10 Packing and Moving Tips to Make Your Big Day Less Hectic
To say planning a move can be stressful is an understatement. Aside from taking time off work and updating all of your contact information you also have to figure out the actual logistics of the move: packing, transporting, and unloading everything. The packing portion alone can take days! Luckily, there’s a glimmer of hope amidst all the boxes and tape. Here are 10 tried and true tips from seasoned professionals to make this move a little easier.
Tip 1: Use Clear Bins for First-Night Items
Pack any items you might need immediately in clear plastic bins. Once you’ve finished unloading the truck, you’re going to be tired. Rummaging through boxes to find the kid’s PJs or a roll of toilet paper after a long day doesn’t sound too good, does it? By packing these items in clear bins, you can see exactly where they are easier than you would with a labeled cardboard box. Likewise, consider packing an overnight bag for the first evening in your new home. Include everything you need for the night and morning—favorites for the kids, toothbrushes, contacts, fresh clothes, and (most importantly) coffee.
Tip 2: Extra Cushion for Fragile Items Without the Extra Cost
We all worry about our fragile items when we move. The thought of your vintage Pyrex collection bumping around in the back of a moving truck isn’t very reassuring. Instead of spending extra money on bubble wrap, use your clothes. It’s just as effective and costs you nothing. Plus, you’ll save some space in the moving truck by packing the two together. Wrap items in sweaters and other thick clothing for extra protection.
Tip 3: Buy the Boxes You Need—and then Buy a Few More
Running back and forth from your home to a packaging store will increase your stress exponentially, especially when there’s such an easy solution: purchase some extra supplies ahead of time. When it comes to boxes and other moving supplies, a little extra is always better than not enough. There are plenty of uses for boxes even after your move is done, so having some spares on hand will never be a waste.
Tip 4: Get Estimates From at Least Three Moving Companies
Spend some time researching before you hire a mover; not all companies are the same. Get estimates from several companies, and be sure to read online reviews on each. Ask about their insurance coverage and how they do their estimates. For example, interstate move rates depend on the weight and distance of the move. So when you get a quote for moving from Chattanooga, TN to Boston, MA or somewhere else, the moving company should perform an in-home estimate to get an idea of how much cargo you’re moving. Some states require moving companies to provide a signed, binding estimate.
Tip 5: Make Comparing Moving Services Fast and Easy
It’s easy to lose handwritten notes and slips of paper during a big move. Try creating a spreadsheet with pertinent information for each. Include estimates, insurance, certifications, review ratings, and any other information that’s important to you. While it’s important to get plenty of estimates, it can be easy to lose track of different rates and contingencies. Keeping them on a spreadsheet will help you compare companies easily; for example, maybe one is more expensive but has better ratings and a faster turnaround time.
Tip 6: Take the Chore Out of Hooking Up Electronics
Hooking up electronics is never fun. With so many colored wires, ports, and configurations, it can feel like you’re dismantling a weapon of mass destruction, not hooking up a DVD player. Make your life easier by taking a photo of the connections before you unplug everything. When it’s time to hook everything back up, you’ll have a handy photo as a guide.
Tip 7: Vacuum-Sealed Bags Are Your Best Friend
Space saving vacuum bags are one of the best inventions ever made. You might have questioned the reliability of these “as seen on TV” plastic bags, but they really do work—and well. You can shrink a whole pile of sweaters down to the size of one in just seconds. Invest in a variety pack of these bags, and don’t skimp. Get high quality ones that will hold suction and resist tears. Use extra bags to keep toys and other loose items in one place.
Tip 8: Label Each Box by Where It Will Live
Aside from writing the contents on the outside of each box, jot down the room where it should end up. Then, pack the house backwards—with front rooms in the back of the truck. As you unload, the flow of boxes through your home will be much smoother. By unloading bedrooms first, you can start setting them up while the movers do the rest. Label the boxes on the tops and the sides so you can see where they go from any angle.
Tip 9: Get Your Bathroom Ready Before the Move
There’s nothing like a long, hot shower after a busy moving day. Before the big event, give the bathroom a good scrub. You’re not going to have the energy to clean and set up the bathroom after the move. If you get it cleaned and ready to go (clean towels and toiletries), you can hop right in before calling it a night. Speaking of toiletries, here’s a handy idea; remove the cap, cover the opening in saran wrap, and replace the cap. This will keep them from leaking or spilling, even if they’re upside down.
Tip 10: Do a Before and After Check of Your Furniture
Check the condition of furniture and other items as soon as they arrive at your new home. A good moving company will pay extra attention to these items, but little bumps and scratches can happen to even the best of movers. If you notice something dented or damaged, bring it up immediately. The movers will help you file a claim through their insurance. Take photos of the damage, as well.
Overall, take it easy on yourself. Don’t get too stressed. Moving is a chore, but think about how exciting it will be to decorate your new home and explore the neighborhood! The process doesn’t have to be a cloud looming over your head; a little preparation goes a long way.
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