After buying or selling a home, the next hurdle most people face is moving. Packing everything you own, taking it to another place and then unpacking it can be frustrating and overwhelming. If you want to make your move as pleasant and stress-free as possible, you need to plan well ahead.
Begin by deciding if you will use a moving company and what you want the mover to do - pack, move, unpack or just move what you've already packed. Cost will be a big factor in your decision. That's why it pays to shop around. Get at least three estimates. Be specific about what you will want the mover to do and ask for references. Your contract with the mover should set out the date and time of the move, the number of people and type of truck that will be used, the hourly rate and special materials and services to be provided such as boxes and packing.
Also check with your insurance company that your possessions are still insured while in transit. Sometimes you should buy additional insurance if necessary. If you are moving into or out of an apartment building or condo, check with the landlord or superintendent what hours are available for moving - and book the elevator.
Most people choose to pack household items themselves and leave the furniture pieces and boxes for the movers to handle. If that's how you are planning your move, get packing well in advance. It can take almost a week for one individual - working at it full time - to pack an average three-bedroom home. Here are more helpful hints:
- pack first those items you won't be using right away so they'll be on the bottom of your boxes
- pack one room at a time; don't mix things from different rooms in one box
- make sure boxes are clean and sturdy; reinforce them with packing tape
- mark each box with a summary of contents and its destination in your new home
- never pack medication, money, jewelry or important papers - transport these yourself
- don't pack anything you don't need or have not used in a few years. Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of things - have a garage sale or give unwanted items to charity
- if you want carpets cleaned and furniture re-upholstered, do it before your move and have these items sent directly to your new home
- if you have kids, involve them as much as possible. Get them to pack and mark their own things - this will help them think about the new environment that awaits them
- transfer all your utility accounts in advance: call your gas, water, electricity, telephone and cable companies. If you are moving out of the area, close all the accounts and open new ones with the companies that service your new home
- before packing your computer, be sure to back-up all the files on the hard drive
- if possible, move the computer yourself; check your owner's manual about packing your computer for a move
- remove light bulbs before packing any lamps
- pack the lamp shades in separate containers;
- remove and pack any ceiling or wall lights you plan to take with you
- all plants are delicate - some plants might not survive even a short trip in a moving van if the weather is too hot or too cold
- move any plants in your car, if possible, or give them away to neighbours
- some movers will prepare plants for a move; check to see what services are offered
- appliances with special connectors, such as air conditioners, stoves, dishwashers, washers and dryers, should be disconnected and prepared for moving by qualified service people
- refrigerators and freezers must be defrosted, emptied and completely dry before moving
If everything has been packed and labeled properly, things should go smoothly on moving day. Be sure to be around to supervise the loading and unloading of the moving van. The mover will note the condition of your belongings on an inventory list. Make sure that what's written down is accurate. Also, be sure the mover puts down mats and padding on banisters and doorways to protect both your old home and your new home from dirt and damage.
It's an exciting time and the better you are organized, the smoother your big day will be !!