11 Ways to Prepare Yourself for a Big Move

Whether it's a move across the country or across town, the whole process can either go smoothly or have the overtones of a major life crisis. We've been on hand during transferee moves for some time and have come to the conclusion that the little things make the difference between a smooth move and a chaotic one. The secret is in the details of getting your belongings from one place to another.

You'll have a better chance of a trouble-free move if you become familiar with our 11 tips for a smooth move.

1. Expect Stress

First and foremost, you should expect a certain amount of stress and be as patient as possible with yourself and everyone else. When the whole family remembers to listen carefully and respond thoughtfully, things are easier for everyone. When a home is up for sale, the chore of clearing out the clutter (for showing the house) can be combined with sorting and packing. Even if professional movers are scheduled to do the big packing job, time is saved at the destination when you personally box many items (off-season clothes, for example).

2. Keep a Moving Book
Having a personal moving book (a 3-ring binder plus pocket dividers) helps keep details in their place: checklists, daily reminders, mover information, and lists of what's where. One of the most frustrating aspects of moving is not being able to find things that have been shuffled from here to there.

3. Plan for Pets
Pets need to be planned for as much as any other family member. Change is stressful for animals too. Traveling arrangements should be made early (including necessary shots, certificates, etc.), especially if the pet is to travel by public transportation.

4. Print Change Notices
As soon as a home is sold, notices should be sent to alert utility and other services of cancellation dates, to transfer bank accounts and medical records, and to avoid annoying gaps in subscriptions.

5. Return and Collect Things
Returning borrowed things (library books, friends' belongings, etc.) should be on your move-out checklist, as well as a reminder to collect things from safe deposit boxes, storage places, repair shops, or friends' homes.

6. Carry Valuables
It's often safer to carry jewelry, birth certificates, and other valuables rather than trust them to movers or the mail. School records and proof of vaccinations also have a better chance of prompt arrival if they are conveyed personally rather than left for transfer to busy school and medical offices.

7. Setup Your Utilities
Your Realtor can provide you with contact information for local utilities, including electric, gas, water, internet and cable services, trash collection, and irrigation. Also, be sure that your homeowner's insurance is in place on the day of closing on your new home.

8. Pack a Survival Kit
Packing a survival package takes care of all those small family needs at the new home on the first day: light bulbs, a flashlight, tissues, trash bags, children's toys, pillows, blankets, saucepans, canned food, paper plates, powdered drinks, plastic cups, a radio, a telephone, a hammer and more.

9. Make Tags and Licenses a Priority
Remembering to get car registrations helps avoid fines and transferring drivers' licenses on time saves having to take new road tests.

10. Schedule Extra Time
It's wise, if possible, to allow plenty of time to recover, unpack and settle in. A few days of dining out helps. After all, a home isn't built in a day.

11. Seek Experts Advice
A prime reminder: throughout the move, you can rely on your real estate and relocation specialists on each end of the move to help the relocation go smoothly.

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