Moving is a highly demanding task. The entire operation can take several weeks to months. It’d take even longer if the destination is over a hundred miles away from your current abode.

The project requires a lot of planning, so there’s a lot of room for mistakes, especially if this is your first time moving. Not only will this project affect your last few days in the old house, but it’ll also affect your first few days in the new one. Naturally, you’d want to make these experiences as pleasant as possible, but you can only do so if you prepare thoroughly and avoid any mistakes. As it’s your first time moving, you lack the experience to pull that off.

This guide should be of help as it goes over several things you need to know about moving from one residence to another. For starters, you must decide on your approach.

Moving For First-Timers: What’s Your Approach?

There are generally two approaches to moving. Either commission a professional home moving company or do it yourself. Of course, your preferences have something to do with this decision, but most experienced homeowners would advise you to hire home movers as it’s often the most efficient option. Let’s say the old and new houses are 100 miles apart.

You may have to spend at least USD$150 for every back-and-forth trip. If it takes at least 10 trips, you’re already at a net loss since most house movers cost USD$1,400 on average.

You must also consider the time you’ll spend making all of the trips by yourself, so it’s not efficient time-wise. Meanwhile, home movers can not only help load and move your belongings, but they may also have packing and unpacking services, depending on the company.

You can learn more about these services from their company website.

The DIY Approach

This approach is only viable in specific circumstances. With that in mind, here are some questions you should ask yourself to check if your situation is one of those specific circumstances:

  • How far apart are your old and new houses?
  • Do you have a large enough vehicle to put your belongings in? Do you need to rent one?
  • How many days do you think you need? How long should you rent the vehicle?
  • What is the fuel efficiency of your car?
  • Do you have a lot of stuff? How many trips do you think it’ll take to move them all?

The DIY approach is viable if:

  1. The old and new residences are in the same locality;
  2. You have a vehicle that can carry your belongings;
  3. You can move all your stuff within one week;
  4. Your car is fuel efficient;
  5. You only need less than ten trips to finish moving all your stuff;

Otherwise, outsourcing the task to a moving company might be more viable.

The Outsourcing Approach

Happy family with cardboard boxes in new house at moving day.

Now, you’ve decided that hiring house movers is the more viable option of the two—what now? You just need to find a reliable, professional house moving company.

Here are some tips to use when searching for a professional house mover:

  • Ask your friends or family for referrals. Chances are at least one of them has probably had the pleasure of working with an exceptional house moving company.
  • Make a list of all your options and get written estimates from each company.
  • Ask about any extra fees, like equipment charges or fuel surcharges.
  • Check if the company has an excellent reputation amongst its past clients. You can look for reviews on their company via the internet.
  • Visit their website for credentials or service awards (optional).

Once you’ve chosen a professional mover, you must figure out how much of the operation you want to outsource. For that, you need to ask yourself a few questions, like the following:

  • Should you outsource the packing and unpacking of your belongings?
  • Would you like to get moving insurance?
  • Do you want to use your vehicle in addition to the company’s vehicles?

Your answers to these questions will determine how much the services will cost. To minimize the costs, you can choose to only opt for their moving services and nothing more. But for more convenience, you can outsource other moving-related tasks, such as loading, packing, unpacking, and even reassembling your furniture. Of course, it’ll lead to higher costs.

Moving For First-Timers: The Timeline

You have now taken care of the moving day. Next, you must construct a timeline for each task you must deal with. A timeline will help you keep track of what you need to do and ensure you don’t deal with tasks out of order. Unlike when you decide on your approach, this is mainly based on your preferences, but of course, you don’t want to stretch out the timeline if you can do it more quickly. Similarly, you don’t want to rush things too much as it may cause issues.

The ideal timeline for a move is eight weeks long. It should consist of several stages, including the pre-move preparations, packing your stuff, the travel, and settling in your new residence.

The pre-move preparations take up most of the timeline as it often takes several weeks or months. The packing, transport, and settling-in usually take only one week.

With that said, let’s take a look at what you must do during the pre-move preparations.

Moving For First-Timers: Preparations

This stage consists of tasks that’ll help you settle in the new residence while dealing with your affairs in the old place. Here’s a checklist of what you have to do during preparations and when you must do them:

  • Notify Your Landlord (If You’re Renting) — Eight Weeks Before The Move

If you’re currently renting, you must notify your landlord of your move as soon as possible, ideally as soon as you decide to move. You must also inform them of your moving date, so they know when your residence will be available for rent again.

  • Tell Your Car Insurance Provider Your New Address — Seven Weeks Before The Move

Inform your car insurance provider about the move. Certain providers only offer their insurance policies to specific places. So, there’s a chance your current provider doesn’t provide their policy in the state or city you’re moving to. In that case, you may have to look for new car insurance. You must do this as early as possible.

