Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Creating a Moving Checklist in 5 Easy Steps

The process of moving isn’t something many of us look forward to. While the relocating to a new area aspect of moving might have us somewhat excited, I haven’t met many people who can admit they look forward to all the rest that comes along with having to move.

From decluttering, closing accounts, doing address changes, packing, and making the trip, to unpacking, reestablishing roots in a new area, and getting all settled into a new home, there are plenty of stressful activities that can come along with a move. Therefore, using a moving checklist can help to stay on track.

I’ve used a moving checklist during our last several moves, and here is how I create it in five easy steps.

Step #1 – Create an Address Change Section
Typically, my first step in preparing to relocate is making a list of all those people and organizations with which we need to change our address. Sure, completing an address change form with the U.S. Postal Service is certainly a part of this first step, but I still like to ensure that we change as many addresses directly as we can think of.

Utilities, magazines, friends and family, business associates, employers, health providers, insurers, and similar contacts usually comprise the address change section of our moving checklist.

Step #2 – Figure Moving Costs
This step may be a little harder to complete since it can be difficult to predict all of -- or predict accurately -- the costs involved in relocating. Still, I find that it’s not a bad idea to at least make an attempt to do so in an effort to get an idea for what sort of expenses we’ll be facing during our move.
My moving cost figures typically entail putting numbers to items such as fuel, tolls, hotel stays, supplies, food, and professional mover estimates. I do my best to estimate as close to expected costs as possible, then once the move has taken place, I replace these estimates with exact totals.

For example, here are figures from our move out to Washington state last summer:

• Mover costs -- $300 (our friend is a mover and helped us move much of our stuff into temporary storage)

• Gas – $417.79

• Hotel accommodations – $162.74

• Food – $25.00

• Tolls – $3.25

Step #3 – Determine Travel Times
The time involved in moving can be extensive. There’s all the prep work involved in packing, ending utility service, moving, unpacking, starting new utility service, etc. It can be difficult to put timeframes with all these associated parts of the moving process, but when moving long distances, I tend to like to have an idea of how long the actual trip involved to get there is going to take.

In our case, moving from Chicago to Washington involved a lengthy trip. Having an idea of not only the length of the trip, but how long that trip was going to take, helped me better estimate the costs involved (gas, food, accommodations, etc.).

Therefore, I determined that the trip would be 2000 miles and divided that into an average of 60 miles per hour to get an hourly timeframe. I planned for two nights in a hotel at $150 a night, but since we made better time than expected, we only stayed one night, cutting our estimated expenditures in this area by nearly 50 percent.

Step #4 – Create an Inventory
In our situation, I used an inventory list to help us determine what would be going into storage, what would be going to family members, and what would be coming with us on our trip. I find that when moving, so many things can be going on that it’s easy to forget a few items here and there. I didn’t want items that were supposed to be coming with us to instead be put into storage, or vice versa.

Therefore, I made an inventory of important furniture, paperwork, toys (for our son), and other items with notations of “Take”, “Store”, or “Family” to help us deal with where things needed to be going or ending up.

Step #5 – The “To-do” List
Finally, there is the “to-do” portion of our moving checklist. This comprises a list of items to handle once we arrive at our location. Typically there are things like, opening new bank accounts, activating utilities, getting new drivers licenses, changing insurance (both car and health), finding new healthcare providers, etc.

Having this list compiled and ready to go, helps us stay on track when we arrive at our destination during a time that can be more than a little hectic.

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