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Planning for a Move

There are many things to consider when planning to move. Here are few:

Who is moving your things?

moving truck

1. Will you be using a moving company, packing yourself but using moving company, doing it all yourself, etc. Compare the pros 

and cons of each for your own situation.

  • In addition to cost, keep in mind what else you’ve got on your plate: Is it more or less stressful to have someone else do it, etc.
  • Keep in mind cost: a moving company may come in to estimate the cost of packing and moving your stuff, but the final cost will arrive when they see how it fits. If it goes over the estimated amount of space it may cost more than you anticipated or could afford.


If you're packing yourself:

1. Boxes:

  • Often liquor store boxes are a good size that even if you put books in them, they are manageable. Just be sure to check the boxes to make sure they are sturdy and not falling apart.
  • Restaurants like McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King for boxes - slightly larger than liquor store boxes, but very heavy duty.
  • For longer items like games, keyboards - grocery store boxes - with either you can sometimes call in the morning and have them save them for you uncrushed to pick up in afternoon or evening.


 2. Packing materials:

  • Be sure to have the appropriate packing materials and plan ahead for the best way to move your electronics. Those big screen TVs are expensive and you want to be sure you have arranged the best way to get it safely from one location to the other, especially for long distance moves.
  • Some places to check for packaging materials include FedEx, UPS, Post Office, and UHaul.
moving cleaner_edit

3. Some things are not worth packing, especially when you're packing the kitchen or cleaning closet.

  • If an item is open it bears consideration whether it is worth packing, or replacing in the new home. If it is a food item often it is more worth replacing than trying to move and hope it stays the right temp, doesn't spill or get crushed, etc.
  • If you are "spring cleaning" and purging - think donation- tax deduction - if you have enough or have furniture frequently charitable organizations will pick it up for you. Or arrange time to drop it off prior to your move. Keep receipts for next year taxes.

 "Open Me First" Box:

moving box

1. Bathroom:

  • Pack a box (preferably a clear one) labeled "bathroom-open me first" that contains items such as toilet paper, tissues, and hand soap. This box should be easily accessible and be one of the first boxes to go into the new home (straight into the bathroom!) The idea is that while moving boxes and unpacking you want to be able to use the bathroom. 
  • If you have the space or don't want a separate box, you can also include a shower curtain, curtain rings, bar soap and shampoo/conditioner so you can take a shower before bed/first thing in the morning, depending on how late you'll be moving and how much time you'll have to unpack.


2. Kitchen:

  • Plan a couple of meals ahead and have the utensils/dishes/supplies together in one box - ex: macaroni &cheese for dinner 1st night -pack box mix, pot, strainer, serving spoon to stir with, pot holder, plastic or paper plates/bowls and plastic/silverware all in one container. That way you only need to pick up or pack in cooler - butter/margarine and milk and ready to cook and eat. You can even put in napkins/paper towels and dish soap to do those dishes after meal if so desired.
  • Open me first box should also include a couple of extra light bulbs, trash bags, paper towels, dish soap, sponge, cleaning cloths like Lysol - you may need to do some cleaning right away prior to unpacking or cooking. If new home has been empty a while may need new light bulbs. And it may take a couple days to dig out trash cans so at least a trash bag allows you to keep new home clean from start.


3. Important documents:

  • Be sure to keep important paperwork together for easy access during move - insurance info, medical forms and veterinary records, info and directions for new living space, bank info and extra checks (if you don't have new accounts set up at new location - some places don't take credit cards like the DMV) info, directions and any forms for new job, school records, copies of current prescriptions, and keep a separate folder for the receipts and records relating to the move if you plan to use them on your next year's taxes as a deduction.



moving mail

1. Mail:

  • Make sure you contact the post office and arrange to have your mail forwarded. You should probably do this about a week before you move since it will take roughly 7-10 days for your mail to start forwarding. You want to make sure you're mail doesn't get there too soon, but you also don't want to wait to the last minute and not get any of your mail for almost 2 weeks.


