Moving can be stressful and overwhelming. Whether you choose a DIY move or use a moving service, organizing, packing, and moving rank highly on most peoples’ lists of least-favorite activities. While these tips won’t do the work for you, they will relieve some of the stress of moving. Read on for moving tips for every stage, from preparation to moving day, to make this your best moving experience yet.
7 tips before packing and moving
Preparation will set the stage for the whole move. Plan ahead and get rid of as much as possible to prepare you to move more easily. Here are the key steps.
1. Plan ahead
Start preparing for the move months in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly. This includes creating a budget for the expenses, gathering packing materials, researching and comparing the costs of movers, and getting rid of things you no longer need. Consider also whether you need a storage unit for the move or downsizing.
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2. Purge unnecessary items
The first step to packing is decluttering. Going through your home and getting rid of things you no longer need before the move can make packing and moving easier. You could save time and money in the move by reducing even 5% of what you currently have.
After sorting through all household items, consider having a garage sale, selling items online, or donating or giving away unused items.
3. Hire a reputable moving company
Be sure to research and hire a reputable moving company to avoid scams or mishaps. There are too many negative moving stories out there. Check the company’s online ratings and Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating if they are rated. Read customer reviews to understand what to expect from each company.
4. Measure furniture
One key element of planning ahead is ensuring you’re moving furniture that will fit your new home. Measure each furniture item to make sure everything fits where you imagined. If it doesn’t, consider whether you can use it elsewhere or you will store, sell, or give it away.
5. Avoid peak moving season
Avoid peak moving season to ensure everything goes smoothly and to keep costs down. For most parts of the country, the peak moving season is the summer months from mid-May through mid-September. The exceptions are places like Florida or Arizona, where more moves happen in the fall and winter months.
6. Notify utilities
As part of the move preparation, you must notify your utility companies of the move and schedule disconnections and connections for the appropriate dates. Ideally, do this six weeks before the move. Some utility companies will allow for same-day transfers in case you forget.
7. Change your address
Contact the post office and important accounts to change your address for your move to ensure you get all important mail.
9 tips, tricks, and hacks for packing items
Once you’ve laid the foundation for an easy move, you’ll need to pack and prepare for moving day. Here are nine tips to make it easier.
1. Be resourceful with packing
You can use existing materials in your house as packing supplies, especially items like clothing, which you can use instead of bubble wrap for delicate items. You can also use plastic bins or suitcases instead of boxes. Here’s a summary of household packing items to use:
- Clothing: Use socks, t-shirts, and other soft, washable clothing to protect delicate items from breakage during a move.
- Garment bags: You can protect hanging clothes to prevent wrinkling during the move, making it easier to look presentable afterward.
- Twist or zip ties: These simple items can help keep your cords organized and bundle other small items.
- Mattress bags: If you’ve stored mattress bags, they can keep your mattresses clean during the move.
- Suitcases: Suitcases are great for packing books, electronics, photos, and other delicate items.
- Plastic bins: These are essential for items that need to be kept dry during the move. They can also make it easier to stack and organize items for an easy move.
- Cardboard boxes: If you plan and save boxes you receive for six months before the move, you can use them for packing or cutting up to protect delicate framed items.
You’ll need to purchase a few basics, like packing tape, permanent markers, or box labels.
2. Label boxes with details
Once you’re packed, label each box with its contents and the room it belongs in to make unpacking easier.
3. Pack items based on weight
You don’t want to make large boxes too heavy. Pack heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter items on top to balance weight. Save large boxes for light items like duvets, sheets, and pillows.
4. Use separate boxes for fragile items
Separating fragile items will ensure you can protect these items. Mark the boxes as fragile to avoid damage. Use clothes, dish rags, carpets, and pillows to protect delicate items when packing.
5. Store your books in small boxes
Books and other heavy items should go in the smallest boxes available to avoid them becoming too heavy for lifting and transportation. Perform a lift test, even if you plan to have movers, to ensure boxes aren’t too heavy.
6. Recycle original boxes of your electronics
If possible, pack your electronics using their original boxes to avoid damage. Of course, this assumes you had the space to store original electronic boxes. Electronic boxes worth saving include the boxes for computers and computer screens, TVs, speakers, and kitchen electronics like coffee makers, blenders, rice cookers, air fryers, or other small appliances.
7. Don’t overpack boxes
Remember that someone will need to lift all boxes, which will usually be moved multiple times. Keep boxes under 50 pounds for easier lifting and transportation and to protect the health of everyone involved in your move.
8. Prepare a “first-night” box
A first-night box can include toiletries, bedding, and clothes for the first night in your new home. Consider a second box with basic kitchen supplies for breakfast the first morning.
9. Use a cooler to store food and drinks
When moving locally, you might have a lot of perishable food items in the fridge or freezer — plan to have a cooler with ice to use during the move to keep items fresh.
4 tips on the day of actual moving
Here are four tips to make moving day easier.
1. Protect floors
Wood floors are particularly susceptible to damage, but regardless of flooring, it’s a good idea to protect floors at both old and new homes. You can use cardboard or blankets and tape them down to avoid damage during the move.
2. Keep important documents safe
When packing, create a folder that you’ll hand-carry with essential documents. Keep your passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards, and all other important documents in a safe and easily accessible place during the move.
3. Take breaks
Most moving injuries occur when people are over-tired and pushing themselves. Take breaks, especially when you are moving by yourself, to avoid exhaustion and better avert injuries.
4. Stay organized
There are apps to make everything easier, including a move. Using an app can make tracking important information like packing lists and schedules easier. It can also help ensure you don’t forget anything along the way.
Final Moving Tips
Packing and moving can be big jobs, but breaking it down into small pieces can make it easier. Create a checklist, work through the preparatory stages, and declutter room by room. Then, when packing, make a manageable plan. By taking it one step at a time — and asking for help when needed — you will be in your new home faster than expected!
When should you start packing for your move?
When you should start packing for a move depends on your personality, schedule, and how much you have. Some people will start weeks or months in advance, while others choose to pack the week of the move.
What should you do if you need to move at the last minute?
If you need to move at the last minute, gather supplies, make a plan, and consider hiring movers or enlisting friends and family to help you get everything packed up quickly.
What are some common moving scams, and how can you avoid them?
Moving scams include extra fees, not returning a deposit, overly exceeding the estimate, as well as claiming your items are insured, and then not offering protection or damaging your items. Check the BBB and online reviews to select a reliable moving company.