Planning a move saves time, money, and nerves. After all, packing, organizing, and moving consume much energy. We have summarized all the important steps and helpful tips, including a downloadable moving checklist, so you are prepared for everything when you move. We also explain how you can deduct the move from your taxes.
Planning a Move With Children
It’s best to involve your children in planning the move. Talk to them early on about the upcoming move and, above all, about the reasons for it. If you are moving to a newly built home two streets away, this is certainly not an issue – but even a move of a few kilometers means a serious break in the lives of the children.
Tip: When planning your move, allow some time to inspect the new home with your children, to look at the school route or the kindergarten, and perhaps even to get to know special attractions or other children – this will also make the move to the new four walls easier for the little ones.
Planning a Move With Pets
Dogs bond with their masters – for them, moving is stressful, but they will quickly get over it and explore the new home as an exciting territory. The move is different with cats: For the house tigers, the stress already starts with packing boxes and doesn’t end for a long time after the move. After all, cats are location-bound animals. So in the course of planning the move, be sure to remember to get homeopathic globules or SOS drops. You can use these to calm the animals in advance and on the day of the move. Helpful for settling in the new environment is the room spray Feliway, which is odorless for humans.
Tip: It is best for pets to spend the day of the move with familiar people away from the hustle and bustle of the move. If the animals join you and the familiar furniture and therefore the familiar smells are already there, it is easier for them to settle in. You should not let cats outside for at least six to eight weeks after the move, otherwise they may run back to the old home.
Planning the Move: What to Do and When?
1. Three Months Before Moving Out
Once you have signed your new lease, the first thing to do is terminate your existing lease. As a rule, tenants have a notice period of three months under tenancy law. If you want to move out earlier, you will have to rely on the goodwill of your landlord. In the best case, a new tenant can be found so that you do not have to pay double the rent, and the move to the new property can proceed quickly. Exceptions can be made if you have to move to another city for work reasons, want to get married, or are admitted to a retirement or nursing home. As soon as the day of the move is set, you should request vacation or special leave (one to two days is common).
Discuss with your new landlord what renovation work needs to be done in the new apartment so you can start early. The possible transfer of furniture can also be planned. Clarify with your old landlord which cosmetic repairs may still have to be made, whether you will have to paint colored walls when you move out, or whether the landlord or next tenant will take over the fixtures you have made.
2. Two Months Before the Move
Offices, banks, insurance companies, employers, schools, and kindergartens will be pleased if they are not informed at the last minute. When moving money, for example, savings banks offer a free service that takes care of notifying your business partners and switching standing orders. At the post office, you can make a forwarding request. You can have your mail forwarded for six or twelve months for a service fee. Unfortunately, this does not apply to newspapers and magazines delivered to your home by mail. So for all subscriptions, inform the publisher about the change of address. An additional fee must be paid for parcels and packages. The order for a redirection can also be placed on the postal service’s website.
Declutter your basement, attic, garage, and storage room as early as possible. Any furniture or items you haven’t used in the last year or two can usually go in the bulky waste – or you can put the furniture in storage. You should dispose of broken items, such as electronic waste, properly. See the move as an opportunity to create more air and space for your new home and possibly try minimalism.
Depending on the municipality, you can organize a bulky waste collection. Find out about this at the relevant office. And if you are already on site: You can apply for a special parking permit or a parking ban for the moving day at the road construction office immediately. In this way, you will receive the necessary signs in good time to keep the parking space in front of the house free on the day of the move. Important for planning purposes, the no-parking signs must be picked up, transported, placed, and returned by yourself four days before the move. However, several service providers will do this for you. The service costs around $80 to $150, depending on the space required and the duration. When moving with a mover, the company will take care of the no-stopping signs.
Caution: Unauthorized barriers and parking space reservations are punishable by law.
3. Four Weeks Before the Move
Now pack the first boxes with little-used items, for example, books, bedding, and decorations. For everything, think about whether you will still need it after the move.
Tip: Things you want to sort out can be given away, sold, or donated to social institutions. You can find addresses on the homepage of your city.
Then it is also important to inform the water, gas, and electricity suppliers and telephone, cable, and DSL providers about your planned move so that no additional costs and delays arise. Suppose the cable connection is not included in the rent for the old apartment, and you are moving to a state where another operator provides the connection. In that case, the old contract must be terminated (usually one month’s notice). If you move to an area the existing provider has already developed, you only need to inform them of your new address. As a rule, the contract will continue at the new address.
When planning your move, don’t forget to let your neighbors and the janitor know so that driveways can be opened in good time and no one is surprised by the hustle and bustle of the move or by lots of movers. You can take this opportunity to say goodbye in peace because experience shows there is no time for this on the day of the move.
4. One Week Before the Move
Organize enough packing material in time. You can buy used or new boxes from forwarding agents or hardware stores. Remember that a packed box should weigh no more than 15 to 20 kilograms, and don’t skimp on the number of boxes. A valuable aid is hand trucks and lashing straps. These can also be rented from the freight forwarder.
