“Everyone in the family, the moving company, and the neighbors tried to help get our king-sized bed up the stairs,” recalls Bonnie Hoffman, a West Hartford, Conn. mother of two, who has moved from East Coast to West Coast then back again. “After a few pulled muscles, some scrapes along the wall, and many frustrating hours later, they all finally gave up — and my poor bed was never seen again.”
Bonnie learned that day that she would always take measurements of her new home before trying to transport any big belongings!
Stories like these remind us that moving is never easy. Sometimes jobs force us to relocate (and on short notice!), so there may be many things we overlook before, during and after the big day.
Whether you’re moving a mile away or to the other side of the country, check out these 14 important things that many of us forget to tackle during the moving process.
Many parents forget to tell schools far enough in advance. Pamela Smith, spokesperson for “The Moving Blog,” advises parents to notify their child’s new school “several months before they would like their child to start.” Let administrators know if your child has any special needs, ask what information they need from the old school and schedule a tour of the building for you and your child.
Let Caregivers Know
You remembered to tell your friends and neighbors that you’re moving — they even threw you that great goodbye party! — but what about the people who help you run your life? If you’ve hired a nanny, babysitter, housekeeper, tutor, pet sitter, etc., give them at least a month’s notice before you move. If you’re changing ZIP codes, they may have to find a new job. And you and your kids need to prepare for the nanny-child separation.
Ease “Moving Day” Anxieties
Through all the pre-move chaos, you may be forgetting some really important people in your life: your children! Smith says the best way to help them through the transition is “to spend a little more time with the kids right before and after the move.”
Carol Fradkin, author of “Moving Gracefully: A Guide to Relocating Yourself and Your Family,” stresses the importance of continuing traditions throughout the entire move: “Have waffles on Sunday mornings, read a book to the kids at bedtime or go for a walk after dinner.” Activities like this will help you and the kids relax before the big day, and help you feel “less unsettled” once you’re in the new home.
Arrange Child Care
Avoid the last-minute scramble for child care. Create a job posting on Care.com a month before you need a nanny, day care or after-school sitter. Then, schedule interviews or a tour of a day care center as soon as you’re in your new area.
Hire child care for moving day too. Young children will feel more comfortable, and you and the movers will be able to focus on a quick and efficient pack-up without kids underfoot.
Yes, you remembered to purchase moving boxes, but do you know the best way to label them? Many people fail to mark boxes right, making the process harder than it needs to be. Buy colored labels (markers or colored tape work too), designate a color for each room in your new place and color code your boxes. Check out these easy-to-use downloadable moving labels. Mark the top and at least two sides of every box, so you’re not constantly rotating heavy boxes to see where they belong.
Pack an “Open-Me-First” Box
Don’t forget to assemble a box that includes essentials like flashlights, batteries, toilet paper, blankets, water bottles, etc. that you’ll need easy access to once you’ve reached your home. It may take a while to actually organize your new place, but at least you won’t have to search the first night for your “must-haves.”
Know What NOT to Pack
Always remember to keep certain items on you at all times, such as your license, credit cards, medical records, passports and social security cards. You won’t want to arrive at your new home questioning whether these essentials made it there and where they are. Another item people often forget to keep with them? The key to their new place!
Assemble a Survival Kit
Fradkin recommends helping each child pack a “moving day survival kit.” Fill a backpack with favorite toys, keepsakes and books. Kids will feel much more comfortable knowing Teddy is joining them on this adventure and isn’t far away — and it will help keep them entertained. And pack a separate take-with-you bag with water bottles, snacks, permanent markers, tape, etc. to help you through the day.
Check out these 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids
John Bisney, spokesperson for the American Moving and Storage Association says that the most common action people forget is to “make arrangements for a place for themselves to stay on the night of the move itself.”
Whether it’s staying with nearby family or friends or booking a hotel room, moving will be much easier if you get a good night’s rest — instead of sleeping on the hard floor because your new bed hasn’t arrived yet!
Turn On Utilities
Ever unpacked boxes in the dark? Many people forget to schedule the utilities before they move. Bisney suggests turning old ones off 2-3 days after you leave, and turning on new ones 2-3 days before you arrive at your new home.
Think About Parking
Smith says many families overlook the parking situation in their new area. Does your new street have any parking regulations? If you’re on a busy street, can the moving truck park near your home for very long? Will you be blocking any driveways? Do you have handy change for parking meters?
Care for Pets
“Making your pet as comfortable as possible during a move is key to having a happy and healthy pet,” says Sarah Stelmok an associate broker with the National Association of Realtors.
Set up a pet-friendly spot in the house or yard as soon as you arrive. Unpack familiar articles of clothing with your smell on them, as well as a favorite toy or bed. It will help furry friends happily adjust to their new home. Think about hiring a pet sitter or boarding your pet at a kennel, to make the move go easier.
Get more tips from this article on Moving Day with Pets
Create a New Ritual
The moving process can often be a very stressful time for everyone in the family. Just as it’s important to keep up favorite traditions, Fradkin notes that it’s essential to start a new family ritual. Before the family gets too busy, don’t miss the chance to plant a tree in your yard or drive through town to discover the best place for Friday pizza nights.
Write a List of Everything you Forgot
While the chaos of moving is still fresh in your memory, create a list of all the things you wish you had done and all the things that worked during the moving process. Then the next time you move, you’ll have a handy personal how-to guide.