Moving can be a huge stress—just like the really bad stuff like divorce and job loss. So even in the best circumstances, household tensions are high and everyone's nerves are are about worn out. If you're like 99% of the population, the thing that keeps you up at night is the physical move--a weeks or months long process that seems to take up all of your time. It is overwhelming for even a very organized and clutter-free person; you've got to go through everything and purge and wrap and get boxes and figure out how to pack the boxes and take apart the furniture and then get it all from origin to destination.
This is where a professional, full-service moving company can provide their expertise and allow you focus on your new house, new job, new schools, and new life. Whether you are moving across the street in Atlanta or across the country, everything in your old residence has to be packed up or thrown out. A lot of people concentrate on the portion of the move that involves loading the trucks and driving down the road, but like most household projects, the preparation 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 easy sailing right up to your new front door.
For starters, you've got to find the best moving company for you. Ask your family or your realtor for referrals, and interview a few companies to decide on the right fit for you. If you have never employed movers before, here are a couple important questions to ask.
-Are you licensed and insured? Ask to see a current copy of their commercial policy.
-What is your damage liability, and what are the options for high value items? Good movers will inventory all your items and record existing damage or weak spots before they wrap, these days they'll take pictures, in addition.
-Can I box some things? Do you really pack dirty ashtrays? Some people want to pack really valuable or fragile items themselves, and most professional movers are alright with that. But, the pros really know how to wrap fragile belongings so there's not as much of a chance of breakage, and to put those belongings in boxes so they are safe but not too tight (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 crack). And most professional movers will ask before they pack up full trash cans--the ashtray might have happened but it's likely an urban legend.
-Will you take beds and furniture apart and re-assemble them in the new house? Full-service movers are skilled at disassembling and reassembling anything from bookshelves to beds. There are few things in life more satisfying than a man who understands the tricks of those little cams and bolts. Also, they use their own tools so you are not sorting through stuff that is already packed to locate the screwdrivers.
-Do you charge one price or can I pick and choose services? Again, most movers will be flexible on services. However, you could pay a premium for only getting certain services. If you think you will save some purchasing your own moving supplies, or taking apart furniture, you may want to add up the numbers. When you take into consideration that you will be charged higher prices at moving supply or big box stores and do not know how much you'll really use, and will make several trips to the store, letting the professional packers do it is usually much less of a headache.
Now that you've hired the perfect movers—you're on their schedule for packing and loading and unloading--you can stop worrying about that portion of the move and move on to the details of starting life in a new house.
If you’re moving locally in Atlanta, you're fortunate in that you can keep the nuts and bolts of your life the same--same bank, dentist, gym, etc. But if your relocation is not local and you have got to start rebuilding your network from scratch; the good news is that without the move worry hanging over your every waking moment, you can get a head start on all the things that turn a new town into a home town.
The devil is indeed in the details, so here are some tips to help you prioritize. Now is the time to gather all your important documents that are spread all over and place them into a folder, either digital or a hard copy. You'll need birth certificates, social security numbers, medical and immunization records, driver’s license, passports—at some point during the move and settling you'll need to get your hands on everything. Changes in federal and some state laws require two forms of photo government ID, so yes, you do need to locate your passport and make sure and renew if it is out of date.
If you've got kids in school, getting them adjusted into their new environment as smoothly as possible is vital. Get with the local Board of Education to make sure you have the documents you need to register in their system. School districts have different rules regarding attendance; some have rigid boundary lines and others are more fluid. If you're curious about magnet schools, you'll need their guidelines to register for their programs. For proof of residence, you'll need a copy of your deed, mortgage, or lease to confirm your address, and most likely a utility bill as a secondary form of verification. Also, remember the most recent immunization records and transcripts from previous providers.
Ask your primary care physician for referrals in your new town—there's sometimes a trusted buddy from med school they can recommend. As so many practices now are part of large networks of providers you may be able to have 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 calm and you'll find a good match. Do not forget about switching over your prescriptions; chances are good that you will just have to change to the new location and keep the same company.
Utilities and Maintenance
Your realtor may be helping you to ensure all your utilities are turned on and functioning when you get to your new residence, but you're the one who needs to set up the accounts and schedule service. You've got the necessities--power, water, and gas--where there is a single provider and that is it. Most towns have several options for things like internet, telephone and cable service, and if your current provider does not service your new area you'll have to research a new one.
If your new neighborhood has a Homeowners Association they will have all the appropriate information on things like trash pickup, mail delivery and lawn maintenance standards. If you manage your own yard this may be a good time to upgrade the mower and trimmer, if not ask around for a good lawn company.
Most states have a narrow window for changing your address on your driver’s license, so take care of that as swiftly as you can. Your cars also need to be registered in your new county or city; taxes sway widely and you may discover a noticeable decrease or increase in your property taxes. You can update your voter registration at most license offices, and get the address of your new polling place.
As you can see, simply rearranging your life for a move is quite time consuming, so why would you take on the stress of the physical move when you can employ a full-service moving company handle that for you? Research the right professionals for your move so you can make time for the important stuff--like locating a dry cleaner and car wash close to the dentist!