StessFirst, kinda a no brainer but it really is important! Try not to get stressed out. Eat healthy food, take breaks, and try to get good sleep. If you're like me, keep a note pad or your phone with a list app by your bed at night. If you can't sleep because you think of something you have to not forget, just write it down on your list and try to sleep. I'm not gonna lie, there's a LOT to do, but start checking stuff off your list and you'll have a great feeling of accomplishment that can carry you through.
Schedule servicesAs soon as you have a moving date set, call the electric, gas, trash, and internet services to schedule disconnect at the old place. Also get services scheduled to connect in your name at the new place. It can save you all kinds of hassle to call far in advance. Forward your mail in enough time to not miss or delay any. Schedule the moving truck. We have done this before we had an exact address and just confirmed it later.
Job compensationIf you're moving for a job, see if the new company/organization covers some of the moving cost. This has been a big help with each of our far moves! It may make the difference of being able to fly and ship a car instead of driving for a few days with a car full of kids.
Give awayNothing, as much as moving, will make you minimalistic and non-materialistic! When you have to pack it, carry it, unpack it, and find a new place for it, make sure it's really worth it! I like to use the opportunity to get rid of tons of stuff. Make three piles, one for trash and one give away and one for stuff to sell and see how big you can make them. If you don't love it and don't use it, get rid of it. If you've been looking to replace it, here's your excuse. :) Obviously, consider your funds and don't get rid of vital things unless you can replace them in a reasonable amount of time. Consider the space your moving to also and downsize if needed. Post stuff to sell on craigslist and/or do a garage sale. Give away what's left over. It really works to post all your leftovers on craigslist with a "must take all" note. Then you're done with it all and it feels really good to have it gone! Get the kids to go through their stuff and trash broken toys and puzzles with missing pieces. They can give away or sell things they've outgrown or toys they don't play with much. Start to use up the food stored up in your pantry and freezer. Don't buy in bulk and do buy the groceries you need to complement the things you have stored up. Give away stuff like the canned sweetened condensed milk that you won't use until next Thanksgiving!
Moving trucksIf you're moving in town and want to keep it cheep, rent a standard moving truck. Price out what's the best deal in your area. Try to find a place that has drop offs and pick up locations near your origin and destination. Try to get the right size you need because frequently the extra per mile and gas will make the price of a second trip higher than a larger truck. Still, if you need to, you can make a second trip. If you're making a big move (bless you!) try looking at different options. You may need to drive your car or both of you may need to drive your two cars the whole way. You won't be able to make two trips for sure or at least it really isn't worth it! I loved U-Pack and found it to be the least expensive for long distance moves. (and I'm not affiliated in any way.) They deliver the truck to your house, you pack the truck, and they drive it to the new location. You pay for just the footage you use of the huge semi-trailer and you can use as much as you need to. This made it a fun game to see how small a space we could use but we knew we'd be able to fit everything in. Invite your friends that appreciate a good challenge and a work out to a life size game of Tetris! You will stack everything then put up a divider that holds your belongings in the space. Before you start filling the truck, put a tarp down in the bottom of it. I cannot describe to you the mysterious black dust that is at the bottom of most moving trucks and will coat your belongings en route if you don't use a tarp. Sweeping alone does not work to remove it. It's better to cover it.
CarsYou have several options to get cars to the new place. Of course this is only an issue for long distance moves. You can drive or have a friend or family member drive. This is great for a place to pack those things you'll need immediately at the new place and transporting super fragile or valuable things or heat sensitive things. The U-Pack trucks don't have an option to tow which is their one disadvantage in my opinion. But we've found shipping prices to be pretty good once considering the price of gas and hotel stays when driving. Do be aware that the car carrier semi truck may not be able to come down a residential street so you may need to meet them on a main street. This can be difficult to arrange when you don't have a car to drive there. :) I've walked before out to a main street. Fun fun. Or not.
HelpersWe've always had friends or family that volunteer to help out. It's really a labor of love and an incredible way to send out or receive with love. Helpers can be so useful. But if you are a control freak or worried about your stuff, let them do stuff like fill nail holes, touch up paint, fetch boxes from craigslist/grocery stores, take give away stuff to salvation army, arrange garage sale stuff, bring meals, clean, watch the kids, or pack the kid's toys. The more deep cleaning you do before hand the less you have to worry about on moving day. Think appliances, ceiling fans, cobwebs, and baseboards. I've never needed or used professional movers so don't know much about them. But I think that they would be lovely. Expensive, but lovely.
Moving with kidsYou might find your little kids get a little uneasy with all the change and they don't want to get rid of anything. They may freak when you start to pack up their precious things. Explain, and re-explain, and then explain all over again that you are packing to put it on a truck to bring to a new house that will have a new room and then you will open the boxes and unpack in their new room. Talk often about how they will unpack this stuff or where it will go in the new room. It helps them when they see you label their boxes "Drew's stuff." Read a book with them about moving. Show them pictures of the new place if you have them. You can pay the kids per box that they help you pack. Sometimes, though it's just easier to pack when they nap. Do have them pick out their favorite stuffed animal and lots of little activity games and toys and pack them in a bag. Tell them they will have this for the trip. Kids LOVE to play with cardboard boxes! Set up a few big ones for them and let them play caves and make tents and hide in them and line them up to make trains and cars for their stuffed animals and siblings. Let them watch dvds when they are tired of packing or unpacking and you really need to get some work done. I put all the favorite dvds in a small cd case that stays accessible through the whole move. But make sure you're spending the extra family time together and having some fun with them too. They really need the stability of extra time with Mom and Dad and you probably could use the break and de-stressing. It's hard for them to think about leaving people (just like it's hard for you) if you're moving far away. Talk about keeping in touch with them and about making new friends. I always tell them that we will stay friends. My kids like that they have friends all over the country and they get an opportunity to make more with each move. We made little photo albums with pictures of far away friends and family that our kids keep with their books.
Moving when pregnantTell me you're not moving when you're pregnant! If you are moving when your pregnant my sympathy is with you! I've managed to move every time I have been pregnant and I hated it. If you have a choice, move in your second trimester so you have more energy, less sickness, and still some time to nest in your new place before your baby arrives.
Well, I hope someone benefits from my own hyper organization and thoroughly thought out ideas about moving! In part 2 I'll post about my tips and method for packing.