Young woman holding cardboard box. Moving into new home.

Relocation and rearrangement are the major Rs of moving to a new city. One of the toughest decisions to make is heading out to a place you’ve never experienced living in before. But if you divide your move into small stages, distributing necessary tasks in order of significance, you can at least reduce the stress associated with this ordeal.

You can plan ahead by using the following tips for making your move the least stressful and risky:

Stage One

It is necessary that you familiarize yourself with the new city that you have chosen by either paying frequent visits there or by renting temporarily.

Getting to experience what your new city looks like is important in helping you discover any problems that may be irreconcilable. If you’re able to find out what doesn’t work with you before you purchase a house or an apartment in a new neighborhood, you could avoid losing money and wasting time and effort. Many real estate professionals suggest renting or taking up temporary accommodation in your prospective city for at least a few months before finally putting down your anchor. This allows you to gain first hand experience in learning of the affordability factor there; for example the prices and costs for basic necessities like utilities may be too high or costly for you to afford. There may also be safety issues that may not appear on the surface at first. Renting will serve as a type of security giving you flexibility with which you wouldn’t be obligated to pay mortgage and can opt out of your accommodation without any issue.

You should also get familiar with the commute aspect. By exploring distances and their usual traffic conditions you can decide how far you’re comfortable commuting. Depending on your preference, you can choose neighborhoods within that range. If you’re not fond of driving around much you can look to see if there are public transportation options available. Also, if you have work commitments, you can choose neighborhoods within that vicinity. If affordability is an issue, you may weigh living at a close proximity against every day fuel expenses to see if the difference is minimal or significant.

Stage Two

Stage two is largely associated with your current home/accommodation. It helps you overcome stress and anxiety related to relocating. Usually, the unfamiliarity attached to the process of moving makes the experience unsettling. Breaking down your move into small stages is determinant of reducing stress levels. There’s an emotional baggage of fears and loneliness sitting at the back of your mind that makes you dread leaving your friends and neighbors behind. On top of that you already dread having to make new friends in your new neighborhood. But the truth be told, there is really no way around this. The solution is to confront the reality, embrace it like a champ and become mentally prepared. Changes in life are inevitable but these changes aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, when it comes to moving, the change is usually meant to bring better opportunities. Once you’ve accepted this prospect in a positive way, only then you’ll be able to see clarity and proceed to the third stage.

Stage Three

The final stage consists of all the nitty gritty details — from arranging how to move your belongings to managing the timely disconnection of water and electricity in your old house. This is, indeed, overwhelming, but it is tolerable and less stressful once you’ve followed through the former stages.

Let Utilities Companies Know

Notifying the utility companies on time about your move helps you avoid having to pay bills for a period of time that goes beyond your moving date. Utility companies like security alarm, gas, water, electric, cable and waste management should be given specific dates on which their services should be disconnected. If those dates continue into the next billing cycle then you should also provide them with your new address to have the remaining bills mailed there. You should also remember to discontinue any monthly subscriptions of newspapers and magazines so you don’t continue being charged.

Manage Change of Address

It is important that you do not forget to file your change of address on the USPS website. This ensures your mails and bills come to the correct address. There are also legal obligations that require updating your address for your drivers license, CIP, etc. Leaving your address unchanged after moving out can leave room for identity theft. Identity thieves can mischievously collect credit from your creditors if you do not update your address on time. Usually, updating your number with the USPS automatically provides the credit bureaus with your updated information.

Cancel the Homeowners’ Insurance

If you have insurance on your current home, you should have it discontinued before you move out. Usually, most buyers take out new homeowners insurance at the time of purchasing new homes. But some of them can be under the impression that their previous insurance automatically gets cancelled when signing up for another one. This isn’t true. The coverage for your existing home may very well continue until you responsibly notify them and cancel their service.

Financial Settlement

If you owe debt either to creditors or individuals you personally know, it is better to revise the amount you owe and simplify the process by checking to see if the creditors have any convenient plans for you to enroll in. This will move you away from having delinquencies listed under your name and will subsequently not affect your credit report as badly as it may otherwise. This may also help you avoid facing problems in getting a new place. Plus, before you move to a new city, the last thing you’d want is to keep receiving mails chasing your debt on your old address. This is not only embarrassing for you but also reflects badly on you as a person.

Organize Your Belongings

Your effort and packing technique is determinant of how safe your belongings will be during the move. Using spare bed sheets to protect fragile items such as glasses and dishes from damage helps you save on using protective packing material such as packing peanuts or foam sheets. Having a soft material cover these items helps reduce impact force from falling or crashing. Also, in order to make unpacking is easy, you can label each box according to the contents inside and also assign the room they belong to in the new house. You may also put a number on each box, counting up till the total number of boxes that you have. If you happen to lose any box, you’ll know exactly which one it is and the items you can claim (if you have insurance from professional movers). Take photos of each box to remember which contents it carries.

Decide Either to Get Professional Help for Moving or DIY

Seeking professional help can sure create a lot of ease for you, especially if you’re a full time worker. Professional helpers reduce hazards such as heavy items falling on you while carrying them out or slipping and losing balance while moving heavy items off the stairs. Naturally, when you expose yourself to less risks, you have less chances of encountering hazardous situations; but if you have experience and skills for managing the move on your own, you are better off without bringing extra expenses upon yourself. Doing-it-yourself definitely does take time, effort and advance planning. You may also want to consider how many trips you’ll need to make back and forth to get all your things shifted. In addition, take fuel charges into consideration as well. All in all, carefully decide which option is best suited to your situation.

Last but not least, clean your house thoroughly before you make your final exit. You should wait until you have moved all the appliances, refrigerators, and washing machines to clean so that you can discover dirty spots in the areas these appliances occupied. Leaving heavy duty cleaning to be done in the end allows you to easily clean the empty rooms. You can use disinfectants in the house and ensure the bathroom cabinets are also cleaned up.