Preparing For The Move

Thereís so much to do before you move that the list seems almost endless. However, here is a list of items that can be completed well in advance of your moving date.

6 weeks before moving:

  • Fill out a change of address order form for the post office.
  • Prepare an inventory of everything you own. Divide this inventory into three separate categories: items to be handled by the mover, items to be handled by you, and items to be left behind.
  • Pack stock certificates, wills, and other one-of-a-kind items (jewelry, photos and home videos) that will be difficult or impossible to replace. Plan to carry them with you instead of packing them.
  • Get rid of what you donít need either through a garage sale, give to friends or charity, or haul off to the dump.
  • Contact your insurance agent to transfer property, fire, auto, and medical insurance.
  • Organize dental and medical records.  Include prescriptions, eyeglass specifications, and vaccination records.
  • Inquire about changes that you may incur in your auto licensing and insurance when moving.
  • Notify your children's school(s). Make arrangement for records to be forwarded to the new school district.
  • Contact any clubs or organizations you are associated with for information on transferring, selling, or ending your memberships.
  • Get acclimated to your new community. Drive around and learn where the important destinations are, e.g. shopping districts, hospitals, police and fire departments.
  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor's Bureau to request information on schools, parks and recreation, community calendars and maps.
  • If you plan to do any part of the packing, start collecting suitable containers and packing materials.
  • Cancel local deliveries.
  • If you have pets, call your new town to determine if there are any specific requirements for pet ownership. In addition, obtain and transfer veterinarian records.
  • Register your children in their new schools.
  • Fill out an IRS change of address form.
  • Make arrangements with your moving company, or reserve a rental truck.
  • Make travel arrangements, if necessary, with airlines, buses, car rental agencies, and hotels.
  • Transfer memberships in churches, clubs, and civic organizations.
  • Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays, and prescription histories. Ask your doctor and dentist for referrals, and transfer prescriptions.
  • Set up a checking account in your new city.
  • Check into the laws and requirements of your new city regarding home-based businesses, professional tests, business licenses, and any special laws that might be applicable to you.
  • Take inventory of your belongings before they're packed, in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or video tape your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
  • Make arrangements for transporting pets:
    • Cats and Dogs - Cats and dogs can be taken in your car.  If so, remember to take along the following items:
      • Food
      • Water
      • A leash for letting your pet out of the car
      • Newspaper or sheets to keep your car clean
    • If you are moving a long distance away, check ahead to see if the hotels where you are staying allows pets.
    • Depending on the animal's temperament and size, it might be better to have it shipped by air.
    • Be sure to check if your destination has any local requirements or restrictions on animals.
    • Shipping Pets by Air - To have your pet shipped by air, make sure someone can meet your pet at the destination airport, and take care of it until you arrive. A kennel can do this for you and keep your pet until you have completed your move, if necessary.
    • If you are flying to your new destination, your cat or dog can ride in the baggage compartment. You may need the following items:
      • Health certificate. Obtain this from your veterinarian.
      • Pet container. The airline might have a special container available or you can use your own as long as it complies with airline regulations.
      • Tranquilizers. Your vet can provide tranquilizers to be given to your pet immediately before going to the airport.
      • Your scent. Your pet can be comforted by having a piece of cloth with your scent on it.
    • Smaller Animals - Hamsters, birds and other small animals can easily be transported in your car. To help keep the animals calm and quiet, cover cages with a cloth. Also, make sure they have food and water available.
    • Fish - It can be very impractical and risky to move fish. Check with your local pet store for recommendations on moving your specific type of fish.
  • Start using up food items, so that there is less to pack and possibly spoil.

2 Weeks Before Moving

  • Switch utility services to new address. Inform electric, disposal, water, newspaper, magazine subscription, telephone and cable companies of your move.
  • Arrange for help on moving day.
  • Confirm travel reservations.
  • Reserve elevator if moving from an apartment.
  • Have appliances serviced for moving.
  • Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving.
  • Plan ahead for special needs of infants.
  • Close bank accounts and have your funds wired to your new bank. Before closing, be sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments that haven't been processed.
  • Collect valuables from your safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents before mailing, or hand carry them to your new address.
  • Check with your insurance agent to ensure you'll be covered through your homeowner's or renter's policy during the move.
  • Defrost freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside to control odors.
  • Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed.

On Moving Day

  • Double check closets, drawers, shelves, attic, and garage to be sure they are empty.
  • Pack important documents, currency, and jewelry yourself, or use registered mail.
  • Carry traveler's checks for quick, available funds.
  • Strip your beds, and make sure the bedding goes into a 'Load Last' box.
  • Make sure to be on hand when the movers arrive.
  • Confirm the delivery date and time at your new address. Write directions to your new home for the driver. Provide the new phone number, and include phone numbers where you can be reached in transit (cell phone). Make sure to take along the driverís name, address, and telephone number.
  • Spend as much time with the mover as possible. If you have special instructions, like what to load first and last, make sure it is explained to your mover. Communicate well with the movers. If you choose to have your mover handle your valuables or other fragile goods, tell the mover in advance.
  • Review all details and paperwork with driver. Accompany the driver as he or she inspects and tags each piece of furniture with an identifying number. These numbers, along with a detailed description of your goods and their condition at the time of loading, will appear on the inventory.
  • Make sure all of your goods are loaded.
  • Perform a final inspection of the premises.

After Arriving At New Home

  • Renew your driver's license, auto registration, and tags.
  • Shop around for new insurance policies, especially auto coverage.
  • Revise your will and other legal papers to avoid longer probate and higher legal fees.
  • Have all utilities turned on. (Phone, gas, electricity, Internet, cable TV)
  • Locate the hospitals, police stations, veterinarian, and fire stations near your home.
  • Be at the premises when the movers arrive. Remain on the premises while your belongings are being unloaded. If you cannot be there personally, be sure to authorize an adult to be your representative to accept delivery and pay the charges for you. Inform the destination agent of your chosen representative's name.
  • Have payment on hand for your moving charges. Unless other billing arrangements were made in advance, payment is required upon delivery in cash, traveler's checks, money order or cashier's check. Most of the time, personal checks are not accepted.
  • Confine your pets to an out-of-the-way room to help keep them from running away or becoming agitated by all of the activity.
  • Review your floor plan so you can tell the movers where to place your furniture, appliances, beds, and boxes. Be available to direct them as they unload.
  • To prevent possible damage, televisions, stereos, computers, other electronic equipment, and major appliances should not be used for 24 hours after delivery, allowing them time to adjust to room temperature.

If you follow these ideas, tips, and suggestions, you should be able to accomplish your move with a minimal amount of disruption and heartache.


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