Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving
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The nature of moving houses is such that even if you were never made to be a planner, moving from one home to another could transform you into one. If we had to put it all in one sentence, you’re going to be turning one home upside down to keep things in order in the new place you will call home. Moving certainly comes with thousands of questions that float on in your head. You may have answers ready for a few but need to work on how to resolve the rest.
Sometimes, moving is considered to be all about clearing one room full of things to a point where you can only hear your own echo in that empty space. But there are numerous other areas of moving that are just as important if not more. These are the areas which don’t often get enough attention. In this blog, we’ll address the kind of questions to ask yourself before moving.
We shall breakdown the questions by following a timeline, simply because the questions you ask yourself would keep changing as the moving day gets nearer.
Questions You Ask Yourself 2 Months Before Your Move
1. On which date will you move out from the place you’re currently residing at?
Finalizing a moving date is a big decision. Try to pick a date that gives you enough time to plan the move out so you don’t feel like you’re running out of time to get your ducks in a row. Ideally, keeping an 8 weeks buffer is enough to map out the entire moving process.
When you lock in the date, ensure you’ve cleared your schedule for that date. If you’re going to be moving with family or your partner, do a rain-check with them and get confirmation that the date works for them as well. Send in your leave application well in advance because once you start the packing process, these small things could seem like big tasks. Trust us, you’ll have a lot on your plate.
Things will be a little different if you’re going to be shifting from a rented apartment. In such a case, we’d advise you to reread the lease agreement to understand your notice period and the conditions by which you can move out of the house. You can make a feasible decision on the date accordingly.
Do note that even if you have a date in mind, your new home might not be on the same page as you. Therefore, if the home you’re moving into is not entirely ready, consider storage options with a moving company.
2. Have you created an inventory sheet?
Once you know the date, it’s best to start with preparing an inventory of all the things you own. This is also the exact moment when you realise that you really own a ton of things you don’t use, people usually think of becoming a minimalist at some point during this process.
However, the main idea of the inventory sheet is to understand:
- What you need to take to the new house
- Things you want to donate
- Things that need to be cradled with care
- Things to purge
- Things that can be handled only by a professional
- Things you borrowed and need to return
Take your time with this step and go over things one room at a time. Don’t leave a room half-done, but try to finish cleansing the room out of unwanted stuff one at a time. Besides sorting things to purge and donate, you would also want to sell things online for some extra cash. Make sure you put these items up for sale 1-2 months in advance. This way, you can take your time closing on a good deal instead of settling for a negotiated price just to make that sale. If you have a 5 day work week, we suggest trying to allot 2 hours a day or so to prepare your inventory. Also, make use of colored tape to demarcate what you’ll be able to pack yourself and the things for which you need packers.
3. Do you have all the documents you need in one place?
We believe that before you start packing, it’s absolutely necessary to separate all the paperwork in the house. It’s just that once you start packing, it might be hard to recognise your living space because of all the half-open boxes. Safeguarding your documents saves you from the stress of thinking it’s gone missing in the packing process.
It’s completely important to pack all your bank documents, agreements, visas, birth certificates, credit bills, insurance policies, passports in one bag. The safety of your personal documents is something you want to be responsible for and this shouldn’t be left to anyone else. You can’t afford to call a search party or lose these documents, so make sure you’ve sorted these out before the purge.
We also recommend taking photocopies of documents you’ll frequently need. The reason for this is once you move to a new area, you’ll need to find a new doctor, school or even bank. So when you’re asked for a previous record, you have a photocopy ready and don’t need to run errands for the same.
4. Have you set a cap on the moving budget?
Buying a new house is expensive but guess what’s also expensive? Moving companies! Today, you can practically get a moving company to do everything – packing, loading, unloading, cleaning, storage and much more. But it all comes down to whether you’re ready to spend that kind of money. Putting a cap on your moving budget helps you find different ways to save. You can do this by selling unused clothes online, unwanted furniture and maybe even sell off the electronics you won’t be needing to the next tenant. You could surely strike a good deal because they save on the moving costs too.
