Moving tips


Springtime is a popular season to move to a new home. Buying or renting a new place comes with its share of anxieties and problems. And then moving day arrives, and everything increases tenfold. 

Real estate continues to be hot here in the Upper Delaware Valley, and we’ve got tips to help moving day move a bit more smoothly.

Be prepared to shell out more money than originally planned. We’re not talking the mortgage payment or rent, although both have skyrocketed around here since COVID. If you’re downsizing, you’ll probably want to rent a dumpster to empty your attic and/or basement. If recycling is more your thing, remember that time=money: you’ll probably need to take a few days off from work to sort through your stuff, decide where to donate it, and actually bring it there. If your budget allows, consider renting a storage unit a month or two before moving day; every few days, move some of the smaller things as well as stuff you’re not using every day (seasonal clothing and decorations, for example) into the unit. You can then move it into your new place at your leisure, and it reduces the workload for your helpers on the actual moving day.

If you are selling your house, lock in a closing date before canceling utilities. There’s not much worse than paying to heat and electrify a house that’s empty because the town is dragging its feet on checking the municipals. Ensure all involved parties are on board and in good communication to avoid bumps in the road.

Keep a checklist. Pinterest has good examples of moving checklists—some that start as long as several months before moving day. They include tips you probably wouldn’t even think about, such as finding help for kiddos or pets on moving day; having cash on hand to tip movers (or the pizza delivery person); and planning meals to use up the food you have left.

Consider hiring a move-out cleaner. Purging a house is hard, tedious work. And once everything is sorted, the last thing you want to do is push a mop around and get into those nooks and crannies that we all overlooked when we lived there. Paying someone else to do that dirty work not only leaves the house sparkling for the new owners, but is cleansing for the soul. And if the place you’re moving to isn’t up to snuff, you might need to pay for a professional cleaning there too.

Don’t take anyone at their word. There’s a saying in journalism that applies here, too: “If your mother says she loves you, go check it out.” Landlords and real estate agents are professionals, and most likely good at what they do, but money (your money, to be exact) is still involved. Double-check everything you hear. If laundry machines are included in the rent, check that they work before signing the lease. If the basement has a dirt floor, ask if a radon test has been done. Check that the well has been maintained, and that the septic system has been regularly cleaned. If a landlord or seller is bothered by your questions, that should bother you.

Mark. Every. Single. Box. Inevitably, you’ll be packing boxes for hours on end, and at some point you’ll just be tossing a jumble of stuff into a box, thinking you’ll remember what’s in it. You won’t. A marker and some masking tape are your best friends here. Time spent labeling boxes translates to less time frantically searching for the pizza cutter or corkscrew on your first night in your new home.

Cancel services; change addresses. A few weeks ahead of your move, make a list of all the services and utilities you need to cancel or change. A short list includes cable, internet, phone/cell, electric, gas, oil delivery, water, sewer, trash, pest control, credit cards, banks and subscriptions. Notify the post office and the DMV, too. If your email service is tied to your home internet, you might need to change your email address, which could lock you out of some important older emails, so keep that in mind, too.

Consider packing a “first-night” box. It could include anything that makes your transition easier: the aforementioned pizza cutter and corkscrew come to mind, along with paper plates, cups, disposable utensils, bath products, paper and a pen to jot down things to buy for the new digs, pet food and dishes, an extra phone charger (you’ll misplace yours in the move)—really, anything you can think of that you’d need immediately.

Take a breath. Most importantly, realize that moving day will come and go, no matter how intensely you plan for it. Plan for the best, expect the worst, and roll with it. Think ahead to that first cup of tea in your new place—after you unpack alllll of those boxes, of course.


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