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The countdown to moving day: Here’s what you need to know!

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After living in the same town for almost 15 years, Ginny’s job is relocating her and her family from San Antonio to Houston in a month. While she’s excited for a fresh start in a new town, it seems like her list of things to do grows exponentially by the day. Even worse, she feels like she’s missing things, but she’s not sure what they are!

Does this sound like you? Maybe your offer has been accepted on your new home and you’ve got the movers scheduled, but you’re not sure what else you need to do to prepare for moving day. We get it! There’s a lot to do in the days leading up to your move. That’s why we’ve constructed a comprehensive list of things to consider during the countdown to moving day. We hope it’s a good jumping-off point as you get ready for this new season in your life.

3 weeks before moving day

With less than a month until your move, now’s the time to kick back and relax before crunch time, right? Wrong! Even though you’ve got a few weeks until the movers come, there’s still several things to do as you begin the countdown to moving day.

Work with your mover

By now you’ve more than likely completed your on-site or virtual home survey with the movers. If you need to make any updates to your planned household goods shipment, or if your moving date changes, let the movers know. Make sure the movers are aware of your destination address and contact information for when they’re in transit. If there are any extra stops required to pick up or deliver goods other than the final destination, now would be the time to confirm that with the movers.

Prepare household items: 

To help protect your household goods against damage that could be caused by fire, explosion, or leakage while in the van, it’s important to dispose of flammables such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, ammunition, and poisons such as weed killer. You will also need to get rid of your propane tanks, as they aren’t allowed in the van. 

Partialy used cans of oil, paint, thinner, and bleach should be disposed of. Any liquids you do plan to take with you (such as medications) should be carefully taped and placed in waterproof bags to prevent leakage. Be sure to also drain any fuel from your lawn mower and any other machinery. One spillable that people often overlook during the countdown to moving day is your steam iron. Make sure it’s emptied and ready to go! 

Have your rugs and draperies cleaned, and leave them wrapped when they return from the cleaners. If you have any upholstered furniture, don’t clean them prior to the move, as any moisture in the upholstery could cause mold if the furniture must be placed in storage.

If you have any antiques, now would be a good time to obtain a written appraisal to verify their value. Avoid waxing or oiling wooden antiques or fine wood furniture before the move, because some products might soften the wood, making them vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.

Coordinate your utilities and appliances

As your countdown to moving day ticks steadily forward, you’ll need to set a date to have your utilities disconnected. If possible, plan to keep your utilities in service through moving day in case any last-minute calls or cleanups are necessary!

We also recommend you set up an appointment with a service technician (or have your coordinator send someone out!) to prepare certain appliances such as your washer, dryer, ice maker, satellite dish, or waterbed for shipment. This appointment should occur at least one day before moving. 

Make arrangements for your pets and plants

Due to lack of water and light (as well as possible temperature changes) in the van, we cannot accept responsibility for safely moving your plants. If you want to take them with you to your new home, we recommend either transporting your plants in the family car or shipping them by plane. Another option is to give them to family or friends, donate them to a hospital or other organization, or sell them in a yard sale.

You will also need to arrange transportation for your pets. To make the moving process smoother, consider boarding your pets during moving day and delivery day while you get settled. Also keep in mind that most states require health certificates and vaccine records for your pets, which will require a trip to the veterinarian. Make sure that your pet’s identification and rabies tags are securely attached to their collar.

Prepare the family

Moving can be an emotional time, especially for kids. Take the family on a farewell visit to some of the places nearby that hold happy memories, and consider having a going-away party for your kids and their friends.

Make any necessary travel plans for your family, including hotel rooms and plane tickets. If you’re driving to your new home, make sure your car is prepared for the trip. Check tires, breaks, and windshield wipers, and consider having your car serviced prior to moving day.

1 week before moving day

One week to go! Now it’s starting to feel more real. Are you ready? Here are some things to do now that the countdown to moving day is in the single digits.

Pack a supply box

Can you imagine driving up to your new home and forgetting to bring toilet paper? There are several things that might be needed immediately upon arrival, which is where a supply box comes in handy. Package each group of items in a large bag and label clearly so you know exactly where everything is! When the movers are loading the van, ask to have the supply box loaded last and unloaded first, or take it in the car with you if there’s room.

