Although renting a new apartment or buying a new home is fun and exciting, moving into that new apartment or home can be stressful, frustrating, or exhausting. You have to change your address, update and transfer all your bills and utilities, and move heavy furniture blocks, miles, states, or even countries away.
Fortunately, moving doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. If you plan ahead and stay organized throughout the whole process, moving can be easier than you think.
Here are 9 ways to make the moving process less painful:
1. Update your info
Beyond changing your address with the postal service, you need to change your address when it comes to car insurance, renters insurance, taxes, and banking accounts. Because each state and county has different terms, rates, and regulations, the earlier you research how the move will affect your policies and finances, the more money (and heartache) you’ll save.
2. Know destination specifics
Especially if you’re moving abroad. If you’re leaving the United States, know your new country’s entrance or visa requirements or whether or not it mandates specific vaccinations prior to travel. The last thing you want is to be denied travel with a packed U-Haul or airplane full of your belongings behind you.
3. Hire movers
But only if you can afford it because they do get expensive. (I recently moved across the street so I figured I could handle it on my own. Two hours into it, I would have paid a stranger $1,000 to move the rest of my belongings.) Research moving companies in your area, talk to your friends and family about who they’ve used in the past, and shop around. Ask questions, compare different companies’ rates, and request on-site estimates as opposed to online or phone estimates. (If they don’t see the amount of furniture you have, they can grossly under or overestimate the job.) And don’t get duped by fraudulent companies. Know your rights and make sure you’re protected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If you’re getting a moving truck — by yourself or through the movers — it’s smart to protect yourself with proper coverage and insurance.
4. Book accordingly
If you are hiring movers, do not wait until the last minute as their schedules fill quickly. The longer you wait, the less likely you will get a) the movers you desire; and b) the movers that fit your budget. First of the month, end of the month, and summer months are especially busy for movers so try your best to avoid those times. When I move, I always try to move in the fall or winter seasons and in the middle of the month. Because of that, I usually have no problems finding a mover and my desperation is less palpable.
5. Have plenty of packing material
Whether it’s boxes and tape or packing peanuts and newspaper, make sure you have enough of it for all of your household items. Rentable plastic bins are also fantastic as well. They are sturdier and less physically demanding than boxes and more environmentally-friendly. (Pro tip: If you are hiring a moving company, ask them about their discounts on packing materials. Some places offer cheaper rates on supplies or may even give you some things for free.) While you’re packing items, think about what they are and how they’ll be transported. If it’s a valuable item or something made of glass or crystal, make sure it’s secure so it won’t break, especially if it will be traveling a long distance on a bumpy commute. It’s also important to label your boxes to stay organized. That way, your movers will know where to place the boxes in your new house and you won’t have to worry about constantly moving them from room to room while you’re unpacking.
Especially if you’re downsizing. Do you really need those jeans you haven’t worn since high school or that futon you’ve had since your bachelor days? Not only is it nice to get rid of outdated things that you’ve outgrown, you can sell them and make some money or donate them to others in need. (You can also prevent a future appearance on the tv show Hoarders.)
7. Hire a babysitter or petsitter
No one likes moving — especially kids and pets — so make sure they’re safe and out of the way on moving day. Unless you have older kids that can help, hiring a sitter for your young kids and pets will allow you to get things done quickly and efficiently, especially since you won’t have to worry about them getting hurt or running away.
8. Reserve a loading dock or elevator
If you think you’ll be able to move into your brand new condo or apartment without a dock or elevator, think again. And if you think your new neighbors will allow you to reserve one on the day of the move and disrupt their plans of walking little to no steps for the day, really think again. Save yourself the time, embarrassment, and bitter welcoming from your neighbors by calling ahead and reserving one early. And overestimate how long you’ll think you need it. If you reserve it for two hours, but find that you really need it for three, prepare to be chastised by every tenant in your building.
9. Pack an overnight bag
After a day (or days) of moving from your old place to your new one, the last thing you want to do is unpack. But if you have to work the next day or have a nightly beauty regimen that you just can’t miss, you’ll need to locate your essentials. Pack a bag with important items — alarm clock, toiletries, a couple of outfits, toilet paper, and a cell phone charger — so you can still function while your house is in disarray.
Renting or buying a new place is exciting (congratulations, by the way!) so don’t let the moving process bring you down. If you plan ahead, stay organized, and book early, your move can be less painful. And before you know it, you’ll be lounging in your new place, wondering why you ever worried about it at all.
Image: Cindy Tang