Organize a Stress-Free Move in 5 Simple Steps
Are you moving this summer? If so, you’re in good company. The end of June through the beginning of September is considered the “high season” for moving. That’s likely driven by recent graduates striking out on their own and families with children looking to minimize school-related disruptions.
If you are moving, are you stressed about it? If so, you’re in good company there too. According to researchers, moving is one of the five most stressful things you will ever do in life. Whether you move across town or across the country, you have to figure out how to organize your possessions, pack them up, and then unpack them on the other side – and that is just plain hard. Especially when you have a million other “regular” activities to tend to. It’s not as though everything else comes to a standstill just because you are moving. No, you have to fit it into already bursting-at-the-seams schedules.
So, how do you cope without going totally gray? Here are five tips to manage (and master) any move:
1. Bind It Up.
Get yourself a binder and use it as your moving “command central.” It can be one you make yourself, or a pre-printed, tabbed binder with helpful checklists, like the Moving.kit from GetButtonedUp.com. Not only will a binder or accordion file neatly contain any and all papers, of which there are many, but it will mentally give you the sense that you have the important things together, at your fingertips, which will keep stress levels lower than they otherwise would be.
2. Comparison Shop.
Moving is expensive. Once you get past initial bids, which are often artificially low, hidden costs for boxes, tape, packing materials, and of course, labor, quickly add up. Before you spend a dime, get at least three quotes, and ideally five, from different companies and really compare the fine print. If you’re just renting a van, compare the per-mile charges, often what appears to be a flat rate is not. If you’re hiring professionals, carefully consider how many hours it will take to move the things in your house. It is not unheard of for companies to try to win a bid by providing a low estimate that is based on an unrealistic number of hours.
3. Get Insurance.
One word: Yes. You need it. Loss of property is the number one headache reported by the moving industry – one in every five moves files a claim for more than $1500. The moving company only provides the most basic insurance based on weight ($0.30-$0.60 per piece per pound), and will not cover loss or damages unless you’ve purchased additional coverage. Most homeowners’ or renters’ insurance does not cover good in the possession of movers, so you can’t count on that either. Don’t risk being one of the unlucky one whose moving truck splits open on an Interstate spilling Grandma’s dining room table or whose things get “lost” in transit. Moving insurance is worth every penny, because moving does come with is many mishaps.
4. When in Doubt, Definitely Throw it Out.
Do you really want to lug that ugly coffee table to your new destination if you know you’re never going to use it and it will just sit in the garage or basement? Remember, it costs you to move every little thing, so go through your stuff and make some serious decisions. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Veterans Associations, and other charities are waiting for people like you to donate their items, so do some good for yourself and for others and pick and choose what really gets to come along for the ride.
5. 15-20 Minutes a Day Keeps Chaos At Bay.
Even if you chose to have the professionals pack you, start going through your stuff in 15-20 minute increments as soon as you can. Doing a little bit every night before you head to bed for four weeks or so will set you up for a much less stressful moving day/week. Start with a few things that you know you won’t be using. For example, you can box up the Christmas decorations or the kids Halloween costumes without worrying that you’ll need them. Whatever you’re not planning to use in the next few weeks in your home can be sorted and packed well in advance.