Top 10 Tips to Make Moving Less Stressful

Due to July 1st being right around the corner, I thought it would be timely to discuss the top 10 tips to make moving less stressful.  For many July 1st is national move day!  As someone who has moved 25 times, I have learned a few of these tips the hard way!  Let me save you some time and stress!

1.  Paperwork – You have picked the perfect apartment and you are so excited to make it home! In the excitement, don’t forget to clarify what you need when you come to pick up your keys. When do you sign the lease? Ideally you can do this before you pick up the keys. On the day you pick up the keys you just want to get into your new home and start moving. You don’t want to feel rushed through your lease, so make sure you leave time if it needs to happen on the same day. Your lease is a legal contract and it is important to know what it says and what you’re signing. You may be required to produce other documents to have your keys released. This could include proof of utility hook ups, renters insurance, etc. Be sure you know everything you need and be prepared! I have seen too many people stressing out with movers on site, being paid by the hour, and they forgot proof of renters insurance. In some cities, no proof = no keys. You do not want that kind of stress on the big day. My suggestion is send an electronic version of everything before the big day and verify they are not missing anything through email. This way you have it in writing and you will not have any surprises.

2.  Be Prepared – Once you know what you need for your landlord on the big day it is time to make lists. One of the keys to no stress moving is being prepared! Lists or calendars or countdowns all are examples of ways to be prepared. Things to think about include what service providers should you contact about moving your services? Best advice contact them as soon as you know your new address this gives you time to cancel/transfer your current services (some cable providers for example require 30-60 days notice) and get the best selection of hook up dates. If you wait until the last minute you may forget someone, get charged fees and get the worst times left for hook up of your services. To avoid all of that, make a list of services to move and things you need to do before the big day. Then break the list down to manageable bits and cross off a few things a day. You will feel less stress because you know what needs to be done (no procrastinating) and you are able to stay on top of the list.

3.  Address Change – While you are thinking of the services to notify, think of who you need to notify for your address change. One option available is to go through the post office and have your mail forwarded. There is usually a fee for that service so determine if it makes sense depending how many people you need to notify and the amount of time you have. The forwarding services is only good for a period of time so sooner or later you need to contact everyone anyways. Don’t forget to change things like your license when you are making your list! Other good people/places to think of are doctors’ offices, your employer, your utility company, your cable/internet/cell/landline company, favourite stores (I like getting my catalogues and coupons! 🙂 ), family and friends!

4.  Movers vs You – Take it from me, by the time you have moved 25 times, no one answers their phone if you call around the first of the month! I have moved a lot and movers vs you is a big way to ease some stress. Here are your options, have a friend with access to a truck, awesome! Ask them in your nicest voice what they happen to be up to on your move day, beg, and offer food/drinks. This will be your cheapest option! Next most economical option – rent a truck and lure your friends/family with food and beverages. This is also going to save you a few bucks. However, depending where you are moving or how often you have already used those people this may not be available for you either. Next option, rent a truck/cargo van and move it yourself. Super economical, you won’t eat as much as a heard of friends/family, but super tiring if you have a ton of stuff. Movers are also an option; some people have a misconception that movers are expensive. It depends on how much stuff you have, the area you live in and the movers you use. Always make sure you check reviews or ask around for recommendations. You are giving these people access to your home and stuff; you want to make sure they are reliable. Here is my stress less tip, make some phone calls before you book anything check out all options. Sometimes depending on your circumstances and budget you will be surprised that there is not a big difference in price. Use the option that works best for you! I have used all of them and my stuff has always arrived at the other end eventually. No matter which option you go with most important take a deep breathe morning of the move and try to stay calm through the day. No matter what by the end of the day it will all be over.

