How to move

Mar 17, 2008 at 11:41 a.m. ET

So you are moving; make sure you do it right. Tips from moving expert Susan Dunn.


Consider anything that might be more costly to move than to rebuy. Have a garage sale, take things to Goodwill, call Habitat to come pick up big items. When you come across something you haven't used in a couple of years, unless it's sentimental, get rid of it.

Transfer accounts

Close or transfer bank accounts and safety deposit box contents. Check policies with your local phone company, utilities and cable company. Arrange for these services at your new place. Get the family's medical records to take with you.

Packing & moving

Get boxes and packing supplies from stores like U-Haul. They'll have things you didn't even know you needed. If you're packing yourself, buy medium-sized boxes so you can lift them. Pack by order of usage, ending with the necessities and label that box "open first." This would be the last things you use as you prepare to leave.

Be aware of where you put special items, lest you drive 1000 miles listening to your toddler wail for his "car-car," as I once did. Pack one box with vital things such as the "car-car," birth certificates, stocks and bonds, special memorabilia, and keep this in the car with you.

Arrange for moving plants and pets.

Get change of address forms and mail them, or make it a fun family project to design your own on the computer. Change addresses for online accounts as well.

Start exploring your new area virtually. Get phone book for new area, map, and look your new town up on the Internet to see what's there.

Say goodbye

As you pack and prepare to leave the old place, experience the memories and the feelings. Handle your possessions with care as you pack, clean with loving strokes, share the experience with family members, or if you're moving alone, journal. Say good-bye, bless your house and let it go.

When you get there

Unpack the "open first" box first and do some rudimentary settling in. Then go buy some groceries and while you're out, start exploring your new neighborhood. If you see a Starbucks, stop for a latte, sit outside, and start making it your new Starbucks.

Introduce yourself to your new neighbors and start finding out who the good doctors, repairmen, maids and babysitters are.

House blessing

Have a celebration the first night in the new home. Honor it in a meaningful way, bless the house and the experience, vision good things and start feeling at home.