The 70 Best Moving Tips

Johnna Kaplan

If you’re one of those people packing 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, from packing tricks to handling long distance moves to settling into a new apartment. If you’re confused about timelines, tipping, or transporting your household across the country, this list will help you get organized and get moving.

Moving Tips and Tricks

1. Purchase all Your Moving Supplies Before you Start Packing

Unless you’re hiring full-service movers who will do everything for you, you’ll need:

  • Boxes
  • Sturdy tape
  • Markers
  • Packing materials such as newspaper, bubble wrap, tissue, or packing peanuts
  • Optional: Saran Wrap

2. Stock up on Cardboard Boxes With Handles

These are much easier to lift. If you already have boxes without handles, it’s easy to make them yourself.

  1. Just draw two rectangles, about four inches long by two inches high, on opposite sides of each box.
  2. Cut out the rectangles with a box cutter, and voila – instant handles.
  3. Place your handles wherever feels most comfortable to you, but take care not to cut too close to the top of the box, as that will risk tearing the cardboard when you lift the box.

3. Get Free Boxes

  • Check out networks like Freecycle or Craigslist.
  • Social media can be helpful too – if your neighborhood has a Facebook group, start by posting there.
  • You can also ask whether extra boxes are available at businesses like grocery stores, offices, liquor stores – their boxes are clean and perfectly sized for packing glassware – or even at your local recycling center.
  • Let your friends, neighbors, and others in your community know you’re about to start packing – someone in your circle might be waiting for a chance to dispose of a stash of supplies from their own recent move.
  • Check apartment buildings or dorms during prime moving season, usually summer.
  • If convenience is more of a priority than price, you can buy boxes at office supply stores, home stores, retail shipping locations, or online.

Tip:

Don’t use boxes that are torn, damp, or otherwise weakened. Check out the seams, where boxes tend to wear out first. Any damage to a box means more chance of it falling apart mid-move. Don’t worry about existing labels or writing on the boxes; these can easily be covered with your own labels or some thick paper and tape.

4. Label Your Boxes by Room

This will make for easier packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. You may also want to inventory the contents of each box on a separate sheet of paper. Make a copy of the paper and tape one to the box. Keep the other copy in a folder that you can check after you’ve moved in to make sure you have all your items.

5. Manage Your Pets

  • 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.
  • Prepare an overnight kit with everything your pet will need during the move.
  • If you’ll be driving long-distance with your pet, keep your pet safe while driving; begin acclimating them to driving, being in their carrier or crate, and so on in the months and weeks leading up to the move. Keep your pet secured along the way to prevent escapes in unfamiliar places.
  • Before you leave, obtain your pet’s health records from your vet. When you arrive at your new home, establish a relationship with your new vet and get your pet’s information updated.
  • Familiarize yourself with your new state’s laws and local ordinances regarding pets; for example, you may need health certificates, rabies tags, or permits.

6. Create a Moving Timeline Checklist

Start eight weeks out, if possible, and track all the stages of the move over that eight-week time-frame. 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
  • Deadlines to be met
  • Chores to be completed

The more detail you can add, the clearer and easier the move will be.

7. 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.

8. Create a Binder for Your Moving Notes and 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.
    • Contracts/Agreements
    • Contact List
    • Box Inventory (see tip 4)

9. 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.

10 Ways to Declutter When Downsizing Your Home

10. Gather Your Personal Documents and Paperwork

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
  • passport
  • professional licenses
  • marriage certificates
  • divorce decrees
  • tax documents
  • financial records.
  • medical or veterinary records
  • school transcripts

11. How to Pack Curtains and Carpets

  • It costs a little bit, but if you take your curtains and carpets to the cleaners they will wrap them in plastic and paper after cleaning. This will make them easier to move and keep clean.
  • If you can’t afford to have your curtains and carpets cleaned then keep them wrinkle-free by folding lengthwise, placing over a padded hanger, and pinning them securely before transporting in wardrobe boxes.
  • Curtains may also be folded and placed into plastic bags, then packed in a box lined with clean paper.
  • To pack rugs and carpets yourself, vacuum and spot clean then roll them up and tie securely with ropes. Rolling carpets prevents creasing and makes for easier packing and transporting.

