10 Tips for Moving with Roommates

The moving process can often be filled with a lot of emotions — excitement to make your new space yours, but perhaps even sadness to leave what you’re already familiar with. And when you’re moving with roommates, there’s an extra layer of planning needed to ensure you’re on the same page and set up for move-in success. Here are a few tips on how to avoid falling out with your roommates and ensure a smooth move.

1. Check in with each other regularly

It’s easy to forget essential to-do’s like cancelling bills in the chaos of moving, and some people in your shared house might be struggling to balance packing with other responsibilities like work. Make sure you check-in with each other regularly, whether that’s through house meetings or via text.

Keep each other up to date with what’s been done and what still needs to be sorted out, and offer support if anyone in the group is having a hard time.

2. Give yourself extra time

Instead of thinking of it as moving day, think of it as moving week. Packing, cleaning, and unpacking can be time-consuming. Think about how much time you’ll need, then double it. That extra time will give you a bit of breathing room in case something goes wrong and will hopefully make you feel more at ease.

If you can, try to organize an overlap in leases of at least a few days so you don’t have to move out and move into your new place all in one super-long day. Take time off from work and spread the packing over several weeks, doing a bit at a time.

3. Discuss bills early on

Talking about bills can be tricky, but putting it off until the last minute may end up costing you money if services aren’t canceled in time. Many utility providers require a month’s notice before you move out, so factor that in. And be aware that there might be a cancellation fee if you’re terminating services before the end of a contract.

Moving with roommates adds an extra layer of consideration as different bills might be in different people’s names, and only the account holder can cancel the service. Work out who’s in charge of each bill and assign responsibilities accordingly.

4. Create a list of moving tasks

Get the pens and paper out and think about what needs to be done. Who’s going to cancel the bills? Who’s going to get all the moving boxes? And if you need one, who’s going to make arrangements with the moving company?

As you talk about who’s going to do what and divvy up the work, you’ll relieve some stress and be able to put a plan and timeline together. You can also pin a list to the fridge so everyone can cross off tasks when they’ve finished them.

5. Divvy up your belongings

Living with roommates often means that you split the costs of certain big-ticket items. Because of this, there might be plenty of stuff in your home with no clear owner. You may have all pitched in to buy a couch or table, and if you’re moving to different homes, you’ll have to decide who’s taking what.

If you have to completely clear out the house, take a walk around each room and make a note of who’s going to take each item. Getting this done can potentially fend off any last-minute arguments about who gets to keep the TV.

6. Remember to eat

The process of moving — especially moving with roommates — can get hectic. And amid the chaos of the move, it’s easy to forget about food. But you need to replace the calories you burn lifting all those boxes! You probably won’t feel like unpacking your kitchen supplies and cooking, so have a few local takeout menus handy.

7. Determine whether you need a moving company

Getting someone else to do all the heavy lifting for you is a surefire way to reduce stress. If you decide to hire a moving company, make sure to book them around 30 days in advance for a long-distance move, or about two weeks ahead if you’re moving locally.

If money is tight and hiring a moving company isn’t an option, enlist the help of as many friends and family members as you can, and rent or borrow the biggest van you can afford. The more people who can help, the less tired — and hangry — you and your roommates will be.

8. Agree on a moving budget

Moving can get expensive, especially when you account for expenses such as gas, a moving truck, and food. To avoid disagreements about who’s going to pay for the pizza when you’re exhausted and surrounded by half-packed boxes, set up a communal fund that you and your roommates can dip into.

9. Consider hiring a cleaner

Giving the home a thorough cleaning when you leave can be helpful when it comes to getting your full security deposit.

But when it’s time for the big, final tidy up, everyone is likely to be tired after a day spent shifting boxes, and the last thing you’ll want to do is vacuum. Plus, cleaning in a shared house can be challenging at the best of times, especially when everyone has different ideas of what constitutes as “clean.” But if you all band together, it can be relatively inexpensive to hire a cleaner, or a team of cleaners, to come in and do a thorough job on the now-empty home.

10. Go on an adventure once you’re done

Moving from one home to another can be quite the undertaking. Once you’ve settled in, consider rewarding yourselves with an adventure — whether it’s a weekend away at the beach or a night on the town in the city. Having something fun to look forward to will help to motivate you through the trials and tribulations of moving. And if some roommates are heading off to different areas, having a shared night out will help you all to keep in touch.

As you continue in the move-in process, be sure to communicate with your roommates as much as possible to ensure that you’re all on the same page. And with the help of these tips, you’ll be better prepared to move-in with your roommates.

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