Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! Now, for the next challenge: moving. This is a great time to carefully weed through your possessions and to dispose of any clothes, furniture and fixtures that you no longer want or need. Donate them to a charity, hold a garage sale – but if you don’t want them any more, don’t move them.
Are you going to pack yourself or hire professionals? If you’re doing your own packing, following is a list of materials you’ll need. Moving companies and overnight mail businesses can furnish these, as well as specialized items including wardrobe boxes for clothing and heavy-duty boxes for china and other breakables. Liquor and computer stores also are good sources for sturdy boxes.
You should start collecting the following materials:
- Boxes of all sizes
- Plastic bags
- Non-shredded newspapers
- Packing tape
- Bubble wrap
- Tissues paper
Packing 101—A few guidelines
- Cushion the bottom and sides of boxes first
- Packed items should not exceed 30 pounds
- When packing, go room by room – it will make unpacking easier
- Begin your packing as early in the moving process as you can – it will take longer than you think at a time when you’ll be busy with many other concerns
- Label all boxes by item and where in your new home they should be placed
- Pack heavy items in smaller boxes and lighter items in larger boxes
- Thoroughly wrap your breakables in newsprint paper, paper towels or clothing, placing them in dresser drawers, containers with lids, large cans, etc.
- Fill your refrigerator and washer and dryer with clothes, linens and other light objects
- Tape cords underneath all electrical appliances
- Don’t tape furniture, doors and drawers, as tape can cause damage; instead, use rope, elastic or long strips of fabric to secure furniture
- If you have children, let them feel they are a part of the process by helping them pack their toys
On moving day…
Fill one box with moving-day essentials like paper plates, a coffee maker and coffee, hand tools and extension cords, a bucket, rags, soaps and paper towels. You may also want to set aside a few days’ worth of clothing, food and other essentials you’ll need prior to arriving at your new home and prior to unpacking.
We find that many families use a change of residence as an opportunity to dispose of many outgrown and no-longer-wanted items. It beats taking the items with you and can even put several hundred dollars in your pocket toward buying furnishings for your new home.
As home inspectors, we are expected to be wise in all matters relating to a change of residence. Even though garage sales are far from our primary field of expertise, allow us to pass on the best advice we have picked up over the years.
Allow plenty of time – three to four weeks – to prepare. Choose a date that will not conflict with holidays or other events that might lure prospective customers away. More people are likely to show up on weekends than weekdays. Your sale is likely to attract more customers if you join together with neighbors in a larger effort with more merchandise – some homeowner groups sponsor neighborhood sales that are proving popular.
What to Sell
Practical household goods, bicycles, children’s toys and clothes, sports equipment and garden tools are popular. Adult clothing has less appeal – price accordingly. All items should be clean, polished and in good repair.
Merchandise your items attractively in neat, clean surroundings. Paper tablecloths offer a pretty setting for glass and ornamental items. Cluster things in categories. Place more desirable items toward the back so browsers can notice other merchandise on their way to the most popular items. Have a 25-cent miscellaneous table for young shoppers. Clothes should be sized accurately and hung on a temporary rack.
Locate your appliance table near an outlet so customers may try before they buy. Set aside adequate parking and a place to load large items. Have plenty of bags and boxes on hand for packing and newspapers for wrapping glass items. Ideally, a place for trying on clothing should be provided.
Place a classified ad in the local papers – include three or four of the more tantalizing items for sale, directions and other pertinent details (you may or may not want to include your phone number). Take advantage of free publicity provided by bulletin boards in grocery stores and other public places. Provide directional signs to your property using an indelible pen. If your house is listed for sale, have your Realtor® hold an open house on the same day, thus increasing traffic for both the house and the sale.
Visit other sales to get an idea on how to price things. Remember that garage sale shoppers are looking for deals, so be prepared to bargain and lower your prices. Really valuable items such as antiques should not be sold at a garage sale; they are not likely to bring the desired price from bargain hunters. Nothing is too worthless to be valuable to someone, so have a giveaway box for old magazines and other assorted odds and ends.
Post a notice that all sales are final and payment must be in cash. Keep ample change in a cash box in a protected spot. Keep a record of sales, especially when there are several sellers. One recording method that is simple and efficient is to use small adhesive stickers to price items, then transfer the sticker to the name of the seller when the item is sold.
8 weeks prior
____ Remove unnecessary items from your attic, storage shed, etc.
____ Use things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies
____ Start a possessions inventory
____ Solicit estimates from three moving companies
____ Call your homeowners insurance agent to find out how your policy will cover your move
____ Begin collecting all moving papers and receipts in a file folder
____ Arrange to transfer your children’s school records
6 weeks prior
____ Contact the IRS and/or your CPA for tax-deductible information
____ Evaluate your possessions inventory: Can you donate anything? Do you need it all?
____ Notify your friends, relatives, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
____ Locate healthcare professionals and hospitals in your new location
____ Complete change of address cards via the post office, or using online services, to include the following:
____ Charge cards
____ Religious organizations
____ Relatives and friends
____ Income tax bureau/Social Security Administration
____ Insurance broker/lawyer/CPA/stockbroker
____ Post office
____ Clean your closets
____ Hold a moving or garage sale or donate items to charities
____ Choose a mover or decide to move yourself
____ Contact your mover to ask about insurance
4 weeks prior
____ Send furniture, drapes and carpets for repair/cleaning as needed
____ Gather auto licensing and registration documents, medical, dental and school records, birth certificates, wills, deeds, stock and other financial documentation
____ Contact gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable television and trash collection companies for service disconnection and connection at your old and new addresses. Also ask for final readings
____ Request refunds on unused homeowner’s insurance, security deposit with landlord and prepaid cable service
____ Notify your gardener and pool service, if applicable
____ Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner’s, medical and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home
3 weeks prior
____ Make your travel plans, if applicable
____ Arrange to close current bank accounts and open accounts in new locale, if necessary
____ Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of your new address
____ Arrange for childcare on moving day
2 weeks prior
____ Arrange for special transport for your pets and plants
____ Service your car for the trip
____ Contact your moving company and review arrangements for your move
On Moving Day:
____ Carry enough cash or traveler’s checks to cover cost of moving services and expenses until you make banking connections in new city, or keep with you an ATM card
____ Carry jewelry and important documents yourself, or use registered mail
____ Plan for transporting of pets
____ Double check closets, drawers, shelves to be sure they are empty
____ Leave old keys, garage door openers and instruction manuals needed by new owner
At your new address:
____ Obtain certified checks or cashier’s checks necessary for closing real estate transaction (check with title company transaction coordinator for details)
____ Check on service of telephone, gas, electricity, water and garbage
____ Check pilot light on stove, water heater and furnace
____ Ask mail delivery person for mail he/she may be holding for your arrival
____ Have new address recorded on driver’s license and car registration
____ Visit city offices and register for voting
____ Register children in school