12. Know how to Ask Friends and Family for Help

  • 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 drink 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 that aren’t fragile.

13. Inventory Your Food

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.

14. Pack up Your Car

If you’re moving with your car, pack as many of your belongings in it as you can.

  • Smaller boxes work better in cars than large ones.
  • Anything soft – clothing, bedding, etc. – can be packed in plastic bags, duffle bags, or other malleable containers and molded to fill empty spaces.
  • Take advantage of the configuration of your particular 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.
  • If you’ll be staying in hotels along the way, choose locations and parking spaces with security in mind.

15. Don’t Pack Away Cleaning Supplies

Not until you’re done moving out anyway. Clean up after yourself before you leave.

  • On moving day, signal that a room has been completely packed and cleaned by shutting the door or taping a color-coded piece of paper to the wall.
  • Pack and clean high traffic areas last.
  • Complete dry cleaning tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and sweeping first.
  • For best results, clean top to bottom, back to front.

16. Have the Right Essentials for Move 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
  • A good night’s rest the night before move day
  • An early start in the morning to take advantage of the full day

17. 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 (you’re clothing might become stained or torn).
  • Hat, hair tie, sunglasses, and any other necessities to have on hand.

18. What to Do First at Your New Home

Check the windows, door locks, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Unpack essentials like toilet paper, 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.

19. Keep Your Previous Home Safe

If the home you’re moving out of is still on the market, you can help keep it safe and deter burglars by making it appear as if the house is inhabited. Consider smart home technology solutions to turn on lights and adjust blinds with timers.

20. Check Your Insurance Policy

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.

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.

21. Make the Decision: Truck Rental vs. Moving Container

If you’re debating the benefits of a renting a truck versus using a moving container company, make sure to take into account cost, timing, and your individual circumstances.

Renting a truck you more freedom in some ways, since it’s a fully DIY process, while a container can give you more time to pack and load your things. If your home has a driveway, a container will be more convenient; if only street parking is available, it may not be the best option. And factor in costs like tolls, fuel, and rental fees when considering driving yourself or letting someone else do it.

Long Distance Moving Tips

Note: the tips in this section address moves several states away. If you’re moving even farther, don’t worry – we have additional tips relating to cross-country moves below.

22. What to Tip Your Movers

Make sure to include a tip for your movers in your budget. Moving etiquette is divided on whether to tip per hour or as a percentage of the overall charge, and ranges from between $20 and $100 to between 10% and 20% per mover, mostly depending on the time it takes to load and unload your things. What’s considered the standard rate may vary regionally, so do some research based on what part of the country you’re in and whether you live in a rural or major metropolitan area. Tip more for exemplary service or if your move was particularly complex or strenuous. If possible, tip each mover individually rather than counting on the foreman to divide it up.

23. Know Your Rights If Your Items Are Damaged

Interstate moving companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA.) Per these regulations:

  • Movers will cover your items based on weight
  • If your items are damaged during the move, they’ll reimburse you for $0.60 per pound per item.
  • They must also offer you additional valuation coverage for an extra fee. This ensures that your items are protected for their actual value. (However, this protection is not insurance.)

Read up on the FMCSA’s consumer rights and responsibilities, which your mover must inform you of. (The FMCSA also provides tips on how to protect yourself from moving fraud.)

24. Inspect Items

Before packing up certain items, make sure they are free of larvae, fungus, mold, bug infestations, and so on. Belongings to check include:

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Other outdoor items (garden decor, bird houses, etc.)
  • Items stored in basement or attic

These items may be moved in the same truck as your bedding and kitchen items, which could be ruined by any kind of infestation. Inspect each item closely, including the undersides of furniture and any hidden areas. Clean items well and thoroughly dry them before wrapping them in plastic. If you have any doubts, leave the items behind or find a way to move them yourself, separately from your other belongings. If your belongings do become infested or damaged in any way during the move, check with your insurance company to see whether professional cleaning or replacement is covered.

