If you’re one of those people boxing up your entire life and heading someplace new, you might be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of juggling all the moving pieces (pun intended) of relocating.
To make the process easier, The Extra Mile is compiling all our best moving tips and tricks from handling complex moves to settling into a new apartment. If you’re confused about timelines, tipping, or transporting your household and family, this list will help you get organized and get moving.
Moving Tips and Tricks
Manage Your Pets’ Move
Your furry friends are just as much part of your family- ad your move, as the human members! You can alleviate your pet’s stress by moving the household before the pet and setting up as much as you can there before introducing your animal to a new environment. As much as possible, keep your pet away from the chaos on the day(s) you pack and move your belongings.
Declutter Your Home Before You Pack
Moving is much easier–and lighter–when you’re not lugging stuff you won’t even use. Go through your things and determine whether to move, sell, or donate them. This will significantly simplify your moving process.
Know how to Ask Friends and Family for Help Moving
- Notify them of your moving date in advance (by at least several weeks, if possible) and offer dinner and drinks in return for their help.
- Provide them with drinks and snacks while they work.
- Tell them what time they’ll be needed on the day, so they aren’t stuck waiting around.
- Don’t leave last-minute packing or box labeling to helpers; stressful, important, or personal tasks are your responsibility.
- Assign your helpers specific and simple tasks, like moving light items, and have them avoid your fragile items.
Inventory Your Food Before Moving
Food is one of those moving tips many people don’t think of until the last minute. Check the fridge, freezer, pantry, and any other food storage spaces – and plan meals based on what needs to be eaten before you leave, what’s going to be donated, thrown away, or packed, and what you can take with you to eat on the move. Don’t keep anything that can’t be easily moved in cardboard boxes.
Pack up Your Car
If you’re moving with your car, pack as many of your belongings in it as you can.
- Small boxes work better in cars than large boxes.
- Anything soft – clothing, bedding, etc. – can be packed in plastic bags, duffle bags, or other malleable containers and molded to fill empty spaces in boxes or crevices in the car.
- Take advantage of the configuration of your vehicle. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of trunk space, but you might be able to lift the back seats and pack taller items vertically.
- And don’t forget the top of your car – just make sure any rack you use is secured properly.
- Confirm that you can still see out the windows before you leave.
Have the Right Essentials for Moving Day
- Bottled water, cold drinks if it’s hot out, and hot drinks if it’s cold out
- Food that’s healthy, filling, easy to eat on the go, and that will give you energy. Avoid anything messy or prone to spoiling. Apples, dried fruit, trail mix, or protein bars are good bets.
- Cash for tips and any quick purchases you need to make.
- A fully charged cellphone; an external charger and cables are also a good idea.
- Extra rubber bands, moving boxes, garbage bags, and other supplies.
- A good night’s rest the night before move day.
- An early start in the morning to take advantage of the full day.
Dress Appropriately for Move Day
Plan what you’re going to wear on moving day so you don’t pack the items you need. Dress appropriately for moving in comfortable clothes (as you’re going to be lifting, bending, and sitting a lot). Your move day attire should include:
- Pockets (to keep your hands free)
- Layers (you’ll be going from indoors to outdoors all day long, so temperatures may fluctuate.)
- Comfortable, supportive, closed-toe shoes to protect your feet.
- Garments you aren’t attached to (your clothing might become stained or torn).
- Hat, hair tie, sunglasses, and any other necessities to have on hand.
What to Do First at Your New Home
Check the windows, door locks, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Unpack essentials like toilet paper, garbage bags, hand soap, paper towels, and snacks so you can be comfortable in the house while cleaning, setting up furniture, and getting ready to unpack more of your things.
Moving Tips for How to Move Furniture
If movers are handling your furniture, notify them of any wobbly table legs or loose chair wheels. Moving companies will not necessarily be as gentle with your furniture as you would. If you’re moving yourself, follow these tips:
- Use furniture sliders to move large furniture without injuring yourself or damaging floors or carpets.
- Tape drawers and doors of furniture shut so they don’t pop open during moving.
- Remove legs from tables if possible and load table tops vertically into your truck.
- Empty drawers to avoid losing small items during the move or simply forgetting where you’ve stashed them.
Tips and Tricks for Organizing Your Move
Create a Moving Timeline Checklist
Start eight weeks out, if possible, and track all the stages of the move over that eight-week timeframe. Include:
- Planning and preparation steps
- Packing and loading steps
- Everything you have to do during the move itself
- Tasks to complete once you’ve arrived at your new home
- Items to be purchased, including supplies like bubble wrap, plastic wrap and various size boxes
- Deadlines to be met
- Chores to be completed
The more detail you can add to your timeline checklist, the clearer and easier the move will be.
Create a Budget for Your Move
Research the prices of services, supplies, and other costs of moving ahead of time. Whether you’re moving to an apartment downtown, a new home in a neighboring state, or across the country, you’re bound to encounter unexpected expenses. Having a budget will help you be prepared for whatever might pop up along the way.
Create a Binder for Your Moving Notes and Important Documents
You’re more likely to keep yourself organized by having all your notes and documents in a single holder. A quick stop at an office supply store for a 3-ring binder with pockets, pocket dividers with tabs, and a binder zipper pouch to hold a writing utensil and calculator, will help get you started.
So what should you keep in your binder? Here are some suggestions:
- A calendar. Store this towards the front so you can easily schedule and keep appointments.
- Timeline Checklist. You will likely be referencing your calendar and timeline checklist daily if not more, so keep up front for easy access without having to flip through other papers in the binder.
- Receipts. Stash receipts you’re handed along the way, in the binder pockets.