Cleaning: Sponges, paper towels, dish towels, scouring pads, detergent

Kitchen: Paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic cutlery, plastic pitcher, small saucepan, serving spoons, aluminum foil

Snacks: Easy-open cans of pudding, dry soup mix, sandwich spread, drinks

Bath: Towels and face cloths, toilet tissue, facial tissue, soap, hand lotion, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste

Miscellaneous: Light bulbs, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, assorted nails and screws, shelf paper, trash bags

Kids: Coloring book and crayons, toys, books, puzzles

Last-minute packing tips

As the countdown to moving day continues, remember to check the contents of drawers and cabinets in your house, and remove all spillables, breakables, or perishables. You can leave items like blankets, pillows, and clothes in drawers, however be sure not to overload drawers because this can cause damage during transit.

If your clothing is going to be moved in wardrobe cartons, it’s a good idea to pin your clothes to the hangers so they don’t slip off during transit. For shipments going into storage for an extended period of time, consider purchasing paper-covered or plastic hangers (rather than metal hangers) to protect your clothing from possible rust damage.

Remember those appointments you scheduled with the appliance service technician? Make sure to launder all soiled clothes prior to the day they’re scheduled to prepare your appliances for the move. You’ll also need to empty both your refrigerator and your freezer so they have at least 24 hours to dry before the movers arrive (and don’t overlook the defrost water pan!). If appliances aren’t completely dry, they can be vulnerable to mildew, mold, and unpleasant odors.

Prepare the family

Pack a suitcase for the trip to your new home, and consider packing a picnic lunch to eat while traveling. If you’ve got kids, arrange for a babysitter on moving day, or have your older children take care of the younger ones. 

The day before moving day

It’s time to pack! If your household goods and furniture are being professionally packed, packing is usually done the day before the actual move. Plan to be at home during the packing process to answer any questions the movers may have.

Work with the packers

Group like objects together, such as children’s toys or books. This will make it easier on the packers, but will also help you out when you’re unpacking in your new home! Have dishes washed, dried, and put away. Leave beds assembled, but remove the sheets, blankets, and bedspreads. If you’re moving a waterbed, you or a third party should drain and disassemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and proper handling. 

You can leave pictures on the walls, however any items that have been permanently attached to the premises (such as drapery rods, mirrors, towel bars, or wall-to-wall carpeting) must be removed by you in advance. 

One thing people often forget to do is unplug all television sets at least 24 hours in advance of a move, if possible. This ensures that they’re at room temperature on moving day, which can help protect the set from internal damage. Please note that the carrier is not responsible for damage caused by climatic conditions.

Make sure to point out any extra fragile items that need special attention, and clearly mark any items you do not want packed or moved. If there are any cartons containing high-value items, remind the packers to leave those boxes open for the van operator’s inspection. 

If you’re doing your own packing, make sure everything is ready to go before moving day. Upon arrival, the van operator will check to see if the boxes have been properly packed.

Prepare the family

For sentimental reasons, you might want to spend the last night before your move at home; however, keep in mind that with everything packed up, your family may be more comfortable staying elsewhere, such as a friend’s house or at a hotel. You’ll need to get your rest before the big day!

Now is the time to take your pets to the transportation agency or boarding kennel. If you’re taking them by car, make sure you have food and water dishes for them to use during the trip.

Moving day

Wow, this day came really fast! Can you believe it? Be sure the family has a healthy, substantial breakfast this morning, because it’s going to be a long day for everyone! Here’s what to expect on moving day.

Work with the movers

Be on hand when the movers arrive, and accompany the van operator through the house as they inspect and tag each piece of furniture with an identifying number. These numbers, along with a good description of your goods and their condition at the time of loading, will appear on the inventory. It’s your responsibility to see that all of your goods are loaded, so remain on premises until loading is complete. 

If you’re unable to be present the whole day, it’s important that an adult be authorized to take your place. Let the agent know to whom you have given this authority, and be sure this person knows exactly what to do, and which valuation program and amount you have selected.

After making a final tour of the house to ensure no items have been overlooked, check and sign the inventory, and make sure to get a copy from the van operator.

There are a couple other important documents you’ll need to sign:

Loading and Freight Bill: This is your shipment receipt that also states the terms and conditions under which your goods are moved.

