A Practical Guide for Planning a Move

Practical guide for planning a move

by Barbara Berman~Has something occurred in your life where you now have to move? You may have gotten divorced. You may have decided to downsize to a smaller house or apartment or move into a continuing care retirement community.

The decision has been made, you found the right place to live, but you are looking around at your present surroundings and wondering where to begin. No matter how long you’ve lived in a place, you most likely have accumulated items, saved things, and have memories. Your goal is to make decisions on what to take with you, so you don’t have to pay to move things you are never going to use again, don’t need, or don’t want.

Below are a checklist and a timeline that will help you feel less stressed:

One Month in Advance

  • Contact several moving companies to get estimates and then schedule.
  • Stockpile supplies – boxes, bins, trash bags, tape, and sharpies for labelling. Labeling the boxes should include which room and the contents of the container. This will help when unpacking.
  • Start with a room that has little sentimental value.
  • Begin to de-clutter and pack. Pack items right away that you are not using at the time but want to take with you (books, out-of-season clothes, etc.). Keep clothes in drawers. Clothes can stay on hangers – either get cardboard wardrobes to hang them in or put trash bags over the hangers to keep them together.

Ask yourself these 10 questions to help with making decisions on what to keep or not to keep.

  1. Have you used this item in the past year?
  2. Do you have a definitive use for the item?
  3. If it’s broken or ripped, is it worth fixing?
  4. Does this item serve a worthwhile purpose in your life?
  5. Do you need to keep the item for legal purposes?
  6. Do you love the item?
  7. Would it be too hard or expensive to replace the item?
  8. Does anyone in your family or any friends want the item?
  9. Does the item fit?
  10. What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t keep the item?

Develop a sorting process, making separate piles to keep like with like.

  • Items to keep and use.
  • Items to give to family members or friends.
  • Items to sell or donate.
  • Items to discard.
  • Items to shred.
  • Items to recycle.

Two Weeks in Advance

  • Take a photo of your electronics and how they are hooked up.
  • Remember to change your address with the post office, family, friends, credit card companies, bank, newspaper, magazines, etc.
  • Transfer school and medical records, if necessary.
  • Inform utility companies (electric, water, gas, cable, phone) of the address change – to shut off utilities at your old place and to turn on utilities at your new place.

Day Of

  • Pack essentials boxes for everyone in the house. These should include clothes, toiletries, toys, or whatever is needed for the first 24 hours.
  • Remember your furry friend (or fish, turtle, bird) – bowls for food and water, food, litter box for a cat, leash for a dog.

Moving can be very overwhelming and hectic. But, it is also very exciting. See if you can have fun. Having fun might just lessen the stress for you.


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About Barbara Berman

Certified Professional Organizer ®, is the owner of BB’s Clutter Solutions. She decided to take what comes naturally to her, share these skills with those who want to become and stay organized, and founded her company in 2007. Her corporate background, which includes over 25 years of managing project teams, combined with her degree in social work from Syracuse University, led her to the world of professional organizing.  Barbara is an active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and of her local NAPO chapter – Greater Philadelphia. She is also affiliated with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. www.bb-clutters-solutions.com

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