Moving is typically about as much fun as a three-month-long root canal. It gets lumped in there with death and taxes among the serious stressors in an adult’s life. But following a few key tips can help numb the pain along the way to your new home. Start with these basics:
- Plan, review, revise. Plan, review, revise . . .
- Dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
- Simplify, sort, toss.
- If you’d be heartbroken without it, carry it with you.
- Get a groove on and build in some fun.
If you’re already in the throes of moving, take solace in knowing you’ve got plenty of good—or miserable—company. After dipping to a record low of 11.6 percent of the population in 2011, the national mover rate in the United States for 2012 climbed to 12 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means about 36.5 million U.S. citizens age 1 year or older were on the move last year.
The Grand Plan
Real Simple offers tips for how to plan a “relatively stressless move.” For starters, take stock and figure out how much of the work, if any, you’ll tackle yourself. Follow up with a To-Do list on steroids. Confirm your move-in date and map out a detailed timeline from start to finish. Uncle Bob’s Self Storage can help with many aspects of your move—from packing supplies and planning tips to truck rentals and storage. Budget Truck Rental and U-Haul are also good resources for assessing and gathering the materials you’ll need to pack. And don’t be a Scrooge—invest in a tape gun and other tools and materials to make the job easier! Figure out your budget and then thoroughly research movers. Check out their reviews as well as fees and payment requirements.
The news that you’re moving is important to a lot of people and businesses. You’ll want to let your family and in-laws know your new address (or not!) as well as your friends and selected work colleagues. Fill out a change of address form at your local post office or complete the online USPS change of address form. Advise landline phone, cable and utility companies at both ends of the move about when to stop or start services. Be sure to update credit card accounts, banks and insurance companies with your new contact information. Save receipts for all your moving expenses and check what deductions apply when you prepare your tax return for the year.
Keep It Simple, Silly (KISS)!
Remember to keep breathing—and let simplicity be your moving mantra when figuring how to move. There’s nothing like a move to help you lighten up and start fresh. Tips from The Huffington Post include the reminder that moving is “an opportunity for new beginnings.” Make a drop-off at your nearest recycling center, and if you’re still carting around that beer-pong trophy or hula skirt, there’s no time like the present to let it go. Guidelines from Goodwill indicate “if you would give it to a relative or friend, then the item is most likely in good condition and is appropriate to donate.” Ask for receipts for toys, clothing and other household goods you donate so you can note the donations when you prepare your taxes.
With all the people in and out, errands to run, tossing junk and packing, well, things can get nuts when you enter the home stretch. If you don’t sleep well without that Red Sox jersey or your hypoallergenic pillow—stash it in a safe place before the packing starts and carry it with you on the day of the move. If possible, carry your valuable jewelry and your laptop. Although you can replace important documents—your birth certificate, marriage license and/or passport, for example—doing so can be a hassle, so having the originals in hand when you move is a good idea. If you’ve hired a moving company, ask for details about insurance coverage and provisions for insuring valuables.
All work and no play can compound the stress of moving. Keep the moving blues at bay by making a point to eat and sleep well, and to take breaks to exercise and have some fun. To the extent possible, stick with your “normal” lifestyle and schedule but build in twice as much time for laughing matters. Have friends and relatives over for a pizza-and-packing session, and encourage them to forage for treasures in your giveaways. Book a massage or plan ahead to celebrate your first night in your new home appropriately. Finish the day with a candlelight takeout dinner amid the boxes, and enjoy a splash of champagne to toast y-o-u for surviving!