Each year about this time—roughly between the months of April and September—people in the U.S. are more inclined to move into a new home. Whether that’s just up the street, across town or in another state entirely, the longer days, favorable weather, more rental vacancies and the fact that students are out of school seem to make it a better time for most to get packing. But that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult. This week, we wanted to share 5 tips to make moving easier this summer.
- Send appropriate heads-up.
If you’re currently renting, be sure to give your landlord 30 to 90 days’ notice, depending on your rental agreement and/or any state laws. In Georgia, for example, you’re obligated to provide 30 days’ notice by law (put it in writing), regardless of what your rental agreement states. Make sure your landlord knows your new address as well, in case he or she needs to reach out to you (see more about getting your deposit back below in tip No. 5).
This is also about the time you’ll want to give notice to various utility providers to shut down or transfer your current services and have services set up at your new home. For utilities you’re cancelling, let them know your new address so any last bills can be sent to the right home. For any utilities you’ll need at your new place, you can often have these set up well ahead of time. If you’ll need natural gas service in Georgia, for example, Gas South schedules customers up to 90 days in advance to have service turned on, and there’s never a deposit—and we even offer bundling for such services at internet and TV through our partner Allconnect when you join. Read more here about how to shop for natural gas in Georgia.
In addition to utilities and any potential rental agreements you currently have, you’ll want to complete a USPS Change-of-Address form—they’ll forward your mail for up to a year—and update address information with others, as well. This can include employers, medical providers, banks and credit card companies, the Department of Motor Vehicles, Amazon, etc.
- Pick a moving company.
If you’re planning to use a moving company, you’ll also want to schedule them well in advance—two months is recommended. When you’re choosing a mover, try to get estimates from several different companies—and don’t hesitate to ask friends, family and people you trust for referrals on good movers. Also, make sure the mover is licensed, registered and insured, and be sure to check the fine print on any contracts for hidden fees. At Gas South, we’ve partnered with Atlanta Peach Movers, so each of our customers can take advantage of exclusive discounts from one of the Southeast’s top moving companies.
- Start pre-packing.
If you’re hiring a moving company, they may—depending on the agreement—handle your packing (under your supervision, of course). If you’re doing the packing yourself, you’re going to want to start accumulating empty boxes. You can always purchase these from home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot, but you should also be able to get them for free, if you don’t mind a little leg work. Start with grocery and retail stores, liquor stores, bookstores and recycling centers. If that’s not panning out, search Craigslist or Freecycle, or check with local community groups or neighborhood associations. Once you put the word out that you’re on the hunt, empty boxes are bound to become available.
Other helpful supplies you may need to consider purchasing include packing tape, packing labels, box cutters, markers, gloves, moving blankets, bubble wrap and packing peanuts.
- Box it up.
Before you start getting too deep into packing (or even if movers are doing it for you), you’ll want to pack some items separately—the essentials you might need while still in your old place your last few days or for the first few days in your new place, when everything else is in boxes and hard to get to. Change of clothes for at least several days for you and family members, medications, toiletries and hygiene items, important documents you may need access to, toys (for pets and children) and snacks are all things worth making easily accessible.
When you begin boxing the other items of your home, whether it be fragile items like dishes that might need bubble wrap or winter clothes that you can stuff inside, remember to label boxes appropriately to make unpacking easier later. Marking each box by the room the contents will eventually go in can save a lot of time. And don’t forget to tag anything as fragile that might need a little more love during your move.
Additionally, as you begin to accumulate packed boxes, remember to make them accessible by creating entryways or isles between stacked boxes. And make sure you’re building stacks with the more robust items on the bottom—a box of heavy books, for example, shouldn’t be placed on top of boxes with breakable items.
- Make it sparkle.
If you’re renting and have any hopes of getting your deposit back, you’ll want to leave your old home immaculate. Floors, countertops, tubs, toilets, sinks and appliances should glisten with your departure. The carpet should be vacuumed—or even steam cleaned if you have the time and means. Windows should be washed, and any minor damage that you can fix should be addressed. Patching small holes in drywall from nails or using a little touch-up paint here and there to cover scuff marks will go a long way toward an easy deposit return.
It's also good to take pictures or even video of your rental the last day you’re there—right before you return your keys, garage door openers or anything else you were given as a renter. If it’s possible to do a walk-through with your landlord on your last day, do it. This will give you a chance to address firsthand any possible damage, especially if it’s damage that was already noted on a check-off list when you moved in. you want to make sure you’re not being held responsible for anything that was there before you settled in and called it home. And as we mentioned above, make sure your landlord has your new address. When you’re finally in your new place, make sure to take some of these same precautionary measures to help document conditions before you’re in—this could be helpful the next time you move.
We hope this blog on 5 tips to make moving easier this summer was helpful. At Gas South, you get more than great natural gas rates, top-rated service, easy online account features and our commitment to the communities we serve. We’re here to make life easier when we can—that’s just part of what it means to Be A Fuel For Good.