Moving: Where Do You Even Start?

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When you first realize you have to move, you may feel like you're standing at the bottom of a mountain, about to embark on a huge climb. You may not even know where to start. Between packing, finding a moving company, and looking for new homes, it's no surprise that the prospect of moving seems overwhelming. You do, however, need to get started at some point! Here are five tasks you can tackle right off the bat to get your move headed in the right direction.

1. Find a new home.

If you have not already, make your first priority finding a new home in the town you'll be moving to. The easiest way to do this is usually to contact a realtor. Even if you plan to rent, not buy, a real estate agent can find you the kind of apartment you are looking for, saving you from the headache of having to search endless pages of listings.

Once you find a home and sign a lease (or have your purchase offer accepted), everything else about the move will seem clearer. You'll be able to set a moving day, give moving companies the address for estimates, and so forth.

2. Start getting rid of things.

Decluttering and moving go hand in hand. After all, it's silly to move items you have not used in years and will not use in the future, either. You can start decluttering slowly as soon as you realize you'll be moving. When you put on socks in the morning, take a second to toss out any worn ones and any other odd items in your sock drawers. The next time you watch a movie, donate all of those DVDs you no longer need. As you cook and come across utensils you have no use for, donate them. If you declutter a little at a time, you won't have to get rid of so much when it's actually time to pack.

3. Get estimates from moving companies.

The best moving companies book up months in advance, so it is never too early to call for an estimate. Try to get an in-person estimate if possible, and be as detailed as you can when telling the movers about your move. Get estimates from at least three different companies now before things get too crazy. Then, choose between the companies and book your moving date so you don't have to run around at the last minute to find available moving companies.

4. Gather moving supplies.

If you will be packing everything yourself, it is never too early to start stocking up on moving supplies. Designate a room for your supplies. Whenever you come across a box that would be sturdy and well-suited to packing, set it aside in this room. Look for sales on packing tape, tissue paper, and other items so you can buy them at a discount and save. By the time you're ready to pack, you'll have everything you need.

5. Call utility companies.

This is something else you can do well in advance of your move—as soon as you have a moving date. Call your current electricity, gas, and Internet providers to cancel your service, effective the day you move out. Choose providers in your new area, and call to set up new accounts effective the day you move in. Since some utility companies can take a week or two to process new account requests, this helps ensure you have service when you move in.

When you're at the beginning of the process, moving can feel overwhelming. If you follow the tips above, however, you'll be off to a solid start. For additional information, check out websites like