Whether across town or to a different country, moving can be one of the most stressful things you will do in your life. There are a number of things you need to do and take care of, some of which may or may not be in your control. And if you are a first-time mover, there is a good chance your inexperience will cause you to make costly and timewasting mistakes that end up making your move more difficult than it could have been.
Here is a quick look at some of the most common things people do to complicate their move and what you can learn from them.
1. Deciding to do everything themselves
Many people underestimate the amount of work involved in moving. They are confident they can do everything themselves, without letting movers, or even friends, enter the picture. True, if you have moved in the past and do not have too many things to pack, you may be able to execute a successful move on your own. But what do you think will happen if you injure your back on moving day, carrying heavy boxes down the stairs? Or say, the rental truck you hired is not big enough to load all your belongings?
Also, driving a huge moving truck is not the same as driving a car. You have to pay special attention to the weighing station and overhead clearance signs, while also keeping in mind the truck has a larger turning radius and will need more time to come to a full stop when you apply the brakes.
2. Hiring the first mover they come across
Hiring the wrong moving company can cause you a lot of undue complications on moving day. To avoid getting trapped in such situations, thoroughly research your moving company before signing the contract. Ask your family and friends for recommendations. Never forget that a low-price quote does not always translate to a good experience. Go online to find out what customers have to say about their experiences with the mover. Do they regularly double-book to land more jobs? Are their employees permanent staff and not temporary employees? Will they give you a free estimate or better yet, a thorough walk-through of your home for an accurate estimate? Are there any hidden charges? Do they have a license from the Department of Transportation? Do they have enough insurance? Can they provide references?
Taking the time to research and speak with reputable, professional movers will ensure a stress-free move and overall great experience.
3. Failing to plan the move in advance
Planning a move well in advance will give you enough time to research all the variables involved and make the correct decisions. In addition to packing, moving entails a whole lot of other steps, including arranging for the utilities to be switched, requesting the necessary paperwork from your kids’ schools, arranging for the transfer of your medical records, booking flight tickets, submitting change of address forms, and of course, finding the new rental or perfect purchase you’ll call home. Most experts advise keeping a moving folder to track all paperwork related to the move. Remember, the better you prepare, the easier your move will be.
Don’t forget that most moves happen during summer before the new school year starts. As a result, most moving companies are extremely busy during this season. Failure to plan the move beforehand can leave you scrambling for a good (and available) mover with just a couple of days left for the big day. You don’t need me to tell you what that will do to your stress levels!
4. Not setting aside enough time for packing
Packing always takes more time than you think. People who wait until the last minute to start packing are left with no option, but to dump everything in the moving boxes without sorting or purging. This results in paying extra money to the movers for transporting stuff they are never going to use.
Moving offers you a great chance to cull the unnecessary stuff you have accumulated over the years. Discard, sell, or give away all the clothes, books, furniture, and appliances you haven’t used in the last year. This will reduce your unpacking time and save you a lot of valuable storage space in your new home. Who knows, selling your gently used items may even earn you some extra cash in the bargain!
Ideally, you should begin packing for your move as soon as you finalized the moving date. Start by boxing up what you don’t use on a daily basis or will not need until after the move, such as seasonal clothes, holiday dishes, and so on.
5. Skimping on packing supplies
Getting cheap, used cardboard boxes from your neighborhood grocery store might seem like a good idea at first – until the first one falls apart on your stairs on moving day. Or your wedding china fails to make the trip intact.
Invest in good quality packing supplies, such as strong, clean boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, moving blankets, and so on. This will save you a lot of stress and headache come moving day.
6. Not packing an essentials moving box
An essentials box containing items you will need for the first few days in your new home or apartment will greatly simplify your moving process. All your jewelry, valuables, and important paperwork should also be packed in the essentials box and carried with you. If you have not done so, you may very well have to run around unpacking a dozen different cardboard boxes just to find toilet paper, plates, glasses, kitchen utensils, and towels to get you through the first night. Trust me when I say that this is not something you want to look forward to, especially after a particularly difficult day of hauling heavy boxes and driving hundreds of miles. Nope!
Kurt Jacobson is a snowboarding enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 11 times in the past nine years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he’s not out shredding the mountain, he writes about all things rental related for the website RentFinder.co.