Today we welcome Bonnie Joy Dewkett as a guest post author on Unclutterer. She is a professional organizer (The Joyful Organizer) based out of southwest Connecticut. The following advice is based on her Guide to a Joyful Move.
Moving can be stressful, but it’s nothing to fear. These tips will help to make your transition less stressful, more organized, and an enjoyable new adventure for your family.
Before You Leave Your Old Home:
- If you have children, make sure each child has his own bag packed with any toys, blankets, or books that he will need to go to bed at night. These will help him feel comfortable during the transition.
- Purchase an expandable file folder and start gathering documents such as birth certificates, passports, and currency. These items should not be shipped with your household goods.
- Call your doctors to obtain written copies of the family’s medical records. Offices sometimes charge for these documents, so have a form of payment ready. Also, see if your doctor can refer you to a new doctor in your new location. If applicable, ask for copies of prescriptions in case you cannot see a doctor quickly in your new location. If you have remaining refills at a local pharmacy, call to see if they can transfer them to a new pharmacy where you are moving.
- Arrange for the home to be cleaned after all your furniture has been moved. Stay one night in a hotel and return to the home to clean, or hire a cleaning service to do the job for you while you are traveling to your new location. Keep in mind that many real estate contracts state that the home must be left in “broom clean condition.” Failure to do so could result in a fee or difficulty at closing.
- Call your utility companies to arrange for final readings. Give them your new address to have any remaining bills forwarded.
- If you are using a professional moving company, ask about insurance for your items while in transit. You should also contact your homeowner’s insurance company to inquire about the same.
- Send out change of address cards to friends and family.
- Fill out a change of address and mail forwarding forms with the Post Office. These forms can be filled out online as well.
- Pack irreplaceable or valuable items such as cameras, jewelry, wedding photos/videos, or family treasures to travel with your family. Also, keep in mind that most van lines are not climate controlled. Consider this when deciding to pack items like candles in with your other possessions.
- If you are packing yourself, color-code your boxes. (Blue for the kitchen, red for the bedroom, etc).
- Pack a kit of the following items for use while you are in transit, and for your first night in your new home:
- Toilet paper
- Shower curtain
- Snacks and bottled water
- Clean clothes
- Cleaning products
- Flashlight and/or night lights
- First-aid kit and medicines needed by your family
- Air Mattresses and sleeping bags (if you decide to spend your first night in your new home).
When You Arrive At your New Home:
- Start by sorting your boxes and bringing them to their appropriate rooms. (Red to the kitchen, etc).
- Evaluate if you will need to purchase any organizational supplies such as shelves, pot racks, closet systems, etc. Purchase these before you start to unpack. Not doing so will make unpacking more complicated.
- If you need assistance in getting unpacked, contact a professional organizer. She will help you determine the best organizational systems for your new home, have them installed, and unpack your possessions using the systems.
- Use labels and/or sticky notes to help everyone locate items in the kitchen cabinets or pantry. This will alleviate questions and frustration when trying to find items in their new locations.
- Allow kids to help unpack their rooms. If possible, allow them to decide where their bed will go, where they want their play area to be located, etc. This allows them to make the new room their own.
- Have a sleepover your first night in your new home. Set up air mattresses, play cards, or if you have the capability, watch a movie on a laptop or portable DVD player. Bring flashlights and snacks for the family. Spending your first night all together in one room helps kids with the new creaks and noises associated with a new home.
- Unpack every box. Even if you are not using everything in your new home, you should unpack everything to look for any missing or damaged items. Insurance often limits the amount of time you have to file a claim for missing or damaged items.
- Lay each piece of newspaper or bubble wrap flat after unwrapping an item to make sure that you completely unpacked everything from its wrapping.
- Call the newcomer services in your area. They will often provide you with a basket or package of coupons and offers for your new area. You will probably be eating out for a little while, so you might as well save some money!
- If you do eat out a few times be sure to ask for menus, coupons, and business cards. Create a three ring binder with the menus of the places you like, and make sure to circle the items your family enjoyed. This will come in handy on those busy nights when you just aren’t sure what to eat.
- After you have been in your new home for about a month, re-evaluate your organizational systems. What is working for your family and what is not? Are you still missing items? Are the items you use in your daily routine hard to find or use? If you did not hire a professional organizer when you first moved in, now is a great time to do so.