25. Mark Boxes with Your Information

If you’re using a long distance moving company, you’ll need to label your boxes with your name in addition to their contents. Long distance movers may transport your stuff and another client’s in the same truck, so make sure your boxes are clearly marked with your information to prevent them being sent to the wrong house.

26. Prepare to Live in Your New Home Before Boxes Arrive

Because of all the complex factors that can impact a long-distance move, your moving company will probably not provide a precise arrival date. Instead, your contract will include a move-in window, sometimes up to 20 business days. Expect to be living in your new home for that long and, to be safe, slightly longer, before your things arrive. If you’ve arranged to stay in a temporary location like a relative’s house or hotel, be aware of how long you might need to remain there. Bring enough clothing, food, and necessities with you to get through that window as comfortably as you can.

27. Keep All Your Move Related Receipts and Documents

As hectic as moving can be, don’t forget to read everything you sign and to keep documents, like your truck rental agreement, and receipts for any last-minute home purchases in your moving binder. It’s a good idea to hold on to these for tax purposes, in case you have to return or exchange anything, or in the event that you need to dispute a charge.

28. Communicate Effectively with Your Movers

  • Know when all payments are due and what method of payment is accepted (typically, payment is required prior to unloading items.)
  • Make sure the movers know the exact address of your new home and/or storage unit.
  • Exchange detailed contact information with your movers and provide your cell number in case any questions arise during moving.

Packing and Moving Tips

29. Prioritize Unloading and Unpacking

Assign priority in unloading and unpacking to the boxes containing essentials for the following:

  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Pets

When you move in, among the first tasks you’ll want to do are making the bed, prepping the bathroom so you can have a shower, and setting up the kitchen, at least enough to make your first few simple meals. Unpack these three rooms first, along with necessities for your pets, and you’ll be comfortable enough to start unpacking further in the coming days.

30. How to Move With Your Houseplants

Moving companies may or may not agree to move your plants, so ask about their rules beforehand. Research your specific plants’ needs in case they require specialized care.

  • Make sure they can be brought into your new state legally
  • Pack them in a sturdy box lined with plastic
  • Pad box with newspaper or foam so they don’t tip over
  • Place them in the back seat – taller plants can go on the floor – and not in the trunk.
  • Ensure that plants have room to breathe, and don’t leave them in a cold car overnight.
  • Wait to water your plants until you arrive unless they seem especially dry.

31. How to Pack Your Kitchen Supplies

Divide your kitchen supplies into boxes based on what you’ll need right away, what can wait awhile, and what you can leave in boxes for longer if you choose. You don’t want to be rifling through boxes of baking supplies looking for a drinking glass. To keep flatware and other non-breakable kitchen items clean while moving, wrap them in paper towels. You can then use these towels to clean up your new kitchen when you unpack.

Tip:

If you’d rather not deal with the kitchen at all at first, bring some paper plates and plastic cups and utensils with you in your bag of essentials (see tip 37).

32. Pack Clothes Without Having to Fold Them

Use wardrobe boxes, which allow clothing to be transported on their hangers. Your moving company may provide these for you, so ask if that’s included. If you’d rather pack clothes quickly and easily, and deal with wrinkles on the other side, use unscented trash bags. Of course, you can also use regular cardboard boxes or suitcases to move your wardrobe. Don’t forget to leave out an outfit to wear for moving day as well as a few more items to get you through the first few days at your new home. In case you can’t unpack everything right away, you want to be prepared.

33. How to Pack Electronics

  • Move electronics in their original boxes if you have them
  • Color code your cords and chargers with tape or stickers so you know which ones go with what.
  • Place small, loose parts in plastic bags, seal them, and tape them securely to appliances.
  • Use bubble wrap and sturdy tape to protect fragile items. Keep in mind that while it’s not cheap, bubble wrap is reusable if you unpack carefully.

