It's your move - what kind will it be?
Like moving boxes, moving advice isn't one-size-fits-all -- in fact, moving advice varies based on your geographical location, personal experiences, and moving expectations.
There's a good chance you'll move several times in your life, and with each move, you'll find yourself in completely different circumstances.
To cater to your specific moving needs, let’s take a look at people moving at different stages of their life and the issues that are specific to them: the first-time mover, combining two households, moving with kids, and empty-nest movers. Figure out what category or categories you fit under to determine what advice is most pertinent to your situation.
First-Time Mover: Information Overload
If you've never moved with moving companies, the amount of information you encounter can be overwhelming.
Stop, take a breath, and work through a checklist of things you need to get done. Here are some starters:
If you're moving across state lines, the price the long-distance moving company charges is most likely based on the weight of your shipment. Remember that every service you request comes at a cost, such as packing and unpacking services, bulky article transportation, and any third-party services that you may need.
Even if you don't have much stuff and live in a relatively small home or apartment, always have at least one reputable moving company perform an in-home survey of your needs to ensure that your moving quote is accurate. There are always unusual factors that can inflate the cost of a move; it's best to discover this beforehand. If it's a larger move, get at least 3 quotes.
Assuming you have decided on a budget for your expenses, the moving company representative will be able to offer alternative ways of staying within your budget. For example, pack your goods yourself, instead of having someone else do it. Toss some items from your shipment which may add extra weight or bulky article charges. You may decide that the cost to move certain items is higher than the sentimental value of those items.
After a physical survey of your goods by your mover, ask for an estimate in writing and a guaranteed price. Most moving companies are happy to give you a guarantee on the moving quote and will outline in their written estimate all of the services included. Be aware that any changes you make to those services or to the weight of your shipment may void your guaranteed pricing. Always discuss any changes with your moving company ahead of the move to avoid unwanted surprises.
Start planning early, especially since this is a new experience for you. Depending on the time of the year and your location, plan your move at least a month in advance. Most moving companies will try to accommodate your needs, but to ensure that your requested dates can be met, planning the earlier the better. Moving companies are very busy in the summer, and always busy toward the end of a month, when leases come due.
Building That Love Nest
When two households combine -- whether it's a young couple moving in together, second marriages, or any other situation -- that essentially means two moves, increasing the complexity and cost.
As in other moves, costs are generally based on the weight of the shipment, so make a complete list of each household's items. If there are duplicates for joint household items -- such as appliances and electronics, large pieces of furniture, cookware and dishes, decide what to eliminate to prevent shipping the same article twice. This is also a good first newlywed exercise in marital negotiations.
If you're using the same moving company for both moves, be sure to inform your mover. The extra pick-up charge is usually small, depending on the distance between the two locations.
Also, make sure the moving company knows how to access both locations. If a large truck is used at one location, and the second location can not accommodate the large truck, the second location's goods might be transferred to the first location in a smaller truck. Again, these are all things the moving company will need to know in advance.
Items moved from both locations should be inventoried by the mover, and loaded in a manner that makes the unloading a smooth process. Therefore, the mover should have a detailed listing of the furniture placement at the destination, if possible.
When belongings are coming from two locations, it can be confusing to arrange them in the new destination -- items might be placed in a different area of the new residence than where they were in the original residence. In order to avoid as much confusion as possible, try to plan out a preliminary map for your movers.
Bottom line: for this type of joint move, communication and planning with your mover is crucial.
Honey, We're Moving With Kids
Statistics show that moving is one of the most stressful things a family can go through. Uprooting a family's comfortable surroundings and placing them in a new, unfamiliar home will be difficult even for the most organized families. Here are some key points:
Don't pack any items that are special or sensitive to a child. This includes items that a child sleeps with, and favorite toys. If your mover is doing the packing, make sure you have these items separated before the packing starts, along with other items you may need to comfort the child during the process.
Separate and take with you, clothing and necessities to care for the children during the move. Once items are packed and loaded, you won't have access to them until you arrive at your new home.
As your mover is packing, loading or unloading, have the children stay with a babysitter or relative. If that is not possible, prepare an area of your home for the children where they can stay out of the way. A child can be injured when a mover is moving a large item and cannot see the child while carrying it.
In their "safe" area, have toys and other things to occupy their time, because the move may take some time. Food and drinks should also be available. Prepare your children in advance for what to expect during the move, and what is expected of them.
Downsizing the Nest
People moving for retirement purposes have a lot of things to consider.
Moving cost is based on weight; over the years you've probably collected a number of items that you won't need at your new home. Do a complete inventory of your goods to determine the level of importance for each item.
Sort your possessions into the following categories: items that are necessities, items that are important but not a necessity, items that you would like to keep, and items that you do not use or need. This will help you decide what stays and what goes.
Determine the amount of space you will have at your new home. Issues like storage space and number of rooms will determine what you can move with you.
After you decide which items you want to move, try to have the other items removed from your house prior to getting your estimate from the moving company. Most people inform their moving company about what items will stay and what items will go. If you change this at the last minute, your pricing will be greatly affected. If you have already gotten rid of the items you won't bring, there will be less temptation to hoard your belongings.
Another important issue for this type of move is the value of the shipment. You have owned some of your belongings for a long time now, and some are valued as antiques. Pack and move them accordingly. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for the more precious items.