How Do You Plan a Big Move?

Making the most efficient move possible

It's Moving Day

No matter if you’re making the haul across town or across the country, a big move requires plenty of planning—at least if you want things to go smoothly. How far in advance do you really need to start getting plans in place, and how can you make sure you’re covering all the bases?

From tackling those pesky home repairs you’ve been putting off to gathering the proper packing and moving supplies, the to-do list can seem never-ending and ever-growing as moving day inches closer. If you have the time to get your ducks in a row, using that time wisely is key to a logistically stress-free transition. Here’s a step-by-step look at how to plan a big move.

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Step 1: Determine Your Moving Budget

Unfortunately, moving costs money—and often more than you expect. That’s why a budget can help you set those financial expectations in the first place. Of course, this will depend on the distance and magnitude of your move. There are online moving cost calculators that can help estimate your total cost for the moving basics, as well as budgeting apps that can do all the math for you.

Still, don’t forget to factor in the additional potential moving expenses throughout the entire process, such as:

  • Cleaners
  • Repairs
  • Packing and moving supplies (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, etc.)
  • Packing services
  • Moving truck or containers
  • Movers (and a tip!)
  • Rent and utility deposits
  • Real estate fees and down payments
  • Travel (food, transportation, lodging, etc.)
  • Self storage rental
  • Additional insurance for home, moving, or storage 
  • New furniture, groceries, and miscellaneous household items

Additionally, portions of your moving expenses may be tax-deductible. Save all your receipts, including those for any donations you made before the move. If you’re moving or relocating for work, you may also be eligible to receive a tax deduction on these costs. Find out if you can deduct your moving expenses through the IRS website.

Step 2: Downsize and Declutter Your Belongings

Help your self declutter with these simple steps.

From sentimental keepsakes to household appliances still in working order, your excess items can always be stored at a conveniently located self storage unit near your new home. This can also help you keep clutter at bay for the long term. 

As a rule of thumb, you probably won’t use anything in the near future you haven’t used within the past year (e.g., old books and duplicate items such as furniture and kitchenware). 

It’s best to take the process one room at a time. Categorize all items into different piles or boxes that determine their destinies. For instance:

  • Keep
  • Throw away
  • Storage
  • Donate/sell

Step 3: Knock Out Repairs and Chores

Before you move out of your place, it’s not going to clean itself—you’re going to have to clean it from floor to ceiling. Start cleaning up to several months before you move out by doing what you can that early, and be sure to account for spots that will need cleaning after you pack everything up, such as the fridge and cabinets. Conclude with all the floors, whether you need to scrub, mop, or vacuum.

With that in mind, now is the time to fix any repairs that need to be done, from carpet cleaning to any plumbing issues. If you are driving your vehicle a long distance to your new location, get your car serviced and take care of any outstanding or upcoming maintenance.

Step 4: Find Movers or a Moving Truck

Ideally, you will have your moving plans and services solidified about a month in advance. Especially during peak moving season (summer), moving companies’ schedules fill up quickly, and the last thing you want is to be scrambling to find assistance at the last minute. However, there are a few factors to consider before deciding which route you want to take: How far away are you moving? What is your budget? How big is your home, and how much do you need to transport? Here are a handful of options for getting your stuff from point A to B:

Rent a moving truck

This is one of the most affordable options, as long as you or someone else is comfortable packing and driving a big truck.

Hire hourly movers

Hourly movers are a good choice when you don’t want to do all the heavy lifting yourself. Do your research and read customer reviews before reaching out to the company. Contact them to request a quote and schedule a moving day and time. Also, it’s polite to tip your movers and provide them bottled water, if possible

Hire full-service movers

Although the priciest option, it’s designed to be virtually stress-free. Full-service movers will do it all for you—from packing to moving everything to wherever you’re going.

Do it yourself (or with help)

Know a couple of people with pickup trucks? If you solicit friends or family to help you move, they should be in it for the long haul—whether it’s a day-long or week-long process. Due to limited vehicle space, this will be trickier if you’re moving cross-country or far away, as it may require you to make multiple trips

Step 5: Gather Moving Supplies

Once your moving day transportation plans are squared away, it’s wise to start gathering moving supplies.

Check with your local self storage facility and see if they carry moving supplies for sale. Some supplies you’ll likely need include:

  • Boxes (small, medium, and large sizes, plus any electronics or wardrobe boxes)
  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper or old newspaper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Moving blankets
  • Stretch wrap
  • Mattress bags
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Step 6: Transfer All Services to Your New Address

As soon as possible, start a list of all utility companies that need to be contacted—before you move out of your current home and into your new one. About a few weeks before, notify your current utilities when you’ll need to shut them off at your address, then set up new utility services at your new address. Some utilities you may need to cancel, transfer, and/or set up include:

  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Trash collection
  • Cable
  • Internet

Step 7: Pack with a Purpose and Plan

The sooner you can reasonably start packing the better. Designate an area for boxes at home, and fill them a little bit more every day. As your move approaches, speed things up. Some other helpful packing strategies to follow include:

Pack heavy items in smaller boxes

Conversely, pack lighter items in larger boxes. This will make them easier to carry and lessen their chances of breaking or caving at the bottom.

Wrap up fragile belongings

From bubble wrap for glassware to stretch wrap for delicate furniture, make sure items that might break are padded well inside their boxes or covered in the proper material to prevent damage in transit.

Label every box on every side

Use a bold permanent marker to label each box with both its contents (in smaller print) and the room in which it will be placed or unpacked (in larger print).

Utilize valuable space

Use space in any voids like dressers, appliances, and trash cans.

Step 8: Use Self Storage to Streamline Your Big Move

How can we help you find the right self storage unit for your needs

Making a major move to a new city or job can be both exciting and stressful. However, being proactive with your preparation and planning can do wonders for efficiency and eliminate some of the unexpected once the big day rolls around.

The Jenkins Organization is well-versed in the needs of movers when it comes to packing, moving, and storage. Reserved storage space that’s move-in ready can streamline the process and clear the way for a smooth move. Luckily, we offer premium self storage units and solutions to residents all across Texas, with several facilities in Louisiana, Nebraska, and South Carolina. No matter if you’re staging your home for a sale, getting settled in a new city, or needing a place for your belongings between moves, there is a range of storage unit sizes to choose from that are fit for whatever you need to store while planning a big move—and in the time afterward.

What to Pack Last or Keep with You

Obviously, you can’t pack everything ahead of time; some of your day-to-day essentials need to remain accessible until you’re moving out for good. There are a handful of things you should consider carrying with you on moving day—or at least loading onto the truck last so you can access them efficiently: 

  • Wallet, checkbook, & cash

  • Important documents related to your move

  • Toiletries & cleaning supplies

  • Prescription medications, glasses, or contact lenses

  • Bedding, dishware, & utensils

  • Pet food and supplies

  • Electronics, chargers, & a tool kit

  • Snacks

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