You don’t really know how much stuff you have until it’s time to move. Whether you’re moving a short distance, say from Monmouth County to Hoboken, NJ, or a longer one, like from Toms River to Upstate New York, the same best practices ensure a stress-free move with limited risk.
To remain an industry-leading moving company capable of servicing the Tri-State area, Optimum Moving continually improves the techniques behind its white-glove service. One powerful tool it developed for its customers is the Residential Moving Checklist. This step-by-step guide empowers you to take control of your move from the very start so your moving needs are met, and you can sleep at night.
If you also have to move your business, use this Business Relocation Checklist.
Give yourself a 2-month head start.
⃝ Get a moving quote. Estimates should be free so why not get free advice from professionals? You can learn about things you may have overlooked, such as possibly needing any specialty services from your moving company, and even benefit from their expertise from other moves in your area. Once you see the sophisticated services state-of-the-art moving companies offer today, you may wonder why anyone would still want to lug cardboard boxes in and out of a box truck themselves.
Make sure all moving companies you work with are licensed with the state Division of Consumer Affairs. If you’re moving out of state, interstate movers must be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which offers a convenient consumer rights and responsibilities guide.
⃝ Get packing materials. Office supply stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, and bookstores are all good places to find free boxes, and you can go online to places like Freecycle and Craigslist. You may also consider renting or buying plastic containers. Even after the move, plastic bins are handy for year-round storage. Free bubble wrap is harder to find, unless you or someone you know does a lot of shopping online. It’s worth the money if you have to pay for it. Plan on putting heavy items, like books, in small boxes, and fill the bigger boxes with lighter items, like pillows and blankets.
When you get your free moving estimates, find out if the moving companies have any containers you can use, and if they offer packing services. Especially if you have highly valuable items, using experienced, fully insured movers is an essential part of moving without stress.
⃝ Trim away nonessentials and take pictures of the rest. It’s finally time to tackle your closet, all those boxes of old stuff, and every other object you’ve accumulated. Depending on your situation, it may be worth getting a dumpster delivered and picked up if your moving company doesn’t offer furniture disposal services. In that same train of thought, start eating up all the food in your cupboards and freezer.
Take pictures of your valuable items to document their condition. You may also want to get items appraised for insurance purposes.
⃝ Manage your records and mail. Contact all your insurance carriers, doctors, vets, schools, and any other important organization you deal with and notify them of your move. Ask about their policies on transferring records, updating your address, and possible referrals in your new area.
Also, file a change of address with the post office through its turnkey mover’s guide. You also want to update all your magazine subscriptions, credit card companies, banks, and every other organization that sends you mail.
Finally, if you’re moving because of work, you may be able to deduct eligible moving costs. To see if you qualify, go to the IRS website, and start tracking your moving expenses.
One month to go . . .
⃝ Contact cable and utility companies. This is a big one. Not only do you need to arrange for your cable, Internet, electric, and any other services you use to be turned off, but you need to schedule for them to be turned on at your new home!
⃝ Start packing! Get all those items you don’t use every day packed. From holiday decorations to seasonal clothes to knickknacks and cookware—take your time to ensure you take only what you need, and it’s well organized, securely packed, and clearly labeled. To be clear: LABEL EVERY CONTAINER! Consider organizing your belongings by room so movers can bring containers exactly where they need to go in your new home.
⃝ Nail down the details of moving day. Get real about how moving day will unfold. Who is watching your children? Pets? If you’re moving into an apartment or condominium, are there restricted hours when you can move in? Where can the moving truck park? Even if you aren’t moving into an apartment or condo, there may be road restrictions in your area. How will the unpacking process go? (Here’s where good labeling can save you time and stress). If your moving company doesn’t offer flat panel TV mounting and installation, have the necessary tools easily accessible so you can get it safely out of the way.
⃝ Get travel ready. Whether you’re making a long-distance relocation or a local move, make sure your vehicle is in good shape to make the journey, including updated oil change, good tire pressure, functional spare tire (inflated), and all mechanical parts working properly. The last thing you need on moving day is to be stranded somewhere while everything you own is on a truck at your new home.
The final two weeks . . .
⃝ Start cleaning. Once you’ve packed up a room, closet, or basement, clean it. Clutter increases your chances of leaving something behind. Defrost any storage freezers and refrigerators. Also, consider how you’re going to clean your new home. Can you or a cleaning service get in early so you can move in fresh? Can you get in and paint ahead of time? Anything you can do before you move in will make transitioning much easier.
⃝ Confirm a moving plan with your movers. Check in with your moving company to confirm times and destinations. Get contact numbers of anyone you may need to reach. This is also a good time to ask any questions you thought of during your packing process. Ask about inclement weather procedures if there’s a bad storm forecast for your moving day. Don’t leave loose ends until moving day—you will only cause yourself stress.
⃝ Get ready to bug out. You should know where all your belongings are: in boxes prepared for movers, set aside to be brought by you, and packed in easy-to-access bags you will need on the go. Don’t forget a cash stash to tip the movers. Reasonable and customary tips for movers are $20 per person for a full day, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. Have the keys to your new home handy. Think about quick and easy meals to bring with you to eat until you can get to a grocery store.
⃝ Be present. Make every effort to be onsite when the movers arrive to load your belongings. You don’t need to micromanage them, but be sure to walk the lead guy through the house and express any special instructions so everyone is on the same page.
⃝ Final walkthrough. Don’t skip taking one last look around. Are all the windows and doors locked? Thermostat turned off? Water turned off? Look in every corner so you don’t have to backtrack to retrieve forgotten items.
⃝ Enjoy the first night in your home.