Over the next week I will be moving into a new apartment. I move every year, so I’m pretty much a pro at getting this whole process done as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible.

moving box

photo credit: flickr.com/zeke_

Don’t get me wrong; moving sucks. It will not be quick, cheap, or painless. The only thing you can do is minimize the hurt. Moving could potentially be alright if you are filthy rich and can hire movers to do everything without thinking twice about how much it costs. I might be that rich in 48 years (approximately), but definitely not today.

Before you even start to move, you have to get a lot of things done. Here are the five most important pre-move things to accomplish before the dreaded move date.

Set Up Utilities Two Weeks in Advance

I am currently in the middle of this mistake right now. I waited too long to set up internet and now AT&T is telling me that they don’t offer U-Verse in my apartment (even though it is theoretically offered at my apartment complex). Now they have to try to figure it out, and it’s gonna take weeks, and I’m gonna be stuck with crappy DSL until they have an answer. Then if they determine I can’t have U-Verse, I would have to switch to Time Warner to get the speeds I want.

Start calling utility companies at least two weeks in advance to get everything set up for your move so you don’t run into these problems. Seriously, can you imagine even one day without internet at your house? I’m gonna be beating down my neighbor’s door to use their computer. That should be a horror flick.

Get a box of Magic Erasers

I didn’t believe in magic until a friend of mine introduced me to the Magic Eraser. These things are freaking incredible. I don’t know how, but I end up banging the walls in my apartment all the time, and I used to feel like I needed to paint over all the marks and scratches. Not anymore.

You can’t move in somewhere without moving out of somewhere else, and if you’re moving out of an apartment you’ll need to clean your old place to get your deposit back. The Magic Eraser gets rid of pretty much any mark on any surface you can imagine. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to make sure your walls are presentable enough to get your deposit back.

Donate or Throw Away Your Crap

Unless you are an experienced minimalist, I guarantee that you have plenty of crap that you don’t need. Moving is a great excuse to get rid of it. I already wrote a post about donating clothes, but keep in mind that you can donate electronics, furniture, cars, or pretty much anything that is valuable.

If you have crap that’s not valuable, please throw it away. If you don’t really need it, then why would you go to the trouble of moving it. You can either trash it or put it on Freecycle, a website where you give things away to others who want your crap for some reason.

Only Ask Good Friends to Help You Move

This is very important for two reasons. First, if someone is doing you a favor and moving your stuff, and they accidentally break something, you need to be able to forgive them. They don’t owe you money to replace whatever broke; they were doing you a favor, and you assumed the risk of them messing up when you asked. If you are worried about people breaking things, then you need to hire a moving company and get insurance.

You also don’t want help from acquaintances because asking someone to help you move means you may have to reciprocate one day. Moving absolutely sucks, so you don’t want to owe 10-20 people help for moving. Trust me.

Change Your Address on All Your Accounts

This is the main reason I hate moving. I need to have my address changed for every bank account, credit card, student loan account, family member or friend, magazine subscription, cheese of the month, and anyone else that needs my address. It will literally take an entire day to get this all figured out. This doesn’t have to be done before you move, but having this out of the way will give you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have more to do once the physical move is complete.