Moving can be a stressful thing, especially if you are doing it yourself, but self-moving can save you half or more of the cost of a rental company if done right. You only need to know what to do and when. This article will guide you through the steps of planning a do-it-yourself move, from creating a timeline checklist to looking for help. The most important thing to remember is that organization is key.
Moving Timeline Checklist
The first thing you should do is write a timeline checklist for your self-move. When are you moving? When do you need to start packing? Give yourself at least a month (if you have the time) to pack so you do not use up all your energy before the move. You will need that energy for loading, unloading, and unpacking! Also write down dates for buying packing equipment, utility transfer, notifying your landlord (if you live in an apartment), changing addresses, and clearing out the refrigerator and freezer. This timeline checklist will guide you in your preparation for the move, so be sure to make it at least eight weeks out if time allows. If you are not sure how to make a moving timeline checklist, check out this article by Ethan Greenfield. It describes how to customize a timeline checklist to your needs.
Spruce up the Old Home
Whether you are selling your previous home or just leaving a rental property, there are some things you should do to prepare the old home for the move. First, if you’re selling your old house, find a good real estate agent. Look for someone you can not only trust to sell your house for the best price, says Forbes.com’s Laura Gaskill, but someone who will also be a supporter and educator throughout the moving process (The Go-to Guide to Selling Your Home and Moving). He or she should be able to list the plusses and minuses of your home so you can fix the problem areas. The repairs and other tasks that you need to do to your home should be on your moving timeline checklist so you do not miss them. Gaskill also recommends deciding what to fix and what is not worth your time by asking yourself if it gives the idea that the home is not properly cared for, such as a broken doorbell or leaky faucet. If it does, it should be fixed as these are red flags for a buyer. If you are leaving a rental property, you are not getting out of work. Your landlord will expect a full clean-out of the property before you leave, from dusting to vacuuming to deep-cleaning the freezer. Make sure you put these tasks on your moving timeline checklist so they get done or you will likely lose part of your deposit.
Inventory of Items
Making an inventory may make you grimace, but there are a couple of good reasons not to skip this step. Knowing the content of your home ahead of the packing will allow you to pack more effectively, putting like items together and keeping rooms together. Also, it can allow for easier unpacking since you will know what is in which box. Creating an inventory is simple, especially if you have basic skills with Microsoft Excel. You may want to make a column for each of the following: item, description, value, condition, and corresponding box. The last will be filled out as you pack the boxes, and you can either number them (box 1, box 2, and etcetera) or name them (Master Bedroom Clothes, Living Room Books, etcetera). Categorize your inventory by room, placing all the living room items under a “living room” heading and all the master bedroom items under a “master bedroom” heading.
You do not have to buy cardboard boxes and packing paper from a moving company to get the job done. Instead, try asking at your local office supplies or liquor supply store on delivery day (call ahead to find out what day they get deliveries). No luck? Read 15 Creative Ways to Find Boxes for Your Next Move. It talks about some very interesting ways to get free boxes, and free is never bad, is it? For packing paper, collect newspapers in the months leading up to the move, and for larger fragile items like mirrors and televisions, use blankets or quilts. If you cannot find packing supplies otherwise, though, buy them from a company like Flat Rate, who can help you estimate the number of boxes you will need and will deliver them to your door.
Choosing the right size vehicle for your self-moving job is a crucial step in the process. If you choose a vehicle that is too small, you will have a nightmare on your hands, especially if you are moving cross-country. You will either have to unpack the smaller vehicle and upgrade to the next size or make special arrangements for the moving of the extra items. Either way, it will be a hassle you should try to avoid. The best way to determine what size vehicle to get is by the number of bedrooms in your household. If your home’s rooms have the usual amount of furniture, then counting the bedrooms should give you a good estimate of the size of vehicle you will need. For a studio apartment, a cargo van or ten-foot vehicle should do the job. Do you have two or fewer bedrooms in your home? Then you will probably want a fifteen-foot moving truck. Two to three bedroom homes will likely fit in a twenty-foot truck, and for four or more bedrooms, look for a twenty-six footer. Are you on the fence about whether you need a fifteen-foot or twenty-foot truck? The best solution is always to go with the larger vehicle in case you have more stuff than you thought.
If you are serious about self-moving, you will want to take organization seriously, too. Start with a moving timeline checklist and stick to it. Everything else will fall into place, from sprucing up the old home to reserving the vehicle, if you make a timeline checklist. Keep organized and your entire move will go smoothly.