If you're considering a move, you have to prepare well in advance. Relocating involves more than just packing, so use the following checklists to ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Choosing a Moving Company
Although a moving company can be expensive, it can be worth it if you're strapped for time or don't want the added stress.
- Decide if you're going to use a moving company or move your belongings yourself. If you own a significant number of personal items, furniture, and delicate items, hiring professional movers can give you peace of mind as they can assume liability in case of loss or damage.
- Interview several moving companies. Let the company representative check your house or apartment to determine the size of the truck you need. If the rep doesn't check each room and its contents, you may want to hire another company. Make sure you are charged by weight because moving by volume often creates inaccurate estimates.
- Research the company thoroughly. Check the Department of Transportation (DOT) to see if it lists the company as having a license. See if anyone made complaints to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or to consumer affairs, then review any company ratings from the DOT and sites such as Yelp.com. Ask to check the company's references.
- Make sure the company has sufficient insurance for damage. If it doesn't, you can't adequately protect your valuables.
- Purchase extra insurance from the company. See if the company has Full Value Protection insurance for full replacement of any damaged personal property. Not all companies offer this type of insurance, so if it's not automatically offered, find out if you can purchase it because your personal insurance policies probably won't cover items damaged during a move. If the company has a license for interstate moving, it must offer you two kinds of insurance, including Full Value Protection.
- Get a binding price, if you can. A binding price eliminates surprises when the moving company gives you the final bill.
Moving and Packing Checklist
Once you've chosen your moving company, you still need to get your belongings ready to move, which can be quite a task in itself. Here's how to prep for move day.
- Decide who's doing the packing. If you're trying to cut costs, pack your own items or have friends help. You can pay many moving companies to pack for you, but it's often expensive, so get packing estimates from several companies.
- Get packing boxes. Ask the moving company how many free boxes, if any, they provide. If they charge for boxes, purchase boxes elsewhere, such as from truck rental companies, which usually sell them at a lower price. You may be able to find usable boxes at liquor, book, and stationery stores, as long as they're clean and dry.
- Get plenty of packing material. This includes cushioning, paper, and different kinds of tape. For fragile items, use bubble packaging.
- Label each box so you know its contents. Knowing what's in which box makes it easier to locate items once you reach your new home, especially if you label boxes by room.
- If you're downsizing, have a garage sale or donate items. Getting rid of items creates more space and means you don't have to pay to move them.
- Have everyone in the family pack a suitcase. If you have to wait a few days for the movers or if there are weather-related delays, you'll be happy you took a week's worth of essentials with you.
Moving and Utilities Checklist
Closing up house at your old residence requires a few small tasks, some of which need to be done a few weeks ahead of time.
- Plan to shut off services for television, phone, and internet. Call companies a few weeks before your move date to schedule disconnection service.
- Turn off basic utilities. To make sure you're not paying for gas, electric, or oil once you've moved out, call the companies in advance to let them know when you're moving. Call a few weeks in advance for disconnection, but schedule the visit as close to the move as possible.
- Call the water company. The water company usually does a last-minute reading of your meter, which you should schedule a few weeks in advance for a reading as close to the move as possible.
- Contact your town office or sewer service. Make sure whoever handles your sewer service knows your last day in the house or apartment so you're not charged after that.
- Contact any private companies that provide service. This includes private garbage collection, lawn care, snow removal, pest services, and any other service you use. Give notice to cancel in advance and according to any contracts you may have.
- Pay your utility bills before you move. Moving is distracting, so pay your bills before the move so you don't have late-payment fees.
- Arrange for services at your new location. Do as much as you can before moving, which includes finding out what services you need in your area. For example, some localities require you to set up garbage collection while that service is routine in others. Call the new companies to schedule appointments for installation.
Moving can be a highly stressful life event, but proper planning can greatly reduce that stress. A more comprehensive moving checklist can help you.