Moving is a big stress—just like the really horrible stuff like divorce and job loss. So even when things are going good, household anxiety is high and everyone's nerves are wearing thin. If you're like most of the population, the thing that keeps you up at night is the actual move--a weeks or months long process that threatens to consume your every waking minute. It is mind boggling for even an extremely organized and minimalistic person; you've got to sort and purge and wrap and get boxes and figure out how to pack the boxes and take apart the furniture and then transport it all from here to there.
This is where a professional, full-service moving company can help and give you time to focus on your new residence, new job, new schools, and new day-to-day schedule. Whether you are relocating across the neighborhood in Little Rock or several states away, everything in your old house must be boxed up or gotten rid of. Most people focus on the part of the move that includes loading the moving trucks and lumbering down the street, 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 simple sailing right up to your new front door.
First, you need to locate the right moving company for you. Ask your family or your realtor for referrals, and interview a few movers to find the right fit for you. If you have never used movers before, here are a few important questions to ask.
-Are you licensed and insured? Ask to see a current copy of their certificate of insurance.
-What is your damage liability, and do you carry a rider for high value items? Professional movers should go over all your things and record existing damage or weak spots before they wrap, these days they'll take pictures, too.
-Can I pack some things? Do you really pack dirty ashtrays? Most folks want to pack up really valuable or delicate belongings themselves, and most professional movers are okay with that. But, the pros really know how to wrap fragile things so there's a lessor chance of breakage, and to place those items in boxes so they are secure but not too tight (fun fact: twisting packing paper through the handle of a coffee cup or mug and stuffing newsprint into it reduces the chance the mug will break). And most movers will ask before they box full trash cans--the ashtray could have happened but it's likely an urban legend.
-Will you disassemble beds and furniture and put them back together in the new house? Full-service movers are experts at disassembling and reassembling anything from dressers to beds. There are hardly any things in life more satisfying than a man who understands the tricks of those little nuts and bolts. Also, they have their own tools so you are not rummaging through things that you just packed to find the screwdrivers.
-Do you charge a flat rate or can I select and pay for certain services? Again, most movers will be flexible on services. But, you may end up paying a premium for piecemealing the services. If you think you'll save some buying your own packing supplies, or taking apart furniture, chances are pretty good that you won't. When you factor in that you'll be charged higher prices at moving supply or big box stores and have no idea how much you'll really need to buy, and will make umpteen journeys to the store, paying the professional packers do it is usually the lower cost option.
Now that you have appointed the perfect movers—you are on their schedule for packing and moving--you can stop worrying about that portion of the move and move on to the nitty-gritty of starting life in a new home.
If you’re moving locally in Little Rock, you're getting a break in that you can keep the basics of your life the same--same doctors, dry cleaners, gym, etc. But if your relocation is not right around the corner and you have got to create a whole new database for life; the good news is that without the move stress hanging over your every waking moment, you can get going on all the details 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. Start by gathering all your documents that are scattered all over and condense 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—chances are that at some point in the near future you'll need to have these items on hand. Changes in federal and some state laws require two forms of photo government ID, so yes, you do need to dig out your passport and make sure and renew if it has expired.
If you have got school-aged children, 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 the system. School districts have different proceedures in regard to attendance; some have rigid boundaries and others are more fluid. If you are interested in magnet schools, you will need those guidelines to register for their programs. For proof of residence, you'll likely need to have on-hand a copy of your deed, mortgage, or lease to confirm your address, and usually a utility bill as a secondary source. Also, don’t forget to obtain the most recent immunization records and transcripts from previous providers.
Ask your current doctor for suggested providers in your new area—there's sometimes a trusted buddy from medical school they can recommend. As so many practices now are part of large corporate networks you may be able to make an easy transition to a new group; if not your insurance carrier can steer you to in-network practices. It's likely to be hit or miss to find the right pediatricians, internists, orthodontists and witch doctors, but be persistent and you will find a good match. Do not forget about your prescriptions; most likely you'll just need to transfer to the new location and keep the same provider.
Utilities and Maintenance
Your realtor should be working with you to ensure all your utilities are turned on and working when you get to your new home, but you're the one who needs to open the accounts and schedule service. You have got the essentials--power, water, and gas--where there is one provider and that is it. Most towns have several options for communications, and if your incumbent provider does not service your new area you will need to research a new one.
If your new neighborhood has a Homeowners Association they will have all the relevant information on items like trash pickup, mail delivery and lawn maintenance standards. If you manage your own yard now may be a good time to upgrade the mower and trimmer, if not ask around for a good lawn service.
Most states have a fairly narrow timeframe for changing your address on your driver’s license, so take care of that as swiftly as you can. Your cars should also be registered in your new county or town; taxes sway a lot and you may realize a noticeable decrease or increase in your property taxes. You can update your voter registration at most license offices, and find the address of your new polling location.
As you can see, simply rebuilding your life for a move is a lot of work, so why would you take on the burden of the physical move when you can have a full-service moving company do that for you? Locate the right professionals for your move so you can make time for the crucial things--like locating a dry cleaner and car wash close to the dentist!