Moving is not a task we do every day – but there are steps you can take to reduce the stress.
What’s the best way to prepare for a move?
Four weeks before moving
- Decide what you want to take, what you want to throw out, and what you want to donate to charity or sell.
- Start using up frozen food and staples. Don’t buy any more than is necessary before moving.
- Start planning your trip. Make airline reservations. Book hotels and rental cars.
- Arrange for important school, medical, financial, and legal records to be transferred.
Three weeks before moving
- Arrange to have your pets transported or boarded. Start preparing your plants for the move.
- Get back any items you have lent (and give back any items you have borrowed). Pick up any items that are being repaired.
- Dispose of flammable items such as paint, aerosol cans, and cleaning fluids.
- Send change of address information to the post office and other businesses.
Two weeks before moving
- Schedule a date for a service firm to disconnect and prepare the appliances you are moving.
- Start packing non-essential items.
- Arrange for a babysitter for moving day.
- Start planning to disconnect utilities.
- Draw up a floor plan for your new home and start planning your furniture arrangement. (It makes moving in twice as easy.)
One week before moving
- Finish packing suitcases and basic essentials. Make sure valuable documents, currency, and jewelry are in a safe and easily accessible place.
- Drain garden hoses, lawn mowers, and other machinery.
- Defrost and dry the fridge and freezer. Don’t forget to empty the defrost water pan.
- Take down items such as curtain rods, shelves, light fixtures, and mirrors that you are taking with you.
- Dismantle large power tools, such as lathes and grinders.
- Make sure all of your important papers, keys, medications, and plane tickets are available for the trip.
- If you are traveling a long distance by car, you may want to have the car serviced.
- Leave a clear workspace for the packers.
- Identify fragile and valuable items, items you are taking with you, and items being left for the new owners.
- Plan to stay home until the moving van has left.
- Tour the house with the van operator during inventory. Sign the bill of lading. Confirm your new address and delivery date. Check destination contact phone numbers.
- Do a final check for overlooked items. Make certain windows and doors are locked, lights are turned off, utilities are discontinued or turned off, and the keys are transferred.
- Try to get to your new home the day before the moving van arrives. Make sure the utilities are connected. Take another look to see if where you want your furniture to go is correct.
- When the mover arrives, check items unloaded against the inventory. Make arrangements for installation of appliances. Confirm unpacking requirements.
Before You Move
What are some commonly overlooked pre-move arrangements you should make?
Use this helpful checklist as a reminder of the things you need to do before you move.
Book the movers:
- It’s a good idea to obtain estimates from several different companies.
- The estimate will depend on whether the movers pack everything or just the breakables, or whether you want to do the packing yourself.
If you own your present home:
- Arrange to have your gas, water, and electricity meters read on the day you leave. Have the bills forwarded to your new address.
- Have your oil tank read and filled before your sale closes and, if required, give the receipt to your legal professional.
- Arrange for the water heater and furnace rental agreements to be transferred to the purchaser.
- Disconnect your telephone, cable TV, and water softener.
If you rent your present home:
- Give your landlord written notice and make arrangements for the return of any deposits.
At your new home:
Arrange to have gas and electricity, water softener, telephone, and cable TV connected on the day the sale closes. Talk to your agent to ensure that the utility companies have been advised by the seller to disconnect services billed to their name. Many utility companies will not let you connect till this is completed.
- Get change-of-address cards from the post office and send them out well before moving day.
- Have the post office forward your mail to your new address.
- Cancel contracted services and pre-authorized cheques.
- Inform gardening, dry cleaning, garbage pick-up, newspapers, magazines, diaper, and other home services of your move. Arrange for service at your new address.
- Get a letter of introduction from your bank to help set up new accounts. Transfer trust or bank accounts and securities.
- Cancel or transfer social, athletic, civic, religious, or business affiliations and memberships.
- Ask your dentist, doctor, pharmacist, and optometrist to transfer medical, dental, and prescription records.
- Change the address on your driver’s license effective the day of the move.
- Collect all items out for cleaning or repair, or in storage.
- Make arrangements to move perishables, such as plants.
- Make arrangements to move your pets.
- Dispose of all flammable liquids. It is illegal for movers to carry them.
Moving with Kids
How do I make the move easier on my kids?
In all of the hustle and bustle, parents sometimes overlook the children, who are very concerned about the upcoming move. For children (and teenagers) a move means leaving everything that is important: their home, their school, their teams and clubs, and their friends. They are not normally involved in the decision to move, and many times do not understand the necessity to move. It’s a frightening prospect.
Important things to keep in mind:
- It is not unusual for children to show signs of stress, such as problems sleeping, anxiety, and lack of appetite.
- Children need time to deal with feelings of loss or separation and the more time they have the better. Tell your children as soon as you can.
- Explain in simple terms why the move is necessary. Make it short and positive, without overselling – children often know when a parent is masking negative feelings.
- As the children become used to the idea of moving, tell them about their new home and what they might expect to find there.
- Encourage open communication. Let children talk about their feelings. Reassure them their feelings are normal.
- Attachments are strong, even at a young age. It may take some time for a child to let go.
- Involve your children in the move. Ask for their opinions and suggestions. Their point of view may provide insight into their true feelings.
- Get them involved. Give them their own to-do lists so they can be a part of the process.
Most people plan their move to coincide with the end of the school year. Child psychologists, however, suggest moving at least a month before the end of the school year so that they can make new friends before the long summer break. Children adapt much better when they have a circle of friends and some routine.
Moving with Pets
How should I move my pet?
- Pets, like any other family member, feel the stress of relocation. Minimizing your pet’s exposure to extreme changes in routine will go a long way to easing its stress (and yours).
- Consult your veterinarian. Make sure all vaccinations are current, obtain medical records, and ask for a recommendation for a veterinarian in your new area.
Transporting your pet
- Household movers are not permitted to transport live animals in a moving van. Bus companies will only accept seeing-eye dogs accompanied by their owner.
- Dogs and cats can ride in your car, but make sure you stop at least every two hours. Call ahead to find motels and hotels that allow pets.
- If you are flying, your cat or dog can ride in the baggage compartment. Call your airline to find out about vaccination requirements. For long plane trips, or if your pet is nervous, talk to a vet about tranquilizers.
- There are a number of companies in Canada and the United States that specialize in travel arrangements for pets. Air Animal can arrange to ship pets anywhere in the world (call 1-800-635-3443 for information and a free booklet).
Before the relocation
Keep your pet’s daily routine as consistent as possible. If possible, arrange with a friend or a kennel to take your pet during the move.
During the relocation
Make sure your animal has identification tags and that the phone number on the tags is current. Have extra food and water on hand in case of emergency.
Arrival at your new home
The sooner you re-establish old routines, the better. Allow your pet to become familiar with the home. Cats should be kept indoors for a few days before being allowed to roam free. Dogs benefit from frequent familiarization walks around the area.
Hamsters, birds, mice, and guinea pigs are best transported in their cages in your own car. Make sure the animal has enough food and water, and do not park in the sun.
There is no practical way to move fish in their aquarium. It is best to give the fish away to a good home, move the aquarium dry, and then purchase new fish when you get to your new home. For short trips, you can carry your fish in plastic bags.