What to expect when you’re expecting to move – my moving survival tips
According to multiple studies over the years, moving is “right up there” with life’s major stress events.
I can certainly attest to that based on our recent move.
To help cope with the stress, like most things in life, there are some benefits to planning ahead.
At their core, plans will help you identify:
- What you expect to happen,
- What you think might happen,
- What you don’t know about (and build-in contingencies to deal with the unknowns).
To help you plan, to help you prepare with what to expect when you’re expecting to move, read on below for my survival guide based on my recent experiences.
Pack well, hire a moving company
I’m no longer in my mid-20s and my friends don’t have backs that can hold up like they used to in their mid-20s.
So, my advice to you is consider hiring a moving company for any major move – including from a single-family home to a condo like we recently did.
Image of condo building – image courtesy of Domicile.
Our budget (to pay for moving costs, for roughly a 2-bedroom home in Ottawa (to a downtown, 1,200 sq. ft. condo)) was $1,500. We came in under budget. Here some tips to help you stay within your moving budget:
- Get a detailed quote before you sign any contract. This way, you know what you’re dealing with! Ask about number of movers, time commitment and weight of move.
- Compare at least 2-3 moving companies before signing on the dotted line. All moving companies are not created equal!
- Ask your insurance company if your home insurance covers loss or damage while moving. This way, you don’t have to pay for any moving insurance coverage. (Ours had this coverage.)
- Hire a moving company that offers free or included boxes. This includes any mirror boxes or wardrobe boxes to help facilitate the move of goods and valuables. It will avoid you buying totes or other containers as supplies.
- Use wrapping paper to pack your valuables in said boxes. It’s better than plastic; better than bubble wrap, you can recycle it (like the boxes) and it weighs next to nothing. Get your wrapping paper at the dollar store – it’s super cheap there!
- Label all your boxes with your valuables. Put “Fragile – dishes – kitchen” or other labels on them with green painters’ tape. This way, if you change your mind with the contents, you can easily update the label!
- Use multiple smaller boxes vs. many larger boxes to the extent possible. They are easier to pack, easier to lift, can be stacked in the moving truck with ease to be strapped in, and in doing all the above, you’ll limit the chances something may break during your move (since items in smaller boxes are typically packed more closely together).
Make a list and check it twice (or more)!
Thanks to my wife’s efforts – we were organized!
Here is a screenshot from one of our pre-move checklists:
Not a fan of Excel or cloud-based spreadsheets? No problem.
Write out your checklist items with an old-school pen and paper or use one of the gazillion list-apps to help you with your lists. Any good list will do.
Lower your expectations
Buying a new home or condo has it’s perks for sure. You can pick out your flooring, wall colour, kitchen cabinets, and much more.
Things can and will be installed wrong; things may not be done yet when you move in; things may be damaged during installation and re-work may ensue.
For example, one of our windows was cracked at the time of our new condo Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). That was over 6 weeks ago now. $hit happens…
To help your mindset, consider setting modest expectations. I should have done that more!
Sure, you want things to be perfect (and so did I when we took possession of the condo unit in June this year) but we don’t live or work in a perfect world. Expect things to happen and roll with it.
Save some money (and double it)!
New home or condo costs are not cheap. There are things you probably didn’t think of and need; things you might want to part with and start anew. In our case, some older furniture would not fit (in your new place). Some items you won’t use in your new space. Downsizing has benefits. It really forces you to consider what’s important. The reality is: you don’t need that much stuff…
Use Kijiji to sell used goods. This way, you make some money back AND reduce your environmental waste.
Donate clothing and other gently used goods to folks in need, including shelters. I must have made at least 3 full carload trips to the Ottawa Mission this spring (a men’s shelter here in Ottawa).
Gift any used goods or supplies to family and friends who might use them.
Pretty much do anything to avoid throwing out “stuff” at all costs. Our environment will thank you.
When all that’s done – when in doubt, double the time (it takes to get new stuff ordered for your new place) and double the cost.
Here is a short-list of items we’ve purchased or will be purchasing for our new condo:
- New sectional sofa (the old sectional wouldn’t fit here so we sold the other one)
- New light fixtures (beyond LED pot lights installed in condo unit)
- New gas BBQ for terrace (old one stayed with the house we sold)
- New window treatments (new condo doesn’t come with those)
- Bar stools (we sold the old bar stools on Kijiji)
- And more and more…
New wants add up. In hindsight we should have budgeted better, especially for the window treatments. Alas, live and learn.
You should expect moving and getting settled in any new place will likely take more time and money than you thought. You should expect some things to go amiss with any move. Finally, you should probably try and plan ahead as much as you can to help you deal with your know-knowns and some of the unknowns that will probably come your way. This way, you can have better expectations in mind about expecting to move – and survive it all!
What are your thoughts on moving? How do you cope? Do you enjoy it? What did you do to budget for any needs or wants?