See also: Moving Cost Calculator
We suggest keeping a cap so you have a spending plan in place and make sure your savings are on the right track.
Questions You Ask Yourself 1 Month Before The Move
1. Where are your packing supplies?
Possibly waiting patiently to be picked from Staples, Walmart, U-Haul, HomeDepot or Amazon. Today, there are many home improvement stores where you can buy packing materials for cheap and in bulk. Before you stock up on packing material, make a packing checklist. It saves you from making a second trip to the store and you can quickly chat with a store assistant about the things you need to buy without wasting time to find the aisle.
Here Is A Packing Checklist You Can Use:
Small, medium and large size corrugated boxes
Everything you’re moving is going to be in a box. So, packing boxes ought to be on the list. Try to get 2 times the boxes you think you need or you’ll be running to the store again.
Pro Tip – Try to pack lighter items in the large boxes if you’re doing this move by yourself because carrying a huge box that’s also heavy at the same time would feel impossible. For instance, large boxes can hold pillows, blankets, linens and won’t be extremely heavy to carry out.
Bubble wrap works as a protective shield for all your fragile items. It’s great for additional cushioning too. A few sheets of these can save your glassware.
Just like bubble wrap, packing peanuts work as extra padding when you pack items that have no uniformity in shape or size in one box. Packing peanuts are made of styrofoam and they can protect your delicate artwork or your china collection.
Try to buy your tape from a moving company or stores like U-Haul so that you’re picking the right type of tape for packing. For sealing boxes, the most inexpensive tape you can find is the standard packing plastic tape with a dispenser. But you can also get a roll of polyester packing and PVC tape for heavier boxes.
Pro Tip – Seal the bottom of the box with tape, always!
You will need to get a few stacks of packing paper and this would probably be the only supply that’s used the most when you’re moving. An alternative for packing paper is newspaper.
2/3 Black Permanent Markers
Now, you don’t want to be in a situation where the words on the box are not too visible to you or the movers, so get yourself a bunch of black permanent markers to help label the boxes.
Pro Tip – Keep these handy in your pocket on the moving day too.
Tag Rooms With Color Coded Stickers
Some of us who love stationary cannot stop ourselves from making this purchase. Color coded stickers isn’t an essential supply you need, but it can help you categorize your boxes based on room. When you create your inventory sheet, choose one color for each room.
Packing Tape With The Words ‘Fragile’ On It
Taping your delicate and fragile items with this tape reminds your movers and yourself to be slightly more careful of the surroundings when you have this box in your hand. You can even write the word fragile instead of using the tape.
Packing your suitcase with vacuum bags just helps you save space and pack more items. In these bags, you can pack seasonal clothes, baggy jeans, coats, jackets or bulkier items like a sleeping bag. It helps shrink them and you end up fitting more things in one bag.
You must remember that you could have packing material lying at home too. If this is a DIY move, you can always make use of bedsheets, towels, blankets, thick clothes and socks for extra padding. Use that empty suitcase with wheels to pack books and photo albums because it would be easier to wheel these heavy items instead of hurting your back by carrying them.
If you want free boxes, wholesale stores are your best bet. This is one of those places where boxes will be willingly handed out to you. You know what they say – ask and you shall receive! We also suggest asking neighbors, friends or relatives for help on supplies. To an extent, you can increase your supply stock just by asking around.
2. Have you started packing?
When you start packing, just keep in mind that you’re organising items based on rooms and categories they fall into. Always try to group items while packing. For instance, pack all the toiletries in one storage bin and label it correctly. When you label any box, make sure you’ve numbered the box and written the room it’s supposed to settle in. You can specify a little about what’s inside the box too. For Example: Box number 12 – Toiletries – Tubes, bottles, dispensers – Bathroom.
