Moving home, whether for personal, work or family reasons, is a big and exciting step to take. However, it can also lead to stress levels soaring, especially if you have a spouse, children and pets to take care of.
A certain level of anxiety is probably unavoidable but here are top eight tips to take the edge off the stress while you are moving with family:
Don’t Skimp on the Planning
When it comes to moving home, it is impossible to plan too thoroughly or too early. A good place to start is by creating a master checklist (on paper or digital) and divide it into three parts: early tasks, final month tasks and final week tasks.
In the early tasks section, include items such as getting quotes from moving companies (if you are not self-driving); decluttering, giving your landlord notice (if relevant) and organizing storage if you don’t have an immediate property to move into.
In the final month section, include packing your Essentials Bag (see below), changing your address with companies, cancelling milk and periodicals and ordering packing supplies.
To the final week section, add mail redirection, sending out new address cards, organizing the key collection and defrosting the fridge and freezer.
A large part of successful planning is smart budgeting. Here is a list of some of the expected and unexpected expenses to cost in to your plan:
- Buying new furniture
- House transaction costs (title search, recording fees, legal fees, transfer tax, broker’s fee, etc.)
- Hotel stays
- Moving insurance
- Boxes and packing kits. The New Haven Moving Company have everything you need to safely and securely pack your household items.
- Pet boarding
- Storage costs
- Unreturned deposit (take photographs before you move out in case you need to challenge your landlord about this)
- Removal costs
- Van hire, fuel, insurance, etc. (if handling the move yourself)
Removal costs deserve special attention. For short distance moves, you will normally pay a flat or hourly rate. For long distance moves, costing is usually done on a weight, distance and labor basis. Include extra wiggle room for the unexpected (stair fees, overnight fees, large item fees, parking tickets, etc.)
The more attention you pay to admin tasks, the smoother your trip will go. These include:
- Canceling deliveries and periodicals
- Changing your family doctor (make a last appointment for some advice. Your doctor may even have contacts in the new city)
- DMV changes (update address, update vehicle registration, trade in your out-of-state license for a new one, etc.)
- Informing friends and family of your new address
- Mail forwarding (the USPS offer a Forward Mail service which even includes free coupons!)
- Organize switching cable and utility services
- Removal documents
- Voter registration
As mentioned above, decluttering is one of the earlier tasks you can get out of the way when planning your move. If you are one of those families that find it difficult to let go of stuff that ‘will be useful one day,’ a good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you have not used in six months (with the exception of seasonal items of course!)
If you are moving a long way and are being charged by weight, decide whether you really want to pay to transport your heavier pieces of furniture or if some can be replenished at the other end.
By decluttering early, you increase the chance of selling items with value. Anything left can be either donated, recycled or trashed.
Pack an Essentials Bag
An Essentials Bag is – well – essential when moving home. Think of it as a collection of everything you would take with you on a weekend trip because its purpose is to make life as comfortable as possible if you end up separated from your belongings for a day or two.
Here are some common items found in a typical Essentials Bag:
- Important documents (passport, driving license, moving docs, etc.)
- Cell phone chargers
- Two changes of clothes each
- Basic cooking utensils
- Kettle, mugs and tea or coffee
- Soft drinks
- Non perishable food
- Disposable plates and cutlery
- Cleaning chemicals
- Rags and cloths
- Paper towels
- First Aid kit
- Power strips
- Basic tools
- Pet food
Take Care of the Kids and Pets
Children and pets can find moving particularly stressful as they have little or no control over the event. Don’t assume your kids will be OK. Have upfront conversations with them about their feelings and address their concerns with patience and understanding. Practical steps you can take to alleviate their stress include leaving their rooms until last to pack and involving them in the sorting and packing process.
Consider whether to pay for a pet to be boarded and returned to your new address or whether to care for them at home during the move. If you have dogs or cats, set aside a quiet room for them during the move. Follow their usual routine up until it’s time to get in the car and go.
Set up a Labeling and Inventory System
There are many different ways of labeling your boxes so choose a system that works for you. One method involves taking a detailed inventory of what goes into each box and then taping that to the box itself. Next, label each box with the room where it will be unpacked and you may even want to specify an unloading order. Add a ‘fragile’ notice and ‘way up’ mark where relevant. It is good practice to label all four sides of every box.
Use Specialist Equipment and Boxes
Specialist boxes were created for a reason so make sure you consider buying some in. For example, wardrobe boxes make packing clothes much easier while picture and mirror boxes enable your valuables to be well protected during transit. Specialist equipment such as piano moving equipment and appliance dollies will also take much of the hassle out of packing certain items.
Keep Fittings with Furniture
This is one of the most valuable packing-related tips. When disassembling appliances and furniture, store all fixtures, fittings and specialist tools in a Ziploc bag, attaching this to the item using packing tape. Include manufacturers’ instructions or, if there are none, make detailed notes and diagrams as you take the appliance or piece of furniture apart.
Bring in Outside Help
Friends and family can really reduce the stress of a move by helping out in any way they can. The young and the strong will often be happy to assist with the loading and unloading (especially if they are fed and watered along the way) while other members of the family might offer to look after children or pets on moving day.
The New Haven Moving Equipment website is packed with resources, including blog posts and videos, to help you manage all aspects of your move. We recommend you take some time looking through these to pick up even more useful tips on taking the stress out of moving with family.