The difference between a smooth and a stressful move almost always comes down to planning. Moves are complex. One wrong decision can lead to major problems down the line. In order to keep everything running seamlessly, here are a few common moving mistakes to avoid.
Doing It Yourself
Many homeowners have tried to save money by renting a truck and asking their friends to help them, only to discover the job’s more daunting than they realized. Friends might cancel. Loading the truck often takes longer than expected. Without the right equipment or training, maneuvering heavy objects can lead to damage or injury.
Professional movers help you sidestep these problems. Not only do they arrive on time, their experience ensures everything gets loaded as quickly and safely as possible.
Waiting to Contact a Moving Company
As soon as you know when you want to move, start calling moving companies. Dates fill up fast, particularly if you’re planning to move during the summer ‒ peak moving season. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that everything will be booked on your desired move date.
Not Creating a Checklist
Moving is complicated. Without a checklist, something’s bound to get overlooked. Before you start, sit down and write out everything that needs to get done before, during, and after your move. This might include:
- Giving notice to your landlord
- Booking a storage unit
- Purchasing moving supplies
- Disassembling furniture
- Updating your banking and insurance information
- Updating your driver’s license
- Arranging a babysitter
- Defrosting your refrigerator
- Recycling moving boxes
Once you’ve finished your timeline, go down the list and knock out each task one by one.
Not Budgeting Time to Pack
Organizing your belongings generally takes longer than expected. Don’t wait until the night before you move to get started. Set some time aside, one hour a night for instance, to pack each room of your house. The sooner you start, the easier it will be. You’ll need at least two weeks for a four-bedroom house. Begin with the rooms you use least (e.g. garage, attic) and end with the rooms you use most (e.g. bedroom, bathroom). Giving yourself sufficient time will greatly ease your stress.
Being Frugal with Packing Peanuts & Packing Paper
Even the most careful movers can’t stop items from shifting in their boxes. They can’t stop them from rattling when they set them down either. It’s a fact of life. That’s why packing paper and packing peanuts are so important. They absorb impact and protect your valuables.
However, people sometimes add less padding in order to fit more items in each box. It isn't worth it. Boxes are cheap. Your belongings aren’t. If you don’t have enough peanuts or packing paper, use socks or rags ‒ old clothing makes great padding!
Not Labeling Boxes
Without labels, there’s no way to know what’s in your boxes. Do they go in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom? In a small apartment, it might not matter. But it certainly does in a house.
Unless you want to spend your first few days carrying your belongings back and forth from room to room, label your boxes. That way the movers know where each one goes and you won’t have to go through them one by one.
Putting Heavy Items in Large Boxes
Cardboard has weight limits. In order to avoid overload, place your heavy belongings in small boxes. That way the box will be light enough to carry and you won’t have to worry about it tearing open when it's lifted.
Every household accumulates extraneous items. Free t-shirts. Old books. Worn out appliances. Bringing them to your new home is time-consuming and expensive. Instead, when you’re packing, set aside any items you no longer need. Once you've finished, you can either throw them out, donate them to charity, or hold a garage sale.
Forgetting to Set Up or Cancel Utilities
Utilities in your old home should be shut off the day after you leave and utilities in your new home should be turned on the day before you arrive. Call your utility providers at least a week ahead of time to make sure everything is arranged, otherwise you might end up without water, power, or internet in your new home while still paying for them in your old home.
Not Creating an Essentials Bag
After carrying everything into your new home, the first thing you’ll want to do is relax. But if you’ve packed away your essentials, you’ll have to empty boxes just to change clothes and brush your teeth.
Save yourself some effort by packing an essentials bag. It holds only what you’ll need that first night, fresh clothes and toothpaste for instance. That way, you don’t have to worry about unpacking until you’ve had a chance to rest and unwind.
Failing to Research Moving Insurance
Every moving company is required to cover your belongings in the unlikely event that something gets lost or damaged. However, the federally mandated minimum (60 cents per pound) may not be enough to replace your valuables. Ask your moving company what type of coverage they provide. You might want to purchase a stronger plan, just in case.