Planning and organizing a residential move can easily turn out to be one of the most challenging things you’ve done in years. There are so many things to do before moving into a new home that confusion about what to do next may often halt the progress of your moving preparations.
One of the biggest fears when getting ready to move out is fail to finish all the pre-move tasks on time, usually due to lack of proper organization. Sure, with a seemingly endless list of things you need to do before you move, it’s only natural that you may forget to do a thing or two, but what will really matter in the end is to complete the tasks that really matter.
Here’s a list of the most important things to do before moving into a new home. To guarantee the successful conclusion of your move, make sure you complete these essential tasks at all costs.
Task #1. Create a moving checklist to organize your move
Moving house is a highly transitional period where too many things need to be done within a very short window of time. The resulted concentration of tasks is one of the leading causes for the build-up of stress during the home moving process. Add the lack of sufficient time to complete all those jobs and you’ll quickly realize the dire need for a good moving checklist.
A moving checklist is just a detailed to-do list of the things to do before you move. Here’s how the creation of a moving planner will help you keep things organized and your time – well-spent.
- Your personal moving checklist will keep reminding you just what it is that you need to do next. This way, you won’t forget to take care of an important task while getting ready to move out.
- Your moving checklist will speed up the preparation period by minimizing the downtime between the various tasks. You get a task marked as DONE, then you move on to the next one without wasting any valuable time.
- The moving timeline you create will keep you focused on the most important jobs first, thus eliminating the possibility of failing to do any of the really important things to do before moving to a new city.
Creating a moving checklist for your own move is not complicated – just take a piece of paper and write down all the chores you must do before the day of the move. Once you’re ready, it’s time to prioritize that checklist of things to do before moving: re-arrange all the tasks in order of importance, tackling the ones that are truly essential in your relocation instance.
Get good ideas from our complete and interactive moving checklist:
Task #2. Consider your relocation options
Without a doubt, one of the most essential things to do before moving out is to decide HOW you’re going to do that. Basically, you have two viable options: 1) hire the services of a professional moving company, or 2) rent a moving truck and organize a DIY move.
Be mindful that the success of the entire home moving operation depends on this single decision: hire movers or move by yourself. As you already may know from personal experience, sometimes it’s not easy to decide which way to go.
To help you out in your choice, here are some pointers to nudge you in the right direction:
Organize a self-move when:
- you’re only moving a short distance, like across town, to a neighboring town or city, or to another place within the same state (local move);
- you’ve moved house before and you know how to make it work;
- you own a pickup truck, you know a friend who’ll let you their pickup truck or you feel confident you can drive a rental van across unknown territories;
- you have a bunch of reliable friends who won’t mind giving you a hand packing or lifting and carrying heavy household items;
- you don’t own many valuable items, especially large household items such as antique furniture, a piano, a grandfather clock and so on.
Do consider hiring a good mover when:
- you’re moving long distance across the country, often moving to a new state (interstate move);
- you’re moving for the first time as you’ve never had to organize a house move until this very moment;
- you won’t be able to gather up enough friendly manpower to get heavy furniture and overflowing moving boxes to the moving vehicle;
- you have large and heavy valuable items which must be handled, protected and moved with the utmost care.
Task #3. Hire a good moving company
Stop wondering what to do before moving out of state and do what’s best for you – that is, hire a reputable, trustworthy and affordable moving company to tackle the most difficult aspects of your upcoming move.
Once you take into account the big number of hidden self-moving costs and expenses, you’ll quickly start to realize that using professional movers is the safest and most cost-effective way of moving to another part of the country.
Remember that hiring one of the best interstate movers will mean you’ll get a custom relocation solution fit to your particular needs as a shipper of household goods.
Here are the 5steps to finding a good mover – a must-do thing before moving out for the first time.
- Step 1. Know the cost of your move. You need to know how much a professional mover will charge you for their service. The easiest way to know the price of your move is to fill in a moving cost estimator.
- Step 2. Request an in-home inspection. When you get contacted by several professional movers in your area, request in-home surveys of your house or apartment by each company for accurate cost estimation.
- Step 3. Compare the estimates. Compare the cost estimates you have received but don’t choose a mover based on price alone – instead, make a comparison of the additional moving services and their rates too.
- Step 4. Compare the movers. Research each moving company independently to pick the best one. Read moving reviews and customer ratings, check the license information of each household goods carrier, and check each mover’s complaint history at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Better Business Bureau (BBB) and American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).
- Step 5. Pick the right mover. Select a professional mover following the steps above and book your move as soon as you can.
Task #4. Declutter your home
Of all the things to do before moving across country, the task that will prove the most beneficial for you will be to inventory your home and pare down your belongings so that remain only the ones you really need and really want.
In fact, decluttering your home of any unwanted items should be your priority regardless of whether you’re moving short distance or hundreds or thousands of miles across the country. To understand the importance of this crucial task, here are the major benefits of decluttering your home before moving out:
- Fewer items to move will mean lower transportation costs. Why? The moving price will be based on the total weight of your goods.
