Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Tips on Preparing for a Long-Distance Move

If you know a move is imminent in your future, start planning now! We started planning last Christmas for our move in October, as we felt the timing would be right to make a change. Here are some steps we used which might be helpful to you.

1. Start decluttering. When I put the Christmas decorations away last Christmas, I began purging. Even though I had gone through Christmas decorations other years, there was more I could get rid of. I had an advantage - I could leave what I didn't want for future houseparents to use. I didn't have to worry about disposing of them.

Each season, I would do the same - purge out those items I no longer wanted or needed. I did the same with other things as I had a chance, too - kitchen linens (tablecloths, placemats, kitchen towels, etc.), books, knick knacks, vases, dishes, towels and other linens, and clothing.

2. Start scanning and shredding. We had a goal of reducing our file cabinets from two four-drawer and two two-drawer cabinets to one four-drawer cabinet. My husband started using our Epson scanner to put many of the files onto our computers instead of leaving them in paper form. 

If you have a bunch of papers you no longer need, but they contain sensitive information, start shredding! Our heavy duty shredder was a gem! Here are some tips on what you need and don't need:

You only need to keep back-up information for income taxes for the last seven years. Beyond that date, just keep the income tax forms.

For investments, once you have received the end-of-year statement, the monthly or quarterly statements may be discarded. 

The same with bank statements - once you have reconciled your bank statement with deposit slips, payments, etc., keep the bank statement and get rid of the rest. 

Once you've received your W-2 from your employer, you can toss your pay stubs.

Since moving is charged by the pound, and paper is heavy, it is wise to get rid of as much paper as possible. We felt like a huge weight has been lifted to get rid of all that paper!

3. Get your important documents together. Just as we talked about in a previous blog post about having your important documents in one place in case of a quick evacuation, you'll want all your important papers with you when you move, whether in your car as you drive or with you on a plane. Here's a list of what you need.

4. As it gets to be time to pack, you'll want to declutter again. Even though I purged things throughout the year, I found more to purge when I went through those boxes again. I would ask myself, "Do I want to pay to move this?"

5. Start packing if you are going to pack yoursef. Place items that will go in the same room in the same box. Label the contents and label the box according to the room in which it will go. Remember that items that go in a certain room now, may fit better in a different room in your new home.

6. Once you have started packing, interview movers. By the time they come, you should have decided what will go and what will stay. We decided to hire Two Men and a Truck. We liked the idea that the same guys that packed our truck would drive it and unpack it. No one else's stuff would be on the truck. And it would arrive at the same time we would, not 7-15 days later.

As it turns out, the two guys who moved us had both been teenagers who had lived in two of our Shelter Care homes. Small world. It was nice to see them doing well after having a difficult start in life. 

Another thing I liked about Two Men and a Truck is that when they give you a quote, it will not change on the other end. I've heard many horror stories of moving companies who quote one price and add costs later. And Two Men and a Truck allow you to charge your move to your credit card, unlike many moving companies who require a cashier's check or cash. 

7. Close out your safe deposit box and retrieve any items loaned to others. Place the items from your safe deposit box in your important paper box, if appropriate.

8. Inform friends, family, businesses, and service providers of address change, email address change, telephone change, etc. Because we were having to change internet providers, we had to change our email addresses. You want to have plenty of time to inform people and transfer your address list.

9. Plan your trip. Determine how far you will travel each day and make hotel reservations or other arrangements for each night. If you need to change them, like we did, you usually have until 3 or 4 pm to do so without being charged.

10. On moving day, walk through the house to make sure the movers got everything. On the day the movers arrive, walk through the truck to make sure they didn't leave anything on the truck. Have snacks for them and tip them if you liked their work. Check for damage and write it on the document you sign off on so you can be reimbursed for loss or repair. 

Moving is a huge job! It's wise to start as soon as you know you're going to move. If you need help, hire a professional organizer who will be able to help you declutter and sort. 

More help on moving:
Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence
Three Steps to Decluttering
Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks