Three moves in the past six years makes me somewhat of an authority on moving I think. I have done smaller moves within the same state in the past and that did not involve heavy furniture or movers. We simply took stuff in our car and put it in the new place, over the course of a month. For the bed and other furniture that did not fit in our car we hired a U- Haul van and transported the bulky items.
Our first big move from Boston to Florida was hard because we moved from a big townhouse to an apartment. Moving doesn’t have to be hard and exhausting. With proper planning you can get it done with minimum stress. Which brings me to step 1 of moving.
2 Months before the Move: Take Inventory
On an excel sheet or on paper list all the items in your house room by room and categorize them as furniture, kitchen items, electronics, computers, décor etc. Now next to each item name say sell, bring, donate or dispose. What you take with you will depend on the size of the new place, moving expenses and the condition of the items. Anything old, damaged or just lying around and not it use should be given away. Ask yourself if you have used it or worn it in the past year. If the answer is no, it should probably go.
Selling items takes time. The earlier you begin the greater the chances of disposing stuff before you move as opposed to simply junking it. Sites like Craigslist allow users to post pictures and descriptions of items for free. Some discretion is advised when interacting with potential buyers. Don’t give out your full name, address or e-mail. Create a new e-mail id exclusively for selling stuff. Give out a temporary number if required. Talk to the buyer before giving out your address. That way you weed out the crazies. Accept only cash and meet at a public place if the item is small enough to transport in a car. If a buyer must come to your house make sure you are not alone.
Try selling your items on Facebook pages for locals in your area, Moot Loot for selling furniture if you are in North Carolina or San Francisco and 2good2toss in other areas of the U.S. In India, Quickr is a popular website to sell used goods. If you are selling your car, Craigslist or cars.com is a good choice. Accept only a cashiers check if the buyer cannot pay with cash. Listing your items in multiple websites allows for a wider reach and greater success at selling them. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers if they are interested in buying your stuff.
In my experience smaller things sell easily, bigger things take time. Make sure your items are clean and take good quality pictures of the items to post on the websites mentioned above. Provide dimensions and a good description of items. If you are not sure, look up the item online and use the description provided by retail stores.
Mark items as sold on the excel sheet and also the price for which it is sold. When things don’t sell, consider reducing the price.
A Month before the move : Donating
What you consider trash could actually be useful to someone. So be green and don’t throw usable stuff in the dumpster. Donate to charities like Good Will. Put clean clothes, small household items and toys in bags and donate it. For bigger bulkier items call the Salvation Army or check for other local charities online which pick-up stuff from your home for free. Call at least a month and a half in advance to schedule a pick-up because they do get booked up. Donations are eligible for tax credits, so save receipts from charities and make sure you write down the amount then and there when your memory is fresh.
Cancel credit cards and close bank accounts. Make sure you schedule your bills to go to your e-mail to avoid late payments due to misdirected mails.
Two Weeks before the Move: Sorting and Packing
By this time you should know what you are taking with you and what you are leaving behind. Give away any unsold items. Sort through papers, shred papers that have your name and other sensitive information on them. Buy boxes, bubble wrap, tape and other packing supplies. TVs and LCD monitors need to be packed carefully in special boxes to keep them from shattering.
If you are moving for work, your company may provide packing and moving services. In that case you just have to sit back and watch while the movers do all the work. Otherwise you need to carefully bubble wrap your breakables and put them in a separate box stuffed with packing peanuts to keep the items from moving around. Dismantle shelves of cupboards, secure doors to cabinets without locks to keep them from popping out and getting damaged. Get plastic mattress covers to protect your mattress from dirt and grime. Make a list of all the items in each box with the box number, so unpacking will be a breeze.
A Week before the Movers Arrive : Packing
Get packing. Don’t wait for the last day to pack all your stuff, chances are you may run short of boxes or tape. If possible have the movers come into your home and estimate how many boxes you will need. Try and stick with that number and also remember that they will charge extra if they need to climb stairs. Use small boxes for heavy stuff, big boxes for large bulky items like comforters and blankets and medium size boxes for everything else. Keep giving away stuff you don’t need or on the last day you will be scrambling to empty out the house.
Make sure you apply for an address change at the local post office so that all your mail will be redirected to your new address. Disconnect cable service and phone if you are moving out of the state.
On the Day of the Move
Get up early, have a good breakfast and dismantle furniture that is heavy or flimsy. Make sure your boxes are numbered and you have a list of what is in each box. When the movers come, let them take the stuff after you have verified their credentials. They will have you sign a paper with the number of boxes and a brief description. Check the list to make sure the information is accurate. Keep a copy for your records.
That’s it! If your bags are already packed, jump on a plane and off you go to your new home. Your boxes should arrive within a week or a month, depending on how far they have to travel.
If you are travelling from one country to another, you will have to be aware of the customs policies as well. Hope these tips make your next move smooth and hassle-free.
Moving is not easy especially big moves from one country to another. I prayed incessantly for things to go smoothly, for the right people to buy our stuff and for us to keep our calm during all these changes. I even asked family and close friends to pray for us. If you feel emotional or things are not going right – pray. Somehow things magically work out. You don’t have to do it alone, you have the universe by the side all the time. Good luck and god bless!
My next blog will be published from India. Until then…bye.