Getting Ready for a Move

You’ve chosen a house, qualified for the VA Home Loan, the closing is coming fast, and you’ll soon be moving into a new home. There’s so much to do that you feel overwhelmed. Creating a plan of action that includes to-do lists and deadlines can help keep you from panicking. Each time you check something off your list, you’ll feel a bit less concerned about getting it all done. There are five categories of preparations.

Contracting Movers

You may decide to handle the move entirely by yourself by renting a truck and enlisting help. In that case, arranging for the truck and getting friends and family to commit should take care of this category. If not, you need to get quotes from a few movers. Movers can handle everything from packing the boxes and breaking down furniture at one end and sorting boxes and setting up beds and tables at the other. They can also do as little as moving only the furniture. Most people pick an option somewhere in the middle. Generally, movers charge a flat fee for a truck and a certain number of movers and then set an hourly rate. Getting estimates and booking your mover should be done as far in advance as possible, so you aren't stuck with a mover you don't want because no one else is available. Eight weeks should give you good options unless you are moving cross country.


Even before you’ve found a new home to buy, consider clearing out and decluttering. Everyone has stuff they can jettison, so don’t pay to move things you no longer want. You can order packing boxes from a moving company or online. Some truck rental companies offer recycled boxes from previous customers at a discount, and you can also find free boxes. It takes time and effort but saves you money. Establish a schedule for getting everything packed. Books and knick-knacks week one, closet shelves week two, etc.

Address Changes

The US Postal Service will forward all your first-class mail for 12 months if you submit a change of address form. Despite the forwarding service, submitting an address change to everyone who might send you mail should be done sooner rather than later. For more information about who you should notify. Include in the list:

  • Banks

  • Credit Card Companies

  • Your Employer

  • Schools

  • Insurance Companies

  • Social Security Administration

  • Magazines and other Publications

  • Clubs and Organizations

  • Friends and Family

Utility Set-up and Shut off

Contact all present and future utilities and arrange shut-off and turn-on dates. It’s best if you overlap by a day or two so you have water, light, and heat or AC while moving out and moving in. While that means paying twice for that period, it’s better than being uncomfortable or not being able to see in your old or new home. Cable and internet services should be on the list, too, but you may not need an overlap for these if you have a smartphone to keep you connected.

Community Connections

If you are moving far enough to need new community connections, make a list of schools, gyms, clubs, etc. If you have children, arrange for transcripts to be transferred and find new extra-curricular activity providers for music and dance lessons, sports teams, and karate lessons. Since you will be busy settling in for a while after the move, finding some new facilities like churches, gyms and clubs might wait, but the sooner these are arranged, the smoother the transition will be.

Making an organized plan will keep you from stressing out. Either use online sources for checklists or create your own. Assign each task a deadline. A binder with folders for each category could be helpful. Be sure to get the whole family involved in planning.

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