  • Cancel Your Utilities — Five To Six Weeks Before The Move

A local company usually covers utilities like water and electricity. If you’re moving out of the area, you must inform these companies of your move and the moving date. That way, they can disconnect your utilities as soon as you move out.

  • Look For New Utilities — Three To Four Weeks Before The Move

If you cancel the utilities of your old house, you need to look for new utility providers for your new residence. Inform them of your moving date so they can connect your utilities as soon as you move in.

  • Start Cleaning The Old House — One To Two Weeks Before The Move

You should start cleaning your old residence one week before the move. Don’t wait until the last minute. You can slowly do it from room to room, starting with the rooms you’ve already cleared.

  • Change Your Billing And Subscription Addresses — One Day Before The Move

If you’re currently subscribed to a magazine, they may send it to your old home if you don’t change it to your new address. Similarly, if your billing address is still set to your old residence, your credit cards might get declined, or worse, your sensitive banking info may get mailed to the wrong address. So, make sure you change your address. Do it right before the move since the same issue may occur if you do it too early.

  • Take Measurements Of Your Old And New House — Before You Start Packing

It’s unlikely that your old and new house will have the same measurements. If your old home is larger than the new house, chances are you won’t be able to fit in all your stuff. That’s why you must take the measurements of both your residences. That way, you’ll know how many of your things you can carry with you and dispose of or store in a storage unit. Do this before you start packing.

  • Reserve A Self-Storage Unit — After Taking Measurements

If you’ve determined that you’ll have to leave some of your belongings behind, you need to either dispose of them or store them in a self-storage unit. If you choose the latter, you must reserve a self-storage unit. You can do that as soon as you take the measurements.

  • Dispose Of Unnecessary Items — After Taking Measurements

To make a move a bit easier, you can get rid of the things you think you no longer need, such as overly baggy clothes, broken furniture, and more. There are several ways to dispose of these items. You can donate them, sell them on a digital marketplace or a garage sale, or simply take them to a disposal site if they’re no longer usable.

  • Deal With Your Healthcare Needs — Any Time Before The Move

If your new residence is relatively far from your physician (if you have one), you might want to consider finding a new healthcare provider. Of course, they should be in the general vicinity of your new residence. If you’re taking prescriptions, check the location of the pharmacies around your new place. This only applies if you’re moving to a different city or town. Otherwise, there’s no need to change healthcare providers.

  • Start Packing — Regularly Before The Move

You need to pack your stuff before the moving date. You can do it regularly since there’s no need to do it overnight. Packing for an hour every day is a reasonable rate.

Unless you’re going the DIY route, the actual move shouldn’t be much of an issue as long as you’ve done these tasks correctly. Depending on how far it is, it’ll take at most several hours to travel to your new residence, and unpacking should take one day tops. The next real problem would be settling in, though it shouldn’t be as much of a problem since you prepared for it.

Moving For First-Timers: Settling In

This part of the move consists of unpacking the moving boxes, cleaning the house, and placing your belongings in appropriate places. Since you’ve probably already visited the new home, you should have a general idea of which goes where. If your new residence is in a different state from your previous abode, you may have to register your vehicle. You should also get a new driver’s license as soon as possible since the previous one is exclusive to that state.

Mistakes To Avoid When Moving

While you can indeed streamline the moving process by perfectly executing the tasks in the preparation phase, it’ll be all for naught if you make mistakes that can derail the plan.

With that said, here are some of the mistakes you must avoid to ensure a smooth sailing move:

  • Waiting Until The Last Minute To Start Packing

First-time movers often underestimate how long it takes to pack an entire house. If you think it only takes one day, then you’re mistaken. You might be able to do it if you hurry, but you might pack your items randomly, making unpacking much harder once you’re in the new house.

  • Not Checking The Weather Forecast Before The Moving Day

The moving day can be a bit messy if there’s bad weather. If it’s raining, for example, your belongings may get wet while you or the professional movers unload the moving boxes from their trucks. Check the weather forecast to ensure the weather will be pleasant during the move.

  • Forgetting To Label The Moving Boxes

If your moving boxes have no label, it’ll be difficult to know which contains which. This can lead to several issues. Fragile items might be mishandled, and you won’t know which boxes to unpack first. Make sure you label each moving box with labels like fragile, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

  • Using Cheap Boxes For Packing

There’s a difference between a high-quality box and a cheap box. Certain items require specific types of boxes. TVs and mirrors, for example, must be stored in a telescope box. Otherwise, it may get broken during transport.

  • Mixing Essentials With Non-Essentials

Experienced homeowners have what they call an “Open First” box. It contains all the essentials and should therefore be a priority when unpacking moving boxes.

Final Words

Homeowners tend to do poorly their first time moving from one house to another. Perhaps it’s because they’re already exhausted looking for both a buyer for their old home and a seller for their new home. However, moving is just as exhausting as buying a house. It takes several weeks or even months. Hopefully, this guide can at least help streamline your move.

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