As Realtors, we hear moving horror stories all the time: the person who didn’t start packing until the day before the move; the person who spent days looking through each photo album and scrapbook; the spouse who spent hours developing a schematic of how the furniture would fit in the moving truck; the other spouse who spent hours building Excel spreadsheets of what had to be done rather than actually packing; and the essential family member who threw out his or her back the day before the move.  

While moving is disruptive to everyone’s routine, we’ve compiled a list of pro-packing tips to get you to the finish line with minimal stress. 

MOVING LOGISTICS:

  • Select a moving company and schedule your move-in date.  As a college town, there are certain times of the year when it is almost impossible to find an available mover in Austin.  If you are moving during the start or end of a semester or holiday, you will save yourself some headaches by scheduling your move as soon as you have a solid date.
  • If you are moving anything valuable, and you likely are, purchase moving insurance.
  • Arrange for hotels, rental cars or temporary housing as needed.
  • If needed, rent space in a storage facility.
  • Collect moving supplies like tape, bubble wrap, and permanent markers.  Don’t forget specialty containers like wardrobe boxes.
  • Arrange to be off work on moving day.
  • Arrange for the disconnection or change-over of all utilities to your new home effective the day of or the day after closing.
  • Confirm arrangements and dates with moving and storage companies the week prior to the move.

PERSONAL DETAILS:  

  • Get your finances in order.  Contact your bank and arrange transfer of your accounts.  Order checks with your new address.  Stop any auto-drafts for services you won’t be using in your new home.  And if you are moving cities, be sure to clean out your safety deposit box!
  • Contact your doctors for medical and dental records and possible referrals to new physicians.
  • Stock up on any medicines or prescriptions you’ll need in the coming weeks. 
  • Collect pet records from the veterinarian.
  • Change your address with the Social Security Administration, if applicable.
  • Change your insurance policies on property, auto and medical policies.
  • Pick up all dry cleaning.
  • Retrieve and return any borrowed items from neighbors and friends. 
  • Get your automobile serviced if you are moving out of Austin. Check oil, fluids, air pressure and other components to ensure everything is functioning properly before you make the trip to your new home.

IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN:  

  • Give child care providers proper notice of withdrawal.
  • Contact schools and arrange for transfer of student records.
  • Clean out school cubbies and lockers.

PACKING:

  • Go through each room of your house and decide what you’d like to keep and what you can purge.
  • Use it or lose it.  Start using up things that you don’t want to move like frozen foods, canned goods, and cleaning supplies. 
  • Start by packing items you use infrequently, like the waffle iron, china, or holiday décor. 
  • Clearly label and number each box, and keep an inventory.
  • Identify which boxes contain essential items you need right away. 
  • Don’t overlook the attic, garage, storage buildings, and yard for items to pack.
  • Take pictures of furniture or get fabric samples for anything you will want to reference for color or decorating before your belongings are delivered to your new home.
  • If you are taking your refrigerator, make sure to empty, clean, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day. 
  • Organize all important documents in a fire-safe box. Some things you want to include are school records, home purchase/sale papers, will, marriage/divorce papers, pet documents, financial records, stock certificates, social security cards, birth certificates, and passports.
  • Keep valuable and irreplaceable items such as jewelry, important papers, and heirlooms with you, not the movers.  Make an inventory list of all items going with you personally.
  • Make a "Survival Box" for the move. This should include:
Paper & pens
Heavy duty tape
Scissors
Paper towels
Ziplock bags
Tape measure
Toiletries
Bottled water
Snacks & drinks
Prescription/OTC drugs
First-aid kit
Flashlight
Tool kit
Trash bags
Spare keys

IF YOU HAVE PETS:

  • Don’t forget to pack the dog.  And the cats.  Arrange special transport service for pets if needed.

CANCEL SERVICES AND MEMBERSHIPS:

  • Give notice of resignation to any clubs, organizations or volunteer activities, as appropriate.  
  • Cancel or change the address of newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
  • Clean out club and gym lockers.

TELL THE WORLD:

  • Submit change of address forms to the United States Post Office.
  • Notify the IRS of your new address.  Ugh.
  • Notify friends, family, and creditors of your new mailing address. 
  • Update your shipping address on online shopping sites like Amazon.

MOVING DAY:

  • Keep your ID in a safe place.  You will need it on closing day.
  • Confirm the delivery address, directions and delivery date with the movers.
  • Check the thermostat and make sure temperature is set appropriately.
  • Make sure all windows/doors are closed and locked, and all appliances are turned off.
  • Do a final walkthrough. Check every room and closet one last time to make sure nothing is left behind.

GETTING SETTLED:

  • Let family members or friends know you arrived safely.
  • Check to make sure all utilities are on and working properly.
  • Clean and inspect. Scrub surfaces, steam clean the carpets, and make sure everything is working properly before your household goods arrive.
  • Change the locks.  There’s peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. 
  • Have measurements taken of the rooms in your new residence and use floorplans to determine where everything will go upon arrival.

RELOCATION:

  • If you are moving for work, figure out what your employer will require as proof for reimbursement of your moving expenses.  And keep your records accordingly.

DON'T HESITATE TO GET HELP

And if it all feels like too much, you can apply Marquette’s mantra – when in doubt, hire it out.  You can hire someone to purge your stuff, pack your stuff, and unpack your stuff.  There are also companies who will haul away your junk, sell your junk, and store your junk.  And then there are the blessed cleaners who make it all shine. 

Good luck with your move, and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any service.

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