15 Apr Top 10 Tips for a Successful Move
Moving and relocating is stressful no matter what time of year it is – or even during a pandemic crisis! I’ve been unable to assist clients in their homes during the shelter in place orders, but I have been able to assist two families that left their homes in mid-March to be with family down in Southern California, meaning I’d be working in a safe environment while providing an essential business (packing services). I’m grateful for the work and for the ability to help these families out.
In this post I want to share with you what you can do to prepare for a move as soon as you know you’ll be doing one.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 tips for a successful move.
#1 – As soon as you know you’re moving (or planning to move) begin to review your items room by room to downsize and donate before the packing begins. If it feels overwhelming, break it down and just do a shelf, drawer or cabinet at a time. And get the whole family involved to help share the load! Trust me, you don’t want to pay to move items you don’t need/use/love. Long distance movers will charge you by the pound while local movers will charge by the hour. Either way you’ll save money by downsizing in advance of the move.
#2 – If you’ll be making a long distance move, begin eating through your perishable foods and anything that will expire before the move (from your pantry). Check with your movers to see if they can move food items or alcohol (some do, some don’t). These items might need to be hand-carried or used up before the move.
#3 – If you will not be hiring movers, begin packing up items you don’t need access to immediately. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with the packing days before you leave your current place (memorabilia items; items you will not use before the move). We call this eating the elephant – or doing a little bit at a time.
Do Your Homework
#4 – I recommend getting quotes from at least 3 moving companies and have them come do a walk-through in your home so you can get a sense for them. You can make your decision based on pricing, but I highly recommend taking into consideration how the move company made you feel when speaking with them (over the phone or in person). If the move company says they don’t need to do a walk-through, I’d be suspicious – no 2-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom house is the same, so why would the quote be? A walk-through means you’ll get a better estimate for the items you have, not just based on your square footage.
#5 – Movers can provide great boxes but if you want you can get a great selection from your local UHaul (where I always buy materials for moves because they have a variety of sizes and options) or Uline (online). You can also check cheapcheapmovingboxes.com or ask for gently used boxes from your neighbors through Nextdoor.com.
There is also an option for using no boxes at all – and instead renting plastic bins if you want to be eco-friendly. The only drawback is that the bins come in one size and don’t fit all belongings so you’ll end up investing in some boxes anyway (just not as many). Plus, if you over pack the plastic bins, they can be very heavy! Movers are not he biggest fan of these, especially if you have stairs at either your current home or your new home.
#6 – Speaking of boxes – make sure you buy more book, small and medium boxes. You want to keep the weight of boxes under 50lbs. Even though movers are strong, they carry up to 4 boxes at a time so please keep this in mind. Please only pack books in book or small boxes!
#7 – Try telescoping! If an item is just a little too large to fit in a box (i.e. it sticks out of the top of the box), use another box of the same size to place on top, sandwiching the item between the two boxes. Tape around the center to secure, and tape the top of the second box to secure. Mark with arrows so the movers know how to carry it (I use packing tape for this, or a magnum red sharpie marker).
#8 – Make packing paper you best friend! Ditch the bubble wrap – it provides a false sense of security. Use paper to protect your valuables (by crushing it up and stuffing it around your items), to separate items by drawer in layers, and to make sure boxes are full before closing (check out tips 5 & 8 in from blog).
The reason why is that movers stack these boxes all the way to the top of the truck (sometimes 10 boxes high). You need to make sure they do not collapse from all that weight.
While we’re at it – not all tape is created equal. The brown paper tape from UHaul might be more expensive, but it doesn’t require a tape gun, and you can easily rip it. Otherwise, I really like the Duck brand packing tape because it’s extra strong. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find this at Costco for a great deal.
Set Yourself Up for Success!
#9 – Mark your boxes for the room they will go to in the NEW place; not the room they are coming from in the old place. Oftentimes it’s the same (kitchen will go to kitchen; master bedroom will go to master bedroom), but if you never had an office or a playroom, and you want specific items to go there, please mark the box with those room names. Same if you are downsizing and you had an office or playroom, but you want items from those rooms to go into a different area (family room; bedroom). It may seem like overkill, but write this information (plus a general contents list) on three sides of the box, so you can read it no matter how it’s stacked. You’ll thank me for this tip later.
If you want to take this one step farther, label the rooms in the new house before the movers arrive so they can easily place boxes in the correct rooms.
You can even draw out floor plans and tape them to the walls or doors of the room, so movers can also see how to set up the furniture.
Level it up by using colored tape to mark boxes. I do this either to mark by destination (if some of the items are going to consignment, donation, storage, and different homes) or to give instructions to the movers and the clients (pink/red = do not pack; do not unpack; yellow = unpack first; orange = fragile; green = arrows for this way up; blue = stays with house/leave behind). You can pick whatever colors you want! I use kids crafting tape and you can find many options and styles on Amazon. Or you can try out the Ultimate Color Moving System (designed by a professional organizer, of course) from Lasting Order, and color code by room.
#10 – Movers are great for packing and moving the physical items, but professional organizers use a lot of thought and pay attention to the details. For example, once when managing movers, I saw a mover begin to pack a child’s blanket in a kitchen box (where the child had left it earlier that morning by mistake). I stopped him immediately, noting that the blanket clearly was not meant to be packed, let alone in the kitchen boxes. I know that there would’ve been a meltdown of epic proportions if that blanket had been packed – but the mover didn’t stop to consider that. Also I’ve had to stop movers from packing trash, compost and recycling – they just pack up whatever is in the house, not using much thought (not all movers, but many).
Furthermore, organizers can help pack, manage movers and get you unpacked in a matter of days with systems set up in the new home tailored just for you and your family. It takes on average 3-months to unpack fully and get settled in your new home (I’ve even seen some boxes that clients have never unpacked from a previous move). But organizers can help you get unpacked in a matter of 3-days (depending on the size crew and size of your house).
I’m hopeful that these tips will make sure your next move is successful!
If you have any additional questions about prepping for, packing, unpacking, or managing movers, please ask them in the comments below and I’ll answer them for all to see!