yourself move, the moving company won’t require an inventory, but it’s a good idea to have one for your own file and for insurance purposes. You can do a room-by-room inventory on paper, but a video or photo inventory may be more useful. Get serial numbers and any other identifying information and keep it in a safe place (preferably with you instead of in a moving box).
7. Create a “move file.”
When you’re moving, you’ll have tons of paperwork—quotes, estimates, receipts, contracts—and it’s all important stuff that you don’t want to misplace. Put it all in a labeled file and keep it with you. You’ll definitely need it during your move, and you may need it after your move for tax purposes.
8. Gather all important forms and documents.
As you’re purging, organizing and cleaning, locate all school records, dental records, medical records, bank records, tax information, birth certificates, social security cards…any paperwork you may need to start a new school, change residency, register to vote, register your vehicle or visit a new physician. Put it all in a “forms and documents” file that you keep with you throughout your move.
9. Begin collecting boxes and moving supplies.
If you’ve decided on a do-it-yourself move or you want to save money on a full-service move, you’ll need good sturdy boxes. I’ve heard of people using throw-away grocery store boxes, or dumpster diving behind liquor stores for boxes, but I don’t recommend this practice —these kinds of boxes are not designed to protect fragile household goods. Instead, use boxes that were designed for moving. Start looking early, you may find good quality used boxes online.
10. Return any borrowed or rented items and pick up any items you’ve loaned out.
If you hire packers to put your belongings in boxes, they won’t know what’s yours and what’s not. You don’t want to take rental DVDs, library books or something you borrowed from a friend with you. So, while you’re purging make sure you give back the things that don’t belong to you. At the same time, don’t forget to pick up things like dry cleaning and things you’ve loaned out to friends.
About Becky and blog.upack.com
Becky Harris is a moving expert for ABF U-Pack Moving, a nationwide “you pack, we drive” moving service based out of Fort Smith, AR. The What Moves You? moving blog serves as a forum where consumers who are searching for moving companies, are seeking information about moving, or who have specific questions about moving can get their questions answered and find useful moving tools.