I have moved roughly 476 times. Ok, not really, but a lot. I have moved as single college student, a single mom, a married mom of two, and so on. We are now planning our biggest move yet, a family cross-country move to California from Georgia for my husband’s job. I have learned much about moving by trial and error, so I decided to write a four-part moving guide with all my tips and tricks. Welcome to the first installment: the planning phase. There is much to be considered when planning a move. If you plan correctly and efficiently, the rest is smooth sailing.
Whether you are moving to another neighborhood or to another coast, the first thing to look at is your budget. Make sure your budget is updated and current. If your budget will be changing at your proposed new home, you will need to compare the differences. I do this in a simple Google Sheet. I put both budgets side by side, input the formulas, and play with numbers as needed.
If you are moving further than “in-town” you might consider looking at the cost of living differences as well. I found a few websites that are helpful in comparing cost of living in two different places.
If you are moving our of state, you should also take into consideration what your new net income will be with taxes specific to that state. You can figure that out HERE.
Make lists for everything! I use Google Sheets for this, too. I have a spreadsheet entitled “Move” that has several sheets inside. I have a pre-move list for each family member, a post-move list for each of us, an inventory of what we are moving (and not moving), and costs associated with the move. This makes it easy to have all the information in one place and easily accessible. Don’t forget to schedule and plan your route if you have a long way to drive.
I use HotPads and Craigslist. Tip: To get alerted to the best homes first, set up an alert with your chosen settings so that you receive an email when a home becomes available. When it comes to the neighborhood and school district, my advice is to Google everything to death. Read through message boards and see what other people are saying. Search for registered sex offenders in the area. Be careful about judging a school based on their “score” you may find online. These are often based on test scores only, which can leave room for a lot of error. I found that joining Facebook “Mom” Groups were really helpful for crowd sourcing to get authentic feedback. (This also goes for finding new doctors in the area, fun places to take the kids, and just about anything else!)
SEARCH FOR MOVERS
There is a lot to compare when it comes to moving services. There are full service movers, moving trucks available for rent, and storage containers that you load and unload at your new location. What you need depends fully on your personal budget, your needs, and your priorities at the time. My preference for simply renting a moving truck is Budget, shipping container moving is uPack, and my favorite full service local movers are Two Men and a Truck.
ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME
If I have learned anything the hard way, it’s this. Make sure you allow more time than you think you need to pack and prep. Inevitably, something unexpected will come up and slow you down. It’s better to have things done too soon than at the last minute.
Next up in the series: PURGING.