Minimize the confusion: Give yourself plenty
Just about anyone who drives knows this one: You're
cruising down a street when a squirrel decides to cross the road.
The little guy sees your car coming and rushes back to the curb.
Three feet short of it he changes
his mind and makes a run for the other side. You can almost see
his tiny brain at work -- he envisions himself flat as a pancake
on the street -- he panics, reverses course and dashes for the safety
of the curb.
That's us, folks -- most of us, anyway. When we find out we're moving,
we panic at all we have to do and rush around helter-skelter, accomplishing
"They forget the magnitude of all the things they
have -- credit cards, prescriptions, medical records, your child's
school records -- it goes beyond the physical packing and the removal
of your goods," says Mayflower
Vice President Cliff Saxton.
If you're planning on moving, our plan is to help
you get organized. Many moving and relocation companies have timetables
of things to do anywhere from six to eight weeks before moving day.
They do this not only to help you organize but to minimize your
We've compiled their ideas and added a few of our
own. Once you decide on a moving company, an agent will probably
give you a timeline to follow; or you can get it from the company's
timeline starts six weeks from the move. If you don't have six
weeks, you'll have to figure a way to compress the timeline. What's
important is to get going. Don't think it really won't take this
long just because you have a one-bedroom apartment. You'll be surprised
at all you've accumulated and all that needs to be done.
"Proper planning is really important," says Paula
Selbein of Chicago's Allied Van Lines.
"Making sure all the logistics, the physical aspects, are covered.
In the environment we live in these days, it's tough for people
to get the time they need to move."
If your move isn't a job relocation, and you have
the ability to choose when you move, avoid summer and the last week
of the month -- any month.
"Summer is peak moving season," says Selbein. "Kids
are out of school and parents want to minimize disruption in the
As for the last week of the month, Selbein says they're
heavily booked because people often want real estate transactions
to coincide with the end of the month and leases also tend to expire
at that time.
If summer is the only time you can move, Selbein suggests
moving in the middle of the month.
When selecting a mover, Saxton of Fenton, Mo.-based Mayflower advises
getting three bids.
"In the old days before deregulation (1980), the major
difference was in the color of the trucks. Since then, they innovate
and compete vigorously on prices and services."
Saxton also says to be wary if one bid is extremely
low; you may not get all that you expect. And he advises against
booking a move on the Internet. He says he got a call from a woman
who arranged for a move over the Internet "sight unseen."
"She was worried because they wanted her to pay in
advance," he says. "You've given them all your belongings, now you're
giving them a check. For the vast majority, you pay on delivery
-- cashier's check at the destination."
One of the most important things in a move is talking
to the mover, says Saxton.
"It's essential that the mover knows exactly what
you want -- what services you want them to provide. You also have
to have comfort with the person you're dealing with."
It's also wise to make sure the mover doesn't get
any surprises. If you're moving into a house on a winding, narrow
road, let the mover know. If they have to unload your belongings
onto a smaller truck in midstream -- you'll pay.
Reviewing the timeline will help you remember what
needs to be done. Revise, add or subtract whatever fits your specific
needs. Following a plan will keep you from wasting a lot of time
-- Posted: Oct. 15, 1999