People are always moving house. In terms of cold figures, looking at a country like the United States for example, the average person changes residence 11 times over the course of their lifetime.
That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which also estimates that about 35.5 million Americans on average move each year – across neighborhoods, across town, across the state, or cross-country.
That’s a staggering number, a number that moves using everything from old station wagons to professional moving companies, be it dedicated residential movers or commercial movers whose catalogue of services stretches across the board.
For such a fairly frequent event, you would expect, well, people to be more versed with it.
But moving is anything but easy, as you can probably attest to yourself. So mentally taxing is it, in fact, that it is widely considered one of the most stressful life events. Yes, right up there with marital separation, dismissal from work, imprisonment…you get the idea.
Perhaps it has to do with the unique challenges that each move presents.
Whether you are moving across the street or hauling your belongings halfway across the country, it is no secret that residential moves are a delicate process with so much to think about and equally a lot that could go wrong.
It is with this in mind that we prepared this article to help ease the process for you and ensure you don’t overdo those headache tablets.
1: Moving is clearing out season
Clearing out is not a sport for the spring season alone.
As it is already, you have plenty of stuff to pack and move without needing to include items you no longer use or require.
Moving is an opportune time to declutter and this is a part that will require some ruthlessness on your part. See those denims from 3 years ago you still think are going to fit once you start that running routine? Sorry, but now would be a good time to toss them out.
Declutter from room to room. You will notice that the bulk of the items that need offloading will most likely be in the bedroom, especially if this is a domain you haven’t raided in a while. The kids’ rooms too. You would also be surprised by how much surplus stuff you can mine from the office.
By purging items in this fashion, you will save yourself not just endless hours in sorting and packing, but also money on moving boxes and resources as you will have already trimmed half your possessions.
Plus, charity gets to benefit too!
2: Create a detailed moving to-do list
One of the things that makes moving such a stressful event is the countless number of things you have to deal with.
Remembering everything off the top of your head will take its toll on you within no time, and it will get even more overwhelming when things start slipping your mind.
Don’t be unkind to yourself by putting yourself in such a situation. Rather, look to create a master list of every single thing you need to accomplish, no matter how trivial. You can write everything down on paper or create an electronic list.
Once you have your list, take some time to map out the tasks into a calendar in order of priority. Working with firm dates will push you to achieve things, which should be a great motivator in itself once you start crossing them off your list.
3: Get your moving boxes sorted
Boxes are a crucial piece in the moving jigsaw, and you’ll need plenty of them!
If money is no object, by all means, go ahead and place a purchase order. But there is no harm in saving a little dough when you can.
Boxes are one crucial moving resource that you can actually source on a free. You could start by asking friends who recently moved. Or check with nearby electrical store(s) if there are good boxes you could reuse as these guys allow people to deposit their old boxes back in store.
Others potential sources of moving boxes include offices, bookshops, and Craigslist, among others.
Still, you may need to invest in a few sturdy and reliable boxes for carrying some of your most sensitive items, not to mention specialized ones such as wardrobe boxes if need be.
4: Don’t leave packing to the last minute
The downside to doing things last minute is the added stress it brings. In the case of moving, the stakes are even higher.
To make your move less stressful, start packing weeks before your moving date. You could start with items you rarely use (but don’t fall under the decluttering category) – that is, things you won’t need immediately when you settle into your new home.
This could be anything like some pieces of dinnerware, clothes you won’t be wearing, books, and anything else you can think of.
Items that require more care and take longer to pack can also be stowed in advance. These include paintings, decorative pieces such as sculptures, and other such fragile and oddly-shaped objects.
5: Go mad with the labels
How well you label your boxes will determine how fast you can find something you need. Labeling the top of the box only won’t cut it as you will basically be working in a 3-D space with the boxes stacked up.
With this in mind, make sure to also label the bottom and sides so you can easily spot that crucial box holding the coffee on the night of move-in irrespective of how it is placed.
You can even adopt a labeling system that allows you to group your boxes by category and room. For example, Bedroom, Library and Books, and so on.
What this does is make the process of unloading and unpacking easier when you get to your new place.
Conclusion: Bonus Tips
As they say, knowledge is power, and with the right advice, prepping for a residential move can turn into a less grueling affair.
These simple tips will go some way towards making your move less stressful. However, please note that these are not the end-all as there are other key things you need to think about.
Locking in a moving date, for example. Since most movers are busier during the weekends, consider taking some time off work and move in the middle of the week if you can. Chances are you might even get a better discount!
Speaking of which, you need to evaluate potential movers well in advance. Get their moving estimates and decide who you will move with so you can know how much figures you will be dealing with.
This also allows both you and the mover to plan for the move accordingly. Last-minute bookings may leave you frustrated and you’ll end up spending more money than you otherwise could have.
Lastly, don’t forget to cancel your utilities too. Call your gas, electricity, phone and Internet provider a week or two in advance of your move to establish when everything needs to be shut off.
As you can probably deduce from these points, it’s all about preparation. As they say, it’s everything – preparation.