Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY Moving Tips: Timeline Preparation

This is the third installment of my DIY moving tips!

Before we get started, I've written a little history of Greg's and my different moves over the past almost-17-years of marriage. I shared them to illustrate our different timelines. If you want to skip this part, just page down. :) Also, just to clarify, when I'm talking about the timeline, I'm referring to the first day you make concrete plans to move, until you actually move.

Our first move into a one-bedroom apartment was spread out over one month...the month before we were married and sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake Temple! But neither one of us lived in the apartment until Greg carried me across the threshold. I love thinking back on that time. We were filled with so much bliss and optimism at our life-to-be!

Our second move into a two-bedroom apartment was unplanned - we truly didn't see it coming. It was a very quick move, maybe two weeks at the most? We made that quick move because our landlords raised our rent. We figured that for $50 more per month, we'd just expand our living space instead of staying. Plus, we needed a second bedroom for our first-born son, who was four-months-old at the time. The move was uneventful and went really well. We were very happy with our decision!

Our third move into our first purchased home was absolutely planned and was set to take about three weeks. Then it became crazy because I gave birth to our precious daughter six days before my due date. She came precisely one day before our scheduled move! Yeah, it was not the best timing. In my defense, I didn't know she would come that early. Our first son was born one day before his due date, so I though I still had five days to move before our daughter was born! Thankfully, we had the assistance of our amazing church members. They happily helped Greg finish packing, and they even stuck around to clean our apartment for us! They also brought us dinner for our first night in our new home! WOW, right?! We couldn't have done it without them. Okay, we could have done it without them, but it would have taken much longer, and Greg would have been stressed beyond belief. I still feel we owe those generous people a huge favor. :)

Our fourth move into Greg's parents' basement (and a storage unit) took about two weeks, and happened when I was four months pregnant with our second son. We decided to move to Greg's parents' house very temporarily until we found another home to purchase. We sold our first house due to Greg being laid-off, and his new job was way too far of a drive. We definitely needed to be closer to his work. Anyway, I was so relieved I had made it past the icky morning sickness part of pregnancy. I felt so good! I just had to make sure my heart rate didn't get too high. :) Our son and daughter struggled with the move, i.e., leaving their friends and house behind, but it helped that they had daily access to Grandma and Grandpa!

Our fifth move into a different basement apartment took maybe one week and was semi-unplanned. I was seven months pregnant and my nesting instinct had kicked into high gear. I had decided that I could not stay at my in-laws' house any longer. I needed a place of my very own for my little family. Please don't get me wrong, my in-laws are amazing and fabulous! They are truly wonderful people and I love them dearly! I just needed our own space again to raise our babies. So, one day after feeling annoyed at being so unsettled, I called Greg and firmly said, "I'm going to look at an apartment tonight at 8:30. You can come with me, or not. Either way, I'm going to find us an apartment to move into." Being the smart husband that he is, he came with me. :)

Our sixth move into another rental house (a very lovely house at that!) took about two weeks, and was a surprise - but not unplanned, so-to-speak. After searching for a new home to purchase without much luck, Greg received a promotion at work that took us to Colorado. Yay! Boy, were we so glad we didn't buy a house where we were! For then Greg would not have been able to accept his amazing new job! Thankfully, Greg's company paid for our entire move. It was a blissful and wonderful blessing for our little family. I can't imagine making that move without that help, because we had a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a four-month-old baby!!! Oh, it was such a memorable time. I have no doubt that we had angels accompanying us the entire trip. Seriously.

Our seventh move into our second purchased home took about one month and was one of our most joyous moves up to that point. I couldn't believe our good fortune at finding such a steal-of-a-deal, beautiful home, in one of the best neighborhoods ever! It was literally my dream house. I had such amazingly happy visions of raising our children there until they graduated high school! Unfortunately, Greg's company had different plans. After three months of living there, Greg's company was bought out by a larger, less-employee-friendly company. With that difficult change, Greg's promised raise flew out the window, our benefits literally doubled in price, and my daydreams of happy children growing up in our beautiful home immediately vanished. Thus began our nightmare of trying to figure out what to do next...

Our eighth move into my mom's basement (and storage unit) took about three weeks and was very sad. Don't get me wrong, I was so happy to be back in Utah again with our wonderful families! I simply grieved our lovely Colorado-blue house. For a long time, I left a piece of my soul in that house. :( That said, we searched quickly and efficiently for our new forever-home. We found our next home quickly, but due to needed updates on the house, we ended up living with my mom for two-and-a-half months.

Our ninth move into our third purchased home took about two weeks. We had a lot of work to do on the house before we could move into it - it was totally living in the 70s, and hadn't been updated since the day it was built! The updates took about six weeks. The move went smoothly and we were all very happy with our new/old home and neighborhood. Well, I will state that I was still grieving our Colorado house, but I was trying to make the best of it. :) I felt very strongly that our new/old house was our home, and we were definitely supposed to be there...which is why I was so sick when only six months later, Greg had the distinct impression (given to him by the Holy Ghost) that he was going to be laid-off again. He actually wasn't laid-off until one year and nine months later, but the constant uncertainty made it a very difficult time for me.

