Preparing for a Move

Things are moving along with regard to our new townhouse. We have approximately 5-6 weeks to get ready for our move to the new place. I’m excited and ready to leave the apartment.

I thought it might be helpful to share our to-do list for others that are planning to move. I’m sure many of you have some moving tips of your own to add in the comments. I’m used to moving, but it’s still a bit of an adjustment for my husband.

Things to do before we move

Notify landlord/leasing office of the move date. Our yearly lease was up in September and we’ve been going month-to-month with the apartment complex. We gave a date for moving out, and we have some leeway to extend it if necessary mainly due to apartments being empty.

Notify current employers to take some time off. Since I work from home, this isn’t a huge issue. My husband has plenty of time saved to take off from work, and his manager knows about the move. Once we get a solid schedule, he’ll inform the company. He’ll probably just take a day or two off.

Get a few estimates from truck rental companies. Since this will be a local move, it’s going to be much cheaper than some of my past moves. We got rate quotes from different moving companies to get an idea of how much to set aside. I estimated using the truck for an entire day.

  • U-Haul: They charge $19.95 plus $7 for a hand truck and $0.89/mile for a 10′ truck.
  • Penske: This was the most expensive company, with a quote of $79.95 plus $10 for a hand truck and $0.99/mile for a 12′ truck.
  • Budget: They charge $19.99 plus $15 for a hand truck and $0.89/mile for a 10′ truck.
  • Ryder: They charge $54.00 with 500 miles included for a 12′-14′ truck. No estimate for the hand truck.

Go to the post office. I need to go grab a change-of-address package to have our mail sent to the new place. I’ll do this 2 weeks before the move to see if I can get a coupon for the move.

Get started with packing. I usually pick up some boxes from a local grocery store. We’re off to a great start and our goal is to do two boxes/day until we’re done.

Clean apartment to get deposit back. I’m enlisting my sister-in-law to help me clean the apartment from top to bottom. I’m hoping (but not counting on) getting some money back so we can add it to our emergency fund.

Switch our utilities. We have to schedule disconnection of all utility services at our current apartment and have them hooked up at the new place when we move. We’ll also have to open an account with the gas company for the town house. While we’re at it, I’m going to check and see if we can get a better deal on our cable TV.

Closing Thoughts

That’s our plan for now. We’re hoping it will be simple and smooth. Am I forgetting anything major? Do you have advice on how make this move go smooth?

30 Responses to “Preparing for a Move”

  1. Anonymous

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  2. Anonymous

    Coming up on my one-year anniversary on Nov 1st of my most recent move……

    Get rid of stuff!! Clean it out, give it away, sell it. I’m glad to say that I do not have one box of ‘stuff’ left from the move. Only packing the good stuff means you’ll get to enjoy your new home much quicker.

    Label the boxes as to what room they should go into at your new home. If you can’t, you may consider placing all the boxes in one space, like a garage, so that you don’t clutter up your new home and let you settle in more peacefully.

    Personal financial papers – pack them and label them. You’ll need them too quickly to have to be digging for them. If you wish to get up and running in your new place, unpack your bedroom 1st, set up part of the kitchen and a bath, then set up your ‘desk/bill paying center’. This way you can have a good sleep, a good meal, and keep on top of your successful finances.

    Good luck – enjoy your new home

  3. Anonymous

    Don’t forget to change the address for all your bank accounts, credit cards, subscriptions, rewards programs, work, health/car insurance, etc. Don’t just do a change of address with the post office, do it with every place you want to receive mail from too so you ensure you don’t miss anything important.

  4. Re: Boxes… Liquor stores are a great source of relatively small, very strong boxes. If you have heavy stuff (like books) you can’t use big boxes or you won’t be able to pick them up. Instead, stop by your local liquor store and ask them if they’d be willing to save some boxes for you.

    For other box needs, figure out when your local grocery store does it’s heaviest re-stocking (around here, they do a ton of restocking overnight on Saturday nights) and ask them to save their boxes for you instead if crushing and bailing them. Even if they break them down (i.e., flatten them), it only takes is a few seconds and a bit of packing tape to get them back into usable shape.

