Moving seems relatively simple. You pack your stuff from House A and get it to House B, where it’s unpacked and your life goes on. Selling and buying a home has its own library of checklists, and moving is a major aspect of that process.
Unfortunately, it rarely goes as smoothly as all that! What about your pets? Are you going to carry them with you on the plane, or send them separately? And your utilities — when will those be turned off and turned on again? Oh, and your car! Will you sell and buy on the other end, or ship it, or drive it yourself? And if you decide to ship it, where are you going to stay when you arrive a week before the moving van with all your possessions?
Moving is, in actuality, one of the largest projects you may ever undertake. There are numerous moving pieces and unknowns that can throw a wrench into the works, laying your careful plans to waste. But you can minimize the unknowns by planning ahead. And the tools to help you are checklists, budgets, and timelines.
Checklists. Create extensive lists of what needs to be done around the old house, as well as what you’d like to do in your new locale. Do you need to paint at either end? Will you redo floors, install carpeting, or buy a new washer or dryer? What furniture is going with you, what are you hoping to sell, and what will you donate — and will it all fit in the home on the other end? Have you requested doctors’ and school records to be transferred? There are so many little chores and pieces of information to keep track of. Don’t rely on your memory; write it all down in a notebook or in an online organizer, and keep it with you. Breaking things into monthly and then weekly, and ultimately daily checklists as your move nears will help you stay on top of it all.
Budgets. Moving is expensive. But making and keeping a budget will keep a cap on the outflow of cash. Keep track of what you’ve allotted for the move itself, as well as what you anticipate you’ll need to spend to get up and running in the new home. Even if you’re only moving a few blocks, you may have to pay for meals out while you’re waiting for your kitchen to be unpacked, replacements for items you didn’t want to pack, like condiments, toiletries, and the like. Make sure to set aside at least a few hundred dollars for the unanticipated — pizza for the friends who help you pack, a gallon of paint to touch up the walls that look a little dingy, cleaning supplies for the new place, deposits for utilities… the lists go on!
Timelines. Timelines can be a big issue to for moving. When you rent a truck, the hours start from when you pick it up to when you drive it back through the gates. So though you think six hours may be plenty of time to get it all done, but all it takes is for your movers to be an hour late and everything can be thrown out of whack which could cost you a lot more money for late fees. You also may face some gaps as mentioned above; if your new home isn’t ready to occupy and your worldly possessions arrive too early or a week late, what are you going to do? Careful planning can keep these gaps to a minimum.
Check out the neighborhood Facebook groups and see if anyone has moving supplies they are getting rid of, and then remember to do them same when you are finished with them. This can be a great way to get to know new neighbors.
Remember that even the best-laid plans can be disrupted, and keep your flexibility in your hip pocket. Things can, and will, go wrong. But by having a plan to fall back on, you’ll be able to recover quickly.