Plan a stress-free moving day
There may be no such thing as a worry-free move, but Canadian moving company Tippet-Richardson's Toronto assistant branch manager, Anita Fower, says that planning will go a long way toward easing the process. Here are some of Anita's tips.
• Choose an established moving company with bonded, trained, full-time employees. Although anyone with a van can call him- or herself a mover and offer cut-rate prices, everyone's heard a few horror stories about moving-day disasters!
• Try to schedule your move for the day after you take possession of your new house; that way you can avoid having to wait around for delivery of the house keys.
• If you want to save money, move midmonth, or off-season, between mid-September and mid-May.
• Expect to pay about $100 to $120 per hour for local off-season moves (see above), and $130 to $150 per hour in the high season. An average three-bedroom house will take about seven to nine hours. Long-distance rates are charged on a sliding scale based on poundage per mile – generally, the heavier the move, the lower the poundage rate per mile will be.
• Take delicates and valuables, including legal documents like wills and deeds, with you in your car.
• Consider taking out valuation coverage, which covers the actual repair or replacement value of items in your home, rather than the standard sixty cents per pound liability. The cost averages $3 to $5 per thousand dollars coverage.
In good time
One to two months pre-move
• Interview prospective moving companies and hire one; confirm moving dates
• Start dividing possessions into keepers, giveaways, garage sale fodder, trash
• Hold a garage sale
• Send out change-of-address notices to friends, relatives, magazine subscription services and relevant others
• Notify banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, motor vehicle license bureau and other government offices of your new address
• Arrange for shut-off and hookup of gas, electricity, cable, phone at old and new addresses
Two weeks pre-move
• Reserve freight elevator if you're moving to or from a condo or apartment building
• Arrange for transfer of school, doctor and vet records if relevant
• Use up perishable food
• Start planning on paper where everything will go in the new house; this will not only help the movers but also help you settle in more quickly in those frantic first days
• Begin packing (if doing it yourself) least-used items. Label boxes by room, like "Kitchen" and “Master Bedroom,” and by contents, such as "CDs” and "Tools”
• A few packing tips: individually wrap and stack dishes vertically; aim for a maximum of 50 pounds per standard-size packing box. Clothes may be kept inside dresser drawers if not heavy
• If possible, arrange to have kids stay with grandparents or friends on moving day; consider boarding pets
• Make hotel reservations if moving to another city or moving out one day and moving in the next
• Organize what you will be taking in your own car, what the movers will take and what will stay behind. Movers generally won't take anything physically attached to the house (draperies, artwork hangers, French doors) unless specifically instructed to do so
One day pre-move
• Empty and defrost fridge and freezer
• Finish packing; pack and label one or more boxes containing essentials needed immediately, including toothbrushes, pajamas, change of clothing, baby food and coffee. (Have movers unload this box first and put aside in an easy-to-locate spot)
• If prearranged, send kids and pets off for the day
• After moving truck is loaded, walk through old house with movers to make sure nothing is left behind. Don't forget to check garage, basement, attic, shed, closets and backyard
• If there's time, it's courteous to sweep or vacuum the empty house -- everyone appreciates moving into a clean house
• Turn down furnace
• Lock windows and doors
• Check truck after unloading to make sure nothing has been left behind
• Check for residential damage as soon as possible -- residential damage claim form must be completed and given to movers on moving day; check furniture and boxed goods for damage and note together
on separate damage claim
• Unpack box of essentials and get comfortable
• Don't try to do everything all at once – take breaks, have a snack or quick meal and try to relax!
TIP Willing to pay extra for a less stressful move? Movers offer packing and unpacking services. Prices are by the carton; 50 pounds of china (eight to 12 place settings) in a standard china carton will cost about $50, for example. The moving company will usually unpack goods the day after the move, including Saturdays.
The Canadian Association of Movers' website, mover.net, has great advice on choosing a moving company, packing and making your move easier.
Boxes: Available in many shapes and sizes from movers or moving supply store; reusable liquor or grocery store cast-offs also fine if in good condition.
Plastic storage containers: Convenient, but heavier than cardboard; purchase and reuse for storage. Anita Fower recommends Rubbermaid bins.
Packing tape: Purchase from movers or moving supply store, post office or office supply store.
Permanent markers: Use thick black permanent ink markers to label boxes.
Bubble wrap: Purchase from office supply store, movers or moving supply store.
Packing paper: A tidier option than newspaper -- no ink to transfer to hands or packed items.