To-do lists can get pretty steep during a move. But it’s not just the packing, heavy lifting, and tricky logistics that make moving one of the most stressful events in life, along with death and divorce. With about 40 million people making a move every year, thousands are likely sighing at this very moment, “Moving sucks!”
Relocating means venturing into the unknown. Maybe you’re starting a new job or attending a new school. Moving often coincides with a major life change, and the deep psychological component of uprooting your family and leaving behind what you know can make it doubly stressful. Despite how overwhelming it is, the average American will move nearly 12 times in his or her life.
My company, College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving, helps more than 100,000 people move every year. Needless to say, we are constantly dealing with people going through unbelievable amounts of stress. Over the years, I’ve learned some tricks that help make the whole process go more smoothly by minimizing the chaos of moving.
So let’s see if we can help you make the unavoidable a little bit easier, shall we?
1. Make a list of automatic payments.
Of course, obvious things like utilities need to be canceled and switched, but don’t forget about other recurring charges for gym memberships, lawn services, house cleaners, or newspaper subscriptions.
Many companies may require a 30-day notice for cancellation, so make this one of the first things you tackle. In some cases, it’s just a matter of changing your address, but making a list of all your expenses is the first step.
2. Arrange childcare for moving day.
Moving almost always takes longer than expected, so it’s a good idea to recruit a friend or family member who can help keep your kiddos entertained or pick them up if you’re moving on a school day. Use the time leading up to the move to prepare your children for things that might change, but make sure to point out that what really matters (your family being together) will stay the same.
If they’re very young, start talking about the move about a month prior by taking them on a tour of the new house and then pointing out cool places nearby, like playgrounds and ice cream joints.
3. Get an in-person estimate from a moving consultant.
To reduce the number of surprises that arise, meet with a consultant who can help coordinate your move at least 30 days prior. Your mental space may quickly fill up with the outside factors associated with relocating, which can distract you from taking care of some of the things you had planned to address yourself.
A consultant can help you plan pickup and delivery dates, set expectations for packing services, and negotiate prices to make sure you don’t get slammed with hidden charges. This allows you to focus on closing costs, switching utilities, inspections, school schedules, and other important details.
4. Pack first-night bins.
Packing a few clear containers with the basics will ensure easy access to essentials such as cleaning products and towels to give your new house a good cleaning, tools to fix small stuff like broken locks, a few extra light bulbs, trash bags, and any toiletries you may need.
Make sure they’re easy to find and visible because you’re bound to be totally exhausted. So definitely keep your pajamas and coffee maker handy.
5. Take pictures of electronic setups.
There’s nothing worse than cord chaos. Before you disconnect anything to pack it up, take photos of the back of the television and any other electronics with more than one cord. Doing this will save that much more time and stress when setting up your new home.
Consider color-coding with twisty ties to help you remember which cords belong to which electronics. Trust me when I say they all start to look the same after a long day spent moving.
6. Color code boxes by room.
Speaking of color-coding, pack your boxes according to which room the contents belong, and assign a specific color to each. If you can find colored boxes and bins, use those. But even just using colored markers to label them can help movers identify where everything goes, making unloading much faster.
Getting rid of clutter as you pack is another huge time saver in the end. It’s basic math, really: The less you pack, the less you have to move, and the less you have to unpack.
Using these tips to plan ahead as much as possible will be a game changer for you. In fact, in our experience, clients who are “move-ready” when we arrive reduce their move time by about 25 percent. And if you’re relocating for a job, that bit of extra time can go a long way in making your first few days less frazzled.
A well-planned, seamlessly executed move will help everyone in your family acclimate more easily to their new surroundings and start your new phase of life together with as few hiccups as possible.
Omar Soliman is the co-founder and CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving and Trash Butler. CHHJ, named one of the fastest-growing franchises in the nation by Entrepreneur, is a junk removal and moving franchise that services more than 50 markets in 30 states, and Trash Butler is a door-to-door valet trash service. As an author and TV personality, Omar has appeared on FOX Business News, MSNBC, ABC’s hit TV show “Shark Tank,” and AMC’s “The Pitch.”