10 Tips for Planning a Move

1: Make a Master List of Moving Tasks

It’s easier to remember what you need to do if you sit down and make a list. Also, that gives you the opportunity to check off to-do items as you go, which is always satisfying.

2. Change of address

They rarely take effect immediately, so notifying the post office, bank and other important contacts before you begin packing will ensure everything is updated and in order by your move-in date.

3: Purge

Do you have a plan for purging the pile of junk that has collected in your closets, garage and/or basement? Go through each pile more than once, setting aside the definite throwaways during the first sweep and the less obvious throwaways during the next couple of sweeps. Many of the items can be given away to charity. Go online to see what local charities you’d like to support and figure out which ones will benefit most by what you have to donate. Don’t forget to keep a record what you donate and get a receipt for your taxes. If you have more time on your hands, you can schedule a garage sale before your move.

4. Don’t Pay For Packing Boxes

Why pay for moving supplies that you can get for free? Estimate the number of boxes you will need for your belongings and multiply that number by 20 percent, just to be safe, and start hitting up your local stores. Avoid boxes that carried frozen foods or produce as they may have water damage or food stains. Start collecting your boxes early and don’t forget to check your local Craig’s List and Freecycle. There are often free moving boxes listed there, but you have to be quick as they go fast!

5: Plan New Rooms as You Pack the Old

You won’t be able replicate everything in your new home exactly the way it was in your old one, and who would want to anyway? Your new place is a fresh palette for new ideas. But taking pictures of every room before you start to pack up your old home will help you plan how to unpack. It will save you a lot of time, too. You can see what worked and remember what may be hidden in an unpacked box. Don’t forget to take pictures of complicated electronic hook-ups to help you put them back together.

6: Line Up Professional Movers

While professional movers can be expensive, they don’t have to be. Be sure to get quotes from several companies, and don’t be shy about the fact that you’re shopping around. Making companies aware that you’re checking out the competition might just result in a lower quote. If you have flexibility on your moving date, ask if you can wait to be added to a truck that is moving to the same area. This will reduce the cost. Finally, make sure you know your rights and purchase additional insurance if necessary.

7: Ask Your Friends to Help

Even if you hire movers, and especially if you don’t hire movers, you’ll need some other people to help you carry items out of your old house and into your new one. If you want help, it’s best to schedule your move for a weekend day, when most people are off work. When your helpers arrive, have a plan in place for what each person should do — assign each friend a particular set of boxes or a specific room to focus on. Be sure to thank each person individually and even better — schedule some sort of formal thank you for everyone, such as a dinner out or a cookout at your new place the next weekend. They deserve it.

8: Read Up on How to Drive a Rental Truck (see above!)

If you’re going to drive your own rental truck or van, read up on how to drive it before you get out on the road. There are several things to keep in mind when you’re driving a truck: First, if you normally drive a sedan, the truck is going to be much wider than what you’re used to driving. It’s also heavier than a car <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car.htm> , so it won’t stop as quickly. Be sure there’s more than one car length between your truck and the vehicle ahead of you at all times. Pay attention to road signs regarding trucks, never pass a vehicle moving more than 40 miles per hour and, unless you’re particularly adept at using your side-view mirrors, avoid backing up as much as possible — it’s tricky.

9: Have Rugs, Drapes and Slipcovers Cleaned

Moving is the perfect occasion to have some things cleaned that tend to go without cleaning for long periods of time. For example, if your couch has a cover that can be removed, you can send that cover and the cushion slipcovers to the cleaners for a good washing. The same goes for your rugs (depending on what they’re made of). Drapes, shower curtains and bed skirts are other fabric items that should be washed before they’re moved. You don’t want to bring dirty, dusty fabrics into your new home, so clean them before you move.

10: Get Your New Place in Tip-top Shape

If you’re moving to a rental or a fixer-upper, there might be some plans you have for your new place. Whether you hope to paint, do minor repairs, conduct extensive renovations or simply give the place deep cleaning, try to do so before you move in. Any projects you have planned will be easier and faster if they’re completed before your boxes and furnishings arrive. If you don’t have time to get in yourself, consider hiring some help who can complete the tasks in your new home while you finish packing for the move.