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There is just no way around it, moving is stressful. It does not matter if it is your first time or your twelfth time, you are doing it yourself or hiring professional movers, you are going to have stress, but there are definitely things you can do to minimize the stress of moving. Here are a few tips we have for you to make moving a better experience.
Do you know what it is like to have to rip through the moving truck looking for toilet paper because someone is trapped in the bathroom looking for the magical paper of life? Yeah, that happened to us. Now, when we move, we make sure there are a few rolls of T.P. handy in the car and make sure there are a couple of rolls in each bathroom when we first arrive.
If you are moving with the help of friends and family, rent dollies…the moving kind, not the baby kind. Using dollies allows you to move stuff faster and with less energy meaning you will be done sooner and have more energy for unpacking. You can rent them for about $10-15/day from many truck rental companies.
Yes, the appliance dolly does make a difference for appliances. Appliances are a whole lot less likely to slip off the appliance dolly, but the bigger issue is utility dollies aren’t designed to go up and down stairs like an appliance dolly.
To make your labeling is easier for everyone to read, use wide tip permanent markers. Be consistent with where you write the destination room, so people know where to look when unpacking the truck.
Not every box needs to be unpacked immediately, but some are high priority (remember the T.P. lesson?). Thoroughly label what is in the box and label the room it belongs to on top and on all four sides of the box (yes, all four, trust me).
Ideally, you will write down what is in the box on the top and on at least two sides because when you are dealing with stacks and stacks of boxes, it is not always easy to find the side that is labeled. We also liked to put bright stickers on boxes that were “Priority One,” or “Unpack First” on move-in day to make them easier to find.
The best way to keep track of your permanent marker, packing tape, and everything else you want to keep handy is to keep it all in one spot in a designated place. When you have a packing basket, you toss everything you need back in the basket as soon as you are done using it, and you know you can always find what you need in the basket…assuming you remember to use it. A packing basket sure beats carrying everything from room to room in your hands.
If you wait to pack a box till your friends arrive on moving day, you might find yourself with fewer friends the next week. If you hired movers, you might find you owe them a ton more money if you hold up the show by packing while they wait. Don’t be that person who does almost nothing till moving day.
Ideally, you will have pretty much everything packed up by the night before moving day. If you leave a few empty boxes handy for moving day, you will also easily be able to pack anything you missed.
To save yourself some breath and to minimize items in the wrong room, post a map near the door everyone will go through as the truck is unloaded so people will know where to take stuff without asking you. Put a sign at the door of every room labeling which room it is. Make sure you make the signs match what is on the boxes, so if the boxes say, “the girls’ room” make sure the sign says, “girls’ room” and not “Sue and Jean’s room.”
When you under-pack boxes, there is a lot of room for items to shift around. That shifting can lead to broken stuff. So, make sure you fill the boxes, but not so full that you create bulges that weaken the box.
If there is a gap at the top of the box, make sure you fill in the gap, so the items are level with the top flaps of the box. If you don’t fill in the gap, and a smaller, heavy box is placed on top, you might find the top of your under-filled box weakens and buckles.
Packing paper is like newspaper without the print. Sure, it does cost money, but you won’t have to go back and wash all the newsprint ink off of the stuff you wrapped. This is a huge time saver.
If you have a local newspaper office, you can ask for “end rolls” which is the paper left on the roll for printing their newspapers. You can often get these for super cheap and sometimes even free.
Towels and clothes you don’t need the first few days after move-in day work great as filler. Why box them up to use paper filler? This keeps the number of boxes and the amount of filler you need down to a minimum.
Boxes serve two purposes. They hold your stuff in a convenient way for transporting, and they protect your stuff. The more boxes get used, the weaker they become. he corners often get dented in older boxes creating weaknesses in the boxes.
When you have weak corners, you are a lot more likely to find the boxes get crushed and sometimes you will watch a stack of boxes topple over because a bottom box gives way.
While we are on the subject, stack same size boxes on top of one another making sure the corners line up. Over 50% of a box’s strength comes from the corners and when the corners aren’t lined up, you are putting weight on the weaker points of the boxes.
Wardrobe boxes make it really easy to pack your closets. They have a hanger bar. You just leave everything on their hangers and move it to the box. When you get to your new home, you then hang all your stuff in the closet without having to mess with getting the clothes on hangers. If you get the tall wardrobe boxes, you can pack a few items under your shirts, and we found we can stow some lighter things on both sides of the bars at the top as well.