- Fewer items to move will mean less time spent on packing. If you hire professional packers, that will also mean less money out of your pocket.
- Fewer items to move will mean more storage space in the new home. Storage space management becomes vital when you’re downsizing – that is, moving to a smaller home.
- Fewer items to pack and move will mean reduced levels of stress as you know you won’t be spending any money when you don’t have to.
Inventory your entire home and decide what to do with each household item – take, sell, donate or throw away for recycling. Large and heavy things such as furniture pieces may not be worth moving at all because of the higher transportation costs.
Moving experts advise that if you haven’t used an item in over a year, then you don’t really need it and should get rid of it at the time of the move. To earn some cash from your unwanted things, organize a garage sale or try to sell them online.
Task #5. Pack up your things by yourself
Packing will definitely be one of the things to do before you move out of your house simply because that all-important entry in your moving checklist cannot possibly be forgotten… or skipped on purpose.
Packing for a move will be the toughest job you’ll need to do when moving, and by far the most time-consuming one too. In fact, to be able to finish packing on time, you should start working on it from the very first day of your pre-move preparation.
With the exception of a number of specialty items, the packing job can be handled without professional assistance provided that you have enough time to do it at your own comfortable rate.
Here are the major packing tips that will enable you to finish packing up your things faster and more efficiently:
- Start packing your home as soon as the move becomes only a matter of time;
- Gather up the necessary packing materials, the major ones being packing paper, bubble wrap, moving boxes, and packing tape.
- Save money! Get free moving boxes from friends, local businesses or recycling centers.
- Make sure you will be packing only the items you really want to keep and will use in the future.
- Begin packing from the toughest rooms to pack – the storage areas you have in your home such as the garage, attic, basement, spare room, walk-in closet, etc.
- Use extra padding and cushioning material (bubble wrap) when packing highly fragile and breakable items.
- Follow a packing calendar to keep everything organized.
- Don’t forget to label your boxes properly once you’ve packed and sealed them.
- Get help from friends and family members if you sense that you’re falling behind your packing checklist and won’t make it on time.
Task #6. Tackle all relocation details
Creating and following a moving checklist, hiring a moving company, decluttering your home and packing up your things are all high-priority tasks that you must do to have a successful residential move. And yet, it’s the rest of the things to do before you move out that will make a difference.
Here’s a detailed list of the things to do before you move house:
Keep your move-related paperwork in a special folder, and keep that folder safe;
- Change your postal address with the USPS and then inform important government institutions, businesses you deal with, and friends of the change;
- Gather all relevant medical and school records;
- Arrange the transfer of utilities from the old home to the new one;
- Cancel all subscriptions, club memberships, and delivery services;
- Take your pet to the vet for a complete check-up, if applicable;
- Organize a yard sale to earn some cash from your unwanted items.
- Ask friends for assistance whenever you need it – do it as early as possible to avoid disrupting their plans;
- Keep small valuable items close by at all times;
- Pack essentials boxes with items that will help you survive a few days without your household things around;
- Do not pack any items forbidden for transport;
- Observe all safety rules during the day of the move, including wearing suitable clothes and shoes to stay protected and safe;
- Avoid moving day mistakes to keep trouble away from your doorstep during the most dangerous and unpredictable day of your house move.
Task #7. Reduce your moving costs
Ultimately, your mission is to move house and save money in the process simply because, you know, money doesn’t grow on trees. The good news is that there are many opportunities during each of the stages of moving where you can try and reduce the moving costs.
Here are the top 5 ways to cut moving costs and move to another house for as little money as possible:
1) Hire cheap movers
Some professional moving companies are cheaper than others while still offering high-quality services. So, to find affordable movers all you need to do is compare the cost estimates of at least 3-4 moving companies and select the best bid in terms of price, additional services, and relocation conditions.
2) Move during the off-season
You may not have a say about when to move house, but if you do, moving during the off-season (September – May) should give you a much better chance of snatching a bargain. Why?
With fewer people moving during the cold months, professional movers often lower their standard rates to secure enough work until the next moving season.
3) Move only the things you have to move
As we discussed this earlier, moving everything you own is a mistake that will cost you both time and money. The cost-saving idea can’t be simpler: if you don’t need an item, don’t pay to move it.
Out of the items you’re leaving behind, sell the ones that are still worth something to help out your budget.
4) Pack your things on your own
What to do before you move? Save money by not paying professional packers. After all, you should be fine packing up your clothes, shoes, books, and other items that are neither big nor fragile.
5) Don’t make mistakes when moving
Some moving mistakes will cost you time while others – money. The aim should be to avoid making any costly mistakes altogether. Yes, it’s quite possible – just follow this list of 33 moving mistakes to avoid on your next move.