Moving Your Life

8 Moving Tips for a Smooth Move

Moving: it's exciting, and hectic, and maybe a little bit stressful, all at once. You've found the perfect new place, whether you're upgrading to have room for family or downsizing for retirement. Now, it's time to pack up your stuff and get going—but first, you need to get organized. Here are our top tips for moving, so when the day arrives, you'll be fully prepared.

1. Schedule your moving truck early


Image via Penske

It can be tough to get the moving truck you want, especially if you're moving at a peak time of the year or need to drop it off in a different location than pickup. The earlier you book, the better. The same goes for hiring a moving company: tips include getting an estimate, checking on insurance and licensing, and reading your contract details (yes, all of them). Make your calls now, and you'll have one less thing to worry about as you pack.

2. Be smart about storage

If you're downsizing, this is an easy one—you'll probably need a storage unit for some of your things. But even if your new home is about the same size, consider that storage spaces like the attic, basement, garage, and under the stairs may be different, or may not exist at all. Be aware of how much space you have, and consider self-storage if you have more stuff than you can comfortably fit into your new home. A move is an ideal time to get a new storage unit because you are already sorting and packing, and you'll have a truck available. Don't forget to check out our tips for maximizing storage unit space before you pack.

3. Treat priceless items with care

Most of us have things that would be difficult or impossible to replace if they got lost or damaged. Use your personal vehicle to transport these priceless items, like old family photos, electronic backups of your hard drive, and important paperwork like your birth certificate, house deed, and passport. Keep sensitive electronics and photos in your home until moving day arrives, and bring them inside your new place as soon as possible, to protect them from damage due to sunlight or extreme temperatures.

4. Try out some apps

The saying "there's an app for that" goes for moving, too. There are loads of apps available with moving tips and checklists, like Moving Planner, which has customizable lists to keep track of what's in every box—you can even share them with others who are helping you pack. Moving Checklist Pro is a task-oriented app to help you remember things like filling out change-of-address forms and updating your utilities, which we'll discuss later.

5. Pack a suitcase of essentials

This is especially necessary if you're moving long distance and hired a moving company. You'll want to pack a suitcase with enough essentials to get you through until your belongings are delivered. In addition to clothes and toiletries, make sure you have basic kitchen supplies and any documentation you may need, for example to start a new job.

Even if you're moving locally, pack up a suitcase with all your essential clothes and toiletries for the next week. Then when you get to your new place, you'll be able to rely on the suitcase for your first few days, so you don't feel rushed to unpack everything to find your essential items.

6. Perfect your packing techniques

stacked flat cardboard boxes

Image via Jill/Flickr

Tips for packing house are some of the most important out there. While it may sound appealing to go the cheap route and use whatever packing supplies you can find for free, this strategy could leave you footing the bill later to replace items that didn't survive the move. The best way to truly have a smooth move is to pack carefully and intelligently.

Durable items like books can go in recycled boxes (which should be small and similarly sized), but breakable items should go in new, sturdy cardboard boxes with the appropriate cushioning around them. When packing fine china, don't wrap it in newspaper or anything with text on it, because the ink can rub off onto the china. Also, pack plates on end to take stress off the thinner centers of the plates, which can break if a lot of weight is put on them. Our facilities have packing and moving supplies available, making your move even easier.

7. Label boxes by room

Unloading a moving truck can be incredibly chaotic if you have to open each box to figure out what room it needs to go in. Even if you write down what's in the box, the people helping you unload may not know what room you want that stuff to end up in. Clearly label each box with the name of the room it goes in. You can also write a few words to describe what's in the box, which can help you prioritize what to unpack first as you get settled in.

8. Don’t forget utilities

You might be thinking so much about tips for moving out, you forget about moving in! You would hate to arrive at your new home only to find that you don't have electricity or water. Call your future utility companies at least a week or two in advance to get essentials turned on. You should also make an appointment to set up your cable or satellite TV service as soon as you're moved in. And don't forget to end service to your current address. You don't want to get stuck with bills for services rendered after you've moved out.

Whether you're relocating across town or across the country, you want to make sure you move house smoothly. Our tips and tricks for packing and moving will help you get organized, communicate effectively, and keep your sanity during a time that's sure to be busy.

About the author

The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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