Essential Tasks to Place on Your Pre-Move Checklist

After deciding to rent or buy a new home, you can begin the pre-planning elements of your move. The following tasks are ideal for getting an early jump on whether you’re moving across town or relocating across state lines.

Set a Moving Budget

Regardless of your move, you’ll need to set a budget to know what you have to work with when making important decisions. This way, you can cap your spending and determine where to cut costs if needed. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much can I afford to spend on my move?
  • How far is my relocation, and what additional expenses will I incur if I move a distance?
  • Do I want to plan a DIY move or enlist the services of an experienced moving company?
  • Will I be packing/unpacking myself, or would I prefer help?

Also, consider whether you’re moving during peak moving season (e.g., June – August) or when moving services are less in demand (e.g., January) because it’ll affect your budget. Whatever your move will involve, knowing the amount of money you can spend will help keep you within any limits you set.

Inform Your Current Landlord of Your Plans to Vacate

Check your lease to see any stipulations regarding providing notice in moving. In most instances, you would inform your landlord before resigning your lease or providing 30 days’ notice. Also, read up on your state’s laws to ensure you don’t miss any windows where a landlord can keep your security deposit or charge you for time remaining on your lease, etc.

Book a Moving Company to Reserve Your Preferred Time

A big part of your pre-planning checklist will be deciding whether you’ll DIY your move or hire a reliable moving company. Unless you plan a small relocation, such as a dorm room or a studio apartment, you’ll likely want help.

As soon as you know you’re moving, plan to obtain quotes from moving companies, especially if you’re moving during peak times. The sooner you book, the more likely you’ll get your preferred dates at the best prices.

Downsize Belongings Before You Begin Packing

This isn’t a traditional “checklist” item per se, but your best bet is to downsize before you move. Plan to sell, donate, or give away things you don’t want or need. There’s no good reason to move belongings you’ll get rid of any way or allow to collect dust in closets or basements. This also helps keep your budget down.

Gather Moving Supplies

Assemble an array of moving supplies once you know you’re moving. This way, you can pack a little at a time to help keep this task manageable and low-stress. You’ll need boxes, tape, packing paper, bubble wrap, and a dark marker (or color labels).

Other Miscellaneous Tasks to Attend to:

  • Schedule time off from work if moving during a workday
  • File change of address with USPS
  • Open or transfer utility accounts
  • Close utility accounts you no longer need
  • Plan goodbye dinners or parties
  • Register children for their new school
  • Handle any job-related arrangements
  • Research healthcare providers if you have immediate needs
  • Make travel arrangements if moving long-distance

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6 Ways to Save Money with Your Move

A household move can be expensive. However, you can move successfully on a budget. Here are some tips to make your residential relocation cost-effective.

1. Declutter

Movers typically charge by weight or the size of truck you require. Sorting through your things and removing items you last used a while ago can save you some money. You can donate, sell, or give away items you no longer need. Hosting a garage sale for unused items can also help you earn money toward the cost of your move.

2. Reuse Packing Materials

Some movers provide free or reduced gently used boxes. You can also often find boxes from friends who’ve recently moved or through posting on social media. Retailers like grocers and appliance stores are also a good source of sturdy, gently used cartons. Recycling centers also may let you take boxes.

You can also save considerably on other packing materials. For example, consider supplementing your bubble wrap or packing paper with socks, tee shirts, and towels. You also can use paper grocery bags for wrapping items.

3. Measure Before Moving

Measure the dimensions of each room in your new home and plan your layout before deciding what to move. Also, measure the width of doors and around corners and staircases. You don’t want to spend money moving an item that won’t fit.

4. Pick the Right Time

Try to move during non-peak times. Summer and weekends are often the busiest, meaning moving during a different season or the weekday may save you money. You also may not have to book your move so far ahead.

5. Seek Moving Benefits from Your Employer

Before you accept a job that requires relocation, ask about a relocation package. Some companies will reimburse part or all the cost of the move. Some may also offer job search assistance for your spouse or partner.

Even if your company fails to offer relocation benefits, you may be able to deduct the costs from your taxes at year-end. A good tax preparer can guide you.

6. Get Multiple Estimates

Ask at least three reputable movers for estimates. Ask friends for recommendations of movers and read reviews.

A reputable mover will come to your old house and look at what you must move before providing an estimate. Be sure to give the same information to each mover so that you can compare the quotes. Some movers also offer discounts to certain professions, such as teachers, first responders, or members of specific organizations. Be sure to ask.

Although obtaining multiple estimates is an excellent way to save money, you shouldn’t always go with the lowest bidder, especially if the bids are far apart. A very low bid could mean that the mover has underestimated your move, and you may be in for a surprise when you receive the final bill. Also, a low-cost mover may cut corners in other ways, resulting in a disappointing moving experience that may cost you more in the long run.

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