Now everytime you pack a box, maintain a procedure for labeling. This is important because you will need to unpack these same boxes eventually. Save yourself some trouble by putting a little more effort in the way things are packed. If you pack clothes with the hangers on, it saves you the trouble of arranging your wardrobe in your new home. You can also wrap seasonal clothes in pouches that you can immediately drop into a storage drawer without bothering much about the arrangement.
Everytime you pack a box, update your inventory sheet. It’s a small task that helps you stay organized in the moving process.
3. Have you found your ideal moving company?
By this point, you’ll definitely be sure of the things you can manage packing yourself. Your inventory will tell you that there are few of the big items (for instance – fridge, TV set, a pool table, piano, treadmill, microwave) that you can’t possibly manage to handle all by yourself. That’s when you make a call to a moving company so that professionals can intervene.
However, if at all you find yourself being taken over by confusion, with respect to the things they can charge you for, it’s best to get clarity on what you’ll be assigning to them. This avoids any surprise or hidden costs when you have a look at the final price on the bill. Be extremely assertive about your budget constraints and your requirements. Ask yourself if you need help with just packing, transport, disassembling or storage.
Most moving companies would charge you depending on the distance to your new home and weight of the items. But in your final price, the company could even charge you to climb a flight of stairs, so it’s best to have an open discussion of all the costs included in order to get the exact estimate of the moving expenditure. We suggest getting estimates from at least 3 moving companies before making your decision. It’s also best to do your own research on them to understand if the company is reliable. Google Reviews, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Better Business Bureau are websites you can visit to read reviews that ultimately help in making an informed decision.
4. Will you have any help on the days you’re moving out?
Moving out isn’t a one man’s job even if just one person occupied the space. You would actually need more help when you’re alone. Surely, we can all agree that it’s nice to have a few helping hands who make sure you’re not overworking yourself. After a long day at work, it’s not the easiest task to motivate yourself into sorting, categorizing and packing.
That’s why it’s best to check with neighbors or a friend to help you with the moving process. That being said, everyone has commitments on different days, so make sure you check in with people way in advance. This way, you’re not left in an awkward position where your friends want to yes but only say no because it’s too last minute for them to show up. But we’d like to say even if you’re late, always make the effort to ask someone for help instead of simply assuming the answer is going to be a NO. Even if it’s as small a favor of getting a drive to a home improvement store because you don’t own a car. Make sure you make the effort to ask for help from family or friends so you’re not burdening yourself with too many tasks.
5. Does the house need repairs?
Now, this is a question that comes to you when you start to move your furniture and wall hangings. You suddenly begin to realize that even the tiniest of things can leave a mark of evidence saying that it existed there. It’s easy to cover drilling holes on walls by patching them. But sometimes, things like furniture smudge marks can be tougher evidence to get rid of. If you are living in a rented space, inspection will certainly be done before you leave so be sure to look at all the areas that need repair.
Similarly, inspect the new place you’ll be moving into and put a small piece of colored sticker on the areas where you notice a defect. Take pictures as proof of the same to avoid any hassles with the landlord in the future. A stitch in time saves nine is a wise saying and you should use the same approach while checking the house for repairs. If you repair things in advance, you save yourself the trouble of making or answering more phone calls. While inspecting your new house for repairs, we suggest you also make a note of the length and width of the doorways. It’s a good way to know that you’ll definitely need assistance with disassembling those large pieces of furniture that you’re carrying along.
6. Have you changed your mailing address?
A month prior to moving out, it’s necessary to visit your postal office to ask them to hold your mail as you’re shifting homes. You can physically visit the postal office in your locality and fill out a form that makes sure your bills, packages and mail will come straight to your new address. Or you can visit the USPS website and follow the steps mentioned there. If you do it online, you will be charged a $1 fee.
