Moving can be a stressful event for even the most organized person. Even if you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to relocating (hi, military families!), there are several things you might not consider before the big day. Sure, you’ll need to buy boxes, make lists, and figure out whether you should hire someone or do a DIY move. But in all the activity leading up to moving day, some details can be overlooked. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is to begin the process months in advance. With that in mind, let’s look at a few things you might not think of when planning to relocate.

If you plan to hire a moving company, start gathering estimates about four months in advance. This might seem early, but knowing the costs involved well in advance will keep any surprises from cropping up at the last minute. If you’re moving in late spring or summer, booking early is a necessity, as about half of all moves take place during this time.

Make a file with information about your new home. This is especially helpful if you’re moving to a new city or state. When you get into town, you might need to stay in a hotel for a night or two, and you’ll most likely need to know the best places to get food while you’re in the moving process. Even though you can find most of this information on a smartphone these days, it’s still a good idea to have a hard copy in case you can’t get Wi-Fi or cell service.

Don’t forget to enjoy your old home while you still can! Visit the places you love most and spend lots of quality time with friends or family.

A couple of months before your move, take a look at your belongings. Will your furniture and other belongings fit in the new place? If there are items that won’t work in your new home, think about having a garage sale or donating them in advance. The less stuff you have to move, the better. One caveat: DON’T buy new furniture before you move, especially if you’re in the process of buying a new home.

Check into getting copies of medical records for your family before you move. Having copies in hand to give your new doctors will be helpful. And don’t forget the family pet! Make an appointment before you move to make sure your pets are up to date on shots and other medications, gather their records, and check to see if your new city or state requires pet licenses.

Once you’ve nailed down your moving company, make sure to ask if they have insurance that covers any potential accidents or losses. If not, check with your insurance provider and consider getting coverage.

Transfer memberships and accounts. If you belong to a gym that’s a nationwide chain, ask whether you’ll be able to use facilities in other areas. If you bank with a local bank, start researching options in your new town.

Think about buying or making moving announcements with your new address to send to friends and family. In addition, change your address on magazine and other subscriptions, and fill out a change of address form at the post office. Do this a few weeks in advance, NOT after you move.

Make sure to get your prescriptions refilled right before moving to ensure you’ll have plenty of your required medications.

Make an “exit box” and a survival kit. Your exit box should contain the things you know you’ll need immediately when you arrive at your new home—for example, sheets, flashlights, toilet paper, etc. The survival kit is for your trip. Fill it with items you’ll need on your car ride or flight to be comfortable.

Consider having the house cleaned for the new tenants or owners. If you want to be super helpful, leave them a folder or file with information about the house, the neighborhood, and your favorite activities to do around town. For example, if you're leaving the Lowcountry, leave a map and perhaps a list of activities and historic places in Charleston.

Make arrangements for the kids and pets for packing and/or moving day. It’ll be hard to keep track of them during the commotion, and they’ll become quickly bored in an empty house.

On moving day, make friends with the movers! They’re your lifesavers. Provide some water or sodas and a treat to thank them for their hard work.

Whether you’re moving across the country or just across town, being organized and informed will keep you from pulling your hair out. Start well in advance with some careful planning, and moving day should go off without a hitch!



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