How to Prepare for a Temporary Move

Even when moving directly from one home or apartment to another, relocating can be tedious, time-consuming, and stressful.

That said, short-term moves can be even worse.

In addition to being trapped in mid-move limbo, you and your family may experience additional headaches caused by having a “split shipment.”

On split shipments, some of your “stuff” will go to your temporary residence, while the rest will head to a mover’s warehouse or public storage facility.

In addition, you’ll need to –

  • Weigh the pros and cons of full-service versus DIY moves
  • Consider alternatives like portable moving and storage containers and freight moving companies
  • Negotiate relocation assistance with your employer (on work-related moves)
  • Deal with realtors, rental companies and getting kids enrolled in new schools

This isn’t a complete list, and though it may seem overwhelming, with adequate planning and proper execution there’s no reason your short-term move can’t be a breeze.

But first, check out these helpful pre-move resources

Ask your employer about relocation assistance

If your short-term move is being caused by a transfer or hiring on with a new company, your first order of business should be determining what your employer will and will not cover.

Not surprisingly, this should always be done prior to accepting a new position that requires relocating.

Depending on the company’s size and core business, as well as your salary, experience and level of seniority, they may provide –

  • Paid corporate housing (for a finite term)
  • Reimbursement for temporary housing that you find yourself
  • Packing and moving services
  • Automobile moving services
  • Storage

Though most large and midsize companies have formal relocation programs, if your employer doesn’t it may be up to you to negotiate these benefits.

Remember, short-term moves generally require significantly more planning and legwork than regular moves, and they’re often more expensive as well.

Did you know?

If your company is picking up the tab for moving-related services, make sure that each provider will bill them directly. Keep in mind that if you’re given a “lump sum” to pay for self-directed relocation services, you’ll have to declare this as income at tax time.

Consider your housing options carefully

Corporate housing and serviced apartments are ideal for temporary moves.

If your relocation package includes housing benefits, your short-term residence will probably be furnished with everything from Wi-Fi, plates, and silverware to sheets, towels, and cable television.

This means that you won’t have to lug extra boxes to your temporary digs, nor will you be required to sign a long-term lease or plunk down a big deposit.

Short-term housing options on DIY moves

1. Renting a home or apartment

Short-term rentals aren’t particularly hard to find, but you’ll usually pay way more per month than those who sign long-term agreements.

In addition, you’ll have to schedule utility, cable, and internet services, and pay a security deposit and the first month’s rent upfront.

2. Staying in your old home or apartment

Staying in your old home or apartment until your new one is ready is almost always the most convenient and inexpensive short-term housing option.

It isn’t always possible, but it’s definitely worth considering in the early stages of move planning.

3. Staying with family or friends

Staying with friends or family members is usually only feasible for single people and small families who need short-term housing – as in less than a week.

If you go this route make sure to respect the house rules, help out with chores, and pay your fair share for food, electricity, and water.

It never hurts to have a backup “getaway” plan too…in case things get uncomfortable.

4. Staying in an Airbnb

Vacation rental websites like Airbnb specialize in connecting travelers and vacationers with empty residences.

Since Airbnb rentals can be expensive they’re often overlooked as short-term housing options, but for savvy consumers who aren’t staying in beach towns during the peak summer vacation season, there are good deals to be had.

5. Getting out and seeing the country (or world)

If you don’t need to start a new job immediately, you may want to consider foregoing temporary housing altogether.

Instead, you could put all your items in storage and take a cross-country road trip, or better yet fly to Europe and hike the Alps.

Admittedly, this isn’t always an option for established families, but for young singles who travel lightly, it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity worth taking advantage of.

Determine which items will go with you, and which will go to storage

Once you’ve gotten housing sorted out, it’ll be time to start determining which items go with you, and which will go to storage.

It may be tempting to take more with you than you’ll really need, but this almost always makes things more difficult in the long run.

Generally, you’ll only want to take these things with you –

  • Important documents like passports and birth certificates
  • Clothes for various weather conditions
  • Personal electronic devices like phones, tablets, and laptops
  • Medications and toiletries
  • Things for kids and pets

Chances are if you haven’t used an item for more than a month, you won’t need it at your temporary residence.

Pack and label your items extra carefully on short-term moves

If your household goods will be split between storage and a temporary residence, it’s imperative to pack and label correctly to make sure everything gets where it’s supposed to go.

Especially if you’re working with professional packers and movers, it’s a good idea to set aside one room for everything that will be going with you.

This will simplify the process and help keep items from getting mixed up.

On split long-distance moves, drivers usually prepare two separate inventories prior to loading – one for the items going to your temporary residence, the other for those going to storage.

At delivery, make sure each item is checked off on the inventory forms to ensure that everything is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

Shipping your belongings on temporary DIY moves

On corporate relocations, companies generally use movers they have contracts with.

If so this is great news, because moving companies bend over backwards to keep their national account customers happy.

The process for screening and hiring movers is the same on short-term moves as it is for regular moves, but you’ll also need to consider whether the companies you’re considering have storage facilities.

If not you can find your own storage facility.

This is often a cheaper option, but when you’re ready for final delivery you’ll have to hire movers again, or rent a truck and move everything to your new home yourself.

Did you know?

Full-service mover’s warehouses are convenient, but you won’t have access to your items while they’re in storage like you would at a self-storage facility.

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