Moving tips and checklists. Everyone’s got them. But we thought, what are those top moving that the relocation specialists seem to know? We talked to relocation experts across the country to get their best tips. Plus a moving checklist to download too! (See, we’ve got you covered!)
Since you are moving and in a hurry, here’s a summary of our moving tips, with details below.
Top 10 Moving Tips
- Downsize your move by selling what you don’t need. Don’t move something only to throw it out during unpacking.
- Schedule your move to avoid peak moving days. Scheduling on a weekday can save you money.
- Avoid online rental scams by doing your research.
- Get multiple quotes to get the cheapest moving company. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
- Pack a bag for day one. Include what you would need for a night at a hotel. One bag per family member.
- Pack a box for week one. Include all your essentials for a week long stay, so you can unpack as you have time.
- Keep all important documents together. Pack these in your car.
- Take pictures of your electronics before you start packing. This will shortcut setting them up in your new home.
- Get free moving boxes to save costs. Just make sure to get the right ones.
- Set up your mail forwarding online.But don’t forget to update your address directly with creditors and insurance companies.
And the Best Moving Checklist ever created (because of course you need a checklist!)
Downsize Your Move by Selling What You Don’t Need
Our first moving tip: when in doubt, throw it out.
Packing your home for a move is a great opportunity to downsize and get rid of things you don’t want. You don’t want to pay to move something, only to unpack and deposit it directly into the trash can.
In general, lower cost items and bulky items will be easier to re-home using local resources. Examples include Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and LetGo.
Sell new or smaller items online. Unfamiliar with online selling? Here’s a full review of eBay versus Craigslist vs. Amazon for reselling your stuff.
If you can’t sell it, you can also donate it. For cost cutting reasons, many charity organizations will no longer pick up large furniture donations. College H.U.N.K.S Hauling Junk and Moving is a national chain moving company that works in partnership with Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Not only will they pick up your furniture donation (for a fee), but they will also text you a copy of the donation receipt once the item has been delivered.
Have something that no one will want? College H.U.N.K.S. can also do a dump run for you. And, they can move the rest of it to your new home.
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Schedule Your Move to Avoid Peak Moving Days
Peak moving season is April to September, with the busiest time being weekends and the beginning and end of each month. June, July and August are the busiest months for moving.
Ryan Carrigan, co-founder of MoveBuddha, an online move planning site, recommends that you try to schedule your move for a weekday. “Avoiding the weekends and end of the month can get you a better rate on a moving company or rental truck,” he says.
Ryan also recommends that if you are hiring a moving company, book the earliest morning time slot available. “The moving crew will be fresh so they’ll get the job done faster and typically do a better job.”
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Ask About the People Who Will Handle Your Move
Cheap isn’t always the best. This is everything you own, and you want to make sure it gets there safely and in one piece.
Houston-based 3MenMovers has a 20-question mover quality checklist of things to ask your movers.
They recommend confirming the amount of experience the company has with local moves, and whether movers and packers pass a criminal background check and regular drug screen.
If you have special items like a glass topped desk, glass-front china closet, piano or gun safe, you’ll want to schedule a team that knows how to handle those items.
Get Multiple Quotes to get the Best Moving Company
Julia Campbell, relocation specialist with Move.org recommends that you price shop and compare movers and moving services.
“Whether you’re going DIY with a rental truck or hiring a full-service mover to take care of everything for you, we recommend getting information about pricing and services from at least three companies. Use the features that add convenience and ease to your move, but don’t pay for things you don’t need,” says Julia.
Moving tips usually tell you to look for the cheapest moving company. But make sure to watch out for scams and compare apples to apples.
One scam? The False Movers Quote. In this scenario, the moving company comes to your house, looks at your belongings and gives an estimate. But come moving day, they forgot a few items and those will be extra. Research the moving company online to make sure they have positive reviews.
Pack a Bag for Day One
That first day of your move, you will be tired, sore and (possibly) grumpy. That may even continue the whole first week. Plan ahead.
Our relocation specialist with Move.org, Julia, recommends that you pack an overnight bag (one per person) to put in your car. “Keep all the essentials (and a few days’ worth of clothes) in a duffel or suitcase separate from your moving boxes. This ensures you’ll have what you need if your truck gets held up or you’re too tired to sort through belongings after you unload.”
Include all your toiletries, medicines and other personal items, 2 changes of clothing, the kids’ tablets (and chargers). Include a special treat for the family, like a favorite snack or a new game.
