Have an upcoming move planned? Follow these seven tips to prepare early, well ahead of the big move.

Moving is stressful enough, but what if your house is for sale and you don’t know exactly when or where you will be moving? There are many moving checklists online, but here are seven great tips to prepare early for a future move with an indefinite date.

📂 Create a “moving” file folder

Toss in moving related receipts and quotes, such as from movers and storage facilities. Tally moving expenses on the inside cover. Moving expenses may be tax deductible if your move is related to work.

☎️ Plan for help

Recruit moving help or shop around for a professional moving company, even if your moving date is not set yet. You will be able to confirm your moving date later while you are in escrow.

Note the Verhelst and Zell team (homesandlakeshore.com) have a moving van available for their clients upon the closing of a purchase or sale of their home.

If you have extra-large, fragile or unusual items, such as guns, pianos, fine art, pool tables or safes, they will take extra planning. Not all movers will handle these specialty items. Ask in advance. Also confirm that your moving company is licensed and insured by verifying their Department of Transportation (DOT) number.

🏫 Research Schools

If you know the general area you will be moving to, start researching a school for your kids. Otter Tail and surrounding counties have open school districts, meaning you may have a choice of multiple public schools. It’s not unusual to have school bus service to your road or house for four schools, as they compete for students. Need a little help in the research department? Great Schools can help you choose the best school in your area. If you are close enough to your anticipated move date, request transcripts from your kids prior school.

🏠 Map out your new home

If you know where you will be living, take measurements of each room and make sketches of key areas such as the living room and bedrooms. This will create a handy guide, especially when downsizing, as you decide what furniture to move and what to sell.

📦 Start decluttering

One good method is to start with four big bins marked Toss, Donate, Keep and Sell. Go through each closet, cabinet and room and pare down your belongings as much as possible. Take away the donation items and trash or recycle the toss items. Designate a place in your house for the items you want to sell at a garage sale or online.

Note- don’t sell key pieces of furniture, window coverings or décor that you have used to stage your home for sale until later in the process. Your realtor can advise you on the timing. However, you can make a list of furniture pieces you plan to sell, photograph them and set a price. Your window of time to sell furniture later will be short, so having this part of the task done will be a huge time saver.

Anything you will keep that is not being used can be packed early. Mark the box indicating the contents or which room they will go to, such as “Kitchen” or “Office Supplies.”

💲 Hold an early garage sale

This will be for all of the items you know you will not be moving, that are not being used to stage your home, including extra furniture pieces.

Prior and during the garage sale, list major pieces of furniture or expensive accessories online to expand your customer base. One great method is to join swap and shop groups on Facebook within a 40-mile radius of your home, so you can list your items. Tip- post an item to one sale group, then use Facebook’s “post to more places” button to copy the same listing to up to 9 more of your sale groups.

After the garage sale, separate out some of the more quality items that didn’t sell, box them up and mark “Garage Sale” for the next go around. Donate what remains to a free store or charity like Someplace Safe, Goodwill or Salvation Army.

🚗 Prepare your vehicles

If you’re moving cross country, have your vehicles serviced so you can have a trouble-free journey.

If you plan to sell a vehicle, start researching sale prices and take care of minor maintenance. When shipping a vehicle for a move, don’t leave anything in it. Most auto shipping companies don’t allow this, and items could go missing.

There will be many more details to address in the weeks just prior to your move. Taking care of what you can early-on will mean less to do later.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Call Tom Verhelst at 218-205-2604 | Karen Zell at 218-731-6836 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.

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