How to Prepare for a Move

We’ve all been there. Whether for a job, school, or just a change of scenery, most of us have had to move from one location to another. If you haven’t yet, then you’re one of the lucky ones. If you’ve moved or are currently in the process of moving, you already know that moving is an extremely stressful and tiring activity, but you also recognize that the results can be well worth the trouble.

There’s something liberating about purging your unwanted and unneeded items before a move, the thrill of redecorating a new space, and the new possibilities set before you. In a way, moving is fun. It doesn’t have to be stressful unless you make it so. To help alleviate some of the hardships associated with moving, you’ll want to create a checklist to help guide you through the process.

With a checklist, you’ll find it much easier to prepare mentally and physically for your move if you begin eight weeks, or two months, before the actual move. From there, you can continue checking off tasks each week until you finally reach moving day.

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6-8 Weeks: Pre-Move Actions & Steps to Take

Beginning the moving process eight weeks in advance may seem like overkill. Why waste time preparing for a move that’s still so far out? You don’t want boxes scattered around your living space. Eight weeks is too early.

1. Start the planning process

Moving doesn’t happen over a weekend. Some people may be forced to achieve such a feat due to unforeseen circumstances, but that reasoning should not be enough to make you think the same thing. The further out you plan, the better off you will be. Eight weeks may be too far out to begin the packing process (depending on how many possessions you have), but it gives you enough time to better prepare and plan how you want the move to go.

At this point, you will want to consider whether or not you’ll want help from movers. If you do, you’ll need to gather quotes and prices until you find one suitable for you. From there, you’ll want to schedule them two months out to ensure they’ll be available. During this time, you’ll also want to collect boxes, begin packing smaller items and sell or donate old and unwanted items.

As you can see, the move is only two months out, but already there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Let’s take a look at each one of these tasks. 

Hiring a Mover

2. Determine if you need to hire professional movers

One of the biggest decisions you will have to make when moving is deciding on who is going to do the move. Do you want to pack and move the items yourself with the help of friends and family, or would you rather hire a moving team to do a majority of the work for you? If you believe that you and some volunteers are more than capable of making the move on your own, that’s just fine. For those of us who are intimidated by the prospect of lifting that couch, hauling a mattress outside and lifting other heavy furniture, professional movers will be perfect for you.

If you are moving to a different city, state or other far away location, it is highly recommended that you hire a moving company to better assist you. Unless you can fit a majority of your items in a single moving truck and feel comfortable enough to drive it on your own, you’ll be grateful to have the professional help.

When hiring a moving company, there are several pieces of advice to keep in mind.

First, you should always do your research beforehand. There is nothing worse than hiring and trusting a moving company with your belongings only to have them treated with disrespect by movers who will handle boxes poorly and break your things. Read those reviews. If a company is terrible, reviews will tell you. You can also ask your friends and family for recommendations.

Second, you shouldn’t choose the first or second moving company you see. Moving companies will give you rough estimates on how much they will charge for the move based on distance traveled and the amount of boxes and items that need transporting. Get as many quotes as possible and make the decision afterward.

Remember that the most expensive company isn’t always the best and the cheapest isn’t always the worst.

Related: Moving Out of State: Pros, Tips, & Cost

3. Collect packing boxes & materials

If you have the space, start looking for boxes as early as you can. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have enough boxes to pack all your items, so you either have to scramble to find more or unpack an already sealed box.

Most of the time you don’t need to buy boxes from a retail store. Often you can easily find free boxes from friends, stores, your place of employment or even on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. People and businesses often don’t know what to do with their boxes, so they’ll offer them for free much of the time. If you do have unique or fragile items, you can opt for specialty packing supplies

Pack as early as you can

4. Start packing smaller items

Once you’ve gotten your hands on some boxes, you should begin packing up some of your smaller, nonessential items. Packing as early as you can eliminates some of the stress and increases your time to pack the more important items. If you have decorations, books or other unused items, now is the best time to pack.

Related: Packing Tips for Your Next Move: A Room-by-Room Checklist

5. Identifying which items to donate or throw away

During this step, you may also want to make an inventory list and sell or donate some of your unused and unwanted items. Moving is the perfect time to downsize where you can. You’ll have fewer items to move and pack away.

6. Decide on which moving company to hire

Next, you should be narrowing down which moving company you want to hire, if you decide to go that route. You will also need to continue gathering as many boxes as you can and possibly start on some minor repairs you’ve noticed around your old living space.

7. Notify your utility companies

Now is also the best time to start notifying your utility companies, such as water, gas, electric, internet, cable, trash and sewer, of your move. For most of these companies, you can provide dates when you would like to cancel and start services. Doing this step now saves you time in the end, and it prevents you from having to deal with bills and utilities while you are overwhelmed with the final stages of packing and moving. The services will terminate at your desired date and begin at your new place.

8. Change your mailing address for banking

From this point forward, you will want to change your address through your bank and other companies that you receive mail from. Keep your eye out for items you receive in the mail so you know what to change. Later on, you will officially notify the United States Postal Service of your address change so they can forward your mail, but six weeks out is too early.

4 Weeks: Finish Packing & Get Organized

With only a month left before the move, you should have as many boxes packed as you can and a moving company on standby. You can continue to pack additional items. You may find it easier to completely pack a single room or move the objects out so you can better store any full boxes. You may be tempted to pack throughout the rooms, but starting in one room and working your way through will give you a better sense of progress and accomplishment.