5.  Boxes – Where do you get boxes? You have a few options for this; you can go cheap and free or paid. Cheap and free can come from grocery stores, or other retailers. Stress less tip – always shake your boxes before loading them. There have been cases of people bringing home bugs in boxes that have been sitting around especially grocery store boxes because they once held food. You can also check at your work and with friends/family. Paper boxes or banker boxes are awesome and strong so if someone has extra ones headed to recycling grab those. You also have the option to buy boxes. They typically are not too expensive and come in a variety of sizes. This has the advantage you can get them all at once and you can buy the sizes you need. For me the decision always comes down to how much stuff do I need to pack and how fast do I need to do it, then I pick accordingly.

6.  Packing – Leave yourself MORE time than you think you will need to pack. You ALWAYS have more stuff than you realize! Stress less tip – Don’t forget to label each box with where it goes and a general idea of what is in it. At the beginning you think you will remember, but all boxes eventually look the same. It sucks to try to find something at the other end when it is not labeled because it will always be in the last box you search through! Keep in mind when packing someone needs to carry this box. Occasionally lift it as you are packing to ensure you don’t make it too heavy. Wrapping paper, towels, clothes, bedding can all be used to protect your breakable stuff. Also tape your boxes well to prevent the bottom from falling out or anything tipping out the top.

7.  Cleaning – Don’t forget to clean your old apartment when you are done with the move. Many landlords have charge back fees or you risk losing parts of your security deposit (if you have one). Often once you are moved out you are all focused on the new place and the old place gets forgotten. Leave yourself some time to clean and return your keys to your old landlord. Also know what they expect when you give the keys back. Are you expected to clean carpets? Did you paint? Do you need to prime or paint it back to the original colour? These can be costly things if you forget in the rush of the move. I have also gone the stress less slightly more costly route of hiring someone to clean when I leave. This saves time but obviously adds a cost. Depending on your budget and how tight your timeline it can be a worthwhile splurge.

8.  Don’t forget the toilet paper! – Keep your most important things boxed separately and label accordingly. Things to put in this box include toilet paper, hand soap, important documents, modem or other things service providers may need for hook up as soon as you arrive. By having these things separated you are not looking for them while under pressure, leads to less stress!

9.  Food & Drink – Everyone loves a good host! Don’t forget the food and drinks for your move day. You will be hungry and anyone helping you will be also! It is a good idea and a nice gesture to also stock the fridge with some cold water, pop, or beer depending on your help. It keeps people hydrated and cool. Keep in mind, alcohol may be good to save AFTER they have carried in your breakables! Stress less tip – the happier your help, the more likely they will help again next time. Unless you move a ton like us, in which case forget that last part! 🙂

10. Pets and/or kids – Always have a plan for the big day for pets and/or kids! It is a stressful time and it will be stressful on them too. Best plan for kids is to have them out of the house and busy the day of the move. Maybe a friend or family member can take them to a museum, park or movie. In theory, kids can help but kids get tired of helping really fast and parents don’t have the free time on the day of the move to entertain. As for pets, close them into an area of the house with the least activity – bathroom, kitchen or spare bedroom. Ideally close the door and turn on a radio to keep the noise out. This will prevent a pet from getting under foot and prevent them from getting out the front door. Both pets and kids can be brought to the new place later in the day when it is ready for their return. This causes everyone a little less stress for the day.

Side Note – Back to back moves, where you need to be out of one place on the last day of the month and get the keys on the first day of the month are hard and stressful.  There is a lot of room for error and it can be a challenge if you can’t move your stuff over the same day.  I have become a big fan of overlap when possible.  It is not always possible but if it is possible it is totally worth it.  If you have both places for any amount of time even a few days it gives you some room to breathe.  If there are any problems with the new place, you have time to get them fixed.  You also have the option of moving at a cheaper time, many companies offer discounts when you don’t move on the 1st of the month.  Lastly, you have time to move over a few things at a time, which is handy for some of the small things or if you want to decorate before moving in.  Stress less tip – overlap = fewer surprises.

I would love to hear from you!  When is the most popular move date in your area?  What are your tips and tricks for making a move go smoothly?