When it’s time for you to move, you will not want to find yourself caught off guard.  Preparing yourself and carefully planning your move can help reduce your stress and anticipate potential obstacles.  But just how much planning do you need to do?  How far in advance should you plan your move?  It is always a good idea to plan well in advance of your actual moving date.  While some people are able to find movers at the last minute, or even same day movers, this is not the suggested strategy.  And while you might be advised to plan ahead, determining how far in advance is more of a gray area.  Not all moves are created equal.  Depending on the distance of your move, as well as the size, you may need more advanced planning than someone else’s move.  If you are not relocating far from your current residence and you do not have many belongings, you won’t need as much time to sort out all the details.  A cross country move or moving out of a three story home will require a considerable amount of time to iron out all of the details.  While you will need to decide how much time you need to plan your move, here is a helpful guideline to follow.

One of the first steps in planning a move is saving money.  There are always costs associated with moving.  In addition to the fees you will incur in buying or renting your new residence, you will have moving costs.  Material fees, truck rentals, or hiring a moving company are all potential expenses.  For this reason, you should start saving as soon as you begin contemplating a move.  Even though you might be in the early stages and only thinking about a relocation, a year is not too early to start putting some money aside for when you are ready.  Once it comes time to move you can feel confident that you are packed and ready to go, without breaking the bank in the process.

Once you have a place and know when you would like to move, you should begin to look into moving services.  Depending on how large of a van you need, the distance of your move, or if you are relocating during the peak moving season will depend on how far out you should lock down your services.  The further out you can book the better.  You might even be able to get a better deal for booking in advance.  In general, if you secure your truck or movers a month in advance, you should be ok.  You will want to make sure that if you are hiring a moving company that they are available to move you on the day or your choosing.  If you are renting a truck, you should secure the rental and the correct size so that you have enough space, while not overpaying for a larger vehicle than you need.  You should keep in mind that you’ll want to do some research when choosing a moving company or van rental.  While you will probably be ok securing a mover a month in advance of your move date, it will probably take at least a couple of weeks to compare and vet movers.

Once you have secured movers, you should think about whether or not you want to hold a moving sale.  When moving, weight and space on the truck is money, so if you have unwanted or unnecessary items, you should get rid of them before your move.  About one month before you move, you should start going through your home and decide what will be going and what can be gotten rid of.  Once you have decided the items that won’t be coming with you, you can donate the items or try to sell them.  If you decide to have a moving sale, you will want to do this at least three weeks before your move so these items are not in the way when you go to pack.  If you cannot get rid of items, you can try to sell them online or simply donate them to your nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army.  The week before your move, you will want to have any items that aren’t going to your new home gone.

If you are doing some of the packing yourself, you will want that completed before the movers arrive.  Depending on how much you are packing or disassembling, you may need more or less time.  Typically you will want to give yourself at least a couple weeks to box everything up.  Stretching the packing out over an extended period of time gives you a little more flexibility and will prevent you from stressing the night before your move trying to box everything up.  It is a good idea to start with rooms or items that you know you will not need.  If you can box up book shelves and some of the toys, or even prepare some of the less used living spaces, you will have this out of the way.  There will be some things that you can’t pack up until the days leading up to your move.  Some clothes can be packed away, but you should leave some outfits available to you.  You don’t want to find yourself rummaging through suitcases looking for a pair of pants and messing up already packed items.  The remaining clothes and other essentials, like toiletries can be packed up the night before, or even the morning of your move.

Come moving day, you are not going to want to pay to transport food to your new house, and you probably won’t want to waste food by just throwing it away.  A few weeks before you move, you should start going through your freezer and pantry.  You can try to get through some of the meals you’ve been freezing or eat the groceries that are still in your fridge.  You should try your best to not go to the store and add more food to your pantry.  This can help prevent waste.  You can also begin to separate items that you’d like to donate to a food pantry, or see if your mover is a part of the Move for Hunger charity program that can help you donate food.  Whatever works best for you, your goal should be to not have any food left or have very little you’ll need to toss the night before the big move.

Moving is one of the most stressful events you will encounter in life.  One way to combat this stress is to have a plan and not find yourself scrambling to get everything set up.  While you ultimately will set the timeline of your move, it is never too early to start planning your move.  If you can set a timeline and stick to it, you will find yourself in control of your relocation and confident that you will get to your new home smoothly.



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