  5. Anonymous

    oh, one more thing, boxes. Call a realtor or realty company and see if they know of anyone who has just moved to town and is looking to get rid of some boxes. You can often get moving company quality boxes that way. When we moved we had a hundred or so boxes (really, really nice boxes) that we happily gave away. We let them break them down and load up their truck – it took them several loads. We were happy to “recycle” them with little effort and they were overjoyed to get several hundred dollars wort of boxes for free.

  6. Anonymous

    If you’re going to hire movers (worth the money!), be sure to check references. Ask your friends. And be aware that often you get what you pay for in moving companies, just as in rental trucks.

    I learned not to go with the low bidder after the moving company sent two guys who snorted coke in my house to keep them “up” for the job, stuffed a baggie down the toilet (so I was mopping up the overflow off the bathroom floor as the Realtor called to say the buyers were on their way for the final walk-through!), refused to carry all the things the contract specified, and showed up with a truck that wouldn’t hold all my goods and so had to make two trips!

    Horrible. Next time I listen to my friends and pay twice as much so as to get moved with half as much misery.

  7. Anonymous

    Don’t forget Insurance Fee. Most car insurance companies do not cover rental trucks, and some dont even cover rental vans. Insurance Fees vary on type of rental, state of rental, and sometimes # days of rental. I paid $29 for rental truck insurance for a 2 day rental. Would a cargo vans be suitable for your move? Dont forget to count number of trips (mileage back-n-forth), and the gas mileage in your costs.

  8. Anonymous

    Good luck with the move Laura! The utility bill switch over/switch off is a killer. I got stuck not knowing i didn’t pay a $40 fee, and the collection agency came a stalking 7 years ago.

    Thanks for putting up my Panda post on your site. I thought it was quite appropriate given the name 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    Go with Penske. 1, you will actually have a truck waiting for you, unlike U-Haul, who once gave the last truck to some random person who walked in even though I’d made a reservation. I had to pay a $60 cab fare to their closest location that had a truck, and I had to move that day. 2, a Penske truck will be new, or close to new, and in good condition. I’ve had U-Hauls that were barely-running antiques, including one with no heat for my 15-degree freezing move once.

    It took awhile but I finally broke the U-Haul habit. Nobody will ever have anything good to say about those bastards.

  10. Anonymous

    I agree check about cleaning deposit, I had one apartment that would charge the whole fee if they found one speck of dust on a window blind.
    There is also the newspaper company and all banks . Alot of this can be done on line. Lots of work but worth it to get your own town home.

  11. Anonymous

    I recently moved. We were having problems with our neighbors, so we knew several months in advance that we were going to move. About 3 months before the move we decided to get a PO Box and forward our mail there. It was a great decision.

    The last few times we’d moved we had mail go missing because the forwarding simply failed. The USPS is pretty good, I’m not knocking them, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. Previously, we had good relationships with our neighbors and so we’d end up getting the mail that wasn’t forwarded. We knew that wouldn’t be the case this time, so we setup as big of a buffer as possible.

    What’s great about this approach is that you can redirect your mail before you move. This gives you a few months to see what doesn’t get redirected and to change the address on your accounts when you see they’re still set to the old address. I kept track of these accounts in a spreadsheet so that I’d know to change them again later. Then once you’re settled into the new place you can start changing the address on your accounts to mail you at your new home.

    At the end you have a choice: You can keep the PO Box if you want. You can cancel the PO Box and file a change of address to your home. Or you can cancel with no change of address. If you do the latter then you’ll effectively cancel some of the junk mail you receive, but the danger of that is that you may miss some random piece of mail that you didn’t anticipate.

  12. Anonymous

    Purge as much as possible. Just because you’ll have more storage doesn’t mean you should keep stuff you really don’t need. Now that you’ll have tax deductible interest and property taxes, anything you donate will lower your tax bill. However, it may make sense to wait to donate until Jan 1 since your deduction will be small in 2009 given you’ll only have a few months of mortgage payments. Depending on how much stuff you have to donate, this decision could save you a few hundred dollars.

