Getting organized for a move—whether it’s large or small, across town or out of state—is just the beginning of your journey. It’s staying organized on moving day that’s a little more difficult. No matter how well prepared you are in advance, the actual day of the move can be hectic, and unforeseen issues will inevitably arise, such as:
- Illness or injury
- Extreme weather
- Construction detours or traffic
- Vehicle breakdowns
- Problems with your new house or apartment
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve pulled together our top 5 tips—complete with schedules, checklists and more—on how to stay organized during a move, including:
- Creating a workback schedule
- Using your inventory list
- Keeping track of paperwork
- Mapping your route
- Remembering to breathe!
TSI TIP: Download our printable schedule and checklist to stay organized leading up to your move.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create a Workback Schedule
When creating a moving schedule, we recommend starting at the end of your day and working your way backwards. If you want or need to be at your new destination by 6pm, for instance, make a schedule including all the things that need to happen between the start time and destination time. Here’s an example:
- 6:00pm: Moving truck arrives at new home!
- 4:00pm: Moving truck leaves former home
- 3:30pm: Meet with realtor to hand over keys and/or complete move-out inspection
- 3:00pm: Final room-by-room check to be sure nothing has been left behind
- 2:00pm: Pack up last minute items and put them on the truck and/or in your own vehicle (cleaning supplies, tools, personal belongings, etc.)
- 1:00pm: Clean up (floors, counter tops)
- 12:00pm: Lunch break
- 11:30am: Order pizza for delivery
- 11:00am: Load odds and ends onto truck
- 10:00am: Load large items onto truck
- 9:00am: Begin loading truck with boxes
- 8:30am: Pack last night’s bedding, pillows and toiletries
- 8:00am: Breakfast & coffee
- 7:00am: Wake up, it’s moving day!
2. Use Your Inventory List
We always recommend taking inventory of all your belongings as you pack. Using that list, you can make a plan to load the truck so it’s easy to unpack on the other end, your belongings are evenly distributed (making the truck safer to drive), and everything is efficiently stacked and packed to make use of every inch of space. As you’re loading the truck, you’ll want to check off items on your list so you can see if anything has been missed.
You’ll also want to have a comprehensive inventory list for insurance purposes. No matter how well you plan, things can be damaged or go missing during a move. If you’ve hired a moving company to pack and relocate your belongings, keep a detailed record of:
- Household items that will be transported by the moving company
- High-value items so your movers can take extra care to protect them
Here’s a short list of what to include in your inventory list:
- Which box each item is placed in
- A description of the item
- The item’s condition
- The model, make or serial number
- The amount you paid for the item (or current cost to replace)
- If possible, include a photograph of the item, especially if it’s valuable
3. Keep Track of Paperwork
You’ve heard this story: a family moves to another country, but arrives at the border only to realize they’ve packed their passports instead of keeping them on hand. Don’t be this family! Make sure you keep all important paperwork and documents in a safe place where they won’t be packed up and shipped off. Set aside things like:
- Driver’s license
- Car / moving truck insurance
- Moving documents, including estimates, inventories and bills of lading
- Property-related papers and contracts
- Personal records and identifications
Plan to pack and transport this paperwork in your personal vehicle, or in your suitcase or carry-on if you’re not driving to your new home.
TSI TIP: A good way to make sure you keep aside everything you’ll need is to pack a suitcase (carry-on size if you are flying so you don’t have to worry about losing checked luggage) similar to what you’d do if you were going on vacation, including all the essentials you’ll need for a couple of days, such as changes of clothes and any necessary toiletries.
4. Map Your Route
Another major stressor on moving day can be getting from A to B, especially if you’re driving a large, unfamiliar truck. Map out your route before hitting the road to minimize the risk of running into construction zones, detours, and heavy traffic.
You can also choose your preferred route—some folks will want the quickest route possible, while others may prefer to avoid major highways or toll roads. And If you’re traveling a relatively long distance, it also helps to map out where you can stop for food, gas, and restroom breaks.
Inevitably, unexpected issues will crop up, like bad weather, issues with your new home, or even illness or injury. Remember to stay calm no matter what comes your way. If you begin to stress out or panic, you’ll start to make mistakes and forget important details.
A calm mind is a clear mind. Remember to pause throughout your moving day to take a few deep breaths, focus on the task at hand, and get back to it. Plan something fun for when you arrive at your new home so you have something to look forward to. Some ideas include a fancy dinner out, a day to explore, or a shopping adventure to get items for the new place.
You’ve Got This!
No matter where you’re coming from or where you’re moving to, how old you are, or how many times you’ve done it, relocating is a monumental event in your life. Keep these five tips in mind as you pack and prepare to make sure your moving day goes as smoothly as possible:
- Create a workback schedule
- Use your inventory list
- Keep track of paperwork
- Map your route
- Remember to breathe!
As you’re preparing for your big day, read about these 6 Common Problems and How to Solve Them.
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