Changing households can be a time for new beginnings, fresh perspectives and boundless opportunities.
But those good things tend to come after the moving process itself, which can take a lot of planning, organizing and old-fashioned elbow grease. And many people start the process unprepared. For the smoothest transition, consider the following suggestions.
- Create a timeline for your move weeks or months ahead, detailing the resources, time and labor you'll need. Establishing a written plan will save you from hurry and indecision and help ensure you've thought through every stage.
- Reserve your rental truck at least two weeks ahead, choosing the size that corresponds to the number of rooms in your home.
- Think about renting or borrowing helpful moving equipment such as dollies or furniture sliders. These tools can reduce your risk of injury as you load and unload your bulkiest belongings.
- Recycle (and save on transport costs) by minimizing your unwanted belongings through garage sales, online sales, donations or giveaways to friends. These days, many services come directly to your house to whisk away your unwanted items. Find approved electronics recycling centers through the EPA.
- Start packing as soon as you can, beginning with infrequently used items – perhaps those stored in your garage, basement or attic. Spending an hour or two a day can make the overall job seem less grueling.
- Prepare for the eventual unpacking process by pre-labeling boxes by their contents and intended room. You'll thank yourself later.
- In addition to using cardboard boxes, utilize packing space inside your own dressers, chests, baskets, wastebaskets, suitcases, duffel bags and other household containers.
- To cushion breakable belongings, optimize your own blankets, pillows, linens, clothing and tarps in addition to bubble wrap and packing blankets. Non-breakable items such as clothing can be packed in large garbage bags that can fill odd spaces in your moving vehicle then be repurposed after your move.
- Map out a strategy for packing and loading your large and/or unwieldy possessions to optimize space. For example, your heaviest items should go in the back of your truck, and you might wish to strap in vertical "walls" of boxes and upend your couches vertically. Remember to load your most frequently needed items last and keep crucial items such as financial documents in your front seat.
- After unpacking at your new home, recycle, sell or repurpose any packing materials you'll no longer need.