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Moving to a Condo

Whether you’re upgrading to home ownership or downsizing for convenience-sake, moving into a condo requires preparation and organization

Whatever the reason you’ve chosen the condo-life style (hurrah for the party room, pool and gym!) there are things to think about other than never having to mow the lawn again or loving the Starbucks in the lobby. Consider how this new space will fit your lifestyle. The better you’ve set up your move, the easier the day will go. Take a look at the moving tips below to start your plan of attack.

Before the Move

  1. Book your mover. If you’ve decided to get professional help, make sure to inquire about extra charges such as: moving heavier items like a piano or if travelling time and breaks for staff are bundled into the cost – don’t forget to ask if a minimum of hours is required as many companies need you to book at least 2 hours. Once you’ve chosen the mover, have a clear conversation about what you will be moving so they will be able to know what staff will be needed, the appropriate-sized truck or special materials for extra padding, etc. Don’t forget to budget in a tip ($20 a person is standard).
  2. Transfer your services. Notify your home services providers on what date you will be requiring a transfer for your accounts - landline, cable or Internet etc. - about one month before the move. If you would like the services in your new condo ready to go, set up an appointment for installation as soon as you have your move-in date. Don’t forget to cancel or switch over other accounts such as utilities in order to avoid crossover charges.
  3. Check the new condo rules. Some buildings have regulations such as no move-ins on certain days or times or require a deposit for the elevator key. Make sure to find out - you don’t want any unpleasant last minute surprises. Inform the concierge of when you’ll be moving in. They may be able to help facilitate the move; for example, to prop open the main entrance doors.
  4. Don’t forget to take measurements of the new condo. You want to make sure that your furniture is to scale. If you have a large couch how will it fit in the doorway of your unit? You may consider buying specialty furniture designed for the smaller space of a new condo. Come up with a sketch of furniture placement so you’ll know exactly where to place large items (and won’t have to move them again). Make a plan of attack for which rooms need to be used first ie: bedroom, and which areas can wait to be unpacked (so you can stack up the boxes for later). If your new condo doesn’t include a locker or bike room, you may need to consider other storage options.
  5. Get organized! Start a list of tasks with a timeline to ensure that you have allotted enough time for everything and so that you won’t miss any important steps.


  1. Purge! It’s the perfect time to get rid of stuff you don’t need. Donate old dishes, books and clothes (that are still in good condition) or sell them Craigslist. If you have a pile of magazines that have been collecting dust in a corner, you know what to do ... The less you have to move the better!
  2. Don’t chuck out everything just yet. Although moving to a smaller space is a good opportunity to purge your junk, you might want to take major pieces as you may find it is too expensive for you to buy replacement furniture. Once you’ve settled in, you can always get rid of stuff later.
  3. Speaking of recycling... Every time I move, I start collecting boxes from work, and the grocery or liquor store – this saves you from having to buy them. You can be a bit creative about packing too to cut down on garbage. Use those dusty magazines and rip out the pages to wrap your dishware. Use worn blankets to wrap mirrors in and use the recycling boxes or washed out bins to pack your clothing in. You’ll save on boxes and packing time! But avoid using garbage bags as they may be mistaken for trash and thrown out by mistake.
  4. Plan. Of course you’ve got Sharpies ready to go to label your boxes (ie; Bedroom, clothing, #1) but it’s a good idea to make a list of all of your household items; and perhaps even be super nerdy and create a numbering system of itemized belongings to match which boxes they are in. Also, take photos of your valuables. In case anything goes awry, you’ll have evidence for the moving company or your insurance company. This is also a good time to think about hard to pack items like your plants or if you should be padding sharp edges on furniture items so they don’t get damaged or scratch the walls.

The Big Day

  1. Set aside the things you need. It’s a good idea to keep important items with you, such as documents and records or a personal laptop. Have a box marked for items you’ll need immediately such as a shower curtain (if your shower doesn’t have a door), toiletries and a change of clothes. Bottled water and some protein bars wouldn’t hurt.
  2. Be ready when you say you are. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating how long it will take you to pack everything up. It always takes longer than you think it will, even if you don’t think you have a lot of stuff. Plan to have everything done by the night before. If you need to leave a rental unit clean, factor in time for that as well. When the movers arrive (or some very good friends) they should be able to just start loading up the truck.
  3. What about Fido? If you have pets, it may be best if you ask a friend or neighbour to dog or cat sit so you don’t have to worry about tripping over them. It’s obviously less expensive than use kennel services but it’s also less stressful on your pet to be with someone familiar.
Content provided courtesy of Rogers - Canada Real Estate, MLS Listings & Agents

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