2. Email:

  • If you use only a local email address - ex; comcast.net or metrocast.net and you are moving out of the service area remember that means you will likely lose the email access when you disconnect your service. If you plan a few weeks ahead to switch to a more national email address you might be able to transfer your current email over - Gmail lets you do this. That way you still have access to old contacts and emails when you get to your new location and can then either forward them to your new email address or review them later.
  • If you know you will need to change your email address - and will be using a national one - accessible from anywhere - moving emailbegin changing it over with companies a few weeks ahead of time so you know you are already receiving new email at that address and if not, can check for problems earlier and not miss an important email message from a new landlord, family, friend, or job.



1. Medical records:

  • Sometimes medical records can be forwarded directly from the doctor's office to your new doctor's office, but that can sometimes take a while. Having a copy of your own to give to the office on your first visit could be helpful.moving pills_edited

 Explain to your pharmacy you are moving and sometimes they can give you a new prescription just before you move, to give you time to find a pharmacy after you arrive. Be sure to pick up new copies of your prescriptions from your doctor's office and perhaps copies of the most important information from your medical files such as shot records, treatment plan for chronic illnesses, etc. This can apply to dentist and eye doctors also. Shot records are especially important for school age children as most schools require these before admittance.2. Pharmacies:



  •  Some utilities can be transferred from one home to another and keep the same service, but some require a change of company or service plan. Do the research ahead of time and find out when you should schedule to have the new utilities turned on in your new home.
  • Some utilities to consider transferring include:

    • Cable

    • Electricity

    • Internet service

    • Telephone

    • Heating fuel

    • Water

    • Rental/Home owner’s insurance

moving cat-toys_edit



  • Be sure to check with your new location if you don't own it, to be sure pets are accepted and what the rules for having them are - the landlord may require copies of shot records, licenses, etc. Be sure you have made arrangements for your pet's safe transport - have lease, collar and or crate ready. Also, have their favorite toys, bedding and food easily accessible at the other end of the move to make them more comfortable in their new home.




1. Babies:

  • Be sure to keep track of their formula/food, bottles/cups, toys, diapers, Pack'N'Play, etc. You don't want to arrive with a
    moving baby-stuff_edited wet, hungry, cranky baby and be out of items in the diaper bag because the move took longer than expected, and it always will, and not know where to find the baby items quickly. Use a different color box, marking pen or such to make them distinguishable in the pile easily.


2. Kids:

  • Pick up a couple of night lights and flashlights and have them handy - children will not know their way around a new home for a few days and may need the extra lights to get around at night safely to find the bathroom. Also, have their favorite toys ready to play with when they arrive - this will help keep them from being underfoot while moving boxes and also make them feel more at home.
  • When making "open me first" boxes perhaps have an older child help make one for themselves - favorite toys, clothes, nightlight/flashlight, pajamas and favorite clothes for a couple of days, pillow, toothbrush/toothpaste. This way they feel more in control of their situation and helpful and may be less cranky about moving and the whole unsettling situation. Moves can be very stressful for small children who don't always understand what is happening and for older children who do understand but don't want to go away from friends/family. Helping put together their "open me first" box lets them feel more involved and more at home when they first arrive. It gives them something to do right away by unpacking it in their new room and lets them begin to put their own "stamp" on it. This is especially important for older children and teens, let their "open me first" box include pictures, posters, books, and whatever besides the basics that fits into it. Let them choose those extra items.


3. School:

  • Your child's school may be able to give you a basic copy of your child's record to hand carry to new school and then the new school can send for the complete record later. This will allow your child to miss less days of school during a move.

moving plant



  • Prepare your plants for the move - this is a good time to prune them, put in fresh soil, if needed put in larger pot or new pots for fresh look in new home. You should do this at least a week or so prior to the move so they have to adjust to the changes before adding the stress of the move. Water them well just before the move.
  • Plan ahead how you will transport them so you don't find yourself at the last minute just shoving them into any empty space and having dead plants when you arrive.


Research your new home town/city area:

Use the computer to look up info about your new home - what grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants or home stores, etc are nearby. Make a list with the address and phone number, then if you have GPS once you are unloaded, and ready you can just enter the address and you are ready to check out your new town and get shopping. Once you arrive, if you need something quick, you want to be able to locate it and if you don't have internet access or a phone book yet, you will still be able to get around. This also works for the mall, your new job, library, newspaper, utility companies, doctor and dentist offices, etc.


The best plan for a move is to plan ahead because if something can go wrong, frequently it does go wrong, and if you have prepared and planned well ahead of time, you will be able to move with confidence.