As with baseball, barbecues and beach excursions, summer is the peak season for moving to a new home.
And moving, for many of us, is something that ranks high on the list of stressful life events. It's not just the demands of adjusting to a new home in a new locale. What really throws folks into a tizzy is all that packing and unpacking and the descent into chaos that moving day can become.
Moving may be challenging, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming, according to Clive Pearse, host of HGTV's Designed to Sell. The key: Plan ahead and stay organized.
"By thinking way, way, way ahead, you make moving less stressful," said the British-born Pearse, who recommends a check list, schedules, and a clipboard as essential moving tools. Just as he does as part of the Designed to Sell team, which helps home-sellers stage their properties to create maximum appeal for potential buyers, Pearse advocates decluttering as a crucial first step for anyone planning a move.
"We all have too much stuff, and obviously, it costs more money to move more stuff," said Pearse in an interview earlier this month.
His advice: Take a hard look at every room in your home and decide what you really need, what has sentimental value, "and what is just junk that you've been meaning to get rid of."
Cull all those books you've already read, the clothes you haven't worn in years, the knickknacks collecting dust. After you've unloaded all you can at a yard sale, donate the rest to charity or chuck it into the trash.
Pearse, who is also the host of Design Star, said it's never too early to start packing. To make your move more economical as well as environmentally responsible, he suggests minimizing the purchase of things like packing boxes and bubble wrap. Collect the empty boxes that stores discard, and use shredded junk mail, old newspapers, plastic shopping bags, or brown paper bags as packing material.
Just how far in advance of a move should this purging and packing process begin? At least two months, says Starr Osborne, founder of Wyndmoor-based Tailored Transitions, which provides home staging and moving services. Osborne suggests color-coding the boxes you pack, as well as labeling them with the name of the room where they will go in the new home. "You also want to put signs on each door in the new place," said Osborne, "so there is no misunderstanding with the movers." And don't forget to label which boxes contain fragile items.
To ease your first night in your new home, she suggests, have a bag ready with bed linens for each bed and anything else that you might need right away, such as prescriptions. Also, pack a suitcase with the clothes you will need for the next day.
"And remember, what goes on the truck first comes off last, so if you need the crib for nap time, make sure it's the last thing on the truck," Osborne advised.
Finally, she says, pick a mover - carefully. Ask around to see who has a good reputation. Get several bids. Make sure the company is insured, and find out how many workers there will be.
"One thing you really don't want is to have them push you into a one-day move when it really should be a two-day move," said Osborne. "It's much better to break it into two shorter days, even if you are paying a little more money."