City Guides Moving

21 Moving Tips for 2021

black family packing boxes having fun

For many of us, the New Year represents a time for a new start. 2021, in particular, is especially welcome due to the overwhelming difficulty of 2020 for much of the world. Many of our CubeSmart customers have indicated that they are ready for a change in 2021 – be it a new job, new habit, or new place to live.

If you're on the hunt for moving tips for a planned 2021 relocation, you're not alone. According to some reports, more than half of respondents are already on the hunt for a new home or plan to be within the coming year.

We've conducted our own (extremely informal) polling among CubeSmart teammates and customers for the top 21 tips and tricks for moving in 2021, so keep reading to get the advice you need – straight from those of us who've ‘been there and done that.'

Top 21 Tips for Moving and Packing

1. Clean and dust your stuff before you move it. Take the time to clean your personal belongings before packing them away for moving. It's hard to get off to a fresh start in your new accommodations with dirty or dusty belongings, and you won't want to take the time to clean them when you're unpacking.

taping a moving box closed

2. Get quality moving materials. Make your life a lot easier by investing in quality moving materials. Every CubeSmart location sells boxes, tape, and other moving supplies. There are all sorts of products out there that might be useful, depending on what exactly you're moving. My favorite general material is packing paper. Think of a giant stack of newspapers without the ink. It is super handy, cheap, and easy to use to pack fragile items.

3. Have the right moving tools. In their blog post Moving Safety Tips for a Drama-Free Move, The Storage Queens recommend using a dolly, lifting straps, furniture sliders, and gloves to minimize wear and tear on your body during your move. These might seem like an unnecessary expense, but protecting your physical health during something as stressful as a move is a must. The last thing you want to be dealing with is a sore back or torn-up hands.

4. Use your things . . . to pack your things. Be creative when you're packing and use what you've got on hand. Wrap a mirror or framed picture in a beach towel. Stuff (clean) socks into dishware. Pack empty suitcases with your clothes. You may be surprised at how easy it is to pack efficiently and effectively with items you've already got.

5. Rent a self-storage unit. One of the best moving tips is to rent a self-storage unit to help you strategically plan and execute your relocation. Many CubeSmart customers lease a unit to stash personal items when staging a house for sale or finding a sublessor on a rental apartment. Another time storage comes in handy is when people move in together and find they have duplicates of items. Nobody needs two toasters in the kitchen, but it's good to have a spare. Enter, storage.

6. Cull everything. Similar to the point above, now is the time to cull your living quarters of any extraneous items you can. Take a good hard look at the belongings you've accumulated and divide them into five piles: Store, Trash, Donate, Sell, and Bring. You may be surprised at what you realize you can do without for the time being – or forever – or what you have that someone else might need or want.

7. When I say ‘cull everything,' I am definitely including the plunger. Here's the best moving tip of the entire article: never pack the plunger. Just don't. Do yourself a favor and bid it a fond farewell as you toss it into the trash bin at your old abode. New place, new plunger.

8. Donate, donate, donate. Moving is a fantastic time to take stock of what you have versus what you actually use. It's also a fantastic time to donate anything extra. There is even an organization called Move for Hunger that will take your unopened, non-perishable food items when you move to help feed local families in need. You can also donate them to your local food bank or food closet. Many thrift stores will also let you schedule a time for donation pickup, saving you the trip and hassle of dropping your items off yourself.

9. Don't move if you're sick. Of course, this is of critical importance during COVID-19. But even when we've moved on from the COVID-19 virus in particular, it will still be important to make sure you're at your healthy best when you're moving. You do not want to deal with the stress and fatigue of a move at a time when your body is trying to heal. It might seem like you can't, but trust me: you can always reschedule. 

