The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.
The time between the decision to move and actually moving is a sort of crazy limbo. The urge to just start tossing your stuff into boxes as soon as you make the final decision to relocate is strong. At the same time, you don’t want to get stuck having to unpack the kitchen every time you need to use a frying pan. You can’t decide if you should save up a bunch of money first and then, when you can’t stand it anymore, flee to the best place your savings can afford, or if you should choose your new place (at least vaguely) first and save up to make sure you can build a real life there. All of this uncertainty means you spend a lot of time standing still, too scared to move until it’s too late and you’re in panic mode.
Let’s break that cycle. Here is how to organize your move so that you don’t spend too much money, risk living in a tomb of boxes, accidentally pack all of the things you meant to donate to Goodwill, etc.
1. Pick Your Neighborhood, Do Your Research
Figure out the neighborhood in which you most want to live and then get to work. What is the cost of living there? What is the average rental price (we’re just going to assume that you’re not ready to buy a house yet) for the size of the home you need? How much are groceries? How much will parking cost? Is there transit, and if so, is it reasonably priced and reliable?
2. Build Your Budget
Figure out how much it will cost you to live in your new neighborhood, in the apartment you want, for at least six months with no income. Yes, you might already be gainfully employed and planning on keeping your job but moving is expensive! And, in this economy, it’s better to save up just in case, right?
Add to that the cost of packing materials, movers, utility and rental deposits, rental application and holding fees.
Tack on an extra 15% to account for hikes in rental prices, and other unforeseen expenses (there are always a few).
This number? This is the number that you need to reach before you can start looking at apartments and planning out your move.
3. Start Sorting
Even if you aren’t ready to apartment hunt just yet, you can start sorting through your house now. The sooner you start sorting and decluttering your kitchen and other rooms, the easier the process will be. You’ll also have a much easier time making informed decisions about what to keep and what to toss. Get rid of anything that doesn’t have massive sentimental value and that you do not use at least once a year. Pack up anything that you don’t foresee needing until after your move (off season clothing, decorations, attics, basements, etc).
4. Sell Your Stuff
Yes, I said “sell” instead of donate. Right now, you’re trying to save up for your move and looking for ways to offset your moving costs. Selling the stuff you were going to be getting rid of is a fantastic way to do that. You can list the items on Craigslist or eBay or hold a yard sale. It is amazing what people will buy. The sooner you start doing this, the more time you have to sell things.
5. Hunt for Housing
When you’ve got your “moving nest-egg” it’s time to start looking for housing in your chosen neighborhood (or one close by). If you can at all help it, do not give notice on your current rental until you have a new rental lined up. It’s better to let your rents overlap for a week or so than to have to rush and choose a less-than-worthy place.
6. Pack and Move
Once you have a definite date for moving in to your new rental, you can start packing up the rest of your home and hire some movers. Yes, you read that right. It’s true that, on the surface DIY moving looks cheaper, but consider this: you’re charged through the nose for gas, mileage and time on rental vans, and if you’re injured over the course of your move you have to pay your own money for medical care. When you hire movers, though, all of that is insured. According to www.mayflower.com, insurance helps protect you for the full value of your belongings (sometimes more) if anything happens to them during the move. Plus, directing movers is much less stressful than trying to carry all of those boxes of books that you packed!
By stretching out the moving and packing process, you can save yourself a lot of stress and a ton of money!