Plan your move like an expert
Published on September 18, 2019
The best way to make your next move a painless experience is to be well prepared. Turn a difficult day into a productive one with these tips, which will help you work more efficiently, so you can enjoy your new home as quickly as possible.
“If you want a smooth, problem-free move, it’s critical to plan the process well, from making address changes to unpacking boxes,” emphasized Martin Desfossés, real estate coach at DuProprio.
- Countdown: 30 to 60 days before the move
- Countdown: Last month before the move
- Countdown: Final days before the move
- Moving day: Reap the benefits of your preparations
Prepare beforehand and don’t wait till the last minute: that’s the strategy for reducing the stress involved in moving. There are many items you can check off your list in the weeks leading up to moving day.
Tip: As soon as your moving date is set, make sure to book the day off work. It might even be considered paid leave by your employer. If your job allows, think about freeing yourself up for a few days before or after.
Is your property insured at your old address? At the new one?
Desjardins home insurance home insurance protects your property at both addresses and while in transit. This coverage comes into effect as soon as the first item is moved, for up to 30 consecutive days.
It is still important to inform your insurer of your change of address, the information about your new residence and your insurance needs during this moving period.
With or without a mover?
Now is the time to make a critical decision about the logistics: do you want help from a professional mover or would you rather carry and move everything yourself? While the DIY option is usually less expensive, it obviously requires a greater personal investment.
Without a mover: If you need a truck, reserve early. Contact several companies to find out their rates and the sizes of their trucks that can accommodate your possessions. They sometimes supply the packing material, like blankets, straps and dollies, which would save you from having to rent some. If they don’t, remember to budget for the rental of those items. To estimate your total cost, calculate the distance in kilometres between the two homes and the number of hours you’ll need the vehicle.
With a mover: If you prefer to do business with a professional moving company to get your things from point A to point B, ask for at least three quotes and compare them. Check what’s included (number of movers, insurance, etc.) and what isn’t. To make sure the cost estimate is as realistic as possible, give the companies as much information as you can about the properties you’re leaving from and arriving to. Note that if you’re moving around July 1, rates will be higher and less negotiable. Also check the reputation of the companies you’re considering hiring.
Movers and insurance: Not everything is covered!
When you're shopping around for a moving company, look into the insurance included with their service:
- Some items might not be covered against damage, such as TVs, and furniture that hasn't been disassembled.
- The value of the coverage might be limited based on the weight of the item. If you don't want to pay extra to increase the basic coverage, put all of your excluded, fragile, or valuable items aside, and move them yourself
In the event of a loss, the unexpected, or a dispute with your moving company:
Regardless of which option you select, make sure to ask the former occupant of your new home exactly when they’re leaving, to avoid having to stand around the entrance of your new home, waiting with your things!
Sorting: What’s moving with you, what isn’t?
In the 30–60 days before the move, you have the opportunity to take inventory of what you own and decide what you want to bring with you to your new address. Get rid of all the things that are no longer useful. Don’t leave behind any unpleasant surprises for the people moving in, but don’t bring the useless things with you. Instead, organize a garage sale, sell them through online platforms (Kijiji, Facebook, eBay, etc.) or donate them to community organizations. Items you no longer like or need might find a new purpose or a new home. What has become unusable should be brought to the nearest ecocentre or disposal site.
Planning your move: Packing boxes
To avoid feeling overwhelmed later, start packing boxes early and do it little by little. That way, when moving day arrives, there will just be the essentials left to pack up.
Where to get boxes
The first step is to find boxes or solid, reliable containers to pack your things in. Renovation centres, office supply stores and big box stores may sell them, as do professional movers and truck rental companies.
To get free boxes, try asking the grocery, drug, liquor and retail stores in your area if they can set some aside for you. Neighbours or friends or local community groups may also have some to give you. However, make sure these used boxes are in good condition before using them.
Where to start packing
You can now begin wrapping and packing items that won’t be used in your day-to-day life until you move:
Guest room: Unless you’re planning to have people stay over in the time until moving day, the contents of this room can safely be put in boxes.
Office and living room: Pack up the books you’ve already read or don’t plan to read in the coming weeks, along with knick-knacks, artwork, etc.
Kitchen and dining room: Box up the dishes, small appliances and tableware you won’t need.
Bedrooms: All the bedding, clothing and shoes that are out of season can be set aside and prepared for moving.
Bathroom: Extra soap and shampoo can be packed away early, as can any seasonal items like beach towels, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
Storage spaces: These areas usually contain lots of items that aren’t used daily. Visualize what you’ll need in the weeks leading up to the move and pack up the rest.
