Get Moving: Roommates.com's Guide to Relocation
While eminently exciting, moving is also bound to be one of the most stressful periods of your life, especially if you’re making a drastic change, such as a cross-country move or ending a long-term relationship. Moving is expensive and it can be extremely emotionally draining, making it easy to forget to take care of important tasks. You’re making a huge decision that will have huge ramifications for your personal, professional, and financial life. The best idea, then, is to plan in advance and create a checklist of certain items that will need to be attended to before you embark on your exciting new journey!
Dedicate several folders to compiling all important paperwork. This will include any documents directly related to the move, as well as important pieces of identification, such as your birth certificate and passport. You’ll also want to include previous years’ tax information, any medical records you have, degrees or certificates of accomplishment, and all paperwork related to any pets you may have. Organize these documents in separate folders in a single binder, and also remember to make copies of each. Keep the originals and the copies separate so that if you lose one, at least you’ll still have the other.
You’ll want to start make decisions regarding your personal affects sooner rather than later. For many people, a move is a chance to start fresh, so now is a great chance to purge yourself of anything that isn’t completely necessary. This involves a painfully honest account of what you love, what you like, and what you can live without, including clothes, furniture, and home decorations. Most of these items can probably be donated to your local Goodwill store or sold on consignment and will give you more space to grow.
If you’ve been hording various knick knacks from past relationships or difficult periods of your life, ask yourself if these are the memories that you want to take with you as you begin this glorious new chapter. If so, set aside a special box or folder to store these items so that you can bask in bittersweet remembrance after a bottle of wine or two. If not, throw them away. Don’t call or text your ex asking if they want them. They don’t. A clean break is always best, and if it’s meant to be, there will come a time when you can make new memories.
Moving dates have a nasty tendency of creeping up on us. At first, it seems like we have all the time in the world, yet we always seem to be rushing at the last minute. To avoid this panicked feeling, it’s best to be proactive as soon as you’ve made up your mind.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a well-reviewed and affordable moving company that offers reasonable insurance. Again, start your search early so that you have plenty of time to research the perfect company. Throwing your prize possessions in a bunch of cheap garbage bags is bound to result in at least one broken keepsake, so you’ll want to buy plenty of packing materials, such as boxes (of all sizes), tape (of all varieties), markers (of all colors), and bubble wrap. Even if you have several weeks before your move, start packing up non-essential items in your free time to avoid an overwhelming workload when the dreaded/anticipated day finally arrives.
You’ll also need to alert everyone to your upcoming exodus. Of course, this includes friends and families (after all, they have a party to plan!), but it also includes your landlord, your utility companies, your bank, and of course, your work. Two weeks’ notice is common courtesy – especially for that last one – but it wouldn’t hurt to let everyone know at least one month in advance so that they can make the proper adjustments in your absence. (Plus, you’re going to want to make sure you get back that security deposit as soon as possible!)
Once the big day is within reach, clean out your pantries and that refrigerator. Packing packages of spaghetti sauce and half eaten boxes of crackers is pretty silly, as one of the first things you’ll want to do when you arrive at your new home is to go hardcore grocery shopping. Instead, take these items to your local food bank or homeless shelter. Everyone will be grateful for your donation, and you won’t have to worry about making a huge mess of your car!
Speaking of which, clean that baby out and get it serviced. You’re going to have to pack a ton of stuff into a cramped space, so you want to create as much room as possible in your car. Also, the crumbs and trash you have laying on your seats and floor mats will get all over your valuables. Detailing your car will serve as one of the first steps on the path to your new life. Make sure to get an oil changed and the vehicle services – follow any advice that the mechanic might have. Breaking down three hours outside of town would not be an auspicious start to such an exciting adventure.
Depending on the length of your trip, you’ll want to pack a suitcase with a change of clothes, toiletries, and a good book. Make sure that you pack this item last so that it doesn’t get lost among the myriad other bags and boxes you’ve stacked in your trunk, back seats, etc. Also, make sure that you have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance close by in case you get pulled over (link) in a rush to your new home! Plus if you're traveling, you could always start looking for a new roommate!
There aren’t many things we dread more than moving, but it really doesn’t have to be that hard. The key is to begin planning early and to keep a checklist of important tasks that need to be completed. Get organized. Get Busy. Get Moving!