Preparing to move
Whether you're planning your first move or haven't moved for many years, a long-distance relocation can be an exciting--although sometimes unsettling--experience. You've probably already realized that there's so much to do--and so little time.
This section contains answers to questions most commonly asked by families on the move. We want to help you plan your move properly--to make your relocation as exciting, rewarding and stress-free as possible. Whether you're moving across town or across the country, you'll find the information useful.
- Plants and Animals
- Clean Up
- Finding those Boxes
- Choosing a Mover
- Income Taxes
- Change of Address
- Transferring Utilities
- Garage Sale Guidelines
Remember that, the bigger the box, the heavier it is likely to be once packed! Having ample boxes on hand will help insure that you don’t risk back injury by over packing your boxes. Pack by room for your new house, being careful not to mix items from several rooms in one box. This will make it easier to find everything later. Place heavier items towards the bottom of the box and lighter items towards the top. Be sure to secure the bottom box flaps with moving tape (masking tape is not as strong) before filling the box.
Pack one box with essential items you will need throughout your moving process. Having the following items accessible to you will save you time and money: coffee cups, local phone book, instant coffee, tea, soft drinks, tape, snacks, bath towels, paper plates, trash bags, plastic silverware, toiletries, paper towels, flashlight, toilet paper, utility knife, pencil/paper, bar soap, dishwashing liquid, utility knife, scissors pencil / paper, aspirin.
Plants and Animals
Many movers do not transport plants or animals. Make arrangements to move plants and pets a few weeks before the move. This is also a good time to take pets to the veterinarian for immunization. and order new identification tags. Attach them to your pet(s) collar just prior to the move.Your pet may also need a Health Certificate to enter another state. You can find out about your new state’s pet entry laws and regulations by calling the State Veterinarian Office for that state.
It is important to pack your computer properly for the big move. The safest packing materials for computers are the original box and styrofoam. If you can not find the original box, use a sturdy container with proper packing materials.
Make sure that you have backup copies of all your files and store the backup disks in a safe place. Remove any floppy disks from the drives and check to make sure the drive doors are closed before you pack them.
When packing, be sure to leave out cleaning supplies for that final cleaning, or arrange for a cleaning service to come and perform the job. To make the job go quickly, clean one room at a time. Start at the door and work your way right to left, top to bottom. The floor should be the last thing you clean in each room. Vacuum vinyl and wood floors before you mop. Remember, the cleaner it looks and smells, the cleaner it is.
A few tips to ensure a shiny home: Use products that have a good smell and can do a great job. Remember, the cleaner it smells, the cleaner it is. Do not leave a room until it is completely finished. Do not spray cleaning products directly onto counters or glass, instead, spray them onto a cloth and then wipe the surface. If you have hard water stains on your bathroom fixtures, use a pumice stick to help rub them away.
To clean those hard to reach areas around water faucets, use an old toothbrush. Clean one room at a time, giving each one special attention. Start with the door of the room and clean right to left, then top to bottom.
Where do you find those Boxes?
You can purchase boxes, moving tape, bubble paper, foam peanuts, and other packing materials through your moving or truck rental company. It may be possible that your moving company sells used boxes at a discounted rate. Many grocery and liquor stores will give you their used boxes for free, however these boxes may house roaches or other pests which you will not want to take with you to your new abode.
Old newspapers make very affordable packing materials. Be sure to save your newspapers for several weeks before you begin packing, for ample supply. (Be careful, the newsprint will rub off onto your hands and the items you are packing. Be sure to protect linens in plastic bags before placing next to newsprint, and be sure to wash your hands before you touch any upholstered items.)
It is often a good idea to select a storage facility in your old location and then have movers transport you items to the new location once you are settled in your new home. Choose a storage facility based on the items that are to be stored. A climate-controlled facility is recommended for items such as antiques, artwork and electronics, if you are located in the extreme north or south. If the contents of the unit can not be easily damaged, a regular space is fine. There are various methods of payment and terms involved in renting a storage unit. Some companies will lease on a month-to-month basis, but some require a longer contract. Many require a deposit or first and last months’ rent. Some storage facilities allow payment in full upon rental or you can pay monthly. Many can automatically charge to your credit card for convenience. Be sure to check the company’s insurance policy and find out if you need to have your stored items insured.