    Couldn’t agree more on hiring movers. If you’re willing to do the packing and unpacking, the incremental cost of hiring three guys and a truck to carry boxes and furniture and drive the truck is fairly small and well worth the money. Keep in mind, you’ll need to arrange transport to and from the truck pick up location, pay for insurance on the truck, refill the truck which means taking a bigger truck to a gas station, rent the dolly. All of these things can be a pain. It’s much easier to just drive your car from your old place to your new place and let the movers worry about all the logistics of the truck. Also, avoids the need to get a dolly or hand truck.

    On the apartment, I strongly recommend having a walk through with the landlord/property manager once you’ve cleared out all your property. It’s a lot more difficult for them to claim something was wrong if you do the walk through and they don’t point it out to you at the time. If they do try to sneak something by, a short letter from an attorney friend is ususally enough to get them to reverse their position.

    If you run short of boxes and need to buy them, get them at Home Depot and avoid moiving or self storage companies. The price differential can be shocking.

    Since you have some flexibility in your final move date, I recommend getting as much done in your new place before filling it up with your stuff. Clean the carpets, paint walls, replace switchplate and outlet covers, change lightbulbs, wipe down baseboard, etc. An empty house is much easier to navigate than a full one. Also, try to figure out where all the big stuff goes before hand so you only have to move it once.

    Lastly, I would assume that you are going on a two day trip. Pack everything you might need in a suitcase so you have it in one place. Nothing worse than wanting to go to bed but having to search trough box after box to find a toothbrush, etc.

  13. Anonymous

    Second Ross’ suggestion about doing the address change online and to make sure you get most/all your security deposit back, schedule a walk-through with the landlord. Have the apartment clean and take pics. Make up a checklist for the landlord to check off room by room showing that he/she is satisfied with the condition. That will mitigate any opportunity for the landlord to deduct money. Most states only allow deductions for DAMAGE, not normal wear and tear. Some states even require interest be paid. You should check your state law and see what your rights are.

  14. Anonymous

    They may be telling you $X + per mile charge + hand cart, but there is almost always more to it than that. Realize that you need to count the round trip mileage, or, depending on the carrier, you’ll pay a fee for returning to a different location. The day of the move you may be surprised by the need to rent furniture blankets and tie-downs. It may happen that the 10′ truck is mysteriously gone, so you get the 12′ truck. They’ll ask you to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas, though you may receive it with only a quarter tank. Environmental fee. Weekend rate. Cleaning fee. Late fee. It’s astonishing.

    I’ve known a few people to move recently and every one of them, after they were finished, said that they would happily have paid $200 for a moving service had they known ahead of time what they would end up paying to rent a truck after all the unanticipated fees were tagged on.

  15. Anonymous

    Before you clean from top to bottom, check your lease. I just moved, and normally I clean my apartments so that they are cleaner than when I moved in (okay, cleaner than when I got the keys, because I always reclean before I move in.) But two moves ago I got charged a cleaning fee because it was standard for the management company. I’m fairly certain the cleaning people just killed time for a few hours, because there was nothing to clean in that place. This time I checked, and sure enough, my lease specified that either I had to get a professional cleaning company and a professional carpet cleaner to come in and do the work, and then show the receipts, or I would get charged a fee. I opted to let their people do it (more for convenience than anything, I’m crazy busy at the moment). I did clean the place, to make sure I’ll only get charged the minimum, but I didn’t do my normal white glove cleaning job that I would have if I knew I would get all of my deposit back.

    Moving is work enough, make sure you aren’t giving yourself extra to do.

  16. Anonymous

    There is nothing worse than moving, especially if its long distances. Hopefully you can get as much as you can done without the help of a moving company so you can forgo those costs. Ask family and friends for help or to borrow larger cars to lower moving costs.

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks guys for the advice. 🙂 Just got some boxes this morning and we’re starting the process. We’re tackling out of season clothes and extra dishes and cookware we rarely use. We’ll either pack or donate them.

