I’ve helped a number of my long-term clients move into their first homes, their dream homes, and their down-sized homes, some taking a number of months to get organized, some a matter of weeks. Some of us move many times and some of us only a few, but the process is always full of anxiety. According to two organizer friends of mine, Karen Shinn and Gail Shields, in their book GO! The Essential Guide to Organizing and Moving, getting organized and knowing the steps to a good move reduces the anxiety levels of all involved.
As you know, there are several key steps to any major project – creating a plan, executing the plan and completing the project. This is no different for moving house. The first step is planning your move. You want to begin by creating a concrete plan about 12 weeks before your actual move date.
The first step to planning any successful move is taking a complete household inventory. An up-to-date list can be invaluable and help you when purchasing your new home. In addition, it’s a great tool for your insurance company in the event of damage or loss. My organizer friend Gail once told me that when she handles a move for one of her clients, she takes a digital recorder from one room to the other and makes her inventory list and then has it typed up afterwards. You may also choose to video your home and its contents.
One of the most important decisions for your move is deciding whether to hire a moving company or do it yourself. Referrals are often the best way to find a reputable mover. There are lots of options. You can choose to have the movers pack for you or choose to do that part yourself. Or you can have a professional organizer handle the entire process.
Choosing the do-it-yourself move can certainly save you money. You will need to have a few strong, capable, dependable friends who know how to load a truck to make this a feasible option. Get an estimate from a moving company to do your move from start to finish and compare it with the cost of renting a truck and doing everything yourself. You will want to keep in mind how much time you have to take off work and whether it would make more financial sense for you to hire the experts.
The next step in preparing your action plan for a household move is taking a good hard look at all your ‘stuff’. You will find out how much stuff you have and how little of it you actually use, so take this opportunity to edit. It’s not about discarding things you love, but about making sure that everything you keep will make sense in your new home. The more you pack, the more time and money it will cost you to move it and the more work it will be to unpack on the other end. You may choose to sell, give away or store excess items.
You should consider what type of professional help you’ll need for a household move. If the thought of moving is overwhelming, there are many people who can help including stagers, real estate agents, moving companies or me, a professional organizer.