Tip for a stress-free move
Moving tops the list of life’s most stressful events. That’s according to a study released in 2015 by the energy company E.ON. The survey of 2,000 adults who had moved in the last three years also found that the stress and strains of moving to a new place can last three months or more.
Good news: There are many things you can do to make your move less stressful and keep your sanity. Moving experts we consulted offer these tips:
Identify your favorites. If you are planning a move in the next year or so, it is never too early to start identifying those things that are most important to you, said Jill Kearney, founder and president of Senior Moves By Design in Allentown. Most people focus on “what to get rid of,” Kearney said. Her kindler/gentler approach is a little different: “Focus on what you really love. Then by default, everything else needs a new home,” she said.
A garage sale is a good way to dispose of those things you don’t need before you move, said Rick Christ, owner of O’Brien’s Moving and Storage in Allentown, an agent for Allied Van Lines. Another good option: Donate your unwanted goods, Kearney said.
It helps you purge if you gather like items together, Kearney said. For example, put all the books from your all your rooms and bookcases in one spot. “When you have them all over the house, it doesn’t give you a clear indication of how many you actually have,” she said. Gathering like items together shows you if you have too much of any one thing. Once you’ve purged, then you can pack, she said.
Mark what’s in each box and which room it goes in. Clearly labeling them makes unloading them from the moving van so much easier and more efficient. No one from the moving crew has to stand outside the home and say, “I don’t know where this goes.” You can number the bedrooms and boxes so they correspond (1, 2, 3 etc.) or color-code them.
In addition to where boxes go, mark them first, second, third and so on in terms of unpacking priority, Kearney said. “It makes no sense to spend a couple of hours unpacking Christmas decorations, when you can’t find your coffee pot or your toothbrush,” she said. “Boxes marked ‘1st’ get unpacked first, so that you can start living right away. This gives you time to catch up on the rest, as you have time.”
If you have a flat screen TV, hope you saved the box it came in. It’s good to have because (ironically) flat screen TVs can’t be laid flat, Christ said.
More packing tips: Document with photos on your phone how items you take apart looked finished and where their wires went. Fill clear plastic bags with screws and mark what they belong to. Or tape the bags to the back of the furniture or artwork.
Also, pack a bag for yourself and family members with essentials such as a change of clothes, toothbrush and other toiletries, medications, towels and phone chargers. You also should put your valuables (jewelry, coins) and important papers related to the move in here too.
If you’re packing it yourself, research how to do it properly, Kearney said. “On our managed moves, we are the packers and in nearly eight years of packing have only had a few items arrived with damage. This contrasts to many client-packed boxes, where the entire box of glassware, etc. is broken.” There are definitely a right-way and a wrong-way, Kearney said. “Do your research and train your helpers. It will avoid heartbreak in the end!”
Make a list of what you need to do when. This should include everything from arranging for utilities (gas, electric, cable, telephone) to be turned on/off to scheduling house cleaning services at your old and new places, Christ said. A checklist helps you remember all your to-dos including telling the post office your new address and closing and opening new bank accounts near your new home if necessary.
Speaking of mail: Leave a few large stamped envelopes with your new address at your old place for whatever mail doesn’t get forwarded. The new owners will appreciate it.
Plan where furniture will go. Waiting until the truck arrives at your new home to determine placement of furniture is a recipe for disaster, Kearney said. On moving day, you want the movers to place things in their “final spots” right off the truck. If you can’t get into your new place ahead of time to decide, draw to-scale floor plans. “Spending time rearranging furniture, or finding you have too much, just adds hours to the mover’s day and increases your bill in the process,” Kearney said.
Be ready on moving day. If you’re organized and have your house clean and free of junk, it will help make moving day as carefree as is possible, Christ said. You don’t want to be still packing when the movers show up. If you have small children or pets, you may want to have friend or family watch them for you, at least while the truck is being loaded. Be ready at the other end, too, when the movers arrive with all your worldly possessions.
Celebrate successes. When one room is purged and cleaned out, ready to be packed, put a note on the door, Kearney said. Celebrate that “this room is done!” Do the same as you start to pack, she said. Positive reinforcement is always good.