Few tasks in life are as stressful as moving. Not only are there significant financial and practical issues that come along with the daunting task of changing homes, but it can also have a surprisingly strong emotional impact. Holly Gross has been a realtor in Chester County, Pa. for nearly four decades. Together with her sons, Stephen and Stewart, Holly has assisted hundreds of buyers and sellers.
“Most of us don’t move that often, so when we do we usually have a lot of memories and experiences tied to the home that we are now leaving. Aside from the purely practical issues of packing your belongings, cancelling the electric and so on, there is definitely an emotional element to moving that can add additional stress,” says Holly.
Stephen Gross has moved not only domestically in the U.S., but also to China, Nepal, Australia, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Sweden and the United Kingdom. “Moving can be stressful, but it’s also an adventure,” he says. “You begin somewhere new and start off fresh.”
Stewart Gross echoes those sentiments. “One way or another, you will get to your new home, but there are ways to streamline a potentially stressful process and make it easier,” he says.
Here, Holly, Stephen and Stewart provide a checklist for staying organized during a move.
Two Months Before Moving Day
- Decide if you will manage the move yourself or hire a moving company. Book a truck if you’re moving by yourself. “If you’re hiring a moving company, get quotes from a few places and read reviews online to ensure you won’t have to deal with unprofessional companies,” advises Holly.
- Go through your home and start thinking about what you will bring with you and what you will sell, give away or throw out. “If you haven’t used something for years, or didn’t even remember that you had it, you probably won’t miss it in your new home either,” suggests Stewart.
- Start packing items that you want to bring but really don’t need for the coming months, such as seasonal clothing, books and fine china. It will reduce the workload later on.
- If you’re selling items, start looking into where to sell them. It could be Craigslist, local markets, antique shops or a yard sale.
- If you want to give things away, look into organizations that may benefit from them. Some suggestions are local schools, Habitat for Humanity, local churches, or Purple Heart Donations. “Quite often, organizations pick up donations from your home, which makes it really easy to donate,” says Stewart.
- If you are selling a home, you might have to add repairing and fixing up the items that come up during the home inspection to your moving to-do list. “Even the smallest of repairs can add up and take more time than expected, so start these projects pretty much right after you’ve reached a sales agreement and the inspections are finalized,” suggests Stephen. If you’re going to need professional help from electricians or plumbers, you need to contact and book them, as their schedules tend to fill up. Don’t forget to keep receipts of everything that you do. Often times inspection related repairs need to be completed a week or two prior to settlement.
One Month Before Moving Day
- Pack. If you haven’t started yet, now’s the time. Depending on the size of your home, you should try to pack at least one box a day. “Remember to ‘pack for unpacking’ – i.e. pack boxes per room and write clearly what’s in each box. That way, it will be much easier to unpack and find things in the new home,” says Stephen.
- Book your mover. Movers often need to be booked well in advance. If possible, minimize the amount of the non-refundable deposit.
- Find out where you can park if you’re moving into an apartment building or a house without off-street parking.
Two Weeks Before Moving Day
- Change your address at www.moversguide.usps.com
- Change magazine subscriptions so they will go to your new address and notify friends and organizations that you belong to of your moving date and new address.
- Stop or transfer utilities.
- “Do you have kids or pets that need a sitter on moving day? If yes, arrange for a sitter. It will save you a lot of energy if you can focus only on the actual move,” suggests Holly.
One Week Before Moving Day
- Change your driver’s license address as well as your insurance cards and pharmacy info in case you have any prescriptions.
- Confirm date and time of the move, if you’re hiring a moving company.
- Finish up the packing and make sure to keep only the essentials unpacked.
- When you arrive to your new home, start with unpacking the things that you will need immediately. “Set up your bed first and then focus on the kitchen. Your day-to-day living essentials are prioritized, whereas the mudroom probably can wait,” says Stephen. “But be sure to unpack the champagne glasses for a well deserved celebratory toast!”
Chester County residents and real estate experts Stewart Gross, Holly Gross and Stephen Gross
For three decades, the West Chester-based Holly Gross group has been helping families realize their dream of living in Chester County. Run by a local family, they know its undulating landscape intimately. Whether it be a historic farmhouse, turn-of-the-20th-century estate or modern home, their expertise can help your family find the perfect spot to call home in Chester County.
For more information, visit hollygrossgroup.com