by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
For most people contemplating a move, the part that involves the actual moving is the most overwhelming. Buying a new house is exciting—starting a new chapter in life, whether you're moving into your dream home or downsizing, there's something about a move that makes you feel like you're starting fresh. Then, you look at all your musty old stuff and that hot air balloon you're riding over the clouds to your new digs pops and you land in a pile of old papers and kid's artwork that you have to deal with. But, if you plan your move and follow a simple checklist, you can manage to pack your life and move it without too much stress and anxiety.
It's normal to have a moving window of about three months, so this timeline assumes you've got that much time to make it happen. All you need to get started is a large file folder.
Three Months Out
Choose your moving company—decide if you want full-service moving or you want to do it yourself or something in between, sort of an a la carte option. A moving specialist comes by your house and walks through to determine how many trucks and how much packing material you'll need, assess time to load, transport, and unload, and give you an estimate for other services, like packing, disassembling furniture, and managing storage, if necessary. Once you decide on your moving company and service level, make sure to confirm you're on their schedule. Keep a copy of the estimate in your folder. One big thing down!
It's never too soon to start purging—what to donate, trash, or take with you. How you go about the process is up to you, what works for some doesn't work for all. Ignore all the blogs and YouTube videos and do what works for you—one day you might clean out closets and go ahead and pack up what's moving, another day you might decide to keep purging and leave things in place. There really is no right way to do it, so don't sweat it if you don't follow the "rules".
Two Months Out
This is usually when it gets real—the calendar is turning faster than it should be, and the reality is that except for hiring your moving company and throwing out takeout menus and mismatched socks, you haven't done a thing.
If you are moving out of the area, and you haven't discussed your move with your boss, now is a good time--it allows them the time to train someone for your position so they're ready when you go.
If you've decided to do your own packing, reconsider. Help is a phone call away; your moving company can send over professional packers to do the job—they'll schedule for closer to your move since they come in and get it done in short order, and you'll need clothes and the coffee pot until the end.
Let any service providers know that you'll be leaving—if your move is local, give your yard service the new address and you're done. Otherwise, here are some of the more important ones.
Medical—doctors, orthodontists, dentists
These days, most medical practices are part of larger networks and your records are available to new providers. Ask your doctor for referrals, they network well and have old buddies from medical school they can recommend. While dentists and orthodontists don't necessarily have those networks, they'll be able to refer you old-school, too.
As pharmacies merge you might be able to maintain that relationship, but just in case keep hard copies of all your prescriptions in your file folder so that you'll have them handy in case of a glitch along the way. The last thing you need is to run out of allergy medication the day you move and have to deal with a new pharmacy.
If you have kids in school, enrolling them in a new school district is a necessary evil—you need every document in existence to register them—birth certificate, social security info, proof of address (a copy of your contract if you haven't closed yet), and immunization records at the very least. Ask exactly what you'll need, and go ahead and put all the documents in one place—the file folder.
If you have kids in college and you're leaving the state, find out the parameters for maintaining in-state tuition. Each state has different rules, and the reasons for the move and the distance can have an impact—some states offer in-state tuition if you're moving to a contiguous state.
Keep purging and packing—set a goal for a room each week, or all the closets in a week.
One Month Out
By now you should have purged, organized, and have all your non-essentials in neatly packed and labeled boxes in the garage. Right. This is when you get ruthless with purging--especially if you've opted to have the moving company pack everything
that is left. It's astonishing how really unnecessary that old lamp becomes when you don't like it anyway and now it's going to cost you to move it. So, throw it out, and keep going.
Activities--Community, Religious, Social
If, by chance, you've forgotten to mention to anyone that you're moving, now is the time. Especially any volunteer groups you're active in, and if you're chairing committees or on any boards, you should have already notified the groups so they can fill the gap you're leaving. Don't forget to turn over any files or records you have (Girl Scout cookie moms) to your successor. If you're part of a nationwide organization, (Rotary, Junior League) get your transfer documents ready and submitted--you can usually do these online.
Mainline churches and synagogues offer the chance to transfer memberships; once you're settled and have found a new religious home, they will handle that for you when you're ready to join a new congregation.
If you're a member of any club, you'll need to change your membership--depending on the by-laws, you may be able to maintain a non-resident status when you move.
Activities--Youth Sports, Clubs
If you have children, you'll experience the joy of searching out new play groups, piano teachers, soccer teams, and dance studios. The good news is that club level teams are everywhere, if you've got athletes, and social media mom's groups are a great way to source out other kid's activities. Keep in mind that everybody has an opinion, but you'll at least get a good basket of contacts for karate and art lessons.
Two Weeks and Counting
Contact all your utilities and set up the stop-service request. Don't forget your internet and cable--you might be able to transfer some services if your provider is in your new area as well (gas, power, TV, internet) but unless you're local you'll need new accounts. Set up your new accounts as you terminate the old ones, and don't forget the mail. You can set up your new address and delivery stop dates online, and if you need a PO box you can do that online too.
If you're moving long distance, confirm hotel reservations or airline tickets. If you're moving with your pets, ensure the hotels allow animals.
One Week to Go!
Pretend you're going on vacation and pack a bag or two, so you can get everything else ready to move. Have a “Clean Out the Fridge” week, and use paper products whenever possible.
If you're moving any landscaping, wait until the last day to dig the plants up, and put them in large tubs for the move.
Confirm with the movers when they'll be at your house to start loading, and any furniture they're taking apart so they have the right tools.
You're ready to go. You've got everything ready to go on the trucks, so grab your folder, unplug the coffee pot and hit the road.