Summer is absolutely the BEST in the Chicagoland area. After being locked up all winter (and most of the dreary, cold spring) we’re all ready to get outside and have some fun. Summer is also moving season in our area and – let’s face it – even if you’re really excited about your new place, moving is generally a pretty big pain – and expense. After literally decades in the rental management business, we’ve noticed that the best organized movers are always the fastest and most frugal.
But we know that planning isn’t everyone’s forte. Some people think there’s not much to moving – just stuff everything in boxes and get going. But that’s a sure-fire way to waste both time and money. So to help you, this month we’re sharing with you our 60 Day Moving Plan.
Some of you are probably thinking SIXTY DAYS?!?! We know – it sounds like a long time. But it goes fast and we promise that planning your move and spreading out the duties over sixty days will make your next move you’re best move ever. So, two months in advance of your move – or as soon as you can – sit down and make your plan. We’re going to give you our plan – but you’re going to want to personalize this to fit your move.
T-Minus 60 Days Until Moving Day
Planning Day! Get yourself your favorite planning supplies and get planning. For some of you, this might be a sheet of paper and a pencil. If you really want to get planning, grab a calendar (we like the large monthly desk calendars) and some colored pens or markers so you can color code your activities. Color coding works really well if you’re dividing up the responsibilities with one or more other people. Each person gets assigned a color!
Of course, in order to know what sixty days out from your moving day is, you have to know your moving day. So that’s the first thing that should go on your schedule. If you plan on taking a few days to move, for now mark your last day in your current place. You can detail what other days you will spend moving (and what you’ll move on those days) during our sixty day plan.
Days 60 through 53
One of the first important steps is to make a moving budget. You may not know all the specifics of prices, but create a form for your budget that lists everything you will need and everything that will cost money during your move: boxes, wrapping supplies, cleaning supplies, fees for the moving company, tips for your movers, food and drink for friends who help… make sure you’re covering it all so you know ahead of time how much you’re going to be spending. Leave blank any amounts you don’t yet know (or give your best estimate now and remember to update them later).
Days 52 through 45
If you are packing yourself and/or don’t want to buy boxes, start getting free boxes from local stores, friends, and even from Craigslist. Make sure they are in relatively good condition. FYI: liquor stores are great places to get perfectly sized boxes. Plus, these boxes will likely already be put together, which will save you time. Start getting boxes this far in advance, especially if you’re moving at the end of the month, because other people will be hitting up the same stores for boxes that you are. Start slowing accumulating boxes and ask local store owners to save boxes for you every week (and not give them to someone else!)
Similarly, start collecting newspapers for packing. Be careful using newspapers to pack – the ink can easily rub off on some surfaces. But for some things, newspaper will be a cheap and easy way to pack.
Days 45 through 38
If you’re going to hire movers, call as far in advance as possible to get the best rates and don’t go with the first company you talk to. Get a few quotes and, if possible, let them come out to see how much stuff you have so their quote is more accurate. Most places will only give you an estimate – your actual expenses on moving day might end up being more. But some places will give you a fixed amount if you request it. It’s usually a bit higher than the estimate, but will save you surprise fees later on. Negotiate fees when possible – never feel bad about asking them to match a competitor’s price – and ask pointed questions about other potential fees that aren’t included in your estimate. Remember to update your budget when you get these amounts settled.
If you’re renting your own truck, call the truck rental place well in advance, especially if you want to move on the weekend and / or at the end / beginning of the month. Just like if you’re hiring movers, call a few places to get different quotes.
Days 37 through 30
Call internet, cable, phone, electricity, water, gas, etc. providers over 30 days out to schedule your disconnection day. Planning this far in advance will make sure you don’t end up paying an extra month of service. In some cases, they may tell you to call back a few days before your move. That’s fine – as long as they can assure you the service will be cut off immediately when you want it to be. Then, put a reminder on your master schedule to make these final calls. Also make time on your schedule to return any cable equipment, etc. right around your move date.
Also this week, measure the new place and all your furniture. Then, make scale models and plan where all your stuff will go in the new place. This will potentially save you both time and money in a few ways. First of all, if you discover something isn’t going to fit, you can sell or donate it before you move, which will save you the time and money of moving it. Secondly, this means you can direct your movers (or helpers) where to place furniture as they bring it into your new place so you don’t have to take the time to re-arrange furniture later.
Finally, by this week you should have a good idea of whether or not you’ll be able to collect enough free boxes (if you’re going that route) and what else you might need in terms of packing and cleaning supplies. Your budget should already have a list of everything you need – now, plan a day to go and buy the stuff. Base this day on when you’re beginning to pack and move. Purchasing all this stuff at once will save you time to do this all on one day instead of piecemeal when you need different things.
Days 30 & 29
Less than a month away from moving day! If you’re moving yourself and have access to your new place before your lease is up in your old place, you can move slowly over time. Plan out exactly what you can move a few days or weeks ahead of time, what should be moved on your final day in your old place (and decide what that will be), and everything between. Be specific and put all this info down on your schedule. Mark when these items will be packed and when they will be moved (and how).
