There are few things more stressful than preparing for a big move, but follow these simple tips to take the stress out of moving day.
Moving can be bittersweet. The excitement of starting fresh in a new home is often overshadowed by the imminent stress of packing and moving. But with a little research and planning, you can make your next move as seamless as possible.
One Month Before Your Move
If there’s anything you can get out of the way early, handle it as soon as possible. As moving day approaches, your to-do list will get longer and you’ll begin feeling overwhelmed.
Use a Referral to Hire Movers
If you’re hiring movers, do not just pick any company that you find online. Moving scams are pervasive and trustworthy, reputable movers are hard to find. The best way to find a reliable mover is through referrals. Ask friends, family, colleagues, and social media connections for recommendations. Use websites like Angie’s List to research the companies on your shortlist. Make sure your movers are insured, licensed if your state requires it, and, if you’re hiring an interstate mover, that they are registered with the FMCSA.
Be Aware of Your Mover’s Guidelines
You don’t want to find out on moving day that your movers will only move boxes and not anything that has been packed in trash bags. Read the fine print on your contract and be sure to ask the manager detailed questions on what to expect.
Purge Unnecessary Items
There’s no reason to haul boxes of junk that you won’t use to your new home. Moving is a good time to take stock of what you have and purge everything you’ve grown out of or no longer need. As early as possible, start going through your things and sorting and packing stuff you don’t use regularly. Organize papers, files, junk drawers, storage spaces, garages, and closets. As you do, sort items you don’t use anymore into piles to throw away or donate.
Change Your Address
Don’t wait until after you move to change your address with the post office, banks, credit card companies, and any other companies that handle important services. Up to 30 days before you move, you can schedule a change of address with the USPS. Similarly, banks, utility and cable companies, and any subscription services like Amazon, magazines, and food box delivery usually allow you to schedule address changes in advance.
Load Up on Packing Items
Boxes, ziplock bags, shrink wrap, tape, bubble wrap, and other packing materials are crucial to a big move. Visit local liquor stores, big box stores, and grocery stores and ask for free boxes. Services like U-Haul Customer Connect allow you to connect with neighbors who are giving away or selling packing materials. Websites like Nextdoor are another great way to connect with people who are getting rid of materials from a recent move.
Stock up on freezer and sandwich bags to hold small items and store screws and furniture parts. Prepare boxes for easy moving by cutting handholds into the sides to make them easier to lift and carry.
Take Photos of Electronics Connections
Take pictures of all your electronics setups to make putting wires back in place a breeze when you arrive in your new home. When beginning to disassemble complicated pieces of furniture, take photos of the process so you remember how to put them back together.
Two Weeks Before Your Move
Two weeks out, you should be in full-on packing mode and beginning to disassemble furniture.
Arrange for Donation Services to Pick Up Large Items
Consider donating old furniture and appliances to local charities. Many of them will pick up these items for free. Donate these items two weeks to a month before moving. You might find yourself without a place to sit for a while, but missing a pickup window or being stuck hauling it to a dump will be a much bigger hassle.
Anything you can’t donate, schedule a large item pickup with local waste management well in advance. The wait times can vary, and the next available pickup could be up to a month away.
Update Your Address with Friends and Family
It’s a nice gesture to let your friends and family know that you have moved and what your new address is so that they can update their records. You can send out cards, which you can create using online printing services. Otherwise, keep it simple and send people a message via social media or email.
Work Through Your Food Stocks
In an effort to minimize the amount of stuff you need to pack and transport, now is the time to start trying to get rid of food items. Eat as much of your pantry items as you can and limit grocery shopping to absolute essentials until you’re settled into your new home.
Use Clothes to Pack Fragile Items
Save on packing materials by padding fragile items with clothing. Out-of-season clothing is perfect to start packing away well in advance of your move, so use them to wrap breakables like glasses, wine bottles, vases, and picture frames.
Pack Plates Vertically
Packing plates vertically makes them less prone to breaking than stacking them from top to bottom.
Vacuum Seal Blankets, Pillows, Coats, and Clothing
Soft items aren’t heavy, but they do take up a lot of space. Vacuum seal them in bags for easy transport and to free up space in the moving truck.
Pack Heavy Items in Rolling Suitcases
Heavy items like books are much easier to transport in rolling suitcases. Pack any heavy items that are not fragile into suitcases with wheels for easier loading and unloading.
