Experts call moving the third most stressful life event, and it’s because there are literally, a thousand moving parts.
There’s a lot more to moving than simply changing spaces and moving your items. It’s packing up everything you own and changing up your daily routine while still keeping up with life, work, family and any health issues you may have. It’s also envisioning your future routine and making your new home work for you. That’s a big deal, and you want it done right. How often have you moved and discovered that you still have unpacked boxes in the garage? Or that you never took the time to really organize the kitchen and bathrooms the way you wanted to?
Check out these common moving mistakes and ways you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Procrastinating
No matter how small your space, it’s likely to take a lot more effort to pack up your belongings than you might first guess, especially once you dig in and realize just how many of them you have (we ALL have more items than we think!). And waiting until the week before the movers arrive before you make this discovery can lead to a very long moving day.
In addition, waiting too long to book your preferred moving partners could mean they aren’t available on the day you need them — especially if you’re relocating during a busy time of year.
How to avoid it: Once you know your moving date, put it on the calendar. Then, work backwards to create a timeline and stick to it. If you’re planning to hire a certified Move Manager, make that your first to-do. We create timelines for each of our clients, so they know exactly when to call their movers, and how long it will take to downsize and pack.
Mistake 2: Underestimating
Moving can involve a lot of guesswork, including the amount of packing tape, bubble wrap and other supplies you’ll need, how big the moving truck should be, or how much time and effort it will take you to load and unload.
How to avoid it: One way to avoid underestimating is to purposefully overestimate, because more supplies equals less stress. And if you end up with a surplus, it’s better than having to interrupt your packing flow to run back to the store (again). If you have leftovers, you can possibly return them, or pay them forward for a friend who’s about to move.
Mistake 3: Not taking time to assess, declutter and donate
It goes without saying that the more items you keep, the more items you’ll have to move. And bringing everything with the idea that you’ll figure it out on the other end can mean not only more money spent on supplies and moving, but also the chance that your sorting session may never happen.
How to avoid it: When you’re building out your move timeline, pencil in a few days on your calendar for decluttering, sorting, selling, donating or just plain getting rid of things you won’t need in your new space. If you have time, you can even consider a yard sale to make some money for the move. Make it a goal to only take the belongings that will actually have a home in your new space. Helping clients through the process of downsizing, decluttering and purging before a move is one of our favorite parts of the job (and it saves you time and money in the end, when you’re not paying to pack, move and unpack items you don’t want).
Mistake 4: Forgetting
This is an easy one. It’s easy for move-related to-do’s to slip through the cracks during a move, and you may not even know you’re forgetting something until it happens. While you’re focused on carefully packing your belongings, it can be easy to forget things like forwarding your mail, turning off and on utilities, or making sure keys are left behind. And who hasn’t accidentally packed something essential — like a toothbrush or toilet paper — and forgotten which box it’s in?
How to avoid it: In addition to your moving timeline, start a “Don’t forget to…” list. And every time you think of something that needs to be done, write it down immediately. To-do’s like getting boxes out of the attic, arranging a babysitter and making sure your pets are good to go are all examples of tasks that can get lost in the shuffle.
Mistake 5: Assuming
Making incorrect assumptions about your move could lead to more time, money and headaches than you care to deal with. And one of the biggest is assuming that you can handle it on your own. Sure it’s possible to move without professional help. You’ve probably done it once or twice. But if you’re dealing with health issues, aging parents, small children, a major downsize, a last-minute move or a long-distance relocation, it can be especially helpful to have an expert on your side who sees the big picture and knows exactly what to ask.
How to avoid it: Do your research, assess your belongings thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a move manager. But today, you can hire a move manager to run the entire process for you. If you do choose to tackle it alone, the key is planning, planning and more planning.