Moving during the holidays adds stress to an already activity-packed season, but every year some of us start the new year in a new home.
“Customers have to sacrifice on holidays,” said Rashid Duysenov, a professional mover who also compromises, moving customers on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. “They would rather be with their families, but they also need to move.”
Fortunately, solid planning and organization reduce moving anxiety at any time, especially during the busiest seasons. Tack back some of that precious holiday joy with tips from our experts.
Holiday Moving Tips: Plan Ahead
Most of us have commitments and events during the holidays. Also, life happens! A new job, school, the winter cold season can all take energy away from the holiday at hand.
Avoid as much pressure as possible by not leaving anything to the last minute during the moving out process. And when you move, regardless of the circumstances, always think ahead, says Duysenov, of Rock Star Pro Movers . If you have time, start researching moving companies two to three weeks before your move, and at least four to six days in advance. (You’d likley need to start even earlier during the spring and summer busy season!)
Also keep in mind that being busy with a move on top of a flurry of holiday activities can make the best of us more scattered and forgetful. That’s why it’s even more important to keep detailed to-do notes, whether on your phone or in a binder so you can access it fast and stay on track on moving day. Also, confirm your moving truck rental company dates and pricing.
If you’re relocating to or from a cold-weather part of the country, take hazardous road conditions into account. And have the necessary winter jacket, gloves and ice scraper packed and ready in the car. Go a step further and have your heat and electricity turned on by the time you arrive at your new home, if necessary.
“Give yourself more time than you think you need in order to leave room to tolerate the uncertainty of packing and moving,” said Dominique Apollon, a professional counselor and member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Have an idea of what time you want to start your holiday move, ideally in the morning hours so you are leaving more time for flexibility and opportunity to end sooner. Figure out who is going to help and designate roles if it helps.
Pack all the essentials and ensure you’ve labeled everything to make the unpacking process more efficient. It’s better to live out of boxes at home and on moving day, you just pack the truck with less stress as you head to your destination.
Take notice of unique planning needs for a holiday move. For example, if you enrolled your kids to new schools for after New Year, make sure your child’s important documents and school records are sent before holiday vacation ramps up.
For some, holiday decorations may not be high on your list of packing essentials. Consider scaling back on the decorating and have your decorations labeled in separate boxes. Have gifts, wrapping supplies and a holiday wardrobe set aside and labeled too.
Take the opportunity in a new home to make some early holiday memories, even if you have to keep it simple, with a wreath on the front door and a small tabletop tree in the house. This could help bring some cheer in an otherwise empty home.
“The more you feel prepared for the move, the less stress and anxiety will arise,” Apollon said.
Consider All Unexpected Moving Expenses
A new home always needs something, so whatever it is, prepare to pay.
“I would advise saving up a little extra cash for the unexpected prior to the move,” said Apollon. “Anxiety creeps in most when things are ambiguous, new and almost always when there is the unexpected.”
Sometimes the most unexpected expense is the moving day itself, said Duysenov. You might pay a premium for movers on a holiday, so make sure to plan and also always confirm your reservations. Factor in possible damage to furniture and personal belongings.
“It seems easy enough to load everything on the truck, drive to the new location and unload everything,” he said. “But when it comes to it on moving day, our customers see how much hard work it takes to actually complete the whole job.”
Some moving companies charge extra for bulky and heavy items more than 300 pounds, while others do not move specialized equipment, like hot tubs and pool tables. Your fragile items might require extra packaging and special crating.
Between buying gifts and absorbing moving and travel expenses, you want to keep costs low for yourself. Depending on your needs, consider making some serious spending cuts this holiday season to ensure a smooth move.
Make Time to Celebrate
Ensure a merry move by carving out special time with family and friends, especially since it may be a little time before you see them again if you’re moving to a new town.
“Try and work toward getting the moving done earlier in the day, leaving time to spend with family,” said Apollon.
For you solo movers and those not physically able to be with family during the move, plan to be with them as soon as possible when you’re done.
Consider inviting family and friends over to your new home after the holidays, and plan to host something next year. Depending on your move, perhaps family and friends along the way will sympathize with your transition and they will open their house to you for a mini holiday vacation!
Don’t forget to pack the eggnog to raise a glass with your family and friends at your destination!
“Let’s be thankful for technology allowing us to Facetime, Skype or communicate via web or phone,” Apollon said.