Some moving companies even offer custom packing services to help save you time and ensure items will be safe in transit. This can be especially helpful if you need to move important items like a piano or special artwork.

9. Use up any leftover food or perishable items

At this point, you should also consider the food items you have and decide how you want to use them up before the move. Perishable items will be more difficult to move and be more of a hassle than you want. Making a meal plan can help you use these items and help you to only buy the groceries you need. Boxed items and cans are heavy but can be transported without spoiling.

10. Start labeling your boxes

As you pack away your things, you should label each box with the items inside and the room they originated from. Labeling will save you time and energy. You will have to inform the movers of which rooms are which, especially with bedrooms and offices, and this is much easier when boxes are labeled. Otherwise, having labels makes it easier for you. If you need a specific document for work that you boxed away, you will know exactly where it is without having to hunt through all your boxes.

Label each box

2-3 Weeks: Finalize the Details

With two to three weeks to go, the stress might be taking hold as you become overwhelmed by all that still needs done. Don’t panic. You’ve already done a lot of the little details that come with moving, and you can now fully focus on packing and preparing yourself.

11. Officially change your address

At three weeks before your move, you will want to update your address on any subscriptions, financial accounts, insurance documents, medical bills and voter registration records. If you haven’t already, you will need to inform your employer and any schools and daycares of your move. Any information tied to your children needs to be updated too.

12. Cancel local memberships

If you are moving out of the city or state, you may consider canceling any local memberships that you have. When completing this step, be wary of any early cancelation fees and see if you can easily transfer the membership to your new home.

13. Last minute packing

As you continue to pack your items, you will want to focus on the nonessential items first. These items can include extra linens, cleaning products and decorations. At this point, you should have nearly everything packed. Only the items that you need on a daily basis should be left out.

14. Schedule a moving truck if not using a moving company 

If you are opting to move by yourself, you will want to schedule a moving truck for the day of your move and at least a day or two after to give you ample time to unpack.

1 Week: Wrap Up the Pre-Move Process

With just a week left, you might be anxious or nervous about how things are going to get moved. You might see everything before you and become increasingly overwhelmed by what you still have to do. Take several deep breaths. You still have a week left, and a lot can get accomplished in this short amount of time if needs be.

15. Disassemble large furniture & appliances

At this point, you should begin to disassemble any large furniture items to make moving and storing easier. If you still have the boxes for some of your more important appliances, furniture and electronics, now is the time to start packing those away.

16. Clean 

As you empty rooms, start to clean them out. Wipe down walls, clean the floors and patch any holes in the walls. You need to gather all keys, garage door openers and other objects associated with your current house and have them ready to give to the new owners or landlord.

17. Pack a bag for your move

It might also be beneficial for you to have any important bathroom, kitchen, clothing and sleeping items in several boxes that can be easily found and unpacked for your first night after the move. Again, you want to limit how much time you spend having to hunt down the items you need.

Moving Day

The night before moving day, you should try and get as much sleep as possible so you’re fully energized for the day. Understandably, you might be anxious enough that sleep does not come willingly.

18. Pick up the moving truck or prepare for movers to arrive

Now that the day has finally arrived, either pick up the moving truck you’ve scheduled for this time or clear a walking path to give your movers as much room as possible. When the movers arrive, always explain what you want to be done and what makes you the most comfortable.

Try to have as much of your items packed or at least enough to give them a load or two to take. It’s okay to still have a few boxes to pack. As long as you pack them before the last trip, you should have nothing to worry about.

19. Make sure to let the movers know any specific details

Depending on where you are moving, you should always go with the movers on the first trip to guide them where rooms and boxes go. Your labels will come in handy for this step too. It will help guide you and the movers when placing items in the truck.

Once everything is gone, do a final walkthrough to make sure that you have not missed any of your things and that the place is clean. You will not be coming back after today.

Finally, always tip your movers and offer them a pizza or two for their services.

David McCarthy Moving to the Rescue

Moving doesn’t have to be stressful and filled with frustrations. As long as you take the time to prepare and gradually pack and clean, you’ll find yourself slightly less stressed than you expected. By completing the more menial and simple tasks, you have less to worry about when it finally comes to moving day. You’ll be better prepared and more organized. The extreme hassle of moving day will be a thing of the past.

To help ensure that your moving day goes as smoothly as possible, David McCarthy Moving does all the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to. No matter where you move from or to in the continental United States, they guarantee that your items will arrive safely without the need to worry.

From couches to boxes, David McCarthy Moving helps you with any type of moves. Need help moving items from room to room? David McCarthy Moving has you covered. Wanting a change of scenery and a move across the country? They will help you with that too.

With David McCarthy Moving, you’ll have help with every step of the moving process, so you don’t have to be as overwhelmed. Call them at 941-704-4278 or send them a quick message to see how they can best assist you in your time of need.

David McCarthy Moving to the Rescue

Make Your Move Easier With David McCarthy Moving

To make your moving process smooth and straightforward, contact David McCarthy Moving to help pack your belongings for your residential move. We’ll help manage the essential details of moving and transfer your belongings to your new home safely. Reach out today to learn more about our moving services.


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