Moving can be a huge stress—similar to the really terrible tings like divorce and job loss. So even when things are going good, household anxiety is high and everyone's nerves are out there competing to be the last one stepped on. If you are like 99% of the population, the thing that keeps you from sleeping soundly is the physical move--a weeks or months long process that will take up your every waking minute. It's staggering for even the most organized and clutter-free person; you have got to go through everything and decide what to do with everything and wrap and get boxes and figure out how to put everything in the boxes and disassemble furniture and then actually move it all from origin to destination.
This is where a professional, full-service moving company can provide their expertise and give you time to concentrate on your new house, new job, new schools, and new day-to-day schedule. Whether you are moving across the neighborhood in Houston or across the country, everything in your old residence has to be boxed up or thrown out. A lot of people concentrate on the portion of the move that involves loading the moving trucks and going down the road, but like most household projects, the prep work is the iceberg and the actual moving day is only the visible tip. A seasoned team of professional full-service movers can help you navigate that iceberg for smooth and stress-free sailing right up to your new front door.
To Begin with, you need to search for the best moving company for you. Ask your family or your realtor for referrals, and interview a couple movers to decide on the best fit for you. In the event that you have never used movers before, there are a few vital questions to ask.
-Are you licensed and insured? Make sure see a current copy of their commercial policy.
-What is your release rate, and what are the options for fine furniture or antiques? Good movers should go over all your things and point out existing damage or weak spots before they wrap, these days they will take pictures, also.
-Can I box some of my things? Do you really pack dirty ashtrays? Most folks want to pack really valuable or delicate belongings themselves, and most packers are okay with that. However, the pros really know how to wrap delicate belongings so there is less chance of breakage, and to place those belongings in boxes so they are secure but not packed too tightly (fun fact: twisting packing paper through the handle of a coffee cup or mug and stuffing packing paper into it reduces the chance the mug will break). And most movers will ask before they pack up full trash cans--the ashtray may have happened but it's most likely an urban legend.
-Will you take apart furniture and re-assemble them in the new house? Full-service movers are adept at disassembling and reassembling anything from futons to beds. There are few things in life more satisfying than a man who knows the tricks of those little cams and bolts. Also, the movers bring their own tools so you're not rummaging through stuff that is already packed to find the screwdrivers.
-Do you charge the same no matter what services I want or can I pick and choose services? Again, most movers will be flexible on service offerings. But, you may end up paying additional for only getting certain services. If you think you will save some buying your own moving supplies, or disassembling furniture, you might want to think again. When you factor in that you'll be charged higher prices at moving supply or big box stores and have no idea how much you will really need, and may make umpteen journeys to the store, letting the professional packers do it is usually much less of a headache.
Now that you've hired the best movers—you're on their schedule for packing and moving--you can check that off your to-do list and move on to the details of beginning life in a new residence.
If your move is local in Houston, you are fortunate in that you can keep the basics of your life the same--same schools, dentist, gym, etc. But if your move is not right around the corner and you've got to start rebuilding your network from scratch; the good news is that without the move anxiety taking up your every waking moment, you can get a head start on all the items that turn a new town into a home town.
There are lots of details to pay attention to, so here's a cheat sheet to help you prioritize. Now is the time to gather all your documents that are strewn all over and place them into a folder, either digital or a hard copy. You will need birth certificates, social security numbers, medical and immunization records, driver’s license, passports—at some point during the move and settling you will need to be able to find all of these things. Changes in federal and some state laws require two forms of photo government ID, so yes, you do need to dig out your passport and go ahead and renew if it is out of date.
If you have got kids in school, getting them assimilated into their new environment as easily as possible is vital. Get with the local Board of Education to confirm the documents you need to register in their system. School districts have different rules regarding attendance; some have rigid boundaries and others are more flexible. If you are curious about magnet schools, you'll need their guidelines to register for special programs. For proof of residence, you will most likely need a copy of your deed, mortgage, or lease to confirm your address, and most likely a utility bill as a secondary source. Also, don’t forget to obtain the current immunization records and transcripts from previous schools.
Ask your current doctor for suggested providers in your new locale—there is usually a trusted buddy from med school they can recommend. As so many practices now are part of large corporate networks you might be able to facilitate an easy transition to a provider; if not your insurance carrier can steer you to in-network practices. It is likely to be more difficult to find the right pediatricians, internists, orthodontists and witch doctors, but be patient and you will find a good match. Do not forget about switching over your prescriptions; most likely you'll just need to transfer to the new location and stay with the same company.
Utilities and Maintenance
Your realtor may be helping you to make sure all your utilities are turned on and functioning when you get to your new home, but you're the one who needs to open the accounts and schedule service. You've got the essentials--power, water, and gas--where there is a solo provider and that's it. Most towns have numerous options for things like internet, telephone and cable service, and if your current provider doesn’t service your new area you'll have to find a new one.
If your new neighborhood has a Homeowners Association they will have all the relevant information on items like trash pickup, mail delivery and lawn maintenance standards. If you manage your own yard now might be a good time to upgrade the mower and trimmer, if not ask the locals for a good lawn company.
Most states have a narrow timeframe for changing your address on your driver’s license, so take care of that as promptly as you can. Your cars also need to be registered in your new county or city; taxes vary greatly and you may realize a notable decrease or increase in your property taxes. You can update your voter registration at most license offices, and obtain the address of your new polling place.
So, simply re-assimilating your life for a move is a full-time job, so why would you take on the work of the physical move when you can have a full-service moving company manage that for you? Find the right professionals for your move so you can have time for the important things--like finding a dry cleaner and car wash close to the vet!