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Moving Basics

Step 1: Get Organized
Step 2: Get In Touch
Step 3: Pack It Up
Step 4: Moving Day
Step 5: Settle Into Your New Home


Step 1: Get Organized
It all starts with planning and organizing.  Like any big project, you need to plan the work and then work the plan.

Purchase a special notebook to record information about your move.  Also print out our detailed Moving Checklist to help organize your move.

Purchase moving supplies: tape, markers, scissors, pocketknife, newspaper, blankets, moving pads, plastic storage bins, rope and a hand truck.  Free boxes can usually be obtained at a local supermarket, but consider purchasing wardrobe boxes for moving clothes.

Have a garage sale to clear out unwanted items and plan accordingly.  Consider donating unwanted items.

Keep a detailed record of all moving expenses.  Your costs may be tax deductible depending on the reasons for your move.

Create a floor plan of the new house for reference during packing and on moving day.

Make back-ups of computer files and determine how you will move this delicate equipment.

Step 2: Get In Touch
When you move there are many people you need to contact.  Make sure to check with your local real estate agent - he or she may be able to provide referrals.

Here is the essential call list:

Hire a reputable mover or rent a moving truck.  Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau, get estimates, purchase moving insurance and get referrals or references.

Two weeks before moving day, contact your telephone, electric, gas, cable/satellite, refuse and water companies to set a specific date when service will be discontinued.  Verify this date with your real estate professional as well.

Contact utilities in your new town about service start dates, including Internet and long distance telephone services.

Notify healthcare professionals (doctors, dentists, veterinarians) of your move and ask for referrals and record transfers.

Register children for school and ask for school records to be transferred.

Notify lawn service, cleaning and security companies when service should be terminated.

Tell clubs, churches and organizations of your move.  And if applicable, see if membership fees can be partially refunded.

Advise the post office, publications and correspondents of change of address and date of move.

Check your homeowner's insurance and make arrangements for new coverage.

If you are moving to a new state, see if you will need new car insurance.

Pick up items from your dry cleaners.

Step 3: Pack It Up
Putting your entire life into a few dozen boxes can be overwhelming.  Try these tips for a smoother move:

Keep track of all your valuables using an Inventory Worksheet to help organize all the items you are moving.

Refer to a Packing Tips list for the essentials on how to pack all the items in your home.

Use suitcases to their full potential.  Fill them with clothes or other items for the move.

Create an "Open First" box with all the things you need upon arrival (medications, toiletries, linens, first aid kit, garbage bags, phone, light bulbs, flashlight, phone books, towels, food for pets, a leash, etc.).  Make sure it is the last item packed so it will be easy to retrieve.  Also make sure that tools are handy for reassembling beds and other items.

Create special boxes for children to open upon first arrival.  Include photos, stuffed animals, blanket, radio, CDs, etc.

As you pack, put aside and label different house related keys you come across to give the new homeowners.

Step 4: Moving Day
It can be a hectic 24 hours, but there are some things you can do to make it easier.

Have tools handy for breaking down beds and appliances.

Move valuables (jewelry, legal documents, family photos & collections) yourself - don't send them with the moving company.  Make sure you have a complete Home Inventory of all your possessions.

If you are using a professional mover, check the inventory list and make sure you agree with the condition of items.  Get a copy of the list for your records.

Give every room a final once over.  Don't forget to check the basement, yards, attic, garage and closets.

Turn off the water heater and lower the thermostat.

Get the name of the driver and give him your contact information.  Also review directions to the new.

Have the final payment for the movers and money for a tip (if satisfied with the job, about $20/mover is recommended.)

Step 5: Settle Into Your New Home
Now it is time to settle in!  Don't forget to check in with your local real estate Professional - he or she may be able to provide useful local advice, and/or referrals.

In addition to unpacking, these "to-dos" will help you get up to speed.

Contact utility companies and verify start dates.

Check the condition of items on the movers' inventory list, as they are unloaded.  Also check to see that all the items on your Home Inventory Worksheet have arrived safely.

Resume delivery of newspapers and other publications.

Let the local post office know that you have arrived.

Create an emergency phone list for your new community and post on the refrigerator.

Change batteries in smoke detectors and plan a fire escape route.

Send a thank you note to neighbors, friends and family that assisted with the move.

Consider changing the house locks.

Register to vote.

Mail "We've Moved" cards with your new address and telephone numbers to friends and family.

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