At this time, it’s best to also notify your bank about your change of address so your credit bills reach you. If you’re moving across states, you’ll even need to get a new driver’s license card that has your new address or your license will no longer be valid. You would have approximately 10-30 days to do this once you move.
When you ask yourself this question, think of other possible areas where you’ll need to update your new address. Have you taken a subscription that still has your old address? Make a checklist of who exactly needs to know your change of address.
7. Have you taken photos of the house?
Taking photos is a step most of us skip. But if you need to get your security deposit back, it’s best to take some photos of the space to avoid any issues with the landlord.
We’d recommend creating a folder where you save these photos on a file that visibly shows the date and time the file was created. Email this file to the landlord too.
Before moving, go ahead and take photos of electrical wiring. It can help you out when you have to rearrange something complicated. Photos are the quickest way to see how the wires were arranged originally instead of looking for a user manual. You can even create your own step-by-step guide for plugging wires with the help of photos.
Questions You Ask Yourself 1 Week Before The Move
1. Have you prepared an essentials bag?
Before everything you own goes into boxes that are very much sealed, you have to make sure you have a bag filled with things that you can count on during the day of moving. Basically this is your survival bag. If you’re travelling with family, brief everyone on packing their own individual essentials bags. Everyone on the move would choose to keep different things handy in their survival bag but here are few things that are a must.
In this go-to-bag, you must pack:
- Comfortable clothes and a pair of shoes.
- Hygiene items like toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hand towels and toilet paper.
- A portable charger.
- Prescription medicines.
- Snacks and packed meals.
- Toys or activity books to keep kids entertained.
2. How will you spend the first night at your new place?
Once you reach your new home, the first night can be rough because of the exhaustion and mental stress of the whole move. We suggest that if your new home is at a practical distance, you consider visiting the place weeks before the moving day and arrange a few items in the bedroom and bathroom. If you have tissue rolls, soaps, towels, bedsheets and pillows in their places, it’s easier to unwind once you’re at the new place.
Setting a few things in the new place is a must, especially if you’re going to be moving with pets and kids. Try to pre-plan meals and set up the bed and bath so that everyone can take a relaxing shower and get some good sleep after all the travelling.Moving houses is as big a deal it’s made out to be, so it’s absolutely necessary that you rest your body and mind once you make it to the new house. Try to think of other ways you can reduce the workload you will have when you’re at the new place and make a note of those.
3. Have you unplugged appliances?
Most houses run on multiple appliances such as a microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaners, refrigerator and much more. When you’re switching homes, it’s best not to depend on them 1 week before your moving date. Instead, keep these appliances cleaned, unplugged and ready for their transition. Remember that movers won’t be touching them till they are properly disconnected. You can make a phone call to an electrician too if new issues come to the surface while doing this step. All you want to do here is make sure that the wires are properly unplugged so that the appliances will be in working condition in your new home.
After you’ve unplugged all appliances, thoroughly clean them and keep the nuts and screws in a box by labelling them. While sorting your appliances, also remember to disconnect the gas lines by a professional. Make sure you’ve deep cleaned your stove once the line is disconnected so it looks squeaky clean in your new home.
The last appliance that will need your attention is your fridge. Be sure to empty it out, clean and defrost it for at least 48 hours before the big day to prevent any leaks and molds from forming. Try to plan things out in a way that you’re not wasting food and your ¾ of the fridge is already empty when you need to clean it.
4. Have you said goodbye?
Now that the big moving day is nearing, remember to ask yourself if you’ve said good-bye to the space you called home and the people that made you feel like home. Make some time to go out with friends in the neighborhood and just drive down the lanes that you loved. Take some photos that capture the wonderful memories you had in your neighborhood.
Knowing what questions to ask yourself before moving helps you stay ahead of the curve. It’s nothing but a way of preparing yourself for all the uncertainties and unforeseen challenges that a move brings. If you’re reading this before you move out, we hope you found all the answers and tips we shared extremely useful for your big move.