There are few things as stressful as moving to a new home. Even when you have all your ducks in a row and things go according to plan, a move simply takes a lot of your time and energy – that’s why we’ve put together a few dos and don’ts that should help make your move as stress-free as possible.
Do: Throw Things Away as You Pack
Over the years, we collect a lot of stuff. Sometimes, it’s sentimental, like your child’s first painting from school. Other times, it’s stuff you’d feel guilty about throwing away, like the sweater your mother-in-law gave you three years ago. This is the perfect time to get these unwanted items out of your life. Before you put anything in a box for the next house, ask yourself if you really need that item. If the answer is no, put it in the garbage bin or a box set aside for donations.
Don’t: Hire a Mover Without Meeting With at Least Three Companies
It’s all too easy to get a quote over the phone from the first company that comes up in a Google search, but neglecting to do your research might mean you’re paying a lot more for a company that doesn’t do the best job. Get referrals from friends and family. Call these companies, and make sure they come to your home to give you an estimate. Ask a moving company questions to assess their level of customer service. After you have three quotes, choose the company that meets your needs.
Do: Get a Head Start on Packing
It’s probably been so long since your last move you’ve forgotten how long it can take to pack – and it’s often longer than you think. Start packing things up as much as a month away from your move date, packing the less essential things first. Stack packed boxes in the garage or in a room you don’t use very often so they’re out of the way.
Don’t: Pack Things You Will Need on Moving Day
On the other hand, you don’t want to be digging through your boxes to find the few things you absolutely must have the day you move into your new home. Things like bed sheets, cleaning supplies, and the coffee maker need to be in a special place. You can pack these things last and put the boxes in your car so you know right where they are.
Do: Label Your Moving Boxes
Label, label, label. Colour-code your boxes so movers can easily see where they go. Make sure your coloured labels are visible from all sides to make it easier. Make lists of everything that goes in each box, then tape the list to the outside of the box or put it in the top. You’re not going to unpack all of the boxes in a single day. Doing this helps you focus on the most important things first.
Don’t: Have the Movers Pack Your Belongings
Most moving companies offer a service where they’ll pack your things for you. It sounds like a big convenience, but you should think twice about this. The extra cost usually outweighs the potential convenience and there’s a higher chance things won’t be in the same order you’d prefer when you do the task yourself.
There are, however, two times when you might consider letting the movers do the packing. The first is when your company is covering the cost of the move and they’ve budgeted for the expense of paying the movers to pack. Additionally, you should allow the movers to pack fragile items if their insurance will only cover damages to items they packed on their own.
Do: Measure the Space in Your New Home
A new home can be bigger or smaller than your current place. Will your furniture fit? That’s important to find out before you have the movers load your furniture into the van. If the sofa is too big or too small, for instance, you can sell it or dispose of it before the move. Purchase a new one, and have the furniture company deliver directly to the new place.
Don’t: Forget to Tip the Movers
The movers work hard, carrying heavy things up and down stairs. It’s customary to tip the workers, so plan to have cash on hand. Usually, you’ll want to tip each person on the team between $20-40 for a half-day move and double that amount for a full-day move. It’s also nice to provide some cold drinks and snacks throughout the day, though that’s certainly not required.
A bit of preparation goes a long way. Take the time to carefully plan out your move, and you’ll be glad you did. For more helpful moving related tips, check out our previous post “Moving Into Your New Home: The First 60 Days.“