Experts share tips for a hassle-free transition when changing residences

By: Elizabeth Scussel | C&G Newspapers | Published August 30, 2012

To some, moving may seem a simple and straightforward task: pack, load, drive and unload. However, experts say that the ins and outs of moving can carry chaos and stress, and it’s easy to overlook the small details. It’s the small details in moving, they say, that can make a huge difference.

Realtor Kathi Jones-Cutler of Max Broock in Birmingham recommends doing the necessary homework and tackling the move one step at a time.

“Organization is the key to a successful move. Start by making a list and follow it. This will keep you mentally organized, which will translate to a smooth transition,” she said. “Start as soon as possible, and do a little each day. If you spend 30 minutes a day packing, organizing and purging, you will be ahead of the game.”

She suggests that a month prior, movers should acquire an Internal Revenue Service Change of Address Form, and change addresses with credit card companies, doctors, banks, friends and family. She said it’s also important to plan a moving budget and save all related receipts, as moving expenses are often tax deductible.

Informing gas, electric, water, cable, telephone and trash removal companies about the move is also necessary, Jones said, and the biggest mistake people make is not getting rid of stuff before they move.

“Have the moving company come out to assess your home as-is. You don’t have to have it organized or orderly to do this. They can give you a price to help you establish a budget. Then have a big purging event, and get rid of stuff — donate, gift and sell these items. The more you get rid of, the less time it will take to move, and the more money you save,” she said.

“Whether you are moving in state, out of state, using a professional moving company or doing it yourself — get the facts. If you’re hiring someone, interview at least three companies. Make sure that they offer insurance for lost or broken items. If an item is irreplaceable, consider moving it yourself or shipping separately. Ask your Realtor for a referral; they usually know who to recommend with a proven track record.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 37 million Americans move each year. Last year, Two Men and a Truck moving company completed over 350,000 of those moves. Lisa Gaber is the franchisee of Two Men and a Truck in Sterling Heights.

Gaber said the biggest mistakes people make while moving is over-packing boxes and improperly managing their time. Gaber also suggests keeping vital belongings — such as keys, cell phone and wallet — nearby so they don’t get accidentally packed in a box.

“Moving isn’t something that should be rushed. Take your time and plan your move accordingly,” she said. “Also, make sure boxes can be carried without hurting your back or damaging the boxes. When packing, clearly write the contents on the box, so items are easy to find at the new home, and think about where the items will be unpacked, so you’re packing items by location.”

Jones offers an alternative approach.

“Photograph the contents going into each box. Print it out on your computer and tape it on the box. This way there will be no guessing, and you will know exactly what is in that box. Also, color code boxes by taping a sheet of construction paper on the box and on the room it should go in. It’s easier than writing the room names on each box, and you may have multiple rooms which can be confusing,” Jones said.

“Have a supervisor at each location, the home you are moving from and the home you are going to. If possible, appoint two people at the new house to start unloading your essentials, such as bathroom and kitchen items, and cleaning products.”

Jones also stresses the importance of looking out for the little ones during the transition.

“Recruit moving-day help; get someone to watch the kids so that you are free to answer questions, run errands and organize. Then pack a bag of games, books and anything else that will entertain your children for the long car ride, hotels and plane rides,” she said. “Unpack the children’s rooms first, so they are entertained in their room, and so they can begin to adjust to their new home.”

“Moving is among the most stressful events that people face,” said Gaber. “Preparation is crucial for a stress-free move; it can make life so much easier.”

For more information on Two Men and a Truck, visit Kathi Jones-Cutler can be reached at