Getting ready for a move can be overwhelming and stressful. We’ve compiled several moving tips to make the event a little more manageable for you and your family.
Start early. Almost everyone has more stuff than they think they do, and almost no one leaves enough time to pack it.
Room Lists. Start by forming two room lists, one for your current place and one for your future place. This will help you manage what has to go where.
Room Inventory. Go to each room and write down the types of things that need to be packed: furniture items, length of shelving, closets, etc.
Allow Yourself Time. Make sure to leave enough time. The most common timeframe reported by people moving is that it takes a month to pack. One study reported that it takes 4-5 hours to pack an average dorm room, so that should give you an idea of what’s involved.
Delegate. If you’re moving with family members, agree with them exactly while tasks they will be doing and the date they will be finished.
FINDING GREAT MOVERS
Get Referrals. Get referrals from local real estate agents and friends who have moved recently.
Licensing. Only consider movers that are licensed, bonded and insured.
Research. Investigate your potential movers through the U.S. Department of Transportation,
and the Better Business Bureau.
Price. Price isn’t the only factor. Extremely low bids indicate a desperate mover.
“Binding Not-To-Exceed”. Ask for written “Binding-not-to-exceed” estimates.
Avoid Rogue Movers. If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Never agree to move your possessions with anyone you don’t trust.
GENERAL PACKING TIPS
Pack a Suitcase. For each member of the family moving, pack a suitcase as if you’re all going on a 3-day vacation, including changes of clothes, medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, etc. Keep the suitcases separated from all the other items to be moved, such as in your car, at your new workplace, etc. so you’ll have everything you need for the first few days.
Create “Open Me First” boxes (see suggestions below). Pick one or two boxes per room as “Open Me First” boxes. Put in them the things you’ll need first at your new location. Then label all “Open Me First” boxes.
One at a Time. Wherever possible, work on packing just one room at a time (instead of several all at once) to keep things focused and organized.
Less Is More. Use packing as a way to clean out belongings for donations, a yard sale, and/or the recycling center. Aim to eliminate 1/3 of your belongings. You’ll save time and expense.
Tracking Small Parts. When taking apart items to be moved, such as tables, securely tape screws and other small parts securely to the underside of the item. You’ll always know where to look and save time putting things back together.
Save Space. Use towels, pillows and t-shirts you’re packing as extra padding around fragile items.
Criss-Cross Tape. Tape boxes along the seams where the flaps meet together. Then tape perpendicularly at the center of the first tape, forming a cross.
Use Thick Markers to Label. Use the thickest, darkest marker you can find for labeling boxes. Pencils, pens, tin or light markers are almost impossible to see even just a few feet away.
Stacking Boxes. Stack boxes with the heaviest on the bottom, lightest on top to prevent crushing.
The 30-Pound Rule. Keep each box below 50 pounds absolute maximum and below 30 pounds wherever possible. Keep a b athroom scale in the room you’re packing so you can keep the boxes below the weight limits.
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words. Use a digital or cell phone camera to take pictures of how complicated wiring (computer cords, speaker wires) is hooked up. Be sure to use plenty of light and careful focus so the pictures will be clear. Print each picture and put it in the top of the box holding the item. This will make hooking up the items in your new place much easier.
Double Boxing. For especially fragile electronics, pack them first in a box with an excessive amount of biodegradable packing peanuts. Then pack that box in a larger box filled with biodegradable packing peanuts. This two-box system seems like a pain but seems to do a better job isolating items from jarring impacts.
No Loose Ends. Wrap each cord carefully with cable organizers, heavy twist ties or heavy rubber bands. Never throw unwrapped cords into boxes—they get tangled and caught on other items.
Cord Labels. Consider getting a label maker and labeling the end of each. Then you’ll know exactly which cord you’re seeing and where each end connects when you put things back together.
The 2-Inch Rule. Use at least 2″ of packing peanuts around each side of fragile items.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS—WHO TO NOTIFY
Post Office. File your change of address with the Post Office at least 30 days prior to the move.
Referrals. Ask everyone you notify for a referral in your area.
Records. Get copies of your existing records (school transcripts, medical records, etc.)
Utilities. Electric, Gas, Water, Telephone, Fuel, Sewer District, Trash, Cable
Professional Services. Doctor, Dentist, CPA, Lawyer, Broker
Insurance Agencies. Life, Fire, Auto, Home, Health, Accident, Hospital
Business Accounts. Dry Cleaner, Diaper Service, Lawn Service, Banks, Credit Card Companies
Publications. Newspaper, Magazines, Newsletters
“OPEN ME FIRST” BOXES
Kitchen. Aluminum foil or plastic wrap, Plastic flatware, cups or plates, Coffee maker and coffee, Dish detergent, Frying pan and spatula, Pet food and bowls, Scissors, Tea kettle.
Main Bath. Towels, First-aid Kit, Shampoo, Shower curtain and rings, Soap, Toilet paper, Toothbrushes and Toothpaste.
Tools. Duct tape, Flashlight, Flat-head screwdriver, Hammer, Level, Phillips-head screwdriver,
Picture hangers, Tape measure, Utility knife.
Start Early. You want to have everything as organized as possible prior to the arrival of the movers.
Use Sitters. Recruit help in watching your small kids and pets on Moving Day.
Cell Phone Numbers. Make sure you have the cell phone number of the driver of the truck entered into your cell phone, and that the driver has yours in case you get separated or have a problem.
Proper Payment. Almost all professional movers will demand payment in full and in cash before they will unpack a single box. Make sure you have payment ready.
Directions. Have directions and a map ready for anyone who will be driving between your old place and your new one.