Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The First 8 Things You Should Do When You Find Out You're Moving

You've just found out that you're moving! It's an exciting - but scary - time. You're thrilled with the adventure ahead of you, but you know there's a lot of work to be done. Before the house-hunting, mortgage pre-applications, packing, and utility turn-ons-and-offs, here are some "right out of the gate" things you can do to get your move off to the right start.

#1 Research your new city

You've just found out you're moving! Get yourself and your family excited by doing some digging on all that your new city has to offer. In addition to ramping up the buzz, you'll be taking your first steps in preparing for your new life. Look into:
  • Climate and how it might affect allergies,lifestyle, and how equipped you are with clothing
  • State income taxes, personal property taxes, vehicle registration regulations and other laws and restrictions that could affect you and your family
  • Recreation, culture, the arts and travel opportunities - what's in store for you in your new home city?

#2 Start a school watch

If you've got children, choosing a school district will be first and foremost in a long line of decisions. it's never too early to start researching  schools in and near the vicinity of your move. Check your new state's department of education website and compare statistics. Read recent news on schools to get a feel for what school would be best for your children.

#3 Stop buying non-moveables

Give your Costco card to a friend: You won't be needing it until after your move. Don't buy bulk, don't buy large containers, and don't buy volume of things you know won't be moved: That includes liquids and flammables (hairspray and other aerosols, liquid cleaners and beverages that have been opened, and more) Remember: moving companies all have their own rules on what they'll move. Don't get stuck with recently purchased items that you'll have to leave behind.

#4 Prep your house for sale

Before you know it, you'll have a listing agent touring your house and your home will be on the market. Get ahead of the game by starting to get your house show-ready:
  • Straighten out closets and cabinets
  • Get rid of stacks of papers and magazines, and anything else piled around living areas
  • Take stock of needed home improvements that will give your house picture-perfect curb appeal
  • Make arrangements to have any needed home repairs done
  • Remove any standing fixtures that won't convey with your home, such as chandeliers

#5 Get rid of stuff

Moving is the perfect time to simplify and reduce your possessions. If you have a tough time emotionally getting rid of things, remind yourself that you'll be starting a new life in a new home. Who wants a bunch of old junk? Start fresh and either sell, donate or toss the things you no longer need.
  • Sell - If time allows, hold a yard sale. If not, consider EBay, Craig's List or consignment stores. This will get you some cash, but is time-consuming at a busy time.
  • Donate - Many charities accept clothing and household items for donation. The Salvation Army, Purple Heart, veterans' groups, and Goodwill have pick-up services or drop-off bins. Get a receipt for taxes.
  • Toss - Your simplest option. Anything that can't be donated or sold, offer to friends and neighbors, and then throw it in the garbage or recycling.

#6 Collect boxes

If you're doing a DIY move, start picking up free boxes from liquor, volume and grocery stores as soon as possible. Take a carload of boxes home with you whenever you're in the vicinity, and store them in the basement or garage until it's time to start packing. And incidentally, it's never too early to start packing the items you don't use every day.

#7 Take notes

There are hundreds - maybe thousands! - of things to do between now and the day you move into your new home. If you  write them down as you think of them, you won't be taken off guard and you'll stay on schedule. Start a checklist now and add to it as you realize all the little details that will have to be done.

#8 Use up food

This is the best part of moving: Pare down the number of pantry items you'll have to move by consuming it all now. Plan meals that use canned vegetables, sauces, beans, tuna, as well as boxes of spaghetti and bags of rice. Use up that dash of paprika that's in the bottom of a spice jar. And don't forget your freezer. Right before moving day you should have very little left in your refrigerator and freezer. Better to use it than to toss a lot on moving day.


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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