Moving: The First Steps

So you’ve found out that you’re moving. Now what?? Well, I’ll tell you some step by step things to do in the beginning.

Step 1: Breath

Really, breath. Moving can be overwhelming and you need to remember to relax. Everything will be OK in the end. Will stuff break? Yes! Will You miss your old home, neighbors, friends, favorite store…? Yes! Will you move on and make new friends, find a new favorite shop, fill your new home with memories, and keep in touch with your old friends? YES! So, no matter the problems with moving, it will all be OK in the end and you just need to take a moment to breath and assure yourself that it will all work out.

Step 2: Gather Information

It’s important to gather as much information about your move as possible. I like to keep all of this information in my “Moving Control Binder” which is a binder in a red zippered case. We move a lot and it comes in handy time after time. You don’t need to have something fancy, but at least grab a spiral notebook, binder, or make a new notebook in Evernote to place all the research you are doing. Here are a few things you’ll want to find out:

  • When are you moving?
  • Where are you moving to?
  • How far away is it?
  • How many days will it take to get there?
  • Will you drive to your new home or fly?
  • Are you renting or buying?
  • Will you need money set aside for deposits at the utility company for the new house? (This can range from $0 to $200 per utility I’ve found based on the part of the country you’re moving to and if you have a previous history with the company)
  • Are you moving yourself or is a company moving you? (If you’re moving yourself, I recommend renting a truck from Penkse over U-Haul or Budget)
  • Do you have a set weight allowance (mainly for military moves)?
  • Are you moving with school aged children? Do you need to register the kids with the new school?
  • Are you moving with pets? Are their shots all up to date? (Make sure to get a copy of their records from your vet to take to the new vet)
  • Who do you need to notify of your new address? (Make a list of banks, utility companies [for deposit refunds], friends & family [don’t forget your Christmas card list], magazine subscriptions, health insurance, car insurance, DMV, rewards or loyalty programs, credit cards…)

There are hundreds of other questions but this is at least a start for you. As you find more information, put it in your notebook!

Step 3: Declutter and Downsize

When you are moving, it is easier to do when you have less stuff. If you know the size of your new house, you’ll know if all your furniture will fit. If some pieces won’t fit, sell or donate the pieces so you don’t have to pay to move it. With the big stuff figured out, start to declutter other things too. Go through your closet and see if there are old clothes or shoes that no longer fit, are irreparable, or just plain out of style. If you don’t need it, use it, or love it, out it goes. **Once you are in the new house, everything that gets hung up should be placed on hangers and put the hangers up backwards (hook it from behind). Once you wear something, put it back up the normal way. Then in about 6 months, 1 year, or the next time you move, you can easily see what you don’t wear. This makes getting rid of it much easier emotionally.** 

Go through other things as well, do you need all of your kitchen gadgets? tools? kids toys? seasonal decor? How about going through your papers. Now is a great time to make sure everything is filed correctly and you know where the important papers are (birth certificates, shot records, bank statements, mortgage papers, marriage certificate…) that you will want to move by hand. Recycle or shred any papers you don’t need. I like to use my Neat Receipts portable scanner to scan in the really important papers, and some that are mildly important. The less important ones I will scan and then toss/shred the original. Make sure to use a good quality Crosscut Shredder to shred your documents for higher security.

Great ways to get rid of your stuff:

  • Sell (craigslist, local classifieds, garage sale)
  • Donate (freecycle, church, local thrift shop)
  • Trash

**Please be safe if you are selling or donating your items! Be aware of your surroundings and look out for scams. Pick public places and always have someone else with you if possible.**

Step 4: Start Packing

I don’t mean start packing everything (unless you have a very short time frame). But start packing things you don’t need right now. Pack up your clothes that are out of season, extra office supplies, hobbies… If you don’t need it again before the move, pack it up. Ziploc bags are a great way to keep small things together like office supplies (pens, pencils, paper clips…), kitchen items (chip clips, corn on the cob holders…), bathroom items (hair accessories, nail polish bottles…).

Step 5: Use What You Have

A major pain about moving is that often you can’t take your half used bottles or food items with you. So, use up the last of your soaps, shampoos, lotions… and work your way through the food in the house.

In preparation for my own pending move, I’m currently working on eating us out of stock for every item in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. I took a blank calendar and started planning my menu carefully. I first took stock of all the pasta I had left and decided that every Monday we are eating pasta. Wednesday’s we are eating chicken. Friday’s we are eating sandwiches. Saturday’s we are having breakfast for dinner. Sunday’s we are having a crock pot dish. I went through my recipes and penciled in dishes all the way out to our moving date. We don’t follow it 100% all the time, but we are thinning out our stock of everything! We just finished up the last of our turkey so we won’t be eating that again until after the move. We have one ham, one pork shoulder, one pack of sausage, 3 lbs of ground beef, 3 packs of dogs, some bacon, and a bag of chicken. I have bread in the freezer, and some veggies. In the pantry I need to use up flour and some emergency food supplies we opened. There are other canned goods but they can be donated to the food pantry if we don’t eat them before we go. The fridge gets cleaned out regularly so the only foods we purchase anymore are fruits and veggies, milk and eggs. It has dramatically helped the budget. Click here to see our menu plan, in progress, for August and on with links to the recipes I’m using! 

In the bathroom, I’ve taken stock of all our open items and I’m using them up! I use up the ones with the least amount left first. I’m not opening anything new unless I have to. If I really don’t like it, I’ll either donate it on freecycle or trash it.

2 thoughts on “Moving: The First Steps

  1. Great tips! Even though we aren’t moving, your decluttering step and use what you have step are both sounding good to me right now. 😉 Need to do those!

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