My husband Cory and I have moved cross-country THREE times now, and each time we do I learn something new. Mostly it’s that I never want to move again, but aside from that, it’s usually something that reveals itself as an aha! moment somewhere along the way.
Our most recent move was earlier this year, and this one felt different. It had been 8 years since our last one, and we were older, wiser (I hope), and dare I say more organized?!
Of course we had a lot of help from our friends, family, and our awesome moving company, The Wheaton Group (thank you!), which all came together to make our moving day as stress-free as possible.
The tips below are what I think really helped us this time around. From getting an early start to picking the best moving company and staying on top of those often forgotten details, hopefully you can use these tips for a stress-free moving day of your own!
Step 1: Start Early and Create a Timeline
Whether you’re moving locally or embarking on a cross-country move, the key is to start the process as early as possible. The more time you have, the better!
As soon as you pick your target move date (based on when you start a new job, lease, or close escrow on a new house), you’ll want to make sure you pick the best moving company to make it happen.
After A LOT of research, my husband and I selected The Wheaton Group—which has a network of moving companies across the country including Wheaton World Wide Moving, Bekins Van Lines, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, Arpin Van Lines, and Clark & Reid—for our move from California to Florida. They helped make the process as smooth as possible from our very first call.
Once we decided to go with them, they guided us through what our timeline would be. Since we were doing a full-service move with them, this included packing our items as well.
To start the process, we did a video call with one of their representatives so they could take a virtual survey of all the furniture and belongings we wanted to take with us. This really helped us decide early on what we wanted to take with us and what we wanted to donate or sell. After that we had the start of our timeline:
- Packing Day: 1/24
- Move Out Day: 1/27
Knowing those dates (and having several weeks beforehand to prepare) really eliminated a lot of unnecessary stress. From there we created a calendar that included get-togethers with friends, deadlines for selling or donating furniture, as well as a plan of action for calling utility companies to tell them when we were leaving (or arriving).
2. Pack Smartly
We went through every piece of furniture, clothing, and book we had and decided whether we wanted to take, toss, donate, or sell it. Doing this purge ahead of time gave us confidence that everything we were taking was going to be worth the journey.
We donated clothing and older furniture to local charities, and for the larger pieces that had more significant value we sold them via apps like Let Go. Once you have a sense of what’s going with you and what’s not, the packing can begin!
…And Have a System
While it’s always easier to have professionals like those at The Wheaton Group move AND pack you, if you’re going the DIY route you’ll want to make sure you have a system.
Create a list of all your belongings you are taking with you, and group them into rooms (IE: dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom). Pack your boxes accordingly, and be sure to label each box with the name. You can also use colored stickers and color code each box to align with a room as well. It’s best to pack one room at a time, and start with the ones you don’t use as much. (Save the kitchen for last!).
Tip: Keep all your moving supplies in one place. We had a designated area for our markers, stickers, tape, boxes, and wrapping paper so we always knew where to find that pesky tape dispenser when we needed it!
Since the movers came to pack us a couple of days before our move-out, they smartly left extra boxes for us to add any last-minute additions we might have, and also left our “bathroom” box open so we could continue to use toiletries and other items in it.
We had also already packed our luggage with the clothes we would be wearing upon arrival, as well as our valuables and important documents. You’ll want to make sure to keep all your important insurance papers, birth certificate, passport, etc. on you, even if you are flying to your destination!
3. Don’t Forget the Technical Details
While the packing and physical moving will take up the majority of your headspace and actual time, keep in mind that there are other things you’ll need to do in order to move. A brief list includes:
- Calling your current and future utility, cable, phone, and internet providers to tell them your timeline.
- Get parking permits for the moving van if street parking is required.
- If you live in a condo or apartment, reserve the elevator for the day of your move if required.
- Schedule any final inspections or walk-throughs with your landlord. Or, if you’re selling your home, make sure all your closing and other arrangements are made.
I had a file/document organizer that I used to keep all of our important documents in places, such as our moving contract, permits, etc. As a Wheaton customer, we also took advantage of their super friendly and efficient customer service which helped us navigate through the entire process, and was there to answer any questions we might have.
4. Mentally Walk Through the Moving Day Ahead of Time
Pretend your moving day is finally here…how does it look? If all of your items are packed, what will you need to get through the actual day? Certain things you’ll want to make sure you definitely have are:
Cash for tips: We gave each mover $50, though the amount you give depends on your budget and how much time they are there.
Food/drinks: We got a carafe of coffee and a 2-gallon water jug with paper cups for the movers. When the packers were there we also bought them sandwiches. Make sure you and your moving team are well hydrated and fed throughout the day!
Portable electronics and chargers: This way you can work or respond to e-mail and phone calls if you have some downtime.
Basic cleaning supplies: After the movers left I made sure our apartment was in great shape by sweeping the floors and throwing out any leftover toiletries or food that we were unable to take with us.
5. Enjoy your last day in your former home…and look forward to the new one!
After everything was said and done and our belongings were en route to our new city, we walked through our apartment and thanked it for the memories and said goodbye. It sounds sappy, but it really helps end one chapter and get excited for the next.
*Applies to interstate moves only. Valid Sept. 2020 through April 2021.