If you move to a warmer location every winter, you probably have friends who imagine that it’s as easy as boarding a plane and heading south. If only that were so! Yes, it’s nice to abandon winter’s chill for a sunnier environment. However, moving between winter and summer homes also means double the household responsibilities.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Finding a moving company that specializes in “snowbird moving” can make your annual migration a lot easier. As a starting point, take stock of what needs to be done. This checklist will help you. Then decide what you’d like to handle by yourself and what you would prefer to delegate.
Prepare for departure and arrival. Pipes can burst in subzero temperatures and an empty house can draw unwanted attention. Consider setting the heating and lighting on timers before you leave your home for the winter. Likewise, arrange for a trusted individual or company to prep your destination home for your arrival. You can even download apps to control some functions remotely, from turning on the porch lights to programming the TV.
Stay safe and sound. Do you plan to update your social media with sun-drenched photos for the snow-bound folks back home? Make sure your home security systems are up to date, too. Those messages may also be visible to friends-of-friends-of-friends—in other words, strangers. Consider hiring a house sitter. The finer moving companies can arrange for home protection during relocation, as well as manage minor repairs with licensed contractors.
Arrange for secure storage. Think about what you may be leaving behind—from precious antiques to computers to a second vehicle. If you value it, keep it safe. The best moving companies also offer secure storage. This will also make items easier for you to arrange for delivery later, if you so wish.
Forward your mail and deliveries. If you order goods online, you may want to temporarily re-set the default shipping on your account. For convenience, consider swapping out that home delivered print newspaper with an electronic subscription. Transfer your prescriptions, too.
Coordinate your travel plans. Keep a print or online folder with all your essential travel information—frequent flyer number, taxi service, itinerary, and so on. If you prefer to drive, don’t wait until the last minute to have your vehicle serviced. See your mechanic seven to ten days before. Chances are you will only need to change the oil and check the brakes and tires, but if you need a part replaced you’ll be glad that you allowed the extra time.
Relocate your pets. Are your pets going with you? Ask your moving company to recommend a pet transportation service. Ask the service to walk you through its safety and travel procedures. Will your pets be staying behind with a sitter or in a kennel? Today, some pet care services can arrange for you to check in on Fido or Fluffy by webcam.
Empty—and fill up!—the fridge. If you move between homes every year, it’s a good idea to keep a grocery list in the form of a simple T Chart. That’s the two-column list that we all learned to make as kids in school. Label one column for your winter house, one for your other house. That way you won’t end up saying, “But I was sure we had plenty of coffee,” at one house or overbuy for the other house.
Move must-have items—from clothing to kitchenware to furniture—from your summer home to your winter home. The right moving company can pack, ship, and deliver your items door-to-door and then repeat the process when it’s time to return. Be sure to ask what setup services are available. Make or request a packing list when you move and then use it as a checklist when you arrange to bring items home. Depending on where you’re going, be sure to include the golf clubs or the snow skis!
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