- Tabbed divider labels:
- To-do lists or lists of tasks you create.
- Contact List
- Box Inventory
- List of moving tips you’d like to reference
Gather Your Personal Documents and Paperwork Before Moving
These can go in a relocation essentials bag that you’ll carry with you and not pack away. Documents you should keep in your essentials bag include:
- social security card
- birth certificate
- car title
- professional licenses
- marriage certificates
- divorce decrees
- tax documents
- financial records.
- medical or veterinary records
- school transcripts
Check Your Insurance Policy When Moving
Learn about the different types of insurance available for people who are moving, and make sure you have the appropriate coverage. Movers are liable for the value of the goods they transport; some movers will also offer a separate insurance policy through an affiliated company.
Moving Tip: Before taking a chance with an unknown insurance provider, check with your current insurance company to find out whether your homeowners policy covers your property during a move, and if not, what additional coverage they can provide.
Be Aware of Items the Moving Company Will Not Move
If you’re using a moving company, items that seem innocuous, like liquor or nail polish, might be forbidden, so ask your moving company about their rules and don’t simply assume that you’ll be able to have everything in your home transported by professionals. Be aware that there are several categories of items they will not move for you. These include:
- Perishable food
- Hazardous items
- Flammable materials
- Certain types of batteries
- Equipment containing fuel
- Weapons and ammunition
- Some movers won’t touch heavy and difficult-to-move items like pianos, while others will.
Schedule Your Move During Slow Season
Be aware that movers charge more during busier times, so you can save money by scheduling your move in a less popular slot. That would be:
- During the week (most people move on weekends, when they’re not at work).
- In the middle of the month (the beginnings and ends of months are busier, as this is when leases tend to end).
- In winter (summer is high season for moving).
- Remember that weather plays a role too – a winter move might be cheaper, but a spring move is less likely to be interrupted by a blizzard.
Of course, those busy times are more convenient for most people, so you may choose to—or have to—move on a Saturday in June regardless of the extra cost.
Apartment Moving Tips and Tricks
Repair Minor Moving Damage
To ensure your landlord or management company returns your security deposit after you move, fully clean the apartment before you leave and make small repairs (e.g., fill in the holes if you nailed anything to the wall).
- If your furniture has left imprints in the carpet, spray water on the area then blow-dry to fluff up fibers again.
- Remove odors by sprinkling baking soda on the carpet, letting it sit overnight, then vacuum.
- You can spot-clean carpets with commercial products or deep clean them with a rented carpet cleaner.
- If the damage is extreme, weigh the cost of hiring a professional with the amount of your deposit.
- Leave whatever contact information is required for your deposit to be returned to you as soon as possible.
Ask About New Apartment Building Move-In Rules
- When and where can you pick up your keys?
- Where can you park your moving truck or container?
- Can you reserve the elevator?
- Do you have to move in at a certain time of day?
- Get detailed instructions to avoid unexpected obstacles on moving day.
Check Your Lease for the Rules on Giving Notice for Moving Out
When moving out, make sure you give notice enough time before you plan to leave, and in the proper manner. Keep records of any communication you have with your landlord or management company in your moving binder.
Find Out About the Parking at Your New Building
Every building is different, so don’t assume you know the details without asking your landlord or management. Some questions to consider are:
- Will you have a reserved space?
- Is parking included in your rent, or does a dedicated parking spot cost extra?
- Is there only one parking option?
- If the building has a parking facility, is it a garage or a lot?
- Is it covered? Is it lit at night, or secured?
- Who is responsible for shoveling or plowing it in winter, and is this done at a certain time when cars have to be removed from the lot?
- Where do guests park?
Keep Your Belongings Safe and Secure While Moving
If you’re unpacking your car or rental truck on a busy city sidewalk, have a helper with you to keep an eye on your boxes. Don’t leave items unattended outside or in the lobby. While labeling boxes by room is good, labeling them too specifically is risky; you don’t want to be stacking up boxes that say “jewelry,” “china,” or “handbags” where passers-by can see them.
Avoid Getting A Ticket While Moving
One of our best moving tips is to not forget to avoid getting a ticket! While you’re unloading, be aware of where you’re parked and how long you’ve been there. You want to be close to the door of the building, but make sure you’re not going to get a ticket by parking in a reserved spot or letting your meter run out.
Measure Rooms and Doorways of New Apartment Before Moving
If you can’t be at the apartment yourself, ask the landlord for measurements before moving your furniture in, to ensure it will all fit.
Take Pictures of Empty Rooms Before Moving
After leaving a rental apartment or house, take photographs of each empty room to document the state of the walls, floors, and fixtures. If any damage occurs after you leave, this documentation can prevent you from being held accountable. Do the same before moving your things into a new rental in case you are later blamed for pre-existing damage.
Moving Tips and Tricks After Your Move
Consider Renter’s Insurance to Protect Your Belongings
If you owned a home for many years, the idea of renter’s insurance may be new to you, but it’s important to know that your landlord’s property insurance policy only covers damage to the building, not to your home contents.
Recycle, Store, or Offer Up Your Boxes
If this living arrangement is temporary and you have the storage space, flatten your boxes and store them until you need to use them again. Otherwise, break them down and recycle them according to the rules of your new building and city. Alternately, advertise your stash of free boxes online or among your friends or colleagues in your new location. Someone might be happy to take them off your hands.
Moving can be hectic, but starting a new chapter of your life in a new home is exciting, too. The more you prepare ahead of time, and the more you plan for all the steps along the way, the better equipped you’ll be to move efficiently and fully appreciate the enjoyable side of the process.