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Moving Tips

Settling In
Feel At Home Faster After You Move

Moving to a new community can be a great adventure, if you go with the right attitude and a sound strategy for settling-in. Incorporate these tips into an action plan, and you'll stay focused, organized and proactiveÅjust what's needed to put roots down fast.

Before You Go

  • Complete a change of address form with the post office, which can be done online at the United States Postal Services website, usps.com. You'll also want to send your new address to any publications you subscribe to, as it can take up to eight weeks for the change to become effective.
  • Contact the Visitor's Bureau for materials about your new town, which should include a map. Identify important routes, such as those between your home and your office or your child's school.
  • Open a bank account and reserve a safety deposit box at your new location. You'll be able to cash checks much more easily when you move in, and you'll save the cost of wiring funds.
  • Make initial contact with childcare facilities. Depending on the area you move to, you may need to put your name on a waiting list.
  • If possible, enroll your children in school. Firm plans will reduce the stress.
  • Pack a box with essentials for your first few nights, such as prescription medicine, toiletries, a telephone, clothing, towels, toilet paper, and bed linen.
  • You'll also want to make arrangements for to have utilities transferred to your name or turned on. In addition, you will want to set up appointments to have services such as telephone, cable and high-speed Internet connected.

After you move in

  • For safety and peace of mind, change the locks. You never know who has a copy of the house key.
  • Locate emergency services - police and fire stations and the closest hospital.
  • Hang drapes or curtains to give you some privacy.
  • Select one room, perhaps the family room, as a place of refuge. Make it a cozy space, free of unpacked boxes, empty cartons or anything else move-related.
  • Stock the fridge with prepared entrees and the makings for no-fuss meals.
  • Check with the post office to see if they are holding mail for you. Finish sending out change of address to credit card companies, clubs, associations, friends and family.
  • File away all documents related to the move. You'll need them for verification of moving expenses at tax time.
  • Call your waste removal company or department of sanitation for a trash collection schedule.
  • Obtain a local driver's license and transfer the vehicle registration.
  • Register to vote. Call the local Board of Elections for information.
  • Take a tour of your neighborhood to become familiar with your new surroundings. Learn the routes to work, school, grocers, etc.
  • Don't hesitate to contact your real estate professional for more ideas or information about your new community. By re-establishing daily patterns and developing ties soon after arrival, your new environment will begin to feel like home.


Helping Kids Adjust to a Move

New schools, new friends, a new neighborhood . . . moving is fun and exciting—but it can be stressful too. Here are some ideas to help your kids:

  • Maintain family routines. Kids will appreciate the continuity of family life.
  • Involve the kids. Allow them to select new furnishings or decorate their rooms.
  • Take kids to the local playground, pool, or community center. If you move during the summer, it's likely they'll make friends there, which should ease the transition to the new school.
  • Call the school where your children will be enrolled and make an appointment with the principal for you and your kids to visit. Plan your visit when school is in session so you can get a feel for the school's "personality." Is there artwork on the walls? Do teachers and students seem friendly and welcoming? What kinds of projects are students working on? Be sure to notice what other students are wearing. Your "new" kids will want to fit in with style of dress. Most importantly, be sure to talk to your kids during and after the tour. They will probably notice things you don't and it will help them adapt when they start classes.
  • Investigate what extracurricular programs are available. Girl/Boy scouts, sports, dance and music lessons . . . all are great ways for kids to pursue their special interests and to meet new friends too.
  • Encourage kids to keep in touch with family members and friends and to tell them about their new home. Older kids often enjoy a move-related project, like taking photos of the new home or creating a special "new address" mailing for family and friends.

Moving with Pets

As your moving plans get underway, don't forget to plan ahead for moving the family pet. Here, courtesy of the pet experts at Purina, are some preparations to make before traveling:

  • Carry health and rabies certificates with you. Airlines and health officials generally require health certificates for all animals transported by air. In most cases, health certificates must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within ten days of transport.
  • If you're traveling by air with your pet, try to avoid peak travel periods when delays and stopovers are longer. Plan a trip with as few stops and transfers as possible. Avoid traveling in extreme hot or cold weather to avoid dangerous loading and unloading periods for your pet.
  • Some airlines allow cats and small dogs to travel with their owner if the carrier fits under the passenger seat. When you make your reservation, be sure you tell the airline that you're traveling with your pet and find out the airlines' specific requirements. Reconfirm 24-48 hours before departure that you'll bring your pet.
  • Ask your veterinarian to provide any required vaccinations, prescriptions medications, or treatments before you travel.
  • Pack your pet's water and food bowls, grooming equipment, favorite toy(s), treats, and any medication they may require. Don't forget plastic bags for cleanup.
  • Will you be stopping along the way? Plan ahead by visiting www.petswelcome.com, where you can search for hotels, motels, and B&Bs, that are pet-friendly.

What about small animals and birds?
Birds and small pets, such as gerbils and hamsters, can generally travel in their cages. Birds are very susceptible to drafts and sudden changes in temperature. To keep your bird calm, its cage should be covered while on the road.

Unpacking Stategically

When you start wading through the sea of boxes, there should be a method to your madness. The following are a few simple ideas, courtesy of Ryder, to make the unpacking process easier.

  • Unpack one room at a time. The kitchen is a good place to start, so you can actually prepare meals instead of eating at the local fast food place. Line the cabinets and drawers because if you don't do it now, you'll never get around to it!
  • The bathroom should be next. Get your toiletries out and look for that box labeled "bathroom" to find towels, shower curtain, etc.
  • If the bedrooms aren't set up the first night, don't sweat it. Have a family campout instead! Be sure you've figured out where the major pieces of furniture go. You don't want to set up the entertainment center and then decide it really needs to be on the opposite wall.
  • Before you unpack all the garage boxes, take some time to plan and organize. Set up shelves, pegboard for tools, etc. That way, you'll have room for your stuff—and the car.
  • Be sure to inventory all boxes, furniture, etc., to make sure nothing got lost during the move. If you have any broken or damaged items, make sure to keep them as evidence. You must file all insurance claims within a certain number of days after the move, depending on your particular company's regulations.