Put heavy items in smaller boxes and use larger containers for light items. But be sure not to overload your boxes (12 kg maximum). That will make them easier to carry. To save on packing materials, use towels to wrap your dishes. Leave clothing on the hangers and put them in a large bag. Once your boxes are full, seal them carefully with packing tape. And don’t forget to identify what’s in the boxes, what room they’re going to and whether the contents are fragile. That will make it a lot easier when you’re at the unpacking stage.
Now’s the time to tackle a few administrative jobs. Make a list of everything you need to do before moving day.
Book some helpers
Who will be there on moving day?
Have friends or family offered to help? Contact them to see if they’re still available and establish a schedule for moving day. While it’s good to have enough people to help, it’s better to have fewer good quality helpers who can lift heavy loads.
Who will watch the kids and pets?
If you have small children or animals, assign someone to keep an eye on them on moving day, so you’re free to work without having to worry about their safety.
Create a map
The key to a smooth move is careful preparation. Make a map of your new home so you can decide in which rooms to put your furniture, boxes, rugs and artwork.
With a good map and clearly identified boxes, you’ll save tons of time on moving day!
Send change-of-address notifications
We may underestimate the role our address plays in our life. Taxes, deliveries, official documents, insurance, subscriptions: there is a long list of organizations and companies you need to advise of your new address.
Here’s a partial list:
Employer: retirement plan, union, group insurance
Government of Canada: Canada Revenue Agency, Elections Canada (1-800-959-7383), Immigration and Citizenship , Canada Savings Bonds, Old Age Security (1-800-277-9915) and Employment and Social Development Canada (1-800-808-6352)
Insurance: car, home, life, salary, disability, etc.
This is the perfect time to get in touch with your insurer and let them know about your move.
- That way, you'll still be covered after you move to your new home.
- Your new home will probably have different needs in terms of insurance coverage.
- Your new address might also have an impact on your car insurance premium—for example, if you're moving closer to work.
Subscriptions: newspapers, magazines, gym, public transit, online delivery services (Amazon, eBay, etc.)
Associations: professional associations, alumni associations, and other federations of corporations you may be part of
Cards: credit cards, loyalty cards, charge cards, CAA, etc.
Financial institutions: bank accounts, RRSPs, investments, etc.
Municipality and school board: school taxes, municipal taxes, kids’ schools, etc.
Change several addresses in one click
Did you know there is an online service that lets you send a change of address to 7 ministries and organizations, all at once? The form (available in English) of the Service québécois de changement d’adresse (SQCA) lets you change your contact information with:
- Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail
- Élections Québec
- Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale
- Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec
- Retraite Québec
- Revenu Québec
And in case you forget anything, give your new contact information to the people moving into your old home so they can forward any mail you might receive. If that’s not possible, you may want to consider paying for Canada Post’s mail forwarding service, available starting at $58.25 for 4 months.
It’s the last sprint! Time for these jobs:
- Confirm that everyone who kindly agreed to help will be there and tell them where and when to show up.
- Remove the last paintings and shelves from walls (and fill any holes left behind).
- Prepare your plants for the move by wrapping them in plastic bags.
- Schedule the key transfers with the new and former owners.
“Clean and empty out the fridge, disassemble large furniture (place screws in a bag and tape the bag to the piece of furniture it goes with), and take down the curtains,” listed Martin Desfossés. “When the movers arrive, everything should be packed away. All that should remain to pack on the final day are your essential toiletries and your bedding.”
Hiring professional movers?
Take photos of your furniture, so you can compare existing scratches against any that might be caused by the move to your new place.
Combine the pleasant with the useful by making the move a little more fun for kids and parents. Prepare a suitcase for each family member, containing everything needed for the first week in your new home: clothing, toiletries, a few toys, sheets. These suitcases will give you the freedom to take your time when unpacking boxes.
Prepare a moving day survival kit
Have a small budget for refreshments and plan a time to eat, especially if friends and family are helping out. It’s the least you can do to thank them for coming out and lending a hand.
Also, prepare and keep on hand a container with some useful tools (marker, tape, measuring tape, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, etc.) and a broom. That way you’re ready to do a few last-minute repairs and give the place a final sweep.
If your new home is empty a few days before you move in, take advantage of it to paint or have technicians come in to connect the cable or internet.
Think about parking
Whether you’re dealing with movers, have reserved a truck or are using the vehicles of family members, make sure now that there is parking available in front of your new place. In urban areas, like Montréal or Québec, it’s best to plan ahead and ask the municipality to install No Parking signs.
The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived! Stress gives way to excitement as you begin a new adventure. Enjoy it as much as possible. Take a last look around the old place, sweep up the dust and make sure you’re not leaving anything behind.
Have a great move!
Before moving, you have to sell your old home! If you want to do that commission-free but with the benefit of a range of support and visibility services, consider DuProprio. Talk to one of our advisors about your needs or watch our webinar to learn more about our services.
This content was written in partnership with Desjardins.