10. Schedule your move mid-month and/or mid-week. Speaking of scheduling, you can often get better rates (or at least better availability) if you schedule your move mid-month, mid-week, or both! If you've absolutely got to move at the end of the month, start locking down your reservations today. This leads us to the next tip for moving and packing…

11. Start today. One of the best packing tips for moving I ever got was to ‘start today.' It's probably safe to say that if you're reading articles like this, it means the time to move is fast approaching. Take my advice and start digging into it today. Whether that means calling to get moving quotes or reserving a self-storage unit online or dusting your knick-knacks, it's a start. Make it happen today.

box of essentials - moving

12. Pack a box of essentials. One of the other moving tips the Storage Queens mention is to pack a box or suitcase of essentials. Think what you need for the first night and morning in your new home: sheets, prescriptions, change of clothing, hand soap, pet food, toilet paper, coffee maker, corkscrew – you get the picture. This is especially important if you've hired a moving company and won't have access to all of your stuff immediately.

13. Make a tool tote. Similar to your box of essentials, you're gonna want a "tool tote." Think of a bag with items like tape, screwdrivers (flat-head and Phillips-head), measuring tape, rubber bands, and boxcutters. Don't forget the Allen wrench or hex key for all that IKEA furniture. Take it from me: there's nothing more frustrating than not being able to find the tool you need in the middle of a move.

14. Snap a picture of the back of your electronics. Before you unplug a single cord, take pictures of the back of your electronic devices so you can seamlessly recreate the magic at your new place. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say – so it must definitely be worth a few misplaced electronics set-up guides.

15. Make a list of everyone and every business you need to notify of your new address. A good place to start is by making a list of the bills you pay each month: Internet, cable, electricity, garbage – you get the drift. They all need to be notified that you're moving, and when you'll no longer need their service. Others to inform as soon as possible include banks (don't forget to order new checks!), credit card companies, and employers.

dog sitting on moving boxes

16. If you can, hire the pros. Here's a hot moving tip: there's really nothing like outsourcing it. Companies will do everything for you from delivering moving supplies to packing up every item in your home (including the contents of waste-paper baskets, ask me how I know) to simply showing up and moving boxes you've already packed. In general, they are extremely efficient and will make your life – and move – 1000 times easier. Of course, there are always horror stories so be sure to . . .

17. Ask your network for moving company recommendations. Oftentimes, good moving companies can be found by word-of-mouth. Start asking friends, neighbors and colleagues about their experiences with moving companies, and also be sure to check online reviews. Get quotes from at least three moving companies before deciding who to use. 

18. Get cash for tips. Movers accept (and expect) cash tips. There are all sorts of ways to calculate what you should give, but basically budget for between $20 – $60 per person, per day. And make sure you've got the cash in your wallet on ‘go day' so as not to have to drop everything and run to find an ATM while your movers stand around waiting.

19. Make sure the moving truck has a parking spot. Depending on where you're moving, this may or may not be a big deal. To a house with a driveway? Not a big deal. To an apartment in midtown Manhattan? A huge deal. The pros generally know how to negotiate parking, but if you're doing it on your own, be sure to scope out the situation ahead of time and maybe even invest in a few orange cones to make your life easier. If is always a good idea to let neighbors know what you're up to; they might even have some moving tips to help you navigate the parking on the big day.  

cat in a box

20. Make sure your pets are out of the picture at the old place – and the new. One of the best tips for moving is to make sure your pets are being taken care of somewhere other than the place being moved out of or the place being moved into. During the commotion of a move, there are simply too many chances for a scared or stressed animal to escape through an open door. Don't risk it. Plan for them to be boarded with a friend or a professional until you've settled into your new home and can welcome them with your full attention.

21. Bring a door stopper. Speaking of open doors, be sure to have a door stopper on hand at both your old place and new place. Another of the best moving tips is to take a rubber band from your trusty tool tote, and string it across one doorknob and then cross it over the door latch and secure it on the second doorknob. Voila! No locked doors.

So now you've read our 21 tips for moving and packing, tell us: what'd we miss? Everyone who's been around this block before has their own special ways of moving. For instance, I buy several bags of Donettes white powdered doughnuts. I find they take the edge off, for me at least, and I'd never move without them. Tell us your moving tips in the comments below!

About the author

Bree Neely

Bree Neely is a communications expert and former Brooklynite based out of Denver, Colorado. She is co-founder of Direct Object, a marketing firm serving national B2B and B2C clients. When not tapping away at her keyboard, she keeps busy traveling, skiing and overseeing a variety of children and animals.

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