If you are ready to make the move to Muskoka or you have decided to relocate across the country or just across town, moving can be stressful even given the best circumstances. The best way to make it less stressful is to have a plan. Without a clear plan, packing up a household, getting a family prepared and setting up the necessary services at both ends of a big move can be a harrowing experience.
The internet is a great resource. I spent a little time “Googling” and combined that with what I have learned from watching clients making the move, and have come up with some planning tips to help you make the “Big Move” a smooth and stress-free event.
1. Have a moving file. As soon as you even start thinking about moving, create a moving file. You can do it with paper in a binder or use your computer, tablet or even phone. Gather all related papers in one place, such as:
- Moving companies
- A calendar and a timeline for doing things – your Realtor can help you with this
- Your master packing list – Pack now (things you will not need until after you have moved) and pack later (things you will be using right up to the moving date)
- Contact information (for both the old & the new homes) for utilities, post office, schools, doctors, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance providers, etc.
Your moving file will be your most important tool and the source of your peace of mind. Keep it with you at all times.
2. Be brave and purge before packing. Don’t be tempted to drop an entire drawer of stuff into a box. This is the perfect time to declutter so be bold and just do it! Every item you decide to move should be moved for a reason — either you use it or you love it. Be ruthless with yourself and your kids so you don’t have to move more stuff than necessary. Remember, you will likely be paying movers based on the amount you have, and the more you move, the more you’ll have to unpack later.
3. Create a master packing list. Buy a big black marker pen and number each box as you pack it and write the number big and bold on all four sides. Don’t list the contents on the box. Instead, keep the details for each box on your master packing list in your moving file. Be specific when detailing the contents, so you’ll waste less time searching for things later. Use masking tape and a marker to tag electronics cables for easy setup later.
4. Protect valuable items. Pack your jewelry and legal documents yourself in an unmarked (or misleadingly marked) box and carry it with you personally if possible. It is unlikely that you would have an issue with a professional mover but it is probably unwise to label a box “valuables” or “jewelry” especially if you are putting it in other people’s hands.
5. The moving day box. Plan for the actual big day of the move by putting together a moving day box with essentials that can be kept in your car. Moving is kind of like camping, so pack accordingly. Include:
- Your moving file
- Toilet paper, soap, toiletries, medications, chargers and batteries for electronics (invest in chargers that plug into your car’s lighter), paper towels, bath towels and bed sheets, so you can settle in quickly
- Basic cleaning supplies
- A small tool kit
- Healthy snacks, paper plates, cups, utensils and a coffeemaker
- Pet food, bowls, leash, pet bed
- First aid kit
6. Don’t forget to involve the kids if you have any making the move with you. Get them involved by helping them pack their own travel bag with toiletries, pajamas and a few days’ worth of clothes. If your child has a favourite, comforting toy, bring it with you rather than packing it out of sight and out of reach.
7. Moving is hectic with pets especially if there will be several pit stops along the way. Moving day will be chaotic, with lots of open doors. Before moving day have ID tags made for your pets with your new address and be sure they wear their collar and new tags every moment of the move.
By having a detailed plan, you can focus on your family and the emotions surrounding a big change. Being well prepared is the best way for moving day to go off without a hitch. Hopefully, your process will be smooth, your trip a great adventure and your new Muskoka home a place you will love for a long time to come.