34. Avoid Injury and Practice Safe Lifting Techniques

Take the time to keep yourself and your belongings safe as you move.

  • Lift heavy items by bending at the knees and using your leg muscles, not your back muscles.
  • Be realistic about what physical tasks you can handle alone.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Keep boxes and small tripping hazards like rolls of tape out of busy pathways.
  • Load fragile items or items with sharp edges first and keep them away from areas with lots of activity, in order to avoid bumping them and damaging the item or cutting yourself.
  • If you’re driving yourself, don’t drive while drowsy.

35. Reserve a Box for Last-Minute Items

This box…Or bag (or two) will be for those items you’ll pack right before you lock the doors for the last time. This will end up containing cleaning supplies, odds and ends, and anything you’ve forgotten to pack earlier. Keep in mind that for the last day in your old home, and the day(s) you spend moving, you only need to have a minimal amount of your things with you. Imagine you’re camping or staying in a hotel, and only keep those items with you that are truly necessary.

36. Don’t Use Newspaper to Pack China

The ink from the paper can come off; if you choose to use paper, brown paper bags or plain newsprint – sometimes called packing paper – are better. To protect delicate items as much as possible, though, use bubble wrap.

37. Pack a Relocation Essentials Bag or Box

Plan to keep this with you throughout the move. It will function as your personal carry-on suitcase (even if you’re not actually flying.) Pack the following:

  • Clothing you’ll need while moving
  • Snacks and water so you don’t get hungry
  • Your moving binder
  • Any documents related to the move
  • Cellphone
  • Wallet
  • Glasses
  • Daily medications
  • You might also include your laptop, camera, or any other equipment you’ll want to access during the move.

38. How to Pack Artwork and Mirrors

You can buy so-called “mirror boxes” or “picture boxes” designed to hold framed items in place, but you can also transport mirrors and paintings in regular boxes.

  • Use masking tape on glass to hold it in place in case it breaks, then wrap the frame in paper and cover the corners with cardboard or Styrofoam protectors.
  • Wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and secure with packing tape before packing it.
  • Fill any empty spaces in the box with newspaper, and mark the outside of the box to let anyone handling it know that it’s fragile.
  • Artworks without frames can be rolled and placed in a cardboard tube.

If you’re using professional movers, consider letting them pack mirrors and other wall décor items for you.

39. Load Moving Truck – First In Last Out

If you’re renting your own moving truck, load the items you’ll need to unpack first into the truck last and vice versa.

  • Keep carpets at the back of the truck so they can be unpacked and laid down before furniture.
  • Pack items tightly to prevent them sliding around while the truck is moving.
  • Maximize space by using pillows, blankets, and clothing packed in garbage bags to fill gaps between or above stacks of boxes.

40. How to Move Furniture

If movers are handling your furniture, notify them of any wobbly table legs or loose chair wheels. Other people 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.

41. How to Pack Books

If you’re moving yourself and you own a large collection of books, you can lighten the load with some simple packing techniques:

  • Fill multiple boxes half with books and half with pillows or towels.
  • Fill reusable cloth grocery bags with books; you may find it easier to carry heavy items in bags with shoulder straps than in boxes.

42. Pack Wardrobe and Bedding by Season

Some bedroom items will probably need to be packed towards the end of the moving process, because you’ll be sleeping in your bedroom until the day you move. But many other bedroom items are seasonal – think bedding and clothing – and can therefore be packed well ahead of time. Dividing your wardrobe and bedding into boxes by season means you can quickly access the items you need first as soon as you move in.

43. Decide Which Pantry Items Are Worth the Move

Figure out whether it’s more cost effective to move pantry items or buy new ones when you arrive. (In many cases you can give away, donate, or consume existing food items before you move.) If you have a large collection of special spices, moving them will likely make sense; devoting space in your truck or car to numerous boxes of pasta or crackers probably won’t.

