Helpful tips for your next move
Even when you hire a moving company, moving is a difficult task and there are a lot of things you must do to ensure your furniture and belongings not only make it to your new home safely, but also make it there in such a way so you can manage the move-in, have access to the things you will need right away, and unpack other things later on without being completely overwhelmed.
This holds true whether you’re moving a studio apartment, a condo, a 10-room house, or a business. Moving is moving…there’s a lot to do and there’s a lot that can go wrong!
Following are 10 things you can do to help avoid any pitfalls and make your move go smoothly:
- Be ready to go – It sounds more than a little obvious, but it’s amazing how many people simply aren’t prepared to move when moving-day comes around, which can be very costly if you’ve hired movers because they’re typically paid by the hour, the clock starts ticking when they get in the truck to drive to the job, and the clock doesn’t stop ticking while they wait around for you to pack up any remaining items. Furthermore, if you end up hiring them to finish the packing, be prepared to pay a premium. Alternatively, if you’re planning a do-it-yourself move and you’re not ready to go on moving-day, your friends and/or relatives are going to want to disown you when they have to do all of your packing too and/or they have to move your stuff in their pick-up/SUV because you didn’t make arrangements for a van/truck.
- Reserve the right size truck and crew, at the right time – You may be ready to go, but did you also make the right decisions when setting up the move? You don’t want to reserve a cargo van when you really need a 24’ moving truck, which may be annoying if you have to make an extra trip or two across town, but can also be a major dilemma if your moving across country, the truck rental company doesn’t have anything larger available for a couple days, and you have to be out of your apartment by the end of the day. You also don’t want to hire 6 men and a big truck from a professional moving company, when all you need is a couple helpers with a small truck, not only because it will cost a lot more, but also because there are other logistical considerations, including the ability to get a large truck down your street or into your driveway/parking lot, as well as policies at your apartment/condo building that may limit truck size and/or the number of movers allowed. A reputable truck rental or moving company should be able to make recommendations and help you figure out what makes the most sense. Additionally, timing can be very important, so make sure you reserve your truck for a long enough time to get the move done without rushing at the end, only to end up breaking something; if you’re moving into an apartment/condo building, check to see if a time-slot needs to be reserved.
- Pack with the right boxes and supplies – It seems like a great idea to get a bunch of free boxes from a liquor store or some other place that may be throwing them away, which are less common now that recycling is so prevalent, but having the right sizes and types of boxes can make all the difference when doing a household or business move. For example, delicate items can’t be packed into large boxes, even when wrapped, because they’re prone to being crushed/broken simply because of weight, especially if traveling long distances, when settling can be more of an issue. Heavy items, like books, can’t be packed into large boxes because they’re too hard to move and/or tend to break open. Wall hangings and pictures, dishes and glassware, and other fragile items must be packed with the proper materials or they’ll arrive in pieces at the other end. Most importantly, movers don’t try to load anything without moving pads/blankets, not only because they keep things from being scratched/damaged, but also because they make it easier to pack a truck, so when the rental agent asks you if you want some, count out how many you will need and get them!
- Label everything – Nothing is more demoralizing than having to move everything around from one room to another after being delivered to your new space because nothing ended up where it was supposed to. You can try to stand at the doorway and direct traffic as each box/item is carried inside, but you’re bound to miss something or misdirect someone. It’s definitely a lot easier and more effective to label everything ahead of time and make sure the room-assignment is clearly visible. This is especially important if you’re moving a business, because missing or hard-to-find files/information, equipment, etc. can affect productivity and lead to other problems when employees try to complete their work in the new space.
- Plan for appliances – If you have a refrigerator, freezer, or other large appliance to move, you had better be prepared, more so than anything else you might have to move. Why? They’re difficult to move, even when you’re experienced and prepared, and they can be very dangerous if not secured properly when going up a stairway or when being moved in the back of a truck or trailer. There’s no catching a refrigerator starting to slip down the stairs because you didn’t have an appliance dolly that straps around the appliance, has runners for going up/down stairs, and gives you something to hold onto while moving it. There’s also no stopping a freezer that hasn’t been properly secured, should the truck have to make a sudden stop or swerve to avoid an accident. So, be mindful to plan for appliances because they aren’t just difficult to move; your and others safety could be at stake, not to mention the liability exposure that could exist should injury be involved.
- Clean out = clean in – Moving forces you to handle and inventory everything you own, so take the opportunity to not only get rid of unnecessary items, but also clean up everything being moved into your new home or office space. This will not only ensure a clean, fresh start, but also to reduce the stress that can result after a move, when everything is often a mess.
- Handle fragile items with care – In addition to using the right packing materials (see #3 above), sometimes you need to handle and move fragile items separately via trips in your car, for example. Maybe your flat screen TV can be re-boxed or wrapped in a blanket and moved in the back seat of your car, with pillows and other protective items; maybe the antique lamp from your grandparents’ house can be wrapped up and place in the front passenger seat. The point is…Why take the chance? Of course, there will be less opportunity for this when moving long distance, but take the time to handle special, fragile items differently and avoid opportunities for them to be damaged whenever possible.
- Don’t kill the plants! – Your plants may not be people, but they still are living, so why would you put them in the back of a truck for any length of time, especially if they’re not secure and could end up tipping over? Maybe some plants can be moved in your car or trunk, maybe some can be secured in the truck and tended to if needed, and maybe some shouldn’t be moved at all, but it’s wise to think about this ahead of time so you have a plan. If you have houseplants, chances are you’ve spent money, time, and effort to keep them alive, so don’t let the move kill them!
- Have a plan for the kids and pets – You may want to pack your kids in the back of the truck, but that’s not an option, so make sure you have a plan on moving day. Maybe your parents, family, or friends can watch them for the day or maybe you can hire a babysitter to give you the assistance to focus on the move as needed. And…don’t forget about that gerbil, fish tank, or other pet your child may have – if the gerbil escapes or you end up killing the fish, your move will be the second biggest problem you have!
- Make sure you have necessary provisions – You’re going to need some basic things when you get to your new home or office space, so think about what those things are ahead of time and either make sure they’re accessible or have a plan to buy them that day. The last thing you want to do, for example, is finish up the move late at night only to realize you don’t have any milk for coffee in the morning, or better yet…toilet paper for now!
Like most things, common sense prevails when moving, but keep these ten tips in mind the next time you plan a household move or business move to help make it go smoothly and ensure all of your belongings make it to the other end intact and in a timely and orderly manner.