The earlier you begin working out the logistics of your move, the better. You’ll experience less stress, less financial strain, and fewer headaches as plans change or have to be altered. Here are some simple ways you can prepare for your spring move now.
Set Your Budget
A budget is essential for a move. Those who head into the process without realizing how much it can all cost may end up panicking or running up debt as they try to cover all the costs. Take some time now to sit down and figure out how much it will cost to:
Do it yourself. Some people DIY their moves, but even DIY jobs require extra cash. For example, you might want to set aside a co-pay for the emergency room in case someone is injured on moving day. You also might need to budget for hand trucks and other moving gear if you don’t have any.
Hire packing and moving services. These services can save you time and can be worth the extra upfront cost. Your items will be packed professionally and loaded efficiently without risk to yourself or your family.
Rent a moving truck. If you decide to DIY, this is an expense that varies greatly depending on which moving approach you take. Pod-style moving, for example, is simpler and easier than loading and driving a moving truck, but the cost can be higher.
Get boxes and packing gear. Bubble wrap, packing tape, sturdy boxes, and packing paper are often an overlooked expense that can add up as you start to realize just how much stuff you have stowed in basements, garages, sheds and closets.
Buy meals and secure short-term lodging. Will you need to eat out more as you pack your kitchen? Will your family need to stay in a hotel for a few days? These costs should be added to your moving budget.
Put deposits down. If you’re renting, you’ll need a bit of a nest egg to pay for rent and a deposit. If you have a pet, factor in costs of finding pet-friendly places and paying a pet fee.
Move challenging items. Will you need to pay more to have valuable art shipped? Do you have a grand piano that might require extra moving expertise? Be sure to factor special handling into your budget.
After calculating the cost, you now have time to save up some money or figure out how much it will affect your savings. This is also where you can factor in whether your company is planning on covering some of the costs of relocation. Just anticipating the expenses helps to reduce the stress.
Create a Plan “B”
Even the best-laid plans can sometimes be thrown to the wind, which is why preparing now for your move can be an asset. For example, if you’re hoping to move in the spring, yet your house sells much faster than you expected, you might have to move much sooner.
You should have at least a basic plan in place for what you’ll do if these less likely outcomes occur. In the case of an early sale, will you stay in short-term housing, live with relatives, or start house hunting for a new place sooner? How will this affect your budget?
Other wrenches in your original plan could be a sudden move to another part of the country instead (this can happen at the last minute to military service members), trouble finding a rental, or even a family emergency like a birth or funeral.
Check School Districts and Registration Dates
If you have children, it’s never too early to start looking into school ratings, district enrollment dates, and academic programs in your new area. If you know when you’ll be moving, you might call ahead and ask if it’s possible to open enroll your children in the school you hope for them to go to.
This information especially informs where you hope to rent or buy your next home, which will definitely be on your to-do list in the coming months.
Update Family and Pet Health Records
Finally, moving your health records can be challenging. Every state has different methods of tracking vaccines, and you will need updated records to enroll your kids in public school. You’ll also want to research primary care physicians to fill out registration forms for preschool and kindergarten, as these often require a physical and updated local medical contact information.
Pets may also require vaccines before you move to a new state. Contact your new city or speak with your vet about what health records you need to prove your animals are in good health and have the required vaccines