44. How to Pack Up the Bathroom

When packing bathroom items, divide them into boxes based on frequency of use. When settling in, you’ll need your shampoo long before your back-up supply of dental floss. Buy and pack a new, inexpensive shower curtain to put up when you reach your new place. Your house or apartment may not provide one; or the existing one might be so disgusting you want to take it down immediately.

45. Make Saran Wrap Your Friend

Saran Wrap (aka plastic wrap or stretch wrap) can be a surprisingly versatile packing material. If you’re going to use plastic wrap in your move, buy a large size at your favorite big box store, because you’ll probably go through a lot of it. Consider using it to:

  • Hold dresser drawers shut
  • Keep protective padding in place
  • Bundle small items together
  • Tie cords to appliances
  • Stop cleaning products from leaking
  • Protect surfaces from dirt and dust

46. Take Your Time with Fragile Items

To save space or fill the awkward corners of a box, use tea towels or sweatshirts to wrap fragile items. When packing and unpacking fragile things, prevent breakage by wrapping and unwrapping over a padded surface and taking your time.

47. How to Pack Jewelry

When packing jewelry and other small valuables, the goal is to protect fragile items and keep them safe. Make sure items are adequately padded, like inside a jewelry box or wrapped in protective material, so they don’t become scratched or tangled. Consider keeping these items with you rather than shipping them.

48. Drain Fuel from Equipment

If you’re moving any equipment that uses gas or oil, like a lawnmower or grill, drain the fuel before packing. Movers will not transport hazardous materials. (Nor will they prep such equipment for you unless you have previously agreed to pay for this extra service.) Use moving blankets to protect equipment during the move, and pack any detachable parts separately to prevent damage en route. Make sure that any large or wheeled equipment is held securely in place inside your moving truck.

Cross-Country Moving

49. Check Certification Laws

If you’ll be looking for work after you move, in addition to making sure you have copies of your existing certifications (as mentioned above), check the laws for your new location. Different states may require different certifications for your profession.

Professions such as the following often require different certifications for different states:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Teachers
  • Aestheticians
  • Interior designers

50. Check Local Economy and Crime Rate

Economic information should be available on the websites of the relevant state agencies where you are moving. When researching crime, look for reputable sources, like law enforcement and local newspapers; also talk to current residents to get an accurate picture and avoid misleading statistics. These facts are helpful to know if you’ll be searching for a house, apartment, or new job, and simply to understand what life is like in your new location. But don’t let numbers alone put you off; a seemingly stagnant regional economy might be booming in your industry, and a city with an overall high crime rate may have many safe neighborhoods.

51. Find the Perfect Place

If you live too far away to physically tour houses or apartments yourself, you can still find the perfect place. It just takes a little extra work, and not only on your part. When searching for a home from afar, find a real estate agent who will take plenty of time to communicate with you, sending you pictures, video of your options and in some cases, you may be able to experience a virtual reality tour. It’s the closest thing to being there. If you have a friend or family member who lives in the area and can scout neighborhoods for you, that’s great too. If not, Google Maps can provide a virtual tour (just remember some images may be outdated.) Start out with a detailed list of what you want and what you don’t. When you can’t get a personal feel for a house or neighborhood, you have to rely more on requirements (e.g. three bedrooms) and deal-breakers (e.g too far from work) to make the decision.

Tip: You can always rent for six months to a year before you buy in an unfamiliar place. This will help you get a feel for the community before committing to a mortgage.

52. Be Aware of Items 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:

  • Plants
  • Pets
  • Perishable
  • Hazardous
  • Flammable materials
  • Certain types of batteries
  • Equipment containing fuel
  • Weapons and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Some movers won’t touch heavy and difficult-to-move items like pianos, while others will.

53. Find Temporary Housing

In some situations, you may need to move out of your current home before your new home is ready to live in. This might be because your new house needs serious renovations, or your closing date does not line up with the date of your move. In these cases, you’ll need to look for temporary housing.