Carefully Wrap Fragile Electronics
Fragile electronics can be stressful to transport. If you don’t still have the box your television came in, wrap it in moving blankets or comforters and shrink wrap it. Do the same with speakers, computer towers, receivers, and other sensitive electronics.
It’s safest to transport these items yourself in your car, but if they have to go into a moving truck, secure them to the sides of the truck with bungee cords and make sure they don’t have any slack to wobble or shift.
Bundle Disassembled Items with Zip Ties or Duct Tape
Once you disassemble any furniture or electronics, bundle the pieces together with zip ties or duct tape. Place any small items like screws and brackets into a ziplock bag and tape or shrink-wrap it to the bundled pieces for easy reassembly in your new home.
The Week of Your Move
The week of your move, you should be finalizing packing and preparing for the day of the move.
Prepare Your New Bathroom Prior to Moving
If you have access to your new home before moving day, scope out the new bathroom. Make sure it’s clean and ready to use. That can mean ensuring that there is a shower curtain, toilet paper, and towels. On moving day, you’re going to want a clean place to wash up once you’re done.
Pack Overnight Bags
Make sure everyone in your home has an overnight bag that includes all their essentials. This way, you won’t have to dig through a pyramid of cardboard trying to find your toothbrush. Make sure to include: Two changes of clothes, two pairs of underwear and socks, a hairbrush, a toothbrush, electronics and cell phones along with their chargers, and any toiletries. Pack a book to read at night if it’ll be a few days before the cable is turned on.
Label Boxes on All Sides with the Room and Contents
Save the movers the trouble of asking where the “computer stuff” goes and label each box with its contents and the room it needs to go in. For example, “OFFICE: Computer Stuff.” When it comes time to unpack, having each box and piece of furniture in the room it needs to be in will save you a lot of headaches.
Pack Your Most Used Items in Clear Containers
Investing in several heavy-duty containers is helpful for both moving and storing items once you’re moved into your new home. At the very least, buy at least one clear container for each room and pack all of the essential items you use the most in them for easy access.
The kitchen container should contain things like utensils, plates, paper towels, dish towels, dish detergent, and a sponge. The living room or home office container should include laptops, chargers, this month’s bills, moving paperwork, and anything else you won’t want to have to dig for.
Hire a Babysitter or Pet Sitter
Do yourself and everyone else a huge favor by hiring someone to watch your kids, your pets, or both on moving day. Kids and pets can easily get injured or wander away during the chaos of the moving process, and they will end up getting in the way.
The Day Before Your Move
At this point, you should be almost completely packed, save for a few essentials. These are the last-minute tasks to handle to ensure you’re ready for the big day.
Renters: Take Photos When Moving In and Out
To ensure that you get your security deposit back in full without any unfair deductions for cleaning or repairs, make sure you take photos of the property when you first move in and the condition it is in after everything is moved out.
Put Last-Minute Essentials in a Hamper
Anything you still need your final night in your old home can go into a hamper and get loaded last. Stuff a tall hamper with a few towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, contact lens solution, and anything else you will need the morning of the move.
Stage Items for Easy Loading
Stage your packed items to cut hours out of your loading time. Stack as many boxes and items as you can in your garage or toward the front of your home so they’re ready for the truck. Start with the heaviest boxes in the front (trucks need to be loaded with the heaviest items closest to the cab), then any irregularly shaped pieces like furniture, and finally soft items and light boxes in the back.
Pack Your Bed Last, Unload and Assemble It First
Do yourself a favor and ensure that your bed is ready to use again as soon as possible. Make sure it is packed on the truck last so that it’s the first thing that is unloaded. Then, get it assembled and made right away. That way, after a long and exhausting day, your bed will be waiting for you.
When packing your mattress, put one fitted sheet on the front and one sheet on the back before wrapping it in a mattress cover. This will keep it protected during the move. Make sure to use old sheets that you don’t care about.
Order Pizza and Have Refreshments Ready
Call a pizza place the day before and schedule a delivery for lunchtime the following day. Make sure you have a case of bottled water for the movers and anyone who is coming to help. This will keep you from skipping meals or waiting until you’re about to pass out before taking a much needed break. Don’t forget to further thank anyone who has helped with beer!
Congratulations on your new home! Follow this advice and moving day should go off with as few hiccups as possible.