You’ve made the brave decision to move into a new place this year. The hardest part for many people is getting started on what that move looks like after you’ve found your new residence.
Moving can be both a physical and psychological process. From furniture pieces and photos that hold memories, to deciding what to purge, to the labor it takes to move each item, a plan can help simplify the moving process for anyone.
We’ve gathered knowledge from our experts and more to create a relocation planning guide for your moving process. There are 7 phases
Phase 1: Itemize | 5-6 Months before moving day
Begin the process by itemizing your possessions room-by-room. Unpakt.com recommends you “[d]ocument all the items in each room, but you can use general categories like ‘bedding.’ You may want to make a note of any high-value items and snap a photo if you don’t already have a record. Even better—make a video of each room!”
Taking photos and videos are a great way to capture keepsake pictures of the home before you begin to move and pack things.
Phase 2: Sort & Evaluate | 4-5 months before moving day
The second phase of this process begins with creating categories for your possessions. There are four major categories each item will fall into keep, sale, donate/gift, and discard. Caring Transitions relocation experts recommend knowing what matters to you first and then evaluating what items will be needed in your new space by asking these questions:
- What can be sold or donated to a charitable organization?
- What haven't you used within the last year?
- Are there items I need to schedule estimates/appraisals for?
- Should I consider an Estate Sale or Auction to sell items?
From there you can “tag” items with post it notes or removable labels or create a written list of items.
Our March 2017 blog “What To Do With It All,” puts sorting and evaluating keepsakes and documentation into perspective this way, “keep hold of family heirlooms [and] any and all important papers, including licenses, records, titles, diplomas, and other related matter.”
Phase 3: Plan | 3-4 Months before moving day
Once you’ve decided what to do with your belongings, it’s time to plan for your new space! It’s important to assess the space in your new home and use a floor plan to optimize your new space BEFORE you pack. Knowing the dimensions and layout of your new space will help you decide how to clear out any items you will not have room for.
Another part of planning is the business aspect of your move. Remember to schedule utility service connections and disconnections as well as price storage, packing, cleaning, or moving services. Many utility companies have a wait for service connection or installation.
Phase 4: Purge | 3 months before moving day
Now that you’ve itemized, sorted, evaluated and planned, it’s time to act and execute your plan. In the purge phase, you begin to ship, gift, donate, discard or sell any unwanted items. This includes any item not traveling with you to your new home. If you have tagged items to sale in an estate sale or online auction, the purge phase is the perfect time to host these sales.
Be careful not to hold on to items needlessly. According to our network of experts, “[i]f you couldn’t imagine looking a person in the eye as you gave the item over to them—even for free—then it should be trashed. It’s probably too dirty, too worn, or otherwise too useless to benefit anybody.”
Phase 5: Pack | 2 months before moving day
The fifth phase is one most people love or dread. You can make packing simple by following these steps:
- Prepare an essentials box, weekender, or suitcase with everything you need for the first few days in your new home. This would include toiletries, a change of clothes, basic first aid items, bedding, cups and plates, drinks, and snacks.
- Use boxes that are the perfect size for the items you plan to pack within it.
- Pack room-by-room and use your inventory list as a guide for what should be packed.
- Properly label boxes with it’s destination room and a content description.
- Put heavier items on the bottom of the box and fill empty spaces with light items like packing paper, clothes, towels, etc.
- Create a handle on your boxes by cutting a hand sized triangle shaped hole on opposite sides of the box.
- Transport important papers, legal documents, small heirlooms and valuables personally.
General packing, shipping, gifting and donations should be ongoing throughout the weeks following Phase 5.
Phase 6: Facilitate | 1 month to 2 weeks before moving day
After scheduling utility service connections and disconnections as well as packing, cleaning, or moving services in Phase 3, there will be a host of move related services to manage. Open communication is the key to successfully facilitating these services. It may be a great idea to provide a floor plan of your new home or label the doors to each room for your moving team. If you are helping seniors move, be sure you have hired companies trained and experienced in senior relocation like Caring Transitions.
Phase 7: Move and Unpack | Moving day to 6 months or more after (in some cases)
The day has finally arrived! It’s moving day! All your planning and preparation should pay off here. The best tip for moving day is a positive attitude about your new beginning. No matter how much we plan, we can never predict or remember everything. It’s good to plan for and expect the best while accepting human error may occur. Be kind to those who are helping you move be it family and friends, or a professional service as you supervise the moving process.
If you have small children or fur-babies, consider having a friend, family member, or professional watch them while you focus on the move.
Don’t hesitate to do a final sweep of your home checking for anything you may have forgotten, may have been damaged, or any cash you may have left behind.
During the unpacking phase, the inventory lists you made will come in handy as a checks and balances of sorts. Here are a few useful ways to get started on the task:
- Move your essentials kit to your room first and set up your sleeping quarters.
- Check the home to see if there are specific rooms that need an extra scrub before you begin to unpack the items for that room.
- Unpack the kitchen first and bathrooms next before the bedroom and other rooms in the space.
- Put together furniture and arrange it according to your space plan.
- Get your clothing out of boxes and suitcases.
- Unpack the bedrooms next. This step can be done by each member of the family who is able so they can leave their unique mark on their personal space.
- Open every box in the home after the bedrooms are settled.
- Set up the family room or living room last plugging in televisions, laptops or tablets as final steps to discourage distraction.
Creating a plan for your move can be an overwhelming task. You may want to consider using Caring Transitions for your next move. We handle every aspect of the relocation process for you from start to finish. Think of us as an all-inclusive concierge service for your next move. We can help you create a plan, facilitate your move, plan your new space, liquidate assets, pack, unpack and resettle.