How to Survive a Relocation
It's time for a change. Finally. And even though you've got a million and one things on your mind-what with wrapping up your work, seeing friends for one last time, giving notice to your landlord and so on, you'll want to make sure you allot a chunk of that time to researching and securing a trustworthy mover. Because if you don't, you'll be sorry.
See if Your Company Has a Regular Mover
If you're moving because your employer transfers you, first identify those aspects of the move for which the company will take responsibility. If your company moves people routinely, it probably uses a regular mover, which it knows it can trust. If your employer doesn't have a recommended moving company, make sure you're in on the process of choosing one, so you have final (or at least some) say in who's going to be handling your valuables.
A large employer might take care of all your moving costs, including the movers, your hotels, and airfare. If you can't rely on such support, your first steps should be taken at least eight weeks before you plan to move. Begin researching possible moving companies. Make sure to find out if each company is bonded, and get references from past customers.
Know the Liability Policy
It's easy to go for the cheapest moving company, but the lower initial investment can cost you more in the long run. There's nothing worse than having some fumble-fingered mover drop your computer monitor through the picture tube of your TV, then finding out that there's nothing you can do about it because you didn't read the fine print. Before you sign on with any company, make sure you know its policies on belongings that get lost or damaged-and not just by breakage, but also by water or other misadventure.
At about the same time, six to eight weeks before you're planning to move, start poking around your house, with an especially keen eye to the attic, basement, storage shed, and other out-of-the-way places. Figure out what you absolutely need to keep, bearing in mind that the more you take with you, the more complicated your move will be. Be ruthless in your decisions, because the more you can get rid of, the better off you'll be.
Once you know what you're taking on the move, you can begin negotiating with the moving company you've already chosen. The moving company will provide an estimate of the move's cost, and it can sell you supplies: boxes, tape, packing, and other useful materials.
When you're packing your belongings, keep a few pointers in mind:
- Heavier items should go in smaller boxes, so avoid the urge to pack your entire life into three immovable boxes.
- Put lighter items into larger boxes, separated by packing peanuts or crumpled newspapers.
- Keep items from particular rooms together, and label each box with the room from which its contents came (living room, kitchen, etc.)
- Also, reserve one box for all the items you might need immediately on arrival (toilet paper, telephone, light bulbs, tools, cups and utensils, etcetera). Set that box aside, to be loaded on the truck last, so that you won't be tearing through 15 different boxes when nature calls at your new home.
On moving day, do your best to stay out of the way of the movers. It's easy to get nervous when strangers are handling your belongings, and your first inclination might be to offer help, in the form of suggestions about handling your boxes and furniture. Don't do it. Remember that the movers are professionals, and you chose to trust them. Do your best to keep yourself, your family, and your pets out of the movers' way when they're working, but make yourself available in case the movers have questions.
Once your belongings are safely in the truck, make sure you get the shipment registration number from the movers. Keep this number in a safe place in case you need to call the moving company with questions about your shipment. Without this number, you could experience a long and frustrating delay while the moving company tries to track down the truck carrying your belongings. Also, be sure to leave the moving company a number where it can contact you if it has any problems or questions.
At this point, all that's left is to get yourself to your new residence safely and wait for the moving van to pull up. The rules of staying out of the way also apply while the truck is being unpacked, but make sure to tell the movers in which rooms furniture and boxes belong in so that you won't have to move everything around again after they leave. You'll be able to unpack and unwrap your life at your leisure, while you begin to enjoy your new home.