Copyright © 2024, Ian White,

Moving to a new home is exciting, but let's face it, it can also get very stressful. The worse mistake someone can make when a move is over the horizon is to procrastinate. Do yourself and your family a favour, plan and start preparing for your move at least a month in advance.  It will save you undue stress, and it will make moving to your new home a more enjoyable experience.

When you have set your moving date, you should contact your utility, cable, gas, phone and other service providers. Have the cut off date at your old residence for the day after you plan on moving out.  You should also arrange to have your utilities turned on at your new home the day before you will arrive to unload. By doing this, you won't be caught at your old or new home without power and water.  You can also stop by the post office and fill out a change of address form. You can do this weeks in advance.  Your mail will not be redirected until the date that you write down on the change of address slip. 

You should decide right away if you plan on hiring movers, or if you are going to do it yourself.  If you do plan on hiring movers, you need to check about moving insurance.  This will cover any damaged or lost items. Some moving companies will not insure items that they don't pack or load themselves. You should make the decision as soon as possible.  This will decide what steps you need to take from here on out.  If you decide to move yourself, you may want to look into renting a truck.  You can also check your local newspaper. You can hire individuals who will help you move. Some even come with their own truck. Check out all of your options.

You can never, ever have too many boxes. You should start collecting the boxes that you will use on your move at least three weeks in advance. You can call your local grocer and speak with the manager.  Tell him you would like to have all the boxes that he can supply you with.  These people are usually very friendly and more than willing to accommodate you. You can set up dates and times to come out to get all the boxes that you will need.  Some moving companies provide boxes, at a charge of course.  If you are using a moving company get their prices for this service. Along with the boxes, you need to acquire a few rolls of packing tape and a tape gun.  You will also need to start acquiring a supply of newspaper, bubble wrap, and garbage bags for when the packing begins.  You should think about getting colored stickers to attach to your boxes.  These stickers will go with certain rooms in the home. Kitchen boxes can be green, a bathroom can be blue, living room can be black, etc.  You should also have a black permanent marker on hand to write more specific details about each box on the top.

Now that you have made arrangements about your utilities, decided if you will move yourself, gotten your boxes and supplies, it is time to take a good hard look at the things in your home.  Questions you need to ask yourself as you start to purge out your belongings are: Is this sentimental? Is it really worth packing and moving? Do you really need or use it?  You will be surprised at the things that you can let go.  Some things may simply go in the trash, others you can set aside for a garage sale that you can do a week prior to moving. If you don't want to fool with having a garage sale, simply call a charity and they will come and remove the unwanted things from your home.

After you have weeded out your home of the clutter, you will have a better idea of how much you actually have to move.  You can go ahead and start packing things that you won't need the last few weeks of living at your old residence. Books are a good thing to start with.  When you pack books, try not to pack them into too large a box. No one will be able to lift them. After you have packed the books, you can start on the clothing.  Start with the off season clothing first. If it is summer, pack up those boots, coats, hats, sweaters, etc. Be sure to mark the boxes with the colored stickers according to whose room they belong in. Closer to the move you can go ahead and pack all clothing except what you can fit into a duffle bag and suitcase for the last couple of days before the move. Pack all linens.  Only leave out what you absolutely have to have.  You can wash them as needed. 

When packing electronics, it is important that you pack them in sturdy boxes, and that you don't overload them. You can tape cords to the back of electronics, and store any extra cords in zip lock freezer bags.  Wrap your equipment with bubble wrap prior to boxing. You should double tape all boxes to assure strength. You should keep at least one radio and television unpacked in the home until the night before the move. Go ahead and box up all DVD,  CD's, albums, etc.

During this time, you can go ahead and start wrapping the legs of your chairs and furniture in bubble wrap.  This will keep them from getting dented, banged or scraped during the moving process. You can also go ahead and take down photos, artwork, mirrors, etc.  You can tape an X with masking tape across glass items to strengthen them during the move.  You should then wrap them individually in bubble wrap.

Start packing up the kitchen. Pack all things that aren't essential. (You may want to get a supply of paper cups and plates once you have cleaned out your cabinets.) Breakables should be wrapped in bubble wrap, or tea towels and packed with newspaper around them.  Do not overload the boxes.  Be sure to add your color sticker.  You may also want to put a label on the box, such as 'china' or 'pots and pans.'' This will help you if you want to get to a certain box in record time when unpacking. You need to start eating all the food that you have stocked in your refrigerator and cupboards, or give it away to a friend or neighbour. The last things you should be packing are canned goods! 

You should have all-important documents such as insurance papers, birth certificates, bank records, etc. in their own box. These items need to stay with you, and not put on a truck. You can also put the valuables in this box.  Cover the top with a few bath towels. Label the box 'bathroom closet' or 'linen closet' with a special symbol. That will make certain that you know where that box is at all times.  If you are travelling cross country, you may want to consider having this one box mailed to you by certified mail.  It will save you worry in the long run if you are going to be on the road for a few days.

A day or two before the move, each person should be given a piece of the family luggage, or a duffle bag. In it they will place clothing and items that will see them through a couple of days. Mom can live out of her cosmetic bag, and Dad will be satisfied with his shaving kit. Everything else should be packed.  You should have one box prepared for items you will need upon your arrival at your new home.  This will include phone numbers, coffee, plastic utensils, toiletries for the bathroom, and any prescriptions or medications. You can pack your pets food dishes and food in this box, as well as any comfort items of small children that they cannot do without for one night. 

The only things that shouldn't be packed at this point are sleeping items, such as pillows and blankets, and possibly your coffee pot if you need that morning dose of caffeine.  Just make sure that you have a box ready to place all of that into the morning of the move.  

Now that moving day has arrived, you will either have a moving company pulling into your driveway or a group of family and friends will be coming to help you.  If it is, indeed, loved ones that are coming to help, be very friendly and upbeat. No one wants to volunteer for a job and have the person they are helping turn into a grump.  Moving is not fun for anyone, especially for the volunteers! After the move is complete, you can treat them to pizza, or have pre purchased goodies for them of their favourite things. Set back and sigh, you have arrived.