Remember to use sturdy tape, clear bags for small items, bubble wrap, tissue paper, masking film for delicate furniture and floors, and sufficient waterproof pens. On each box, briefly note the contents (for you) and the room where the box should be put (for the helpers). The room abbreviation should always be noted at the top and on one side.
If possible, you can attach a room plan to each new apartment door in advance, showing what belongs in this room and how the furniture should be placed. Write on this plan the abbreviation (LV = living room, KI = kitchen, and so on), which will also be found on the boxes (and furniture) in this way and not otherwise.
Packing Boxes for the Move Correctly: The Best Tips
- Check each box for stability before packing it full. Mix books with clothes or stuffed animals to get evenly heavy boxes. Dishes and bed or table linens are also a good combination. Remember: put heavy items on the bottom, light items on the top, and wrap each piece of dishware individually in paper. Gently jiggle each packed box as a test. Anything not fixed now may be broken when you move!
- Accessories such as screws and hooks are packed in clear bags and taped to the piece of furniture they belong to. Small parts such as salt shakers should be packed well, for example in larger storage tins, so that they do not sink into the mountain of paper when unpacking and are accidentally thrown away.
- Houseplants are best wrapped in damp newspaper, placed in a plastic bag held in place with tape, and then transported several at a time in a sturdy box. If there is frost outside, do not water the plants for a day or two before.
- Valuables, documents, and the like can be packed into a bag in advance and deposited with a person you trust until after the move – this will save a lot of hassle.
- Always provide enough trash bags when packing, and only pack what you want to keep. Don’t forget: Throw away, sell, or donate saves on shipping costs.
- Put away first what you need last and vice versa. Each household member should pack a suitcase for two to three days, including clothing, laundry supplies, medications, and other essentials.
5. Two Days Before the Move
Think of a good food supply for your movers. Get a few cases of water and organize sandwiches and snacks for the day of the move. Home-cooked goulash soup from parents or friends always goes over well, too.
Use up the produce in the fridge and freezer if possible. Stow the rest in a freezer bag on a moving day to defrost the freezer and clean the refrigerator. Because of the refrigerant, never transport the refrigerator lying down; always transport it standing up. In addition, the refrigerator and freezer should rest about twelve hours after the move before reconnecting them to the power.
Tip: Do not forget the universal box for moving day. Included in this box are: Extension cords, garbage bags, crepe tape, electrical tape, tesa tape, rags, towels, Household roll, all-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle (this saves the bucket), pen and paper, scissors, a Screwdriver (cordless screwdriver if needed), hammer, cutter, Band-Aids, and headache tablets. Mark the universal box clearly with signal paint and ensure it is not packed away ahead of time.
6. On a Moving Day
Cover delicate floor coverings with tarps. If you are moving into a newly built home and the exterior is not yet finished, also remember to cover the walkway to the house with painter’s fleece or green felt to prevent the movers from bringing all the rocks and construction dirt into the house. Pack important papers, keys, cell phone, battery separately, tools, first aid kit, and cleaning supplies. It is best to transport them personally in the car. To prevent the carriers from wandering, one person should do the directing during loading and unloading.
7. Take Care After the Move
Carry out the apartment handover with your ex-landlord. When doing so, note and photograph the meter readings and have the landlord confirm the keys’ handover in writing.
As a car owner, you must notify the road traffic office of your new address immediately after the move. Attention: Delays in vehicle re-registration are punishable by a fine. You must register at the citizens’ registration office up to two weeks after moving in. Tenants need the so-called landlord’s certificate to present to the residents’ registration office.
Planning a Move: By Forwarding Agent or on Your Own?
The most convenient and safest method is to hire a moving service. Be sure to get a detailed and binding estimate for all services. Include basic insurance, which can be increased individually. Agree on the method of payment beforehand.
Reputable moving companies personally inspect the household of their customers on-site. This service is usually non-binding and free of charge. If desired, the furniture can be adapted to the new home, walls painted, and electrical appliances connected.
Advantage: In the event of damage, the household goods are insured by the shipping company. The legal basic liability lies at 620 euro per cubic meter removal property. In the event of damage, however, the client has the burden of proof.
Disadvantage: the whole thing is not cheap because a full-service move is about twice as expensive as a partial move with the forwarding company.
Unfortunately, nothing is insured in the case of a self-directed move; even the liability insurance of the movers does not cover “friendly or goodwill services”. Unless an uninvolved third party such as the landlord was damaged, for example, if a window was broken during the move.
Deduct the Move for Tax Purposes
Moving for professional reasons
Anyone who moves for professional reasons can claim the moving costs as income-related expenses for tax purposes. For example, the tax office will recognize the move as work-related if the daily commute to work is reduced by one hour. Deductible costs include:
- transportation costs
- travel expenses
- under certain circumstances, overnight accommodation costs
- brokerage fees
- costs for additional tuition for the children made necessary by the move
- possibly the purchase costs for a new stove and/or new ovens
- repairs or the modification of the television antenna
- installation of a water softener for the dishwasher
- babysitters on a moving day
- decorative repairs in the old apartment (if you are required to do so by the lease)
- giving up and connection to the telephone
If you already live in the new apartment but still pay rent for the old one, you can claim six months’ rent for the old one and three months’ rent for the new one in the opposite case.