How to Navigate a Local Move

Just the thought of moving seems overwhelming to all of us. However, with a little forethought and planning, it can be less stressful (not stress free ;)). We help clients in a variety of ways before, during and after the moving process. Interestingly enough, we have found local moves can be quite challenging if there has not been good preparation. I believe most people think, “…oh, no big deal. I’m just moving down the road.” The pitfalls of that way of thinking can be disastrous during moving week.

There are definitely some strategies that can make things easier when a move is local. You generally know all the utility companies to call to transfer service. You don’t need to learn where everything is in a new city-you know the grocery stores, your favorite restaurants, malls and hair stylist. You have the opportunity to visit the new home more than once or twice. It’s easier to measure rooms, then go home and figure out what is going to to where when you can go back and forth easily. If you have some really special pieces you don’t want to entrust to movers, you can hand carry them to your new home. You can spread out the move over a longer period if leases/closings allow some overlap time. Actually, if there is that overlap, you can even pack, move and unpack one or two rooms at a time.

The downside we have seen is that since it seems like it should be so much easier, sometimes people don’t plan enough, pack enough ahead of time or arrange for enough help. With a little effort ahead of time, a local move can truly run smoothly, and you can be set up for your new season pretty quickly.

Start Early. Whether you are moving to be closer to your new job or downsizing after your children have gone to college, waiting until the last minute will undoubtedly cause you unnecessary stress. As soon as you know you are going to make a move, begin the preparation. These are some things to consider to make your next local move as simple and straightforward as possible.

Tips for a Local Move

  1. Think about what help you will need and if that help will be volunteer or paid.

    Consider the time frame of the move, your support system and their availability, your time and physical capabilities and your budget. It will most likely make sense to hire assistance for some aspects of the process. There are companies that will help you declutter, pack, move and unpack or any combination of those. Plan ahead and prepare so you have the right help at the right time.

    Your two resources in any moving situation is time and money. If you are downsizing and have no time constraints, you may take a year or more to go through your home and declutter on your own. You might just want help with the actual move. However, if your house just sold, and you have 30 days to buy a new home and move, paying for some support for every aspect of the move may make sense. Decide which resources you need and when.

  2. Create a Move Binder.

    It doesn’t have to be beautiful, just functional. This should be the place that holds everything to do with the move. Receipts, contracts, phone numbers, furniture placement plans, etc. It can be a formal binder or just a paper folder with pockets.

  3. Declutter.

    Moving is a great time to put your eyes on everything you own to make sure what you are moving is still serving a purpose in your life. We tend to be a bit more aggressive in this process when we know we will need to pack, move and find a new place for everything we choose to keep.

  4. Make all the calls sooner rather than later.

    Get all your utilities transferred and schedule your movers or other support companies early (including friends who are helping). This will reduce your stress as the move date draws near. There are always a million last minute items that will need your attention. Take care of those things you can in advance.

  5. Decide where you want everything to go in your new home.

    Make a plan for furniture placement and room contents. Write it down. If the home is bigger or smaller than the one you are leaving, it will be important to know where the contents of rooms from the former home will go in the new home. Movers will appreciate the plan.

  6. Get good packing materials.

    Moving boxes can be an investment, but whether you are moving yourself or paying someone to do it, the move is so much easier when you have uniform boxes. Boxes from Home Depot or Lowes have handles which are oh so nice! Most pro packers use just packing paper. If you are packing yourself, I’d also recommend you get a roll of bubble wrap as well for those really special items, unless you are taking them in your vehicle. To save on the cost of boxes, check out the Nextdoor app. It’s a social media app for your local neighborhood. Many times neighbors who have just moved are offering their boxes at no cost.

  7. Pack an “Open First” box.

    A box packed with all the things you will want for the first hours in your new home. Pack your coffee pot and coffee, a few bowls and plates, sheets, towels, TP, soap, paper towels, and a few tools. Clearly label the box OPEN FIRST!

  8. Label, label, label.

    Label each box with the room you want it to go TO-not the room it’s from. Also, be specific about what is inside, like drinking glasses, pantry items, etc, not just kitchen. This will help you find what you are looking for more easily.

  9. Color code boxes.

    Purchase colored dots from Amazon or Target. Have a specific color for each room in your new home. For each box, put a couple of colored dots on different sides of the boxes so it is easy to identify what room each box goes to without having to read the description. Place a colored dot on the doorway of each room in the house to remind movers what boxes go in each room.

    Certainly these tips can help with any move, but especially a local move. Being thoughtful and organized can help you keep your sanity and make you feel in control of the process. Happy Moving!