Moving to a new home can be an exciting celebration of a new chapter or it can be a heap of stress and confusion. Packing up an entire home and putting it all back in another home can be a daunting task. Fortunately, a few simple steps can lighten the load of a big move. Here are a few simple tips on how to prepare for a move.

  1. Start Early

Beginning two or three weeks in advance will keep moving families from stressing when it’s time for the big day. It helps to designate a room for packing, keeping important tools like packing tape, boxes and labels there. Once a box has been packed, leave it in that room.

Additionally, taking two or three weeks in advance to get ready to move will leave plenty of time for changing addresses with anyone who needs to know, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, doctors, insurance companies and others.

2. Have a System

Continuing on the subject of notifying important parties of the big move, it helps to stay organized. Forgetting who has already been notified is easy, so it will help to make a list of who to notify at least two to three weeks in advance of moving day. The list should include utility companies for the old and new home, the local DMV, insurance companies, doctors and anyone else who sends bills by mail.

Additionally, having a system will help in other aspects of the moving process. Further ways to stay organized include labeling boxes by the rooms they go in and keeping a list of their contents so that nothing goes missing. This can be done by using colorful highlighters, paint, markers or a numbering system.

3. Pack Strategically

Likely, there are already many items in the house that can be used for packing. Without having to buy loads of boxes and rolls of bubble wrap, families can pack their own storage containers, suitcases and chests of drawers. It will save time to leave dresser drawers packed with clothes and other items and covering them with Press ‘N’ Seal so they don’t get jostled around during the move.

Socks, clothes and heavy blankets can be used to fill empty spaces in and to wrap breakables such as glasses. Using these existing items will save money on packing peanuts, bubble wrap and other moving essentials. Additionally, all the rolling suitcases, baskets, bins and hampers can be packed full and labeled without the need for buying boxes that are often difficult to carry.

4. Pack Essential Items

Right before the move, designate an “open first” box. This will likely be filled with dish soap, sponges, paper towels, tissues, pens, scissors, eating utensils, bath towels, select cookware, box cutters, power strips, toilet paper and others. Either label this box or choose a different container from the other boxes so it stands out and can be easily accessible.

Additionally, pack “essentials” suitcases with a change of clothes, toiletries, laptop, phone chargers or anything else that needs to be easily reachable and not packed away with furniture and knick knacks.

5. Plan for Moving Costs

Purchasing a new home was definitely a planned expense, but all the little expenses involved in moving can quickly add up. Many of these costs can be saved by using household items to pack, but others can easily be forgotten.

Additional costs include hiring movers, renting a moving truck, hiring cleaners for the old home before vacating it, travel costs, bills due at the old home and the new home, vehicle maintenance for long-distance moves and emergency money in case of accidents.

6. Make it Fun!

Finally, with the right attitude, some music and a little friendly competition, families can enjoy making the move to a new place. Celebrate the start of this new chapter by making games out of mundane tasks, cranking up the tunes or rewarding the family with a favorite meal.

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