Pack a Box for Week One
Now that you have day one covered, next, think ahead and pack week-long essentials. This recommendation comes from Sophie Kaemmerle, home improvement expert with NeighborWho, an online background check platform that lets you check out your neighborhood before you move.
“Storing your belongings into boxes, packing them into a truck, driving them to a new location, unpacking the truck, and sorting boxes into their designated rooms is impossible to do within a few days,” says Sophie. “Rather than stowing everything away and having to spend hours searching for your work shoes, prepare a bag of essentials for the first week after you move. Treat it as though you are packing for a week-long trip.”
Finally, Samantha Pragenzer of Simply Organized, recommends having a week one box of household basics as well.
“One of the problems we run into during a move is not knowing where the essentials are. Pack a box with things like dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, paper towels, cleaning products, wipes, hand soap, toilet paper, disposable plates and silverware, napkins, a shower curtain, pen and paper, some clothing and food. Consider keeping a few boxes stashed away that contain these items and put them in a place where they won’t get buried with the other boxes.”
Keep all Important Documents Together
Sophie at Neighborwho.com recommends that you keep all important papers with you. “Gather all important documents and pack them together in a protective folder that you will keep with you. These should include Social Security cards, passports, birth certificates, tax information, health information and school records,” she says.
As an additional backup, scan copies of these documents and keep a copy in a secure online folder.
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Take a Picture of Your Electronics Before the Move
Remember how long it took to get that surround sound system set up?
Take pictures of your electronics before you disconnect them, and label all power cords. When you get to your new home, reconnecting your electronics will be much easier.
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Get Free Moving Boxes to Save Costs
Stacy Fisher, a freelance author for The Spruce, has 13 recommendations of places to get free moving boxes.
Among her recommendations for free moving boxes are:
- Craigslist (search in the Free section or enter “free moving boxes” in the search)
- Facebook Neighborhood group
- Local retailers (just ask the manager before you start digging in their trash)
- Recycling centers (give those Amazon.com boxes new life!)
- Apartment complexes (check with the apartment manager to see if they have a cardboard recycling bin)
In her article, Stacy advises, “You’ll have better luck finding free moving boxes near the end of the weekend or the beginning of the week since that’s when most people take the time to unpack or clean out old boxes.”
Ryan, at MoveBuddha.com, has some recommendations too. “Free boxes from liquor stores or big box retailers are a great way to save some cash. Just make sure you only get sturdy, good quality boxes. Flimsy boxes won’t stack well and increase the chances of damage. Also, avoid grocery store boxes as they may contain pests.”
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Set up Your Mail Forwarding
You’ll definitely need to know how to forward your mail. You can make an address update online with the post office, and set it for a specific start date. The post office will forward mail from your old home to your new one for 12 months.
Many companies use a national change of address list to keep their mailing lists updated. You may notice that your mail starts to arrive at your new home with your new address after the first few months.
However, you’ll want to be proactive and update your address directly with credit card companies, insurance providers, loan providers and your employer. You can usually do these updates online.
While you’re online, review your auto-payments in your checking account or your favorite credit card. If you have a recurring local newspaper subscription or a local gym membership, don’t forget to cancel those.
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Bonus Moving Tip: Before You Move: Take the Time to Research Neighborhoods
There are so many factors to consider when you’re planning to relocate; the fact is, the neighborhood you live in plays a huge role in your lifestyle.
As you begin your house hunting journey, for instance, you’ll probably start to notice just how much the cost of living alone can fluctuate from one neighborhood to the next, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll also start to notice how things like climate, transportation, and local infrastructure vary from one city to the next. Pay attention to these types of details—along with crime rate and public school ratings—as they’ll have a huge impact, not only on your property value, but on your everyday life as well.
Bonus Moving Tip 2: Set Up Your Electricity in Your New Home
Ok, you didn’t think we’d wrap up without mentioning electricity, did you? So here’s your second BONUS TIP!
If you are moving to Texas, you must shop for an electricity supplier if you are moving to a deregulated area of Texas. The local utility company can not supply your electricity. There are 40+ suppliers to choose from, which is where we come in. Read our primer on shopping for an electricity company, or check out our resource on moving to Texas. Just enter your zip code below to shop for the best electricity plan for your home:
Shop Electricity Plans for Your New Texas Home
Moving to Connecticut, moving to Ohio or another state with electricity deregulation? Set up service with your local utility company first, then shop online with ElectricityPlans.com to find an alternative supplier with a lower rate, or to lock in 100% renewable energy.
Enjoy your move!