Annually, more than 35 million Americans — approximately 15.3 million households — pack up their lives and move. That’s 11% of the entire population. The overwhelming majority move within the state where they already live, while roughly 14 percent either move to another state or country.
For the large majority that move every year, “it’s inevitable that a move will [heighten] stress levels,” Jorja, a moving company executive said. With careful planning, there are things you can do to reduce a stressful experience “By trying to take as much off your plate [prior to the event] that you can, you at least ensure the event is less stressful than it might otherwise have been.” With solid planning and organization, you can also ensure you properly invest in your move and ensure your most valuable items are taken care of.
Here are some simple guidelines that could keep stress levels down:
● Create a checklist of things you need done on the day of the move.
● Hire professional movers.
● Plan activities to keep the kids active and occupied.
How to take some of the hassle out of a move
When people learn that a friend or family member is moving, their first reaction may be “Oh, no! We’ll miss you guys,” but then quickly becomes, “Moving is so hard.” Sure, moving can be, and often is, difficult, especially when you consider the long-time friends you’re potentially leaving and the ordeal of the move itself.
It’s enough to give anyone pause.
This 10-point checklist could help prioritize and organize your move, helping you invest the time and money on the moving matters that can count the most.
1. Assess your budget and finance your move.
With the task of moving comes assessing your options and determining your budget, ensuring you can pay for it all, from packing materials or services to movers.
Actual costs for a move vary from city to city and state to state. Washington, D.C., for example, reigns as the top metropolitan area people are moving to — and away from. There, the average cost to move to a two-bedroom home is $682, while in Phoenix, a city many people are moving to, the average cost is $617. In Philadelphia, a city many people are leaving, that figure increases to $715. These amounts are estimates, and don’t include a host of other potential costs, which could bring the total cost of moving into the thousands
Some companies offer relocation packages for employees, which can reduce the financial burden. However, with only 10.8 percent all people moving are doing so for a new job or because of a job transfer. This leaves the majority of those moving having to finance their move from their own pocket, most people move because they want a new or better home or apartment. Others move in order to own their home instead of rent.
For those who move without employer relocation assistance, the financial burden of moving can be a stress in and of itself. There are several financial tools available to you, but it could be beneficial to look into personal loans if the moving costs total more than $2,500. Personal loans, like those from Discover, have fixed interest rates and a set monthly payment, making it easy to fit into your monthly budget. If approved and you accept the terms of the loan, you can also get the loan funds within days so you don’t have to adjust your moving dates or overload your credit card with moving expenses.
2. Vet and hire the best movers for the job.
Whether you’re relocating across the street or across the world, moving can be expensive. But taking your time to find, vet, and hire the right movers is worthwhile. In addition to perusing reviews, visiting various websites, and conducting online searches for moving companies, make sure to talk to friends. See who’s had a good experience with a mover they’d recommend. Social media, especially Facebook, can also be a great tool for finding a professional mover that’s the perfect fit.
3. Communicate, communicate, and communicate with the movers.
Once you select a mover, it’s time to communicate what your expectations are and what you’ll need done for your move. There is no such thing as too much communication: Share the details of the move, including any specific information that might be unique to your new home as they likely won’t have seen yet. For example, the movers may need a smaller truck to negotiate a hilly driveway. In another scenario, hauling items by foot up a steep walkway can be treacherous, and it risks damage to your property. If there is anything you think they need to know, share it and your movers can map out a plan and come prepared with the right equipment.
4. Prepare a checklist of things to take care of or have on hand.
We all know that friend who discovers their license or other important papers were accidentally packed during the move. As the moving date approaches, create a checklist of all the things that need to get done between now and your arrival at your new home, including the items you need to accomplish each task. A checklist can contain instructions, such as contact cable, water, electric, and pool and lawn care companies; and have a list of items to always have on you, such as your credit card, ID and last bill.
5. If you have expensive or important items, don’t leave them to chance.
One of the biggest complaints regarding moves is that items get broken, misplaced, or stolen in transit. After all, no matter how well you or the movers pack items, these could shift, fall, and in all the commotion, get lost in the shuffle.
Therefore, for delicate, expensive, or important items, it’s best that you set them aside, and then pack and move them yourself. This way you have control and can keep an eye on these items so they have the highest chance of arriving safely, all in one piece. Think of their value and invest your time and effort in transporting them accordingly.
6. Keep a travel pack of needed items handy.
You show up to your new place in a new location and discover that the move is going well, but likely won’t wrap up as quickly as you expected. You’re hungry, and you need a change of clothes and some toiletries, but everything is still in boxes — not a great feeling. Think ahead and consider which items you’ll immediately need to access in the new place and keep those on hand, either by traveling with them yourself or by shipping them ahead so they arrive in advance.
7. Don’t try to take it all with you.
Ever notice how during moving sales, people all of sudden get rid of things they should have long ago realized they didn’t need? When you’re planning to move, have a stern talk with either yourself or any hoarding family members. Realize that if you haven’t used an item and you’re unlikely to use it, paying for it to travel to the new place makes little sense. If that doesn’t work, make a promise that if you get rid of an item now but do want it later, you can get another one. Maybe that’s all the incentive the hoarder in you or your family needs to get rid of those tennis rackets covered in cobwebs.
If you plan ahead, you could even earn some extra money to put towards moving costs by having a yard sale to free yourself of items not worth moving for the long haul.
8. Stick to your routine as much as possible on the day of the move.
We all can be creatures of habit, resorting to our emotional and physical fallbacks during times of stress. Therefore, if you normally go to the gym at 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays, keep up the habit on the day of the move. If needed, have a friend or partner be there for the movers. Anything that reduces stress is a welcome addition.
9. If you have kids or pets, find ways to keep them busy.
Let’s face it: Kids and pets can add complications to the move. Boxes and packing tape and strangers in moving uniforms are constantly moving around, so it can be more difficult to get things done with kids or dogs winding their way through the commotion. Arrange for kids or pets to visit friends or family members on the day of the move, or schedule an activity, such as a karate class or doggy day care.
Let neighbors, friends, and family help you. In addition to keeping kids entertained, your support system can help tackle the hurdles that inevitably pop up during a move. For example, if the movers accidentally mark up your old home’s walls or dirty the carpet, what can you do, especially if you have to catch a plane to beat the movers to the new house. This is an instance when your neighbors or close friends can step in and help. They can help arrange for repairs or cleanup, or discard any items that might get left behind.
10. Prioritize organization and assimilation to your new surroundings.
The movers show up to your new home and start unloading boxes. You unlock the door and they go room to room, moving furniture and setting up items. This is not the time to get distracted. It’s a good idea to ask your movers to unload, unpack, and set up the areas you need to get into first, and instruct them where you’d like furniture placed as best you can. If you have kids, that means unpacking and setting up their rooms first. Whatever room you deem most important, have movers start there first.
Moving can often be stressful. However, you can lessen the stress by managing as many critical areas as you can, from budgeting to packing plans.