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How to Stay Organized During a Move (Even if You Don’t Have the Time or Patience!)
I moved around a lot in my 20s, but knowing how to stay organized during a move was so far down on my list of priorities! There were some places I lived where I didn’t even unpack half of my stuff. And it wasn’t like I had much to unpack, either. I kept it light, so it was easier to go wherever the wind blew me.
Fast forward ten years and I just pulled off one of the most organized moves I could muster. And we had a lot of stuff.
Did everything go as planned? Absolutely not. But it could have gone a whole lot worse!
All of the planning and preparation that I did before the move made things a lot less stressful once things started to go wrong on moving day.
So I’m going to walk you through everything I did to prepare. As an added bonus, I put together the Ultimate Moving Toolkit! In it, you’ll find a page for each of the topics I’m going to cover in this article. And if you end up with movers like ours, you will be extremely grateful to have all of this in one convenient place—so make sure you grab a copy!
Tracking Your Movers Quotes
The first thing you need to do after you have your brand new place is to line up movers (if you’re going to use them).
My first word of advice here is to look up local places and call them directly. If you use a place that promises you 20 different quotes, you are going to have 20 different companies calling and emailing you nonstop. While it may seem like it will save some time to use a service like this, you will waste even more time telling them to leave you alone.
Seriously. I still have some of them calling me.
Plus all of their quotes were about a grand more than the local places I called.
So do a Google search on local moving companies and have a list of everything that you’re going to move handy. They will either want you to list everything or, even better, send someone in person to give you an estimate.
So open your Moving Toolkit, and write down all of the companies that you reach out to, who you spoke to, their phone number, when you called, and the quote they came back with.
Having all of this information in one place will allow you to easily pick the movers you want to use.
It will also serve as a backup if something goes wrong on moving day. Your movers don’t show up. Or they show up in a truck half the size needed for the job.
Moving Your Utilities
The next thing you’re going to need to do is to get your utilities set up at your new place.
First, check to see which accounts you can bring with you. This will give you one less thing to worry about.
Grab the page from the Moving Toolkit for utilities and write down all of your current accounts, indicate which of these you will be keeping, and then write down your new accounts as you open them.
Things like gas and electricity will generally allow you to close out (and open) the account as of your move date.
Things like cable and internet will depend on your billing cycle. These will also likely require a technician to set up, so make sure you schedule these weeks ahead of time, so you aren’t sitting in your brand new home completely disconnected from the world.
I also suggest writing down all the local companies you have to choose from if you’re moving to a new area. I had set up an internet provider that I later found out wasn’t too great, and all I had to do was check my list to get the information for the other company. But because I did this last minute, we didn’t have internet for a week. Which isn’t too much fun when you work from home!
Keeping a Packing Log
Okay, so you now have your movers and utilities set up. Now it’s time to start packing!
I tried to be enthusiastic there, but let’s face it, packing sucks.
Not as much as unpacking, though.
So do yourself a favor and keep track of what you put where!
I know this is the last thing you want to do, especially when you still have two rooms left to pack and only a day to do it in. But you will be kicking yourself later if you waste 2 hours looking for your toddler’s favorite sippy cup because you have no idea which box you put it in.
You don’t have to go crazy with the log. You don’t have to list that in Bedroom Box #7 there are 12 size medium t-shirts and list where each one is from. Just write down that Bedroom Box #7 has your t-shirts in it.
And that Kitchen Box #4 has the coffee pot.
I would also suggest packing anything that you will need right away—clothes, toiletries, favorite toys—in a suitcase. I packed about a week’s worth of clothes for us.
As to packing the actual boxes, pack like with like. This makes it easier to jot down what’s in the box, and easier to unpack as all of these things will (hopefully) be unpacked in the same area.
I label boxes by room and then number them. I also have boxes for the closets and cleaning supplies.
I also have boxes for each of us, again numbered.
Creating a Separate Log for the Movers
It will also be helpful for the movers to have their own list of how many boxes you have for each room plus the furniture. This way everyone is on the same page at the end of the day.
You don’t want to give them the same copy that you have, though.
Unless you want them to know that Kitchen Box #9 has your great-grandmother’s antique china set.
Changing Your Address
The final thing that you need to keep track of is all of your credit cards, bank accounts, student loans, cell phone, etc. that you need to change the address on.
And it can be really tough thinking about all of these on the spot, so hopefully, you already have a list of these somewhere.
If you don’t, I included a page in the toolkit to do just this!
I would suggest writing down the company name, your account number, their website and phone number, and the date you requested the address change. This last is important, especially for bank information, so you know which billing address is active.
Staying organized during a move takes some extra effort up front. But letting things slip through the cracks in the chaos will inevitably make things so much more stressful!
So do yourself a favor and grab my toolkit, and make your next move the most organized one yet!
What do you do to stay organized during a move! Share with us in the comments!
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