- Make a list before you start. Actually, make several. You’ll need one list of all the services, utilities, etc. that you need to have turned off at your old house and restarted at the new. You’ll thank yourself later if you take the time right now to create some kind of organizational system before you start packing. You need to plan how to label your boxes. It’s better to be specific. “Pans” is more descriptive than “Kitchen Stuff”. You should keep a list in a notebook of what is in each box. Keep that notebook somewhere handy, where you’ll keep the rest of your packing supplies is likely best. If all your packing supplies are kept someplace central in your home it will make this painful process much easier and faster.
- Get more than you think you need. Packing takes a lot of supplies and you don’t want to get caught short or skimp on the cushioning for your valuables. You’ll need boxes, strong packing tape and something to protect your fragile belongings. Use unprinted newsprint (the printed kind can stain your stuff), bubble wrap or plain packing paper. Keep about ten boxes aside for the ‘last minute’ packing that’s sure to happen on moving day.
- Consider colour coding. One way to organize your packed boxes is to assign each room a colour and mark the boxes for that room with a coloured dot so your movers know where to put the boxes. It’s also helpful if you mark a designated spot in each room to have boxes piled. This will make the unpacking go that much more smoothly as well as avoiding any problematic congestion on the moving day as the boxes pile up and impede movement.
- Keep it all together. Make sure all parts are together. Small items like bolts or screws can be taped directly to the underside of components, or stored in re-sealable baggies and taped on.
- Start early and do it yourself. It really isn’t necessary to pay movers to pack when with a little organization and forethought, you can handle the task yourself. Begin by going through each room and setting a box in it designated for that room. Keep it out of the way of normal traffic so you’re not tripping over it, but make sure it’s accessible so that as items are able to be packed, you can add them to the box. Think about what’s in your house. Do you really need two TV’s or can you make do with one for the few weeks before your move and get the other one ready to go? The same goes for clothes. If it’s summer, you can pack your winter clothes right away or vice versa. Many of your nick knacks and small items may already still be packed away from your open house showings. You’ve already got a head start on your packing! Spread the process out over many days if you can. Do a bit every day and before you know it, you’ll be ready for the big day. Also if you clean as you go, you’ll be sparing yourself that last minute cleaning dash when you’re already busy moving.
- Keep important papers separate. Fill a box with your birth certificates, insurance policies, any other important papers that you should have with you. That box goes in your car. It’s also worth the call to your insurance agent to find out what kind of coverage you have should any of your valuables be damaged or disappear during the move.
- Don’t forget to change your address with the post office. Ideally you should do this a few days before your move as it takes some time to get it through the system. You will get cards to send to your friends and relatives advising them of the new change. These can be sent up to three weeks before you move. This is also the time to order new preprinted return address labels with your new address on them.
- Pre-move work on the new house should be done now. If you wanted to undertake any major projects on your new home such as updating the electrical system, repainting or re-flooring, it’s worth the time and money to hold back on the move while you have an empty house to work with. It’s easier to do large home improvements while you’re not working around furniture. It’s also a good idea to re-key the new home. You don’t know how many people may be out there with keys to your home. Avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Move on a weekday if possible when banks, utilities and government offices are open. There also may be extra charges to have utilities switched over on weekends so weekday moves will end up costing less overall. It’s also easier to book movers or moving vans if you’re going to do it yourself on a weekday when the demand is lower.
- On moving day you may want to consider leaving small children and pets with a friend or relative. Moving day is chaotic enough without having to deal with furry or small family members becoming confused or frightened by all the hustle and bustle.
- If you need elevator time in either your old or new home to move large pieces, make sure you notify the building management a minimum of 24 hours in advance.
- On moving day, make sure either you or someone you trust is at the new location prior to the movers arriving. Check the telephone, hydro and heat prior to the movers’ arrival to ensure they’ve been turned on. If there is a problem, notify the utility immediately. Have a checklist handy to direct incoming boxes to the proper locations and make sure you’ve marked the drop spot in each room so the movers know where to put the boxes.
- Plug in any appliances and make sure they work. If anything appears damaged or missing, ask for a claim form and complete it immediately.
- Know beforehand what sort of payment the movers expect (cash, cheque, bank draft) and make sure you have it on hand, as well as cash for tipping (tipping is not expected, but it is appreciated). Refreshments are also a nice touch to thank them for their efforts.
- Plan some sort of ‘first night’ celebration once the movers have left. Even if it’s just pizza or cheese and crackers in front of your new fireplace, do something together as a family to celebrate your arrival at your new place and your hassle-free completion of your move!