Choosing a Mover
Choose a moving company at least 8 weeks prior to your move. Before making arrangements, call around for estimates. Remember that if your apartment is on the third floor, or your front walk is exceptionally long, the extra steps may create add-on moving costs. Peak times for moving are the usual school holidays and breaks, especially summer vacation. Be aware that moving costs are more expensive during this time.
Try not to pick a mover based solely on cost. Instead, weigh the mover’s reputation and references with the information you have gathered. If you are still unsure about the mover you have chosen, call your local consumer protection group. They can inform you of complaints against local moving companies.
For longer moves, the Interstate Commerce Commission can provide you with a performance report of larger, national moving companies.
Before leaving your old home, be sure to collect all extra spare keys from neighbors and hiding places. Also, do not forget to leave any garage door openers for the new owners of your old home.
Make sure to empty your safety deposit box and pick up all items on layaway, those at the dry cleaners, items being repaired, etc.
Try to establish a checking account in your new location about a month before your arrival. This ensures you will be able to start using your account immediately.
Obtain forms for transferring drivers’ licenses and voter registration cards about a month before your move. Also obtain copies of your medical records to transport to your new location.
Pack up some phone books from your old location. You might need those numbers again!
If your move is job related, you can deduct the cost of moving trucks needed to move from your old home to your new one. You can also deduct the cost of packing and unpacking (by professionals). There are other deductible items such as the cost of shipping your car, storage and household pets. These deductions can really add up, so check with you local IRS office to get more details. There is a cap on how much of your moving expenses you are able to deduct and you will want to be sure you qualify for this moving perk.
Change of Address
4 weeks prior to your move, complete a change of address form available at any United States Post Office. Also, do not forget to notify friends and family, periodicals, and billing companies of your address change. It is also helpful to keep your new address handy in a purse or wallet, just incase the new address slips your mind and you need to pass it on to a friend.
Also at this time, schools need to be notified of a child’s transfer. Obtain a notarized permanent school record and check into pre-registration procedures for any new school(s).
In all of the confusion, it is easy to forget to transfer your utilities. It is best to contact the power, gas and phone, cable and Internet companies in your area two weeks prior to your move date to have your service transferred. Be prepared to furnish your complete new address and cut-on, cut-off dates. You may be charged a small deposit if prior service was not in your name. For convenience, most utilities will allow you overlapping service at both addresses for several days, to allow you to return to your old address for final clean-up, etc.
Garage Sale Guidelines
Having a garage sale prior to your move can save you money in two ways! You'll not only have some extra money in your pocket, but you'll also be getting rid of some of the things
you own, thereby having fewer items to move.
Have your sale on the weekend and when the weather is mild. To catch all interested buyers, hold a two-day sale. Holding a garage sale can be exhausting, so be sure to have someone
there to help you throughout the day.
The golden rule of garage sales is "anything goes." If you have doubts whether something will sell, put it out anyway. Remember that your junk just may be another person's treasure.
Think about where you're moving and what items might be obsolete there. That snow blower will go unused in Miami, and some items might cost more to move than to replace--firewood, for example.
When pricing items for sale, be realistic. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes: How much would you be willing to pay for clothing that went out of style 10 years ago?
Keep the set up simple and organized. Arrange tables for your goods so that browsers have room to walk. If possible, make an electrical outlet available to test appliances.
Secure all cash that you receive in a strongbox or piggybank. Keep out only enough money to make change and put the rest in the house. Don't accept checks unless you're well-acquainted with the buyer.
Place a classified ad in local papers, featuring your best or most unusual items. Take advantage of any free advertising in your community--bulletin boards in your supermarket, church, school or club. Consider putting up signs on your front lawn and at nearby street corners a day or two before your sale. Also, many local radio stations have swap-and-shop programs where you can have your sale announced free.
Consider donating unsold items to charitable organizations. Some will send a truck to your home to pick up the goods. Be sure to get a receipt, as your donation may be tax-deductible.
If an item has no resale value, if it has no practical or sentimental value, and if it's inappropriate as a charitable donation, simplify your life and just throw it out. It'll reduce the cost of your move and make settling into your new home much easier.