Today we are going to talk about mail. And by mail I mean that papery stuff that arrives in the box in front of your house. I’m making jokes but, as more people rely on email for everything, the more they forget about the importance of hard mail. In fact, changing the mailing address with important entities (utilities, post office, cable, bank, etc.) and filing for mail to be forwarded to your new address is one of the most overlooked, yet critical, steps in the moving process. Even though we rely on the internet for almost everything these days, important, and often time sensitive, notices do come in the mail. Further, friends and relatives may still want to send you cards and letters and paid subscriptions are worth updating, lest you want the new homeowners to get a free gift.
Here’s what you need to do:
To cover your back, arrange for USPS to forward any mail that does come to your old address to your new one. It’s not hard to do. In fact, you can do it online, in person, or on the phone for $1. You can even file for a change of address/mail forwarding up to three months before you officially move out and should start receiving mail at the new address within ten postal days of the date your filed. If this does not occur, be sure to call USPS to make sure they have the right information.
Once you have that squared away, you need to think about who else you want to notify. There is a myth out there that once you have changed your address and notified USPS to forward any mail that still comes to your old home, USPS will inform senders that you have a new address. This is not true. Updating your contacts is your responsibility. Luckily, this can be a fun process. Once you update utilities, magazines, newspapers and your old job (remember, you will need that W2!) with your new address, you can let your friends and family know in tons of fun and creative ways.
To begin, when you file for an address change with USPS, they provide you with some postcards to send to your loved ones making the announcement. This is probably the easiest way to handle the situation. But, why not make it fun? Making creative notification cards is a great way to get young children involved in moving.
My favorite site for fun, creative, DIY ideas is Pinterest. I have found tons of neat ideas for moving and settling-in after the move, including all sorts of address change announcements. My favorite idea found on Pinterest is simple, yet personal. Plot your old and new address on an actual map and then connect with string. It’s a great visual representation of moving.
Finally, if you find yourself too frantic during the moving process to send things in the mail, you can create e-cards online and reach everybody all at once. Blue Mountain and Jib Jab are just two of the many sites that allow you to create and send ecards for free!
Changing your address seems like a small task, but it’s really important. Relying on email is great, but there are entities that require hard mail and loved ones that like to send handwritten notes. To avoid problems and hurt feelings, you have to let people know how to contact you.
How did you tell your loved ones about your new address? Share any creative ideas in the comments below.