Moving is always going to be stressful no matter how planned you are. Do your best to avoid these mistakes and your move may just go according to plan.
We all know moving is hard work. One way to make it harder is to make one of these moving mistakes. Some of them will cause minor irritation and late nights, but others can create full-blown moving day disasters. Below are the worst moving mistakes you can make.
Waiting to book your moving crew. You want to book early, especially during peak season (May through August). Wait too long and you may not get your ideal dates. Worst case scenario may mean you don’t get the dates you need, costing you money and creating additional headaches with jobs, schools and home sales. But because most people start packing after they have a moving date, waiting can also shorten the amount of time you have to pack. The best time to reserve your movers is 6 to 8 weeks before you’ll move.
Underestimating how much work a move is. If you haven’t moved in many years, don’t shrug it off and think moving’s now big deal. Moving has a lot of parts: There’s finding a home, getting estimates, planning the move, getting all of your addresses and utilities switched, to say nothing of packing and unpacking. So acknowledge up front how much work your move will entail and make a plan. Divide large tasks like packing into small tasks (packing the kitchen, packing the garage) and set deadlines for them. And don’t think that means you have to do everything: Hire out the cleaning, use a packing service, or just make sure every family member helps out.
Not being packed. It’s easy to fall behind on packing, but the best case scenario here is that you stay up all night, rushing to get everything done. This can lead to sloppy packing, which increases the chance that you’ll end up with damaged items. Worst case, you find the movers are in the driveway and large parts of your home still need to be packed. If you aren’t ready when the movers show up, you can incur extra costs as they wait for you to finish packing, or even have to reschedule. Create a packing schedule and begin your packing three or four weeks before moving day.
Packing too much. Seriously, you don’t need to move everything. Take the time to identify items you no longer need, that are broken, or are worn and can be replaced in your new home. Most moves are charged by the pound, so moving less will save you money. And resist the temptation to cram everything into as few boxes as possible. Boxes that are too heavy can result in dropped boxes (or worse, the bottom falling out) and injuries. If the box lid won’t lie flat, it’s too full and some items should be removed. And if you can’t move the box out of the middle of the room, it’s too heavy and should be repacked.
Losing or not finishing paperwork. Keep your papers organized, and hang on to everything, but especially your estimate, move order and bill of lading and/or inventory. Be sure everything is signed as required. Most importantly, double check your inventory and bill of lading against what comes off the moving van, noting any visible damage to items and boxes before signing off on your move. If you need to file a claim, your inventory and bill of lading will be used to verify a damaged item’s original condition.
Just forwarding your mail. Many people assume that all they need to do is change their address with the post office, but you should also change your address with every institution that sends you anything of importance. That includes doctor’s offices, employers, insurers, financial institutions, utilities and subscription services. Do this the week before you move and reduce the chances of the new residents getting your credit card offers and sensitive information after the forwarding order expires.
All of these can have serious repercussions, but perhaps the worst moving mistake is using an unlicensed mover. Many unlicensed movers run scams, ranging from low estimates, exorbitant extra charges, to demanding additional payments before delivery and taking a deposit and then not showing up. Protect yourself. Make sure your movers are reputable and licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation before you make a reservation.