A stress-free move? Yes. It is possible.
Nobody likes moving. Stress-wise, it’s been compared to divorce or the death of a loved one. But it really doesn’t have to be that bad. Some good planning can help smooth things out, and make your move an easier experience. Here are a few ideas to help you plan:
Purge - The less stuff you have to pack and transport, the simpler your move will be. Clear out the basement, the attic, closets, the junk drawer and the shed. Have a yard sale, sell it on Craigslist, take it to Goodwill, or throw it away. If you’re moving far away, consider getting rid of furniture, too. Unless you’ve got really high-end or heirloom pieces, it could actually be more expensive to transport them than to buy new ones.
Start packing early - Pack books, off-season clothes and unused items, starting a couple of months before you move. That way, you can collect boxes and packing materials gradually without having to scramble for them at the last minute. It also gives you time to go through all your stuff and decide what to purge. Leave essentials like kitchen stuff, your kids’ favourite toys, and key home office items for the last few days.
Label the boxes - As you pack each box, write a detailed list of the contents. Don’t just write “kitchen.” Be more specific; a box labeled “coffee maker, toaster, bread maker” will save you from rooting around six or seven boxes to find what you need. Put the list right on each box and make a master list in a notebook or on the computer.
Hire movers - Yes, they’re more expensive than a DIY move, but if you’re looking to reduce stress, hiring pros is the way to go. Just make sure you hire a reputable company – shadier outfits have been known to entice customers with a really low hourly rate, then hold their property hostage until the customer agrees to pay more. Need help finding someone you can trust? Ask us or get a referral from a friend. And always ask for a written estimate.
Plan, plan and plan some more - If you Google “Moving checklist,” you’ll find plenty of printable lists of things to do before a move. Use one, or make your own, then check off items as you complete them. Lists should include big things like hiring movers and packing, of course, but don’t forget to include small stuff like booking elevators, dealing with the bank, sending out change of address cards, planning meals for the week of the move, and cancelling your newspaper subscription. Ask us if you need help.
Enlist help - Get babysitters for the kids, pet care for your fluffy friends, and if people offer to help with packing, take them up on it. If you’re getting friends to help with the actual move, give them lots of notice. And, of course, be prepared to return the favour when it’s their turn to relocate.
Remember to breathe - Accept ahead of time that the day will be stressful. When things start to get overwhelming, take a deep breath and keep in mind that the move will be over soon, and a great new place is waiting for you to make it your own.