Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to plan low budget, smooth and painless move in and move out

When my husband was ready to go back to school on the other side of the ocean, I was left planning a major move in, which I didn’t mind as I love organizing stuff like that!

Before leaving to the USA, I had sent ahead some boxes with personal items, but no heavy pieces. Once we arrived at our destination, we had to furnish the apartment we had rented from top to bottom. Knowing that we would not stay there for more than a couple of years we decided we needed a sort of planning.

And I came up with my own checklist:

When you go shopping make sure you have a shopping list, so you won’t buy more than you need, which is good for your wallet and eventually your back (I know….that vase you saw on sale was really beautiful….but do you really need it?!?).  Buy stuff purposely and refrain from cluttering your space.

Every room has its purpose, so fill those spaces accordingly.
Don’t leave clothes in the living room or books in the bedroom.
Depending on the space you have, you must try hard to organize it efficiently.

10-12 weeks before moving out, start prepacking things, for example, books or clothes you won’t need during this last period and you can ship them back already.
Seeing rooms/spaces getting emptier will help you see what is left to do. Another way to get by it is to empty each room one at the time. This is also a great chance not only to get rid of things but also to decide what you want to do with them. These are the alternatives:
  • throwing them out because they are totally worn or unusable
  • giving them to charity
  • giving them to friends
  • selling them.

That is always a personal choice: if you want to maximize your investment, you want to sell everything; otherwise let someone else enjoy something you used for a couple of years.
We ended up using a combination of all the above.

If you own a car, well that can be tricky so you’d better start doing research at least 6 weeks ahead depending where you live {in a metropolitan area your chances are higher versus a smaller area). Make sure you know the value of the car and what people are willing to offer. In order to get the most out of it, try to sell it to a private party. If you don’t want to get involved in that, or don’t have any other options, you can always try a local car dealer, but that should be your last resort.

  • Notify the landlord/lease office (the timeframe is variable, and agreed upon the signing of the contract)
  • The house/apartment must be ready for inspection, make sure there is nothing left behind that belongs to you. In our experiences of moving in and out we never came across a clean place and we were always left with the hard job of cleaning after someone else. It is a matter of good manners to leave a place the same way you’d like to find it. Based on my experience in North America, emptying the place is considered enough to get your deposit back. 
  • Little digression: Personally I always like doing the extra cleaning because that is the way I was raised and am used to. Besides, making sure all cabinets are empty, as well as the fridge and freezer (don’t leave behind your food, open cans, etc.), clean the bathroom (toilet, basin, bathtub…some bleach will do) and the countertops in the kitchen. Vacuum all the floors and mop the hard floors. Good old-fashioned European cleaning leaves Americans speechless ;))
  • Cancel all services and utilities
  • Make sure your mail is either forwarded to your next address or returned to sender

If you want to know more how we managed the rest, contact me!
I am happy to share with you my skills in packing, moving, cleaning, and unpacking and all the tricks I have learnt on my own.

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