5 Steps to Prep for Your Move
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Taking the time to properly prep before your move can make all the difference between an exciting, joy-filled day and a recipe for meltdowns and mistakes. Procrastinating never really pays off, and this occasion is no exception. Do yourself a favor and prep for your move with a little help from your friends at Apartminty:
1. Change of Address
Once you’ve signed your new lease, you’ll need to file for an Official Postal Service Change of Address. The process is quick and convenient (done online), and will ensure that the majority of your current mail makes its way to your new home. You can customize the date that the mail forwarding begins, so do this about a month in advance so it doesn’t slip your mind in the moving frenzy. In addition, you can expect to receive a nice little welcome bundle of home-related coupons and discounts in the mail. While most items are covered under the USPS Change of Address, don’t forget to read the terms and be sure to contact certain mailers individually (such as a magazine or subscription you currently receive) to update your address as well. It is also suggested that you notify the Social Security Administration, the IRS and the DMV to ensure that all of your contact information is current.
2. Pack Strategically
Before you begin packing, mentally map out what your ideal unpacking process would look like. Write up a rough timeline of which items you will need to unpack first, which ones can be stored for a while, and everything in between, then group the items accordingly. It is very easy to get lazy about labeling boxes, but do your future self a favor and be as detailed as possible. Boxes of miscellaneous items can be hard to label thoroughly, so label your boxes with numbers as well, indicating which ones should be unpacked first. Typically, basic kitchen items, bathroom items, bedding, your frequently-worn clothes, and cleaning supplies will be among the first items you’ll want at your fingertips.
Be sure to pack a “first day” box that includes items such as snacks, water bottles or a filter, first aid kit, paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, plates, cups, plastic ware), a change of clothes, pajamas, and basic toiletries. Deliver this to your new place before move-in day if possible, or make sure it is part of the first trip of the day. Bonus points if you remember to turn the ice maker on a couple days before your move. If there are some items that you know you won’t be needing in the near future, consider using a service like City Stash. They will pick up and store your items for as long as you’d like and they only charge for the space you use, not a whole storage unit (great solution for off-season clothes).
3. Cover your Bases
In addition to packing, there are a few items you should get a jump start on:
- Start researching moving companies and comparing rates and ratings.
- Same goes for renter’s insurance: packing is a great time to estimate the value of your belongings and amount of coverage you’ll need.
- Set up new service and schedule cancellation of old ones such as cable, internet, gas, electric, garbage, water, etc. Find out who can let the cable guy into your apartment for set-up and ask whether or not you need to be there.
- Make sure arrangements have been made for pets and/or kids.
- What is the parking situation at your new apartment? Do you need a parking pass, garage door opener, or code before moving in? Will you need a zoned parking sticker for street parking?
- Ask for a floor plan of your apartments or draw up a basic one yourself. You’ll be able to play around with furniture layouts, then give a copy to the movers detailing where furniture and boxes should go.
- Measure doorways and other clearances to ensure your bulky items will fit in your new space.
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4. Moving Day Plan
Packing is a time consuming and sometimes overwhelming process. Don’t get so frenzied that you forgot the other details that go along with moving day. Talk to your new landlord/building manager about moving day details: Where can the moving van park/is there a loading dock? Do you need to reserve the elevator for a block of time? When and from whom will you get your keys? There are also a few things you’ll want to have on hand for the day, either in your car/purse/murse, whatever.
- Water and refreshments of your choice
- Good portable snacks so no one gets too hangry
- A first-aid kit, including bandaids for scraped knuckles, aspirin for aching backs and heads, and cool pack for over-heating
- Items for the season’s weather- spare gloves, ice scrapers, and heat packs or sunglasses, sunscreen and a fresh shirt or two
- Chargers for any electronics you use constantly: cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.
- A list of phone numbers that has contact info for your movers, the moving company, your new and old landlord/building manager, all friends and family helping you, and the names of a couple of take-out restaurants nearby for your first night.
5. Tie Up Loose Ends
If you can find the time, take a few extra steps to make life a little easier. As early on in the process as possible, take a walk through your new building and apartment and take note of what the differences are between your old and new place. If the laundry is coin-op, stock up on some quarters. If your old shower had a door, but your new one has a curtain rod, buy a shower curtain. If the reverse is true, toss your old shower curtain. The same goes for anything you’ll no longer need (think dish-drying rack, lighting fixtures, etc.); take the time to think each item over before you pack it and give yourself adequate time to do so. Last minute panic-packing leaves you with lots of extra work later on. Does your new apartment have more or different kinds of windows? Pay attention to your curtain needs to ensure a sound sleep and privacy from night one.
With most of the hard work done (anyone else loathe unpacking?), it’s time to relax. You may not have your TV and cable all plugged in the first night, so make sure you have your new Wi-Fi password and your laptop handy for online streaming. Dial up one of those take-out restaurants you so diligently researched, then search for the closest liquor store. You just moved into the apartment of your dreams with relatively minimal stress. This calls for some bubbly. Or scotch.
Equal Housing Opportunity Rental providers will not refuse to rent a rental unit to a person because the person will provide the rental payment, in whole or in part, through a voucher for rental housing assistance provided by the District or federal government.