Whether you're moving across town or across the country, the most common is to hire movers to transport your stuff from the old space to the new immediately - as in, load it up, cart it over, and unload it with no storage involved.
All of the typical methods of selecting a service provider apply to choosing movers - recommendations from friends or online, general company reputation, past experience. However you select them, though,
certain that they're insured
Don't be shy about asking. And if they are less than completely forthcoming about providing the information, go elsewhere.
Don't Forget Utilities & Subscriptions
At least 2 weeks before the move, stop and/or transfer all of your utilities and other services:
- Electric service
- Water (and trash and sewer, if separate)
- USPS change of address
- Change your address separately from the post office for all magazines and catalogues you want to keep receiving
- Notify banks and credit card companies of your new address
- Update your address in "One-Click" delivery services like Amazon or Barnes & Noble
If your move involves an interim period of time when your household goods will need to be stored, go for a portable storage container service. There are several - perhaps some even local - but the two best known ones are
The system here is that your stuff - furniture, boxes, and all - is loaded into a container and stays there until you're ready to have it unloaded at its final destination. This avoids having to pack, unpack, pack, and unpack. The company will store the container for whatever length of time you need (we stored one for over a year) and bring it to wherever you designate.
Packing and Unpacking
I realize that sometimes a move comes as a result of a transfer or other circumstances that don't allow you to be fully informed about where you're going. In most circumstances, however, you will know the layout of your new home. And, in most circumstances, you'll have a general idea of where the furniture is going.
If you can, make a concerted effort to know not only where the furniture is going, but where the boxed items are going and pack accordingly.
Invest in a handful of bold black markers and label the boxes, not only with generally what is in them, but with
where in the new home they should go.
This is a little counter-intuitive. Most people understand the wisdom of labeling boxes but they tend to label them with the space they came from, not where they're going to. And those two things quite often are not the same.
But do label them, and I suggest labeling them on top and two adjacent sides. That way, no matter how they are stacked, chances are the label will be visible.
And, when you're packing, make a decision of which items you will need first in a given space. Pack those in a separate box and label it "#1." As in, "Kitchen #1."
If you're highly organized, you can continue this kind of hierarchy and label all of the boxes for a given space according to the order in which you want to open them. But the first one is important. Identify it, and you'll save yourself a lot of frustration.
Try to stack all boxes going to the same location in the new home in the same place so that it will be easier for your movers to keep them together.
And be aware that they won't care very much about your "system." Their job (assuming that you haven't hired them to unpack, too) will be to get the boxes off of the truck and into your house. They're not going to be particular about where they put them, unless you insist.
So, insist. Tell them what the labels mean and insist that they pay attention. If they put a stack of boxes in the wrong room, ask them to move them.
You're paying them, after all, and if you don't insist that they move them, you'll just have to move them, yourself, later.
A Couple of Other Things