1. Change Your Mailing Address: Although it's tempting to do this the day of a move or shortly after, it's best done at least a week prior, though the post office suggests a full two to get the job done. If you're worried about previous tenants getting your mail, simply change your address and then put your mail on hold. You can do it all on line and don't even have to venture to the post office!
2. Gather Supplies: There's nothing worse than being in full packing mode and running out of tape or boxes. Gather more than you need so you're set for any item of any size at any time. It will help ensure everything gets packed in appropriate boxes instead of trying to cram your entire dvd collection into liquor boxes because that's the only place that's open at 3am (that's when everyone packs right?) to score boxes from!
3. Scout Essential Stores: When you're in the chaos of moving, every little thing always seems frantic. When you need toiletries or groceries, it's nice to know the least expensive and closest destination in which to secure them. Find 5 places to eat, a few places to shop and make a quick list of directions to get to each. Toss them in your purse or car so they're easily found under all the boxes!
4. Pack a 72 Hour Kit: Even if you have a few boxes that are labeled open first, you know that things will be a little crazy for at least 48-72 hours. Try packing a kit with essentials that will last you through any mishap. Make sure to include extra clothes, toiletries, important documents (recently we needed physical social security cards to have our electric turned on and we had packed them! eek! There was panic!), computers, back up power supply, snacks and supplies for your pets. Even if you don't use it, you can still keep many of the items by your front door in case of emergency while living in your new space (earthquake, flood, power outage).
5. Call Utilities: Some of the biggest headaches can stem from dealing with customer service representatives at your local utility companies. Try having new services all installed on the same day so you have technicians in your home all at the same time, avoiding having to stay home between "noon and five" for more than one afternoon! Making sure you already have a time slot scheduled means working on your schedule, not when they have an opening to come take care of things! It also doesn't hurt to put all their numbers in your cell phone. It's hard to Google them if you don't have services set up yet!
What do you usually do a few weeks before you move (aside from procrastinate and watch an entire season of Burn Notice)? Share your helpful tips for those summer movers in the comments below!