Even though the season falls smack dab in the middle of the calendar year, autumn is a time for new beginnings. The cooler air seems to be ushered in by a parade of school buses and moving trucks. Maybe you’re just starting out in your very first apartment; maybe you’ve outgrown your old space and are on to bigger and better. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure you could use a little help with the moving process. Once you’ve found the place, here’s what you do:
1) Ask the right questions
. If you are moving into an apartment building, you’ll want to find out if the building as has any policies regarding move-in restrictions (week-days only, hours that moves are allowed, etc.). If it is a rental property, find out what work, if any, is planned for the space and make a list of any items that need attention before move-in.
2) Take measurements and plan your space
. Sit down with your floorplan and make a list of all the new items you’ll need. Do some preliminary research to see how much to budget for each item. Identify things that needed to be purchased immediately versus things that can wait.
3) Find a moving company and book your moving date
. You’ll want to get quotes from at least 3 different companies – how to choose three? Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues who’ve recently gone through the process. Before you make your final decision, look up the company’s statistics at your local Better Business Bureau website to be sure that they are accredited members and haven’t had any recent customer complaints. Also be sure to ask the moving company to provide you with a Workman’s Compensation Certificate. This is the coverage that will protect you from legal action if someone gets hurt while working on your move. ONLY work with movers who have this insurance. Ask about cargo insurance and make sure you understand how coverage works. The basic policy (which should be included in your quote) is NOT replacement insurance – it insures your belongings by weight rather than value. So, if you are moving precious antiques, fine art, high end electronics and the like, it’s worth asking about further coverage. The most common equation is $10 per $1000 of additional insurance. But you can’t just buy $1000 worth — you have to match the total value of all the items being moved. $50 for $5000 in coverage seems to be the common minimum.
4) Be ruthless with your stuff
. Don’t need it? Don’t move it! Moving is a great excuse to go through EVERYTHING and weed out what you no longer want or need. Clothing that doesn’t fit, kitchen duplicates, and anything that you just never use (be honest). There are wonderful organizations that will benefit from your cast-offs. Obviously, it’s best to send those donations out before moving day – why pay to move something you don’t want to keep?
5) Don’t leave all the packing til the last minute
. While you might want access to all your clothes until the big day, there are bound to be things you won’t miss in the next few weeks. Start with those – put them in boxes and consider them packed.
6) Let people know that you’re moving
. Keep a running list of places you’ll need to contact about your change of address and get on it. These are helpful categories to think about: credit cards, bank/investment accounts, cell phones, cable/internet, electricity, insurance, payroll/401K, driver’s licenses/car registration and newspaper/magazine subscriptions. In case you’ve missed any, fill out the Official Change of Address Form online at USPS.com. If you plan to send out a “We’ve Moved!” note to friends and family, order these now. (Another helpful hint…TinyPrints.com will fulfill your stationery order AND mail out cards to addresses you specify.)
7) Pack a First Night Box.
You want to be sure that even if you don’t unpack every single box on moving day, you’ll still have everything you need for a comfortable night and morning. This crucial box (or boxes) should be clearly marked and include the following: Bedding, pillows, pajamas, a towel or two, toothbrush/toothpaste, eyeglasses and contacts, cell phone chargers, medications (both prescriptions and pain relievers – moving is hard on the muscles!) and shower necessities (not just soap and shampoo, also a shower curtain!).
8) Keep the essentials accessible
. You’ll want to have these things on hand as soon as boxes start coming through the door – so think about packing a tote with these items and carrying it with you: multiple box cutters and scissors, a collection of extension cords/surge protectors, a hammer, a screwdriver, a small stereo/iPod, valuables/passports (you wouldn’t want these things to inadvertently go missing), cleaning products and your checkbook (after all, those movers will need to paid!).
Now relax – you’re home!
Dayna Brandoff is the founder of Chaos Theory Inc., a professional organizing company located in New York City. For further organizing tips or hands-on help, please visit www.ChaosTheoryNYC.com
or call (917) 576-1267.