How to take the Stress out of Moving (Part 1)

By now, I’ve moved 25 times across 3 different continents. Most of my moves occurred during the summer and many families are also using the end of the school year to move houses. Moving is never an easy undertaking: the heat, Ramadan, the never ending paper work, the hassle until you can settle in and feel at home. It all takes time and energy. Yet, the more prepared you are, the easier and stress-free the move will be. Take the pain out by following this simple checklist, which also includes tips for Dubai based readers:

2-3 months before:

  • Create a moving plan. Write down all the things you’ll need to finish before moving. You can keep this information handy in a moving binder.
  • Check your tenancy agreement and terminate your lease.
  • Moving time is a great time to say good-bye to unwanted, unused items. Purge, purge, purge!!!
  • If you have children, sit down with them and talk about the upcoming move, the new villa or apartment, the new neighbourhood, etc. Give them time to also prepare and if possible, get them involved in the move.
  • Decide on the moving day.

1 month before:

  • Chose a mover. Get the moving company to confirm their services and the moving date in writing (it can still be changed). Talk to them about any special moving requirements (e.g. piano). Don’t forget to give them easy to understand directions to your current and future home. They can drop off boxes before the actual moving date if you are planning to pack some boxes yourself. Discuss how you’ll need to pay them (e.g. in advance, on the day).
  • When packing boxes, keep an inventory for each box and write the room on multiple sides of the box. Don’t mix and match rooms when packing. For example, only put kitchen items in one box. Bathroom items go in a separate box. It will make unpacking so much easier!
  • Notify your bank, credit card issuer, insurances, professional bodies, airline frequent flier programmes, gym, magazine subscriptions etc. about your new address. Request them to update their records. Depending on the institution, you may need to submit their “Change Address Form”.
  • If your children are moving schools, request their current school to transfer any documents and transcripts to the new school.
  • Take measurements of your new home. Where will which piece of furniture go? Will you need to buy any new furniture? What about curtains?
  • Arrange for a handover of keys to your new home.

1 week before:

  • Request the day off from work. Check out if your company offers special leave for moving.
  • Will your children need your sole attention while you’re trying to oversee the move? If so, can you book a babysitter for them? Can they spend the day with a friend?
  • Book temporary accommodation for your pet. Moving can be stressful for them, too.
  • Pack a suitcase with clothes for the first few days in the new home. There won’t be unnecessary pressure to unpack all bedroom boxes as soon as they’ve arrived in your new location.
  • Notify Dewa to discontinue the service , settle the final bill and ask for the refund of your security deposit. You’ll need to have your Customer Account Number. You may need to provide your landlord with a “clearance certificate”, confirming all outstanding bills have been settled.
  • Notify your water supplier and any other food delivery companies about your new address.
  • Arrange for the property to be painted after the moving day.
  • Arrange for a cleaning company to prepare your new home.
  • Arrange for a cleaning company to scrub the property after the moving day.
  • Arrange for a handover of the property with your landlord after the property has been emptied, painted and cleaned.

 3 days before:

  • Confirm the movers.
  • Can you empty the freezer? Store frozen goods with your neighbours or friends if you can’t finish them? It’d be a great time to defrost your freezer.
  • Let the washing machine and dishwasher dry out. Any water that can be removed now makes it easier to transport them.
  • Water your indoor plants one last time before moving day. The less water that is in the pots, the easier it will be to transport them.
  • Pack valuables like your passport, jewellery etc. in a separate and secure place. Also keep items you’ll need on moving day (medicine, baby food) in a separate area. You can put it in a bag which you can easily take with you.
  • Notify your Human Resources (HR) team about your new home address.

Moving Day:

  • Ensure you have enough water for the day. You’ll need to stay hydrated. It’d be nice to offer the movers something to drink, too.
  • Check that the right movers have come to your house. In the US, check the USDOT number on the moving truck is the same as the number given to you by the moving company.
  • Instruct the movers what needs to be pack (point out fragile items) and what will stay.
  • Have a final inspection of your home before sending the moving company to your new residence. Make sure all boxes have been loaded on the truck. Check off all boxes having arrived at your new home.
  • When the movers are unpacking at your new home, do you need to oversee everything or can you sit on your couch or in the garden and enjoy a cup of tea? Remember you’ll need to take breaks and stay hydrated.
  • In the evening, treat yourself and your family. Book yourself in for a massage. Go out for a meal. You’ll need some time to relax!

In my next post, I’ll share more tips on the activities after you’ve moved.

Enjoy the house hunt and remember, you can take the stress out of moving!


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