Our tenth move into another rental house, in Texas, was totally celebrated, and took about four weeks. We planned to sell our house in Utah and live in Texas forever, but that didn't happen. Thankfully, after a very rough two-and-a-half years of even more uncertainty, we were blessed with miracle after miracle and were able to keep our third purchased home in Utah.

Our eleventh move was back to our lovely little 70s house in Utah! This move was the miracle to top all miracles, and I still cry a little when I think of how everything perfectly fell into place. We knew almost three months beforehand that we would be moving back, but I think it took me about four weeks to get everything completed for our big and exciting move!

Even though all the moves our family made were totally different, the actual act of moving is basically the same. Thus, here are my DIY tips for the timeline of your move!

Before the Move
  • Set a moving date. This needs to be done first, as everything else revolves around your moving date.
  • Announce that you're moving as soon as possible, that way people in your life won't feel sad, gypped, or annoyed. It's always better to give people (landlords, family, friends, schools, employers) adequate time to process your big change. It also gives people the opportunity to help, if they so desire. :)
  • Schedule movers to help you load the large items (piano, beds, couches, etc.) onto your truck. The movers can be through a company, or your family, friends, or church members. Just make very sure that everyone knows the date, so you're not stranded on moving day. *If you're having volunteer movers help you out, make sure you have food for them to eat, i.e., pizza, bagels, doughnuts, fruit, etc., and make sure your potential movers know there will be food for them to eat! That food knowledge will most likely make them happier to volunteer! :)
  • Make sure that your personal identification information is current, i.e., your driver's license. You don't want to have to deal with your state's Department of Public Safety during the middle of a move!
  • Set up a "Change of Address" date with the United States Postal Service, and put it as your actual move-out date. Make sure you print out and keep your confirmation information. They will mail you confirmation that it was done, but I always printed one out for safe keeping.
  • Sign up for your utilities and other services at your new residence as soon as possible. That way you can be sure your new place will have everything you need the day you arrive. There's nothing worse than showing up on moving day to your new home without gas, electricity, water, or access to the internet!
  • Set a cancel date for your current utilities and other services (like cable), and get definite confirmation that they have canceled your services. *I had a major problem with our previous cable company in Texas. They thought I kept one of our internet services and it took me two months to get it resolved! I'm still 99% sure I overpaid the cable company by $80, but I was never able to convince them otherwise. One day when we all get to Heaven, I plan to make sure they know I overpaid, that they owed me, and I want an apology for assuming I was a "deadbeat"! Ha ha.
  • Purchase the necessary supplies for your move. Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Necessary Supplies".
  • Before you pack anything, go through all of your belongings and decide what you'll be taking with you. For a more detailed explanation refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: What to Keep".
  • Pack your suitcases as if you were going on a two-week vacation. *Make sure you do this step before you pack any boxes. You'll need to be very detailed on this one, because once you pack the truck, you won't have access to your belongings until you unpack your house. That way, you'll have exactly what you need for about one month. Yes, truly, it will be about one month before you get everything totally unpacked and back to normal in the clothing department. Plus, you can live out of your suitcase two weeks before you move as well. Then you won't be packing up at the last minute, which will reduce your frazzledness. (I know that's not a word.) Plus, when the truck is unloaded, you won't have to fret and wonder, "Where is the box with my favorite dress in it?!", because you'll already have your favorite dress in your two-week-supplied suitcase! :) Trust me, you don't want to skip this step. It has saved me more times than I can count. *Don't forget to pack one bath towel for each member of your family. And yes, you need to pack this in your suitcase to make sure it fits for the trip.
  • Prepare a portable file box, i.e, file tote, to keep all of your important documents in. You'll be taking this with you in your car, or on the plane. Put things in it that you absolutely need if the moving truck were somehow destroyed or stolen. I kept things in it like our marriage documents, real estate records, kids' immunization records, passports, birth certificates, extra checkbooks, etc. Make sure it's plastic, or sealed metal, because you don't want any of your important documents to get wet! Here's what I used. I loved them so much, I bought many of them for my home filing storage system later!
Photo Credit


After the Move
  • Notify family and friends that you arrived safely, and give them your new contact information. They will worry about you, and will love to hear from you!
  • Change your contact information with all of the companies you deal with as soon as possible, i.e., that might come after you have unpacked the truck and your house. However, if you're like me, you'll have some downtime before the moving truck arrives, thus you can take the time to make the necessary contact information changes. For example: credit cards, cell phones, schools, doctors offices, banks, sporting organizations, etc. Many of these contact information changes can be done online, but some of them you have to do over the phone. *Thus, I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of which companies I had changed our contact information with, the date it was changed, and if I used a customer service agent, what that person said to me. That might seem a little OCD, but I had to refer to my spreadsheet - to see what the customer service agent said - more times than you might guess!
  • Unload the truck. Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Loading and Unloading the Truck".
  • Unpack your home! Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Unpacking Your New Home".
  • Go to your local Department of Public Safety, and then DMV. Either get your driver's license, and register and title your vehicle in your new state, or change your address for both, if you live in the same state. This is essential to do within 30 days of your move. Some states have longer terms for you to register, but I think it's better to say to yourself, "I need to get my driver's license and car registration completed before next month!". Then you won't have to worry about driving illegally...which is a bad thing!
You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: Packing Your Home"!

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