High-Value Inventory Form: This needs to be completed regardless of whether extraordinary items are included in the shipment or not.

Lastly, make sure the van operator has the exact destination address, and advise them of any elevator or parking restrictions at the final destination. You’ll also need to provide the van operator with your contact information in case they need to reach you!

Final check

Before saying goodbye to your old home, take one last look around and run through a final mental checklist:

  • Is the water shut off? How about the furnace?
  • Are all the lights off?
  • Are the windows shut and locked?
  • Are the utilities arranged for disconnection?
  • Are all old house keys surrendered?
  • Have you left anything? 

Now that the countdown to moving day is complete, it’s time to travel to your new home!

Delivery day

Instead of a set delivery day, most movers will give you a delivery window, so the van operator will contact you or your destination agent 24 hours prior to their expected arrival time. You’ll need to be readily accessible on delivery day. The van operator will attempt to contact you by phone, but if they’re unable to reach you, they’ll make an appearance at the residence. Make sure the house is ready for occupancy before the movers arrive, and be sure you’re present to accept delivery and pay the charges. If you cannot be there personally, you’ll need to authorize an adult to be your representative to do this for you.

If neither you nor your representative appear to receive the shipment in the free waiting time (one hour if destination is less than 200 miles and two hours if over 200 miles), your household goods will be placed in storage, and you will be responsible for all additional charges related to storage and redelivery. 

You or your representative will be responsible to check your household goods as they’re unloaded. If there are any changes in condition of property from what is noted on the inventory at time of loading, or if any items are missing, note any damage and/or missing items on the van operator’s copy of the inventory sheet. By signing the inventory sheet, you are acknowledging receipt of all items listed. 

When unloading, each piece of furniture will be placed as directed by you, including how rugs are laid and how box springs, mattresses, and bed frames are set up. Consider drawing up a floor plan of your new home for the movers to use so they know where the furniture should go. Please note that appliances and fixtures will not be installed by the movers. If you would like this additional service, you can have your agent arrange this for you for an additional charge.

Getting settled

Welcome to your new home! As you’re settling in, there’s a few more tasks to complete that will help you adjust to your life, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.

Final details

If you haven’t done so yet, get in touch with the utility companies and make necessary arrangements for service. Inquire if any of them provide appliance connection service free of charge. You’ll also need to make arrangements for the reinstallation of appliances.

Keep all documents pertaining to your move in a safe place. You’ll need them for verification of moving expenses when you file your federal income tax report. If you receive a letter from United Van Lines or one of our agents after the move, don’t discard it, as it might contain important information regarding your move. If you need any move-related information such as the types of services performed, charges for these services, or interpretations of United’s policies and procedures, you can contact us at:

Customer Service Center at United Van Lines

One United Drive, Fenton, MO 63026 or call our toll-free number at (800) 948-4885.

Get to know your new town

Check with your post office for any mail being held, and ask for delivery to start. Check your state and local requirements for auto registration and operator’s license.

Once you’ve selected a family physician and dentist, you’ll need to have your records transferred. Usually, dental records can be sent to your new dentist by simply making a phone call. Transferring medical records from your previous physician normally requires a written request and signature. If you want to obtain any previous hospital records or your health history, write to the medical records department at the hospital you were a patient at. You’ll need to include your previous physician’s name and the name of your new doctor.

You might want to select an attorney to discuss laws that pertain to your destination state, county, or city. Be sure to cover matters such as wills, transfers of property and investments, insurance regulations, inheritance laws, taxes, etc. Most laws affect a family as soon as residence in a new state and city is established.

Get acquainted with your new town! Get in touch with local organizations that specialize in helping new residents get to know the community. Locate the selected schools and take your children to get introduced and registered. Getting registered to vote, visiting the public library, and stopping by the local visitors center are also great ways to get involved as soon as possible.

If all of this seems like a lot of information, take a deep breath! The countdown to moving day is a whirlwind of things to do, but you’ve got this, and we’ve got you.

We know moving can be stressful, even under the best of circumstances. It’s tough enough saying goodbye to your friends and family and setting off to start a new life in another community without having to worry about the physical aspects of the move. We promise to be there every step of the way, and if you have any questions regarding your move, don’t hesitate to ask your coordinator or contact us for more information. We’ll make sure the moving process goes as smoothly as possible for you. We look forward to working with you!

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