Create a Moving Timeline For a Less Stressful Move

By Vernon Trollinger, May 4, 2012, Moving, News, Save Money

May is the busiest month for moving to a new home. The least stressful moves only happen when good planning keeps the whole operation organized. After all, you are dismantling your home, boxing it up, moving it all to a new place, and setting it all up again. Sounds easy, right? Turtles do it all the time, and they’re not stressed, right?

But you’re not a turtle, and there never seems to be enough time to think clearly about the mountain of details, the dog, the utilities, and whether your bed will even fit through the front door! Aaaaaagh!

Take a deep breath and relax. Begin organizing your move with a timeline. As far as moving tips go, creating a timeline might be the best first step you can take, because it accomplishes two easy but important tasks:

  1. It shows you how much time you have in which to move; and
  2. It helps you keep track of when certain tasks in your move should be completed (such as final reads for utilities, final walk-throughs, setting up new internet and electric services).

Sure, everyone likes having lots of time to move, but given the 21st Century’s hectic “just-in-time” pace, most families usually have about a month. Not a problem. Let’s have a look at a timeline. Your dates will vary, but this will be a good place to get a handle on the sorts of things you’ll face during your move and what sort of relocation help you may need.

Day 1: Decide ASAP whether to hire moving company or move yourself.

  • If hiring, set up an appointment with moving agent and obtain an estimate.
  • If moving self, arrange for transportation. Depending on the size and distance of your move, you might need to rent a van or even a mid-sized truck.

In either case, both moving companies and truck rental companies will have an easier time to coordinate with your move if they have 4 weeks advance notice.

Week One (four to six weeks before you move):

1: Let people, businesses, and official agencies know you are moving through the U.S. Postal service’s online Change of Address Form. Be sure to send these to:

  • Businesses where you have personal accounts or services (banks, credit card companies, etc).
  • Notify the professional services you rely on (doctors, dentists, pharmacies, etc.)
  • The publications you subscribe to (magazines, newspapers, professional journals).
  • Government Offices providing you with important services (Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Department of Motor Vehicles).

2: Schedule final meter reads and disconnection with your utility companies:

If this all seems a bit overwhelming for you, you can always try Bounce Energy’s Concierge Service and let Bounce do the work for you. To learn more information about the services offered, you can call 1-877-620-0837 or visit this post for more information.

3: If you are moving to a new town or state, call your veterinarian to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. It is also very helpful to have copies of your pets veterinary records when you find a new veterinarian in your new location.

4: Gather Boxes. Boxes always seem to be in short supply just when you need them. Start collecting them as soon as possible because it’s always better to have more than you’ll need.

Week Two

1: Start weeding out what you can leave behind.
If you absolutely hate packing, the easiest way to avoid it is to give stuff away or throw it out. For pack rats, though, moving gives you a chance to pare down those unneeded possessions:

  • Have a “garage sale” or auction unwanted things online.
  • Donate unwanted clothing or household goods to charities. Make sure you receive a “donation-in-kind” statement from the charity for possible tax deductions.
  • Give plants to friends or relatives or donate them to a hospital or other organization. If you are a gardener, but can’t take your favorite outside plants with you, ask a friend to transplant your plants into their garden to keep for you until you have a place for it at your new home.
  • Use up supplies of canned goods, frozen foods, perishables, and other household items. Buy only food that your family will eat before you move.

2: Come up with a system to keep track of what you have packed, how it’s going to travel to your new house, and where it goes when you arrive. Some easy to use examples are:

  • Keep an index card file consisting of an index card for each box, complete with a list of what each box contains and where each item should go.
  • Use a pad of legal paper listing each box by number or letter with a note about its contents and what room it goes to.
  • Use colored adhesive stickers to show what boxes go to what room and whether they are fragile. For example: bright orange for the living room, day-glow green for the kitchen, Yellow for the bedroom, red if the contents are fragile.

Once you’ve come up with an easy way to organize and pack your stuff, stick with it. The process will be easier and you’ll be less stressed.

3: Set aside the important/sentimental items you want to protect and/or keep handy. This includes insurance policies, medical/dental records, financial records, checkbooks, airline tickets, keys, and other important papers.

4: Start setting aside things for your “Just In Case Box”. It’s box of practical day to day things you might need just in case your stuff in the truck needs extra time to catch up to you:

  • Keys to new house
  • First-aid kit
  • Paper plates
  • Canned Goods
  • Plastic silverware
  • Can opener
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Soap
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper towels
  • Washcloths
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Disposable cups

Week Three

1: You should be packing items that you and your family are currently not using, such as seasonal items (clothes, holiday decorations, etc.), books, music albums, and other electronic media. Also start seriously thinking about how you plan to pack fragile items. Consider that you can use newspapers, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, as well as your own bedding, towels, and pillows.

2: Start cleaning out closets and throwing away the old items. Also safely dispose of old paint, solvents, fuels, or other hazardous materials from your garage.

Week Four

1: Contact the moving company or truck rental and confirm reservations and times.
2: Plan the meals for the remainder of the week so that you won’t need to throw out or take much food with you on moving day.
3: Plan what clothes you and your family will wear over the next few days. Pack the rest.
4: Pack up home electronic equipment 24 hours before moving to safely dissipate heat discharge power components. Make a diagram or take pictures of the fronts and backs of your current assembly as a guide. Label your cords and cables to attach to the correct input/outputs.
5: Begin disassembling and packing furniture. larger items, like sofas, chairs, and dining tables can weight until moving day.
6: Pack up all kitchen and bathroom items you won’t use on moving day.

Moving Day:

This is typically the longest day of the whole trip, so plan on getting a good night’s sleep (or as near as you can) the night before. One of your main concerns will be packing large items safely for the trip, such as TV sets, sofas, chairs, mirrors, paintings, etc. Use plenty of proper packing materials as padding. Also remember that towels, comforters, and blankets make great wraps and can easily be washed afterwards.

Last Minute Details:

Leave your phone connected throughout moving day. Make sure it’s one of the last things you pack.
As you load up the truck, check closets, cabinets, and storage lockers for any overlooked items. Keep your eye peeled for things that might be a parts that came loose from something you have already packed.

So now the truck is loaded and it’s time for one last look around. Before you leave, double check the following:

  • Are the water, gas, and electricity shut off?
  • Furnace and air conditioner shut off?
  • Light switches turned off?
  • All utilities arranged for disconnection?
  • Windows shut and locked?
  • Old house keys surrendered?
  • Does the truck driver know the address and directions to get there?
  • Did you forget anything?

There your have it! Not so hard when you break it down. You can also download a checklist for your move from Bounce Energy. Plus, check out the Bounce Energy Move Center for even more detailed tips and advice.

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About 

A native of Wyomissing Hills, PA, Vernon Trollinger studied Theatre Arts/Communications and English at the University of Iowa, later earning his Master of Arts in English at Iowa as well. After a brief career in archaeology, he now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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