One thing we found very handy was getting a couple of extra wardrobe boxes for our bedding. We strip the beds on moving day, dump all the bedding in these boxes (it goes super-fast), and make sure the bedding boxes are near the door of the truck. If nothing else, we get to sleep in our comfy beds that night because the bedding is handy, and it took no time to pack.
When moving furniture that you can disassemble, such as most beds, put all the hardware in a single zip-lock bag. Label the bag and then use a zip tie to attach that bag to the furniture they came from (you will likely need to put a whole in the bag to attach it). This will make sure you won’t be searching for the hardware when you need it for reassembly.
Having a cordless drill sure comes in handy for assembling things and for putting new screws in the wall…but it will be useless if you used up most of the battery while packing up the old place. Plug that battery in the night before the move and make sure that drill and a few other tools are handy when you get to the new place.
Your moving crew is going to get thirsty. Rather than worrying about finding cups, make sure you have plastic cups and a permanent marker handy. Why the permanent marker, you ask? Since all the cups look the same, write everyone’s name on their cup and there will be no question about whose-is-whose.
Will you have small children their too? Here is a tip we found helpful. Since they may have a hard time reading their name, write their name, then make a simple picture on the cup that is unique for each child. They don’t have to be complicated. One kid can have the sun, another a flower, and another Darth Vader.
If you use professional movers, get a “bonded quote.” This is a quote where they promise not to exceed the dollar amount on the quote. Don’t accept a quoted price over the phone based on a conversation with you. A moving company representative should come see all of your stuff, make an estimate, and hand you a piece of paper with the estimate.
It goes without saying that you should use a company with a good reputation. You don’t save money if the company comes up with excuses to charge you more or they break a whole bunch of your stuff.
Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance might not cover your stuff for damage while it is sitting in a moving truck. Yes, it is unlikely that your moving truck will NOT catch on fire, but it has happened.
Replacing all of your belongings could cost tens of thousands of dollars if something happens to the moving truck, so make sure you have some sort of coverage. You can often get moving insurance from the moving company or truck rental company you will use for the move.
There are some things you want wrapped together but for which you don’t want to use tape. If you have a roll of plastic wrap, which sticks to itself, you can wrap it together without issues from tape glue.
You can use plastic wrap for all sorts of things. You can wrap up dressers to keep the drawers from falling out. You can wrap all the handles of your garden tools together for easier transportation. You can wrap all your silverware in your silverware tray.
Even if you use professional movers, you want to have some friends there with you on move-in day. There is ALWAYS something they can do to make move-in day easier, like run to the store, move some boxes, or tell you “you are doing great!” Trust me, we don’t move without them.
Are you moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone? You likely have “instant friends” waiting for you in the new city, you just need to connect with them. If you have an interest, hobby, or faith community, connect to people within those groups, and see if anyone is willing to hang out for the day, just for moral support.
If that doesn’t work, bring a friend and buy them a plane ticket home. Trust me, having them there is worth the extra money.
The first thing you can do when packing your house is…get rid of everything you are no longer using. Moving is a great time to purge old toys kids no longer use, that broken chair you always meant to fix, and that wedding gift from Aunt Bertha that you couldn’t get rid of before because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
Next, move to packing all the off-season items and the decorations. If you are not going to use it before the move, you might as well pack it now.
We admit, it is harder to make reservations if you are moving into a new house, because you don’t know what kind of delays may occur, pushing out your move-in day. Yet, scheduling early gives you the power of choice. You are more likely to get the mover you want or the truck you want on the day you want the earlier you can schedule your moving day.
When a team is hard at work and “focused on the mission” of the move, they will burn a lot of calories. No one will want to run to the store, nor will many want to even take a long lunch break. Give folks some healthy snacks to get them through the day.
One of our favorite snacks for moving is trail mix. It has carbs for an immediate energy boost, but also proteins and fats to help with the long haul without feeling hungry again in 15 minutes.
Take pictures of stuff BEFORE you disassemble them, so you remember how to reassemble them. This works for wiring on your TV and electronics as well as furniture.
Make sure you get your mail forwarded to your new address. Bonus tip: sign up for mail alerts so you see what is expected in your mailbox each day. It helps protect against fraud and stolen mail.
You will need to let a whole bunch of people and businesses know your knew address. We found we often forgot about some businesses until they sent us something in the mail. Start a list so you make sure you let everyone know your new address.
As soon as you know your moving day, let your utility companies know. You want to make sure your utilities are on at the new place when you arrive…and you don’t want to pay for someone else using utilities in the old place.
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