Option 1: Stay in a hotel (look for suites or extended stay hotels where you can cook and do your laundry) and or short-term vacation rental. Inquire with local real estate agencies for rental options.

Option 2: If you’re moving to be closer to family, staying with them might be a possibility depending on space and the length of time involved.

Option 3: If you’re being relocated for your job, your company may be able to find you temporary housing.

54. Hire Movers

If you’re moving cross-country, you will probably decide to hire professional movers to transport the bulk of your belongings. Some situations in which you might decide to D.I.Y. are if you’re moving with very few possessions (i.e. you only have to move yourself and what fits in your car), or if you are very experienced in driving rental trucks long distances. Though long-distance movers aren’t cheap, don’t assume moving yourself will cost much less – factor in the time it will take you and the costs of travel and time off work. To find movers you can trust, ask around – your friends or even your realtor might have experience with reputable companies. Get quotes from several companies to compare prices, and find out what the terms of your contract with them would entail; a seemingly lower price might simply include less services.

55. Determine If Your Furniture Will Be Moving to New Location

One constant dilemma of moving is the choice between bringing your bulky, heavy furniture with you (which usually involves professional movers) or leaving it behind and starting fresh in your new home. There are numerous factors that go into determining which choice is cost-effective and right for you. Consider:

  • The price of hiring movers compared to that of renting a truck or traveling light and taking only what you can fit in your own vehicle(s).
  • What you could realistically get for your used furniture, and how much any new furniture you’d want for your new place would cost.
  • Whether you will need the same items in your new place as you do now (a smaller home or different climate might mean different furniture anyway.)

Of course, if you love your décor and can’t imagine parting with it, the choice is easier, unless the cost of transporting is prohibitive.

56. Determine if You’ll Drive or Fly

Another dilemma in long-distance moves is whether to drive or fly to your new location.

  • Do you have a free week for a semi-leisurely cross-country drive, or would you have to make the trip in three rushed days?
  • Beyond plane tickets versus gas and hotel stays, add up transportation to and from the airport and the price of having someone move your car.
  • If you decide to fly, you can have your car shipped by a company that specializes in moving vehicles, or driven by an individual with time to make the trip.
  • Keep in mind that your car will arrive days after you do.
  • Make sure you’re properly insured for either option.

57. Schedule Appointments Into Your Timeline

When planning the timeline of your move, factor in any appointments you need to make and people you want to see one last time before you go. If you need to see your current doctor, or get together with friends, schedule this ahead of time or else you might run out of time in the whirlwind of the moving process. You might want to plan a going away gathering, or simply set aside some downtime to spend with family and friends prior to moving. Put these meetings on your moving calendar, and arrange for them to take place about a week before you leave.

58. WorkRelated Moves May Be Tax Deductible

This is true even if you are self-employed. It’s a good idea to hang on to moving-related paperwork like bills, receipts, and proof of mileage driven. If your move meets IRS requirements relating to the timing of the relocation and distance from your workplace, you can deduct some of the costs of your travel, the transportation of your belongings, insurance, setting up new utilities, and more. Because tax laws change, check with the IRS or your accountant for updated information before you file.

59. 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.

60. Research Local Resources in Your New Community

Start with your municipality’s website as well as local newspapers, blogs, and social media groups. Your town might have an official (or unofficial) Welcome Wagon-type outreach program for new residents; if not, local meetup groups are another popular way to find out what’s happening in your neighborhood or town once you’re settled in.

Apartment Moving Tips

61. Repair Minor 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 vacuuming.
  • 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.

62. 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.

63. Check Your Lease for the Rules on Giving Notice

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.

64. 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?

65. Keep Your Belongings Safe and Secure

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.

66. 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.

67. 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 stuff.

68. Measure Rooms and Doorways of New Apartment

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.

69. Take Pictures of Empty Rooms

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.

70. 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.

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