Planning a Pain-Free Move

Getting organinzed and planning ahead removes a lot of moving day hassles

Moving is perhaps the single most dreaded activity that people are sometimes forced to undertake. Millions of homes are bought and sold each year in the United States. Moreover, millions of renters change addresses each year. Moving, while at best a difficult task, can actually be done very smoothly if you take the time to plan for a successful move.

Thinking ahead before moving day

  • Get rid of stuff - You cannot take everything with you when you move. People have a tendency to accumulate many things over the course of time, many of which we do not need. There is a reason why people have moving sales. It is much easier to travel light than to try to take everything with you when you move. Fewer items in your possession means there are fewer things to pack, carry, and unpack.
  • Start packing well ahead of the move - Have you ever helped a friend move and showed up only to find out that they hadn't finished packing? Start packing for your move early in the process. Delicate items like China and glassware can be packed very early in the moving process as can most of your movie and DVD collections. Careful packing takes time, but is worth it in the long run because it reduces damage to your prized possessions. Start early.
  • Plan for temporary housing - This is an area that applies to folks who are moving into newly constructed home. Timing is everything in the housing market. It is sometimes necessary to make an interim move prior to moving into your new home. Make sure that you have a place to go. If you have to move into an apartment, try to sign a month-to-month lease. Also make sure that you have a place to store any belongings that won't fit into your temporary abode. All of this is, of course, a contingency that is only necessary if you can't reach a rent back agreement with the purchaser of your home.
  • Have repairs and remodeling done prior to the move - If you are fortunate enough to have a window of time between moving out of your existing residence into your new home, plan to have any repairs, remodeling, painting, etc., done prior to moving into your new home. The professionals who do this type of work often need to schedule such work in advance so make sure that you contact your contractors and/or subcontractors several weeks before you need the work done.
  • Allow time to change your utilities - Notify your existing utility companies a few weeks before you move to notify them of the closing date for the sale of your home. This will be the last date that you are required to pay utilities on the new home. Similarly, you will need to contact your new utilities to arrange for them to be turned on at your new home. Here is a checklist of utilities that should be notified:
    • Telephone
    • Cellular phone company
    • Internet service provider
    • Cable or satellite television company
    • Water utility
    • Sewer utility (if different than water utility)
    • Oil company
    • Natural gas utility
    • Electric utility (if different than natural gas utility)

Other important entities to notify prior to moving include the United States Post Office, banks, newspaper and milk deliveries (and other subscriptions), and employers.

Move Planner

It is widely believed that any move that is going to go smoothly should be planned at least eight weeks in advance.

Week 8 Prior to Move

Inventory your possessions. This is a must in the event that something happens to them during the move. Contact your homeowner's insurance company to find out what, if any, coverage you have for your belongings during the move. Moving companies have a basic level of insurance for household items and give customers the option of increasing the level of coverage. Be aware, however, that even the best coverage will not fully replace any damaged items.

If you have children, contact their school to notify them of your upcoming move. You should also contact the new school to obtain new student enrollment information and forms.

The beginning stage of planning a move is also the time to begin the search for a moving company. Make no mistake about it, selecting a mover is the most important part of planning a move and is also the part most fraught with peril. Moving scams are among the most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. Fortunately, Home Mortgage Center has excellent information available regarding selecting a reputable mover. We highly recommend that you review this information before searching for a moving company.

Week 6 Prior to Move

Notify the United States Postal Service of your upcoming move. The USPS has an excellent moving kit available at their site,

Make a list of friends, family, and financial institutions to notify of your new address. The list should include banks, brokerages, insurance companies, doctors, credit card companies, etc. If you are a person who likes to keep their financial records organized this step will be easy. If not, well, we hope next time you will be more organized!

Week 4 Prior to Move

This is a good time to start packing for your move. Buy plenty of packing supplies to complete the task. You will need strong moving boxes in various sizes, markers, packing tape, and packing paper or newspaper. If a mover is going to be doing the packing for you, schedule the date(s) for packing.

If you are doing the moving job by yourself, you will need to schedule a moving job to complete the task.

If yours is a long distance move, be sure to make reservations for a hotel room for the journey. If you are making an interim move, secure an apartment, or long-term hotel accommodations.

Week 3 Prior to Move

Three weeks prior to your move is the perfect time to contact both your current and future utilities to arrange for cancellation and implementation of service respectively. See the list above for the utilities and other entities to include in your notifications.

Week 2 Prior to Move

Certain items cannot be moved on a moving truck. These include pets, combustible items (e.g. propane tanks), and plants. Make arrangements for moving these items. If you have van or pickup truck, you may be able to move them. If you have pets and are moving them, make sure that they have collars with contact information. Pets will also need to have adequate veterinary records and updated shots. Your veterinarian can assist you with this prior to the move. Sometimes, when it comes to moving house plants and combustibles, the easiest solution is to divest yourselves of the items and purchase new ones at your destination. This is particularly true when moving long distance.

Moving Day

If you have done careful planning prior to your move, you are in for a long, difficult, and tiring day. If you have not done careful planning prior to your move, you are in for a disastrous several days. Make sure that you are at the home you are moving out of when your movers are present. They may have questions regarding the move. Also, many movers will allow customers to help. Anything you can do to help the movers will speed the job and save you money.

Movers should complete an inventory of the items in the household. Make sure that the household inventory is completed and a Bill of Lading signed before the movers leave for the new home. Before leaving, make one final trip through the house to make sure that you have everything. For local moves you can always go back, but for long distance moves this is the only chance you will get to make sure that you have all of your possessions.