    Nickel, we got some volunteers this weekend when we helped our friends move. 🙂

    We’ll ask around and see who was happy with their rental truck company.

    @Ross: Thanks for the link!

  18. Anonymous

    I like that you have the option of keeping the old place for some period of overlap. We did that when we bought our home and it was worth it. Some of the rooms needed painting, so we did that before the move. Ditto for carpet shampooing. Much easier in an empty house.

    When doing the change-of-address thing, don’t forget your online banking and online merchant accounts. Wouldn’t want to ship stuff to the old address!

  19. Anonymous

    Somewhere Nickel wrote a piece about “Life is too short to drink cheap beer”…. Life is too short to hump furniture up stairs – spend the two hundred and hire some movers. And buy them (the movers) a beer, you’ll be living the dream for sure then!

  20. Anonymous

    Having just moved 2 months ago, I say. um good luck! 🙂
    Just kidding. Kinda. Anyway- I got lots of boxes thur Craigslist and Freecycle- then, gave them away again! Saved me a bunchi of money, and someone else, too. (Not to mention being “green”.
    You can do the mail change online- I did, one less trip to make, and it’ll let you print out coupons.

    I agree with the marking of spaces, boxes, and anything that can help movers.

    Don’t foget to make ONE box with: sheets/blanket for your bed, meds you might need, a coffee pot. These are things I would have been LOST without. Good luck!

  21. Anonymous

    To add to what lostAnnfound said, you should also look for reviews of your local truck rental places. Some of those places are notorious for “reserving” a truck for you but not having one ready when you need it, or claiming false damage to the vehicle. Just going with the lowest upfront price might not end up saving you any money or time in the long run.

  22. Anonymous

    Do you have to rent the handcart? ask around friends, neighbors, coworkers, local business owners you know?… ask if they have one you could borrow for the day. Saves you $7-10..

    We moved recently, and got a great deal from UHaul.. we were doing a local move, but our local UHaul didn’t have any trucks available for our reservation time, so I had to drive out of the way to pick up the truck. They threw in enough miles for the inconvenience and 2 trips from old place to new place, resulting in a pretty major savings.

  23. Anonymous

    Reduce clutter. Even before you start packing you can go through closets and sell things, donate them, or throw them away.

    I also recommend saving all cleaners and toiletries. Some people throw these away instead of moving them. You’ll have to repurchase them and that’s costly. Do use the ones that are nearly empty and then throw them away, but the full or mostly-full just keep. Use packaging tape to tape the lid or cap closed. Any boxes (like dish detergent or baking soda, etc) you can tape shut. Anything that might spill just tape shut and you’ll avoid messes.

    When backing books, CDs and DVDs use smaller boxes – remember they get heavy quickly. You don’t want to hurt your back lugging books. At the very list put a few in a box and fill the box up with clothes or other lighterweight materials.

    Be very careful with batteries, flammables, aerosoles, matches anything dangerous. You might even move those independently of your other stuff – you don’t want to risk a spill or accident. You also don’t want those items sitting in extreme weather.

  24. Anonymous

    I always did what Nickel said. Instead of pizza though (cuz it’s too heavy) the wife & I always bought our peeps 4 feet worth of those Subway party subs… worked great.

    Also, don’t forget to LABEL all the boxes with the name of the room they will be going into in the new house. Then make sure you mark each room in the new house with a sign, so people know which room to drop off each box into. I can’t take credit for this, it’s my wife’s idea. She’s anal like that, but it worked SOOO good.

    The people moving made fun of her at first (anal retentiveness) but after awhile they stopped because they were all thankful for how it ran like a well oiled machine!

  25. Anonymous

    Regarding the truck rental, U-Haul and Budget may be the cheapest, but sometimes you get what you pay for. My husband (who drives truck for his job) has found Penske to have better, more reliable vehicles.

  26. Laura: Don’t forget to enlist some help with the move itself. Pay your friends with pizza and beer if nothing else. 🙂

    I would also suggest looking closely at everything you pack. Even if you’re moving to a bigger place, now is a great time to reduce clutter. Sell or donate the stuff that you never use rather than hauling it with you.

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