Days 28 through 23
It’s time to declutter! Decluttering and organizing ahead of time will save you time and money in the long run. Make sure you ignore the “I might use it someday” voice in your head.. This covers your closet, your files, and anything else in your home. Look at moving as a chance to declutter and start fresh. Hauling around crap you don’t use or need is the literal definition of having baggage – both financial and emotional. Start fresh (and more frugally!). While you should declutter your whole place, here are two great ways to start:
- Do a thorough closet clean-out. That box of clothes that are two sizes too small and has clothes you haven’t worn in 10 years? GET RID OF THEM. If you have time and inclination, sell them (Ebay or a yardsale will do). The money you make plus the money you save from not having to move them will allow you to replace them with new stuff, if needed. You can also donate this kind of stuff if you don’t have time to sell it. Make sure you get a receipt from the donation location and save the receipt for tax purposes.
- Go through old paperwork and files and get rid of what you no longer need. Bank statements from 1997? Shred. Phone bills from last year? Shred. Junior high love notes? Ok, maybe you don’t want to shred them, but consider digitizing them if you have time. Then shred. Paper is heavy. Don’t pay to move stuff you don’t need.
Part of the decluttering step is also re-organizing when needed. If this is a challenge for you, get a friend who is an organizing whiz to help (everybody has at least one of those friends). If you get rid of a considerable amount of stuff and you are using movers, you may want to update your estimate with them at this point.
Also this week, schedule a cleaning day for the new place sometime in the few days before your move, if you can get in there ahead of time. This will assure that you don’t need to clean around movers or your things. If you don’t like to clean or don’t have the time, hire a cleaning service to do both the new place before you move in and the old place after you’ve moved out. Book them in advance.
Days 22 through 15
Now that you’ve decluttered and have a better idea of what you’re going to be moving, you can plan your boxes and your organizational system ahead of time. Remember that boxes should be organized both by where they go (which room / area), but also by what can be packed ahead of time and what will need to be packed in the last day or so. Make detailed lists about what will go in each boxes and decide how to code your boxes – colors work great because you can put colored signs up in your new place the day of the move to let movers know where the boxes go. This will save you time during the move and also when you’re unpacking.
Also this week, tag friends to help for different stages of your move – and ask them a week or two ahead of time. Maybe one friend is an expert at organization – she can help you declutter (see above) so plan the day she’s going to come over and help you. Maybe another friend has a truck or just a good set of muscles and will be willing to help carry your couch and other things the day you move. Be a good friend and think of a way to thank them with a small gift and definitely with food and drinks on the day they help you. Don’t expect anyone to say yes to helping you the night before your move!
If you have pets, use this week to decide how and when they are going to get to the new place. Moving is one of the most dangerous times for pets – doors are frequently left open and people are coming and going and pets often escape or hide in bad places so it’s best to plan for pets to be removed from your old place before movers get there. We had a client once whose cat climbed into the box spring of her bed without her knowing when the movers were at her place. The movers taped up the box spring and hauled it away to a storage facility before she realized where her cat was. Luckily, she realized what had happened within a few hours and was able to get to the storage facility and save her kitty before her belongings were put on the long distance moving truck!
Days 14 through 7
Use this week to ship books and media by USPS Media Mail. If you have movers, you’ll have to do the math to figure out whether this will save you money or not, but it very well may. Remember that USPS Media Mail is slow, so don’t plan to send anything that you will need right away.
If you haven’t already started, this is the week to start packing. Out-of-season clothes and holiday decor are some of the first things you can pack. Create an area in your current place where you can stack packed boxes.
Days 7 through Moving Day
Unless you’ve already begun to move slowly, this is the week when packing is most intense. You will already have planned out what days you are going to pack which things, based on what might be needed in your last week and how you are organizing your moving boxes. Of course, if you’ve hired packers as well as movers, you don’t have to worry about packing – but you should still work on organizing your things so that unpacking and setting up your new place will be as easy as possible.
Also this week:
- Donate canned goods before you move. They are generally not worth the cost of moving. Remember to get a receipt from the donation location – your donation is a tax write-off.
- Prep plants to be moved. Empty out any larger pots that don’t have living plants in them currently (no need to move dirt).
- Confirm with any helpers a few days out that they are still planning to help you. Let them know what time you need them and get their preferences for beverages and snacks.
- Drop off any cable or internet equipment.
- Mark very clearly the boxes that you need to unpack first. Keep them in a separate area from the rest of your boxes and make sure they are loaded on the moving truck last (so they will be the first things off the truck) or, if you’re moving yourself, are taken over to the new place first.
- Print out signs for the new place that match your box organizing system so movers and helpers can put boxes in the right place without your help. You can also print out a floor plan for your furniture so they can place your furniture correctly without your help. Before the movers / helpers arrive at your new place, put up these signs. Then, make sure everyone knows to look for the signs and how to read your organizational system.
- Get cash to tip your movers.
- Get bottled water, other beverages, and snacks for you, the movers (who will appreciate it), and your helpers.
- Follow through with your pet-moving plan.
By now, just about the only thing left is to get to your new place! We hope this move will help you organize your next move and…speaking of moving, if you’re in the market for a new place, we have tons of awesome rentals that are opening up throughout the summer months. Check out our available listings on our website: https://www.realtymortgageco.com/find-apartment/availability-listings/ and be sure to contact us if you see anything that sparks your interest. Also, stayed tuned: next month we’ll let you know the top ways you can save time and money on your next move!