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Your College Moving Planner
Use this guide to help make your next move smoother, cheaper, and less stressful
Like any task, moving from one place to another can seem like a monster if attacked all at once, and yet prove perfectly manageable if broken into smaller pieces. Use this relocation planner to help you break down your moving project into bite-sized tasks. When you’re done reading, use AIE’s Moving Planner to keep your notes and timelines in one place.
- Answer a few key questions. If you’re bringing more than a carload of stuff, you’ll need to decide how you want to transport it and how much money you want to spend. The more belongings you bring, the more money it will cost to move them, and the more time it will take to pack and get everything together. Answer these questions and you’ll know what steps to take to get your move going.
- How big is the place I’m moving to?
- How much stuff will I be bringing?
- How much money do I want to spend?
- How much time do I need to get ready?
- Decide what to keep. Regardless of your new living situation, you probably have more stuff than you either can or want to take with you. Moving into a dorm for the first time can provide a real lesson in knowing just how little you need to get along. The limited space forces you to focus on the essentials — clothing, personal care items, cooking utensils, a TV or stereo, and a few books will pretty much take up the room you have. But even if you’re moving into a bigger place, consider whether it’s more cost effective to move your stuff or get rid of it and start over in your new location. If moving your items will cost more than replacing them, consider the latter option.
- Purge the nonessentials. A garage sale is a great way to get rid of stuff and make a little extra cash. Secondhand stores and thrift centers like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are always eager for donated items in good condition. Whatever you do, make the effort to find a new home for your things — recycling in this way helps those in need and keeps useful items out of the landfill.
- Get your packing materials ahead. To pack, you’ll need boxes and packing material, and while many moving companies and hardware stores sell these, you can easily obtain them for free. Most big box retail and grocery stores recycle their cardboard shipping boxes, but they’re usually happy to let customers have them. For packing material, crumbled up newspaper, towels, or old blankets will do the trick.
- Pack up. Take the pressure off by starting the packing process several weeks before your move date. Pack up less-used items such as books, out-of-season clothing, and decorations first. Then pack the bulk of your things by room, labeling each box with a list of its contents. Finally, set aside a box with day-to-day necessities, so that you can find them easily when you arrive.
- Schedule transportation. One of the most important parts of any move is deciding how you’ll actually get your stuff from point A to point B. The best method for doing so will depend on how much you’re bringing with you, how far away your destination is, and how much money you can afford to spend on transportation. Assuming you’re moving more than a carload, one option is to hire a professional moving company. Another option is to rent a locked shipping container that is dropped off for you to pack, then picked up and delivered to your new location. Usually, the more economical choice is to rent a moving truck one way and drive it yourself. If you’re going long distances, don’t pack any flammable or poisonous items.
- Set up new services and disconnect the old. Be sure you’ve arranged to have your utilities, Internet, cable, and any other services disconnected at your old place and connected at your new one. Also, fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service.
- Move. The day of the move, be ready to go. If you’re renting a truck, have it ready to fill before your helpers arrive, whether friends and family. Be sure to have some cash on hand to tip the movers or buy pizza for your after-move celebration.
- Clean your old place. You might be able to hire a cleaning service, but consider saving money and doing it yourself with the help of friends.
- Settle in to your new place and community. If you’re renting, you’ll need to fill out the inventory list, noting any damages or needed repairs. If you’ve moved to a new state, be sure to check on relevant laws concerning driver’s licenses, car registration, and car insurance. In many states, you need to convert these within 30 days of your move; for some states, students are an exception to this rule.