Five Mega-Must-Dos When Making Your Move

By Vernon Trollinger, May 19, 2015, Moving, News, Save Money

iStock_000000721280SmallWhether you’re moving across town, across the state, or across the country, moving time is one of the most stressful things your family will ever do. Apart from the sadness of leaving familiar places and people and the anticipation of a new home, there’s the whole pain in the patookus of packing up your stuff and moving it. To get you through the whole mess of final read dates, trucks, and moving boxes, we’ve put together a list of Five Mega-Must-Dos when you make your move. Hopefully, these will make your experience feel more like an adventure and maybe even help save you some money along your way.

1 Get organized. Set up a timeline to keep you on schedule for shut-offs, final reads, and turn-on dates at your new home. You’ll need checklists to stay on top of getting things done —such as contracting with the moving company, final reads for your old utilities, and turning on your new utilities. Depending where you live, there are some services that will help you set these things up for FREE!

Labeling boxes as you pack is good but remember to make a master list or manifest that tells you where your stuff is packed, what’s fragile, and what room it goes into. That way you’ll know what stuff is where. TIP: Measure your appliances in advance to make sure you can get them through doorways of your old home and into your new home.

2 Plan your budget. How much can you spend? How can you save money? Moving can be expensive so it’s important to track your expenses. You can do this either on a spreadsheet or an app for your phone or tablet. Here’s a few simple ways you can save money.

Plan your meals to eat everything that you have in your home during your last week. That way, you won’t need to spend extra money eating out, you won’t waste food, and there will be less to pack.

Disconnecting your own appliances that you want to take with can save you $50 or more, plus the inconvenience of having to wait for the service tech to show up. You’ll need to have the right kind of tools, a plastic bag(s) to hold screws, know where water shut off valves are, and a dolly. Replace the old water supply hoses on your washer when you move. Corrosion and scale can make hoses brittle, disconnecting them can crack them. Get new ones at a home center when your arrive at your new home.

Sell or donate the things you don’t want or wear anymore. This will net you a little bit of cash. You can also donate items and declare the amount of your donation on your income tax.

3 Hiring a company or doing it yourself? Moving companies are good for long distance or interstate moves. Since not all movers offer the same services, it’s important to get detailed estimates. As a rule, moving companies will not disconnect/reconnect appliances due to liability concerns. Also watchout for moving fraud. Interstate movers must comply with federal rules and regulations, which include registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Renting a truck and doing it yourself is good for short distances/across town moves or if you’re moving cross country and you don’t have much stuff. Decide on the size truck you’ll want. Large vans are good for multiple trip across town, bigger trucks for cross country. If you’re renting a truck, you’ll need to reserve the truck by 2 weeks in advance—though 4 weeks is better if you live in a high demand market during moving season. That way, you’ll get the right sized truck for your move. Don’t forget that appliance dolly!

4 Gather your packing materials. Snag boxes from grocery stores and offices. Office paper boxes for printer and copier are among the best. These are sturdy and come in a standardized size —making them nicely stackable. They can be easily broken apart and recycled —or passed on to someone else who’s moving. Another option is plastic bins. After you finish your move, the company will come pick up the boxes to reuse them. Check out Greenway Crates, BungoBox, EZ Bins, and Rent-A-Green Box.

Fragile things have a nasty tendency to break. That means you’ll need padding and packaging. Use towels, bedding, and blankets, even winter coats and old t-shirts. For packaging, shred old documents and use the shreds for packing china and other dishes. Newspapers is great for glassware. Use popcorn instead of packing peanuts —just make it without oil or butter. It’s bio-degradable and wildlife love it.

5 Keep good records of everything. There’s two good reasons for this. First, in case of breakage or damage of items in the care of movers. You want to have accurate records and photos of things before you move. This way, you’ll have proof for the mover’s insurance company ready if you need to file a claim. Keep track of your contract with the company and know what your rights are.

Secondly, if you are moving because of your job or business, save all your receipts (this is also why it’s good to track your expenses with a spreadsheet or an app). Your moving expenses (except for meals) can be deducted from your income taxes. See IRS Publication 521 to see how your move qualifies.

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About 

A native of Wyomissing Hills, PA, Vernon Trollinger studied writing and film at the University of Iowa, later earning his MA in writing there as well. Following a decade of digging in CRM archaeology, he now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, DIY projects, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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