Approximately 17 to 20 million people are expected to move this summer, and according to U-Haul, the majority of Americans move between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“People feel more comfortable with the idea of moving house during these three to four months because of the favorable weather conditions, the summer holidays, and various other seasonal factors that seem to promise a safe, comfortable, and efficient relocation,” says relocation professional Ethan Greenfield.
If you’re planning on relocating your family during peak moving season, start planning as early as possible in order to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Here are some tips to help make your move stress-free:
Have a moving checklist
Your moving checklist should cover all aspects of the move, from filling out a USPS change of address and notifying all relevant parties of your move, to unpacking and organizing your home on arrival. Break your tasks down into manageable phases starting several weeks out.
Once you’ve covered all of the necessary detail, create a version of this list for every member of your household. You can create a printable coloring checklists for young ones and have them color in each item in lieu of checking it off the list, and create a digital task list for your teens using an app like Moving Planner.
Help your kids pack
Depending on the ages of your children, they may be able to help you — or even independently pack up their own rooms. Determine what they can handle and give them some age-appropriate tasks. Make packing fun by turning it into a game or offering them rewards as they complete their assigned tasks. Apps like Chore Wars that gamify chores will help you keep track of everyone’s progress.
For little ones, Bright Horizons Family Solutions® suggests letting children pack and label one box of their favorite things that they can look forward to opening upon arrival at their new home.
U-Pack moving expert Brittney Lee also suggests packing some surprises for your kids. “Sneak a few surprises into your kid’s moving boxes. In their clothing box, leave a new shirt for their first day of school. Or add a new toy to the toy box. These fun surprises will make unpacking much more enjoyable!”
Get professional help
If you’re planning on managing the move yourself, consider enlisting the services of movers, cleaners, and baby and pet sitters, especially for moving day. Although they may try to sell you on their full services, keep in mind that you can typically customize packages to fit your needs. If you don’t need help packing, just hire movers to collect and deliver your belongings.
Don’t be afraid to ask about deals and discounts. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, movers are required by law to observe the 110 percent rule, so they have to deliver your possessions for “no more than 10% above the price of a nonbinding estimate.” Shop around for the best deal for you and then be sure to negotiate based on what you can afford. The FMCSA also suggest protecting yourself by being aware of your rights and responsibilities when moving.
Pro Tip: If you don’t plan on hiring a cleaner, don’t pack your cleaning supplies.
Have a moving day plan
“Moving day is one of those tasks we all want to get done with as fast as possible, [so] it’s best to have a solid, uncomplicated plan to make moving day as easy as it can be,” says real estate and finance expert Craig Donofrio.
Make a list of everything that needs to get done on the day of your move, including who is responsible for what tasks. Don’t forget to incorporate time for breaks, meals and refreshments into your plan. Building buffer time into your schedule will also help you stay on track in case any last minute tasks or issues pop up.
If you’re donating any clothing or household items, today is also a good day to schedule pickups. Organizations like Donation Town (in the U.S and Canada) and Pick Up My Donation (just in the U.S.) allow you to look up nearby non-profits and schedule a pickup online.
And don’t forget to designate a safe spot for any items that you plan to travel with. Make sure that the movers know you’ll be handling them yourself.
“Have your essentials with you – [keep] in mind that your shipment may be delayed considerably during the peak moving season. You may have to survive for a week or so in your new home without your belongings, so make sure all your valuables and essentials travel with you,” adds Greenfield.
What about the kids?
Keeping your children safe and busy on moving day will be a priority. Consider enrolling them in a summer program or daycare for the day, or hiring a sitter to watch them while you’re working with the movers and checking things off your to-do list. Scheduling a farewell playdate with their friends, having friends or family watch them, or even asking your neighbor to watch them while the movers are at the house are also viable options.