Man packing up moving boxesIt’s time to whip out the packing tape and get to work! Planning for the big move may have you buzzing with excitement, but if you’re not properly prepared, it can also cause you a great deal of stress. Before diving into the packing peanuts, consider these 10 tips to make the most out of your move.

1.    Don’t Move Into Debt

Make sure you have a budget in place before moving. Not only should you know your day-to-day expenses (this may change when you’re living in a new house), but you should also consider the financial weight of the move itself. Moving is stressful enough; adding debt to the mix is toxic. Between the movers, the fuel and the supplies, the costs can add up. According to Angie’s List data, moving to a home within your current state will cost you $2,211 on average. If you’re moving out of state, that number skyrockets, averaging $6,402. This can be a pretty pricey adventure, so be prepared with a financial plan to get you there. One good way to figure out how much you’ll need is to check out a moving cost calculator.

2.    Home Sweet Home

Before you decide to make the big move, make sure you know where you’re going. You’ll need to take some time to consider the neighborhood, the school district and the commute to and from work. These little details will save you in the long run. More importantly, take some time to find that perfect home, as well as a mortgage company that will help you make it a reality.

3.    Pack it, Sell it, Gift it, Trash it

In the months before the big moving day, begin categorizing everything in your house. Clutter squeezes its way into all of our lives, and it often comes out of the woodwork when we’re moving. Dusty lamps, kids toys, an elliptical machine that we planned to start using after Thanksgiving – these objects come into the light during the move. Instead of packing it all up, take this time to organize. Create simple piles, deciding which things to pack, which ones to sell, which ones to give away to charity, and which ones to trash.

Quick tip: Don’t be a hoarder. If you’ve discovered that you can’t separate yourself from anything in your house, there’s a good chance you need to call in some outside council. Ask friends and family members to talk you through this. While you might think that the duck tape adds character to your loveseat, an outsider will likely have the perspective to see it for the piece of junk it is.

4.    To Whom It May Concern:

Take a day to get your mail and documents in order. Begin updating your address with the postal service, your utilities, your magazine subscriptions, etc. This is probably going to take longer than you think. Carve out a good chunk of time to get these ducks in a row.

5.    Normalize the House

When selling your house, take some time to imagine your potential homebuyer. If the only person you can picture in your house is you, then you may have a problem. A house with “character” or an “eccentric flair” may seem like a good thing to a very specific kind of person, but in actuality it can make the selling process much slower. Think of it this way: When someone walks into a house and it feels like a blank canvas, they can easily picture their perfect dream home. But if they walk into a house and it looks like someone else’s dream home, they may not feel as warm and fuzzy about it. Instead, it’s wise to widen your net and depersonalize your home.

Quick tip: If you’re wanting to make some easy improvements that increase the value of your home, check out this helpful video.

6.    It Takes a Village

Moving is not the time to be prideful. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out. Asking friends, family and community members to pitch in is an excellent way to get things ready to go. Make sure you feed them well. Spare no expense for these wonderful volunteers. More importantly, in the future, when someone asks you to help them move (and they will), be the first to offer your services.

Quick tip: For some people, hiring a mover is the best decision. It may not be as cheap as having your family do it, but you’ll have the assurance that your stuff will arrive at the new home safe and sound. In order to get the cheapest rates on movers, plan your move for the middle of the month. The beginning and end of each month, especially if it’s a summer month, is the most expensive.

7.    You’ve Got Your Back

When moving boxes and furniture, bend with your legs. Seriously. Do it. Nothing will ruin a move like a week of back pain. It doesn’t matter how many barstools you think you can carry up three flights of stairs, especially if that one trip leaves you bedridden. Moving day is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Save your back.

Quick tip: Get a dolly or moving straps.

8.    Hello, Neighbor

Make sure you greet your new neighbors. For some of us, this one feels like a painfully awkward suggestion, but take a moment to consider the benefits. Your neighbor has lived in your new neighborhood longer than you have. They know the trends, the area and the traditions. They know where the nearest burger joint is or where you can find toothpaste after 7:00 on a Sunday night. In other words, a neighbor is a goldmine of information. Not only that, but building a friendship with your neighbors helps you create a new community. Sure, not all neighbors will be Mr. Rogers, but it’s worth sifting through a few bad apples to find the good one.

Quick tip: If your neighbor doesn’t initiate a conversation when you first move, don’t be afraid to bring them some homemade (or secretly store-bought) cookies. A Snickerdoodle and a handshake can go a long way.

9.    Pack the Pets

Moving can be stressful for your pets. During the preparation period, you should slowly be acclimating them to some type of moving crate as a way to help them feel more comfortable on the big day. For the most part, dogs will adjust better to the move than cats.

Once you’re in the new house, make sure that you prepare a small place for your pets to get situated when they first arrive. Filling a corner with food, treats and familiar toys gives your pets a good home base, allowing them to feel more comfortable with the change. Pets are like family, so make sure you’re preparing them for this big event, too.

Quick tip: If you’re worried about your pet suffering from carsickness, check out these tips from Pets Web MD.

10. Memories and Dreams

Don’t take the moving period lightly. This is a big change in your life, so make sure you’re treating it that way. Take photographs of your old home before you leave. Make one final feast in your kitchen, take one more bubble bath in your tub, scratch your name into the floorboard (where no one will find it). Give yourself some closure.

In the same way, look at your new home as a new opportunity. It’s not going to be perfect in the beginning. You’ll need to fill it up and customize it to your liking. Take your time during this period. It won’t happen overnight. In the beginning, it will just be a house, but given enough time and hard work, it will soon become your home.

Do you have questions about the moving process? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy moving!

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