Moving is an extremely disruptive event in your life.
It combines mental and physical stress, and it is extremely disruptive to healthy routines that you spend so much time cultivating.
It’s also likely to be a time of greater economic stress than usual. Beyond the price of down payments or security deposits, without careful planning you can end up dealing with overlapping bills or overspending on your food budget.
But, with that aforementioned careful planning, you can make moving, well, not a breeze — but a whole lot more bearable!
Planning the Move Without Overlap
•Avoiding bill overlap
The timing is by far the most stressful thing about moving. Whether you’re signing a contract with a landlord or negotiating a closing date for a house, it can feel well out of your control. It’s important to think about your move-out and move-in dates in advance. It can be like pulling teeth to get the other side to let you move in at the most convenient time.
Plan your move-out date for a few days before the end of your current billing periods. You don’t want to roll over into a new month, or you could be on the hook for an entire month’s worth of services.
Next, come up with backup plan for somewhere to stay if things get difficult with your new living space. Especially with home purchases, sellers may try and mess around with you or simply won’t be ready when the date arrives. In order to avoid the expenses of finding a hotel and storage for unexpected delays, make living and storage arrangements ahead of time.
•Leave enough time to move
Just because you have a set move-out date doesn’t mean you have to do everything in one day. If you have a family member who has storage space, or if you’ve rented a truck, consider starting the move a day or two before you have to vacate.
Depending on how much you need to do, you might want to leave as much as a week devoted to moving. Or you can hire a moving company and take a bit of the pressure off. But if you do, make sure you do your homework and hire a credible company, because hiring untrustworthy movers will only add to your stress level, not reduce it.
•Coordinate closing dates early
Whether you’re buying or renting, it can be difficult to get people to commit to a move-in date, though for different reasons. For renting, you’re likely to be presented with the term of your contract with little intent to negotiate. It takes a lot of work to get a landlord to work with you, so do this well in advance. Know your timeline as early as possible.
With closing on a home purchase, there are any number of reasons a seller might try to push a date back even after you’ve agreed to it. This is a particular problem for new builds, if the work isn’t completed on time. Sometimes a seller just won’t be ready.
You need a solid agreement to fall back on in these cases, to compel the seller to either hold up their end or compensate you for the delay. Again, take care of this early! That way you’ll be in a stronger position when last-minute surprises crop up.
Preparation For Your Move
•Clean thoroughly for security deposit return
One of the biggest ways you can help yourself out if you’re leaving an apartment is to make absolutely sure you get your security deposit back. Some landlords are willing to take care of this a little early so that you can use the money for your next security deposit or as part of a down payment.
Making sure you get the deposit back is pretty straightforward. Ask yourself what your landlord would likely have to spend time or money on before the apartment is sellable again.
Make sure you do a thorough deep clean, getting behind appliances and getting any stains out of carpets. If you’ve hung pictures, fill and repaint damaged areas of the wall. If you have pets, be extra thorough!
It’s a good idea to take photographic evidence of the state of an apartment when you first move in, and then again when you’ve finished preparing to move out.
If the landlord gives you any trouble over the deposit, you’ll have proof that you returned the apartment to the condition it was in when you arrived.
•Outline tasks in a planner or management software
You’re going to have a lot of deadlines to keep track of simultaneously. You’ll probably feel like you’re trapped in a spider’s web of tasks, plans, chores, and dates. The best thing to do is find somewhere to write all of them down and keep track.
A lot of people swear by paper planners, but digital project management tools can be helpful if you’re inseparable from your phone.
•Make a meal plan/cook in advance and freeze
Cooking is going to be one of the last things you want to talk about, especially as the move begins, and immediately after as you get settled into your new place. If you’re on a specific diet or just trying to eat healthy, a week or so of fast food can throw you completely off track.
Well in advance, make a meal plan. If you think that finding time to cook will be difficult, make a big pot of something and freeze the leftovers, for the days leading up to the move.
Depending on how long it takes, it may not be feasible for you to transfer frozen foods along with everything else. So you’ll want to make a second plan for when you arrive.
•Use weekends to take as little time off work as possible
The earlier in advance you start preparations, the better. Start getting packed up weeks, maybe even a couple months in advance. That way you can use weekends to your advantage and avoid taking time off work.
There is a strong temptation to pack all at once so that you’re not living around boxes and constantly having to dig out things you need.
If you plan your packing, you can avoid these inconveniences. Start with the things you don’t use everyday; pack up larger furniture items and use smaller replacements for a few weeks. It’s also helpful to start the cleanup and sorting process early.
If you don’t want to pack early, organize your things and throw away what you don’t need.
Cooperating With Roommates
•The roommates you’re leaving
If you’re moving out, but have roommates staying on, it’s important to make sure that you go above and beyond with your share of cleaning and repairs. You have no idea what might happen when they do decide to move out, and you want to protect yourself from any extra charges that might come your way.
Document the state you leave the environment in so that you have something to point to if they get charged extra fees and come to you looking to split the cost.
•The roommates you’re joining
Establish house rules early with new roommates. Preferably before you move. This is equally, perhaps even more important if you’re already friends with the new roomies.
Friends are more likely to make assumptions and accidentally tread on toes.
Proper boundaries ensure that people don’t accidentally disrespect one another’s space and privacy. Communal spaces are the most common causes of tension.
Rules about clutter, responsibilities for garbage and dishes, quiet hours, and overnight guests are all important considerations to make sure no one’s toes get stepped on.
During the Move
•Make sure to sleep well
During stressful and tumultuous times, it’s vital to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Getting enough sleep and keeping a solid routine will help you manage your usual daily tasks along with the extra demands of moving.
Try to ensure that you plan far enough in advance to reduce the amount of time you need to spend staying up late. Staying up to complete overdue tasks has a cascading effect on your productivity, making you less effective the next day. It’s easy to completely dislodge your sleep schedule.
•Make the most of your days, maximize your mornings
Sleeping well is the first step in a morning ritual that propels you through the day. Consider making some changes to accommodate the additional stresses of moving. Plan never to skip breakfast. Don’t make any big moving decisions in the early morning.
Give yourself the time and space to get ready for the day, and then know exactly when you start working on the move, and which tasks you’ll be tackling.
Plan breaks into your daily routines, and slot in some time to stick to your fitness schedule. If you plan well enough in advance, you should be able to avoid having to skip things.
Every day won’t be perfect; you’ll probably suffer interruptions. Some days you’ll be completely derailed. Your best chance of getting over those incidents is to reset your routine.
Moving sucks. Trust me, I know. I’ve moved between countries four times. If there is one statement that all of this advice boils down to, its “plan ahead.” The earlier you start, the more wiggle room you have when things go wrong.
Getting over the hump will depend on your ability to plan, stick to your guns, and maintain your health.
Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.