I recently relocated. I was offered an opportunity I could not refuse and hey presto, two short weeks saw me pack up all my possessions and leave my home in Chicago and move all the way across the country to the city of roses, Portland Oregon. Making the decision to move itself was not as difficult to do if you compare it to all the prep, planning and packing that is involved in relocation.
The time between when you decide that you want to move, to the time where you have successfully executed the big move and settled into your new place, is a time that can be quite nerve wracking. Firstly you have to pack and plan your move, then comes moving day itself. Moving Day can be exhausting and overwhelming even if your plans are airtight. Fortunately, you can learn from my mistakes and make it easier for yourself. In retrospect, in addition to hiring some movers, here’s what I would do differently to make sure everything was as stress and hassle-free as possible.
1. Make suitable babysitting arrangements for the day
I cannot stress this enough… you do not want to have your pets or kids underfoot on moving day! You might think you will be able to manage, but trust me on this, make arrangements with friends, family, or sitting services to take them off your hands early in the morning on moving day. Having kids or pets running around underfoot can be an unnecessary complication. Not only can it be dangerous for your little ones, it is unbelievably vexing to have your dog yap at the heels of every mover, or your human child ask an insane number of questions while you try to get everything done.
Annoyance aside, kids are easily bored and you don’t want to have to worry about their happiness and whether they’ve been fed on moving day. If a friend or family member will be watching your kids for you, have they come over early in the morning so you can focus on everything else that needs to be done. If however, you are unable to make any such arrangements, plan activities, meals, and snacks for them so they can be entertained and stay out of your way as much as possible. Make sure their iPads are charged, and get a couple of new chew toys for the dog. You will thank me later.
2. Stock up on snacks and drinks
Moving day can have you running around every which way. You generally are too busy and too distracted to sit down to have a proper meal, and all that running around requires a lot of energy. Plan ahead and pack a picnic cooler with water bottles, drinks, and easy to eat snacks like nuts, sandwiches, protein bars, and even some chocolate (great for stress). You might also want to pack something for the movers if it’s a long job. This is a great idea to help refuelling on energy throughout what is sure to be a super busy day.
3. Use lists to keep a tab on everything
Moving day comes with a load of little things that have to get done. In addition, there are many moving related tasks that get pushed to the last day while you are busy packing. These tasks can pile up and make you running round in frenzied circles. Did you cancel the newspaper? Did you spackle the nail holes to get a refund on your security deposit? Did you turn off the heating? Did you empty the fridge and freezer? Did you unplug your phone charger and put it in your bag?
These and many other little tasks like this are the source of the eternally infernally annoying question that keeps popping up in your head, “What am I forgetting?” Instead of relying on your already frazzled mind to remember all the things you need to get done, keep a running list that covers everything you need to get done on moving day. This will not only allow you to prioritize what is important, but also give you the satisfaction of checking things off, leaving your mind a little more relieved every time you mark something as done. Lists are also useful for keeping track of what you’ve packed in each box, and things you need to do as soon as you arrive in your new home.
4. Have cash on hand to tip the help
Tipping your movers is not a requirement, but it is a nice gesture for someone who has lugged your heavy wooden furniture up 6 flights of stairs because it wouldn’t fit in the elevator (true story). Whether you have hired a professional moving company like Royalmovingco, or planning to find help in other forms, you will need to have some cash on hand for tips. Unless you have some really massive stuff, $25 per helper should be enough. However depending on your means and the service provided, it really is up to you. You should have enough cash available to be able to tip them, or if you’ve gone the friends route, enough money for ordering pizza and other sustenance to feed them.
5. Make a “go” bag
Use a duffle bag, carpetbag, or small suitcase to keep all the things you know you will need on moving day and the day after, as well as any valuables or papers that you don’t want going on in the truck with the rest of your stuff. Think of things like your laptop, phone chargers, essential medicine, basic toiletries, and a change of clothes. Just make sure that it doesn’t accidentally get loaded on to the truck with the other stuff. The go bag is also great to stash anything that might be accidentally forgotten. So once the movers have left, walk through your home and check every single one of the cabinets, drawers, and closets to make sure nothing is left behind.
Moving day is bound to be challenging no matter how organized you are. While the tips above might help you avoid the problems I faced with my move, it is impossible to anticipate all that could potentially go wrong. My final bit of advice would be to plan for the obvious stuff, and then allow yourself to go with the flow. Have faith in yourself. You can do it.