Summer is prime moving season, with families looking to find the perfect dwelling and get settled before school starts up again. It is an inherently stress-filled event, made more so when there isn’t a clear plan. It doesn’t have to be that way, says moving expert Mandi Schneider of Two Men and a Truck. We spoke to Schneider and other experts to get a simple tips that can set you up for a smoother move and an extra measure of sanity.
Meet the Expert
Lining up a moving crew or a rental truck if you are doing it yourself isn’t a last-minute activity. “Unlike some businesses, moving businesses don’t have too much of a slow season,” says Schneider. You will want to call for an estimate a month or more in advance, and be sure to double-check with the companies you call how long that estimate will be good. For instance Julia Buerger, senior merchant at The Home Depot, says you can line up moving equipment at the touch of a button online up to 30 days before your move. Schneider’s company will honor their moving estimate for at least three months, but it’s important to make note of the time frames for all businesses you call for quotes.
Stock Up On Supplies
When it’s time to get packing, it can be tempting to run by a big box store and grab boxes that might otherwise get tossed. Schneider cautions against this strategy. “You don’t know how their structure has been compromised as well as mold or bugs from food product leftovers,” she says. Your supply list should include good, sturdy packing boxes in a couple of different sizes, packing tape and packing paper. Packing tape is sturdy and with packing paper, you won’t risk ink stains like you might get with newspaper. Bubble wrap will help reduce the chances of breakage, but Schneider suggests you consider using any towels you are toting along for cushioning instead.
Start Early and Pack Smart
It is very easy to underestimate how much time it will take to pack up all of your family’s things. Take a little bit of time here and there to start boxing up items so that you won’t be so overwhelmed. Go room by room and clearly label each box not only with the room but also the type of items inside. With larger boxes, it can be tempting to load each one up with as much as it can hold. Schneider says the bigger the box, the lighter the items that you should tuck inside. For instance, use the big ones for blankets, comforters and stuffed animals. Use smaller boxes for breakable items, and don’t pack something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, with fragile items like drinking glasses. Schneider says the kitchen is often one of the least favorite rooms to pack up for many people, so you might want to consider hiring a moving service to do some of the more tedious packing tasks as well.
Protect Precious Cargo
What to do when you have something to move that doesn’t fit neatly into any box? Schneider recommends that you wrap odd-shaped objects with moving blankets or any old blankets you might have in the house. To keep any fragile parts intact, use bubble wrap and then get a roll of stretch wrap to secure the bubble wrap and the blankets around your items. If it is something irreplaceable that has sentimental meaning, it might be better to take it along with you in your vehicle.
Some things you might have at your current residence can’t come along to the new place on a moving truck. “Most trucks designated for moving household items cannot have any chemicals or combustibles in them,” says Schneider. “Live plants don’t do well in the back of a truck. Obviously, pets can’t move on moving vehicles nor can customers ride in the cab.”
Be clear on how any moving crews will be paid. For instance, the movers at Two Men and a Truck are usually paid by the time they spend moving your things. If your movers also charge by the hour, you will want to be sure to do what you can to cut down on the time they spend loading and unloading their truck. “Make sure you keep a clear path open for the movers,” Schneider says. “Any time they have to stop, make a path and continue moving takes time. Try to station boxes in one room like a garage or living area – anything close to the front door. This will save time.”
No matter who moves you — yourself or professional movers — accidents can happen. “While most movers will try their best to keep your items safe, gravity and physics are in effect in the real world,” Schneider says. “So, the extra coverage gives you added security when you need it—if you're willing to pay to move it, it's worth protecting.” Ask your movers for information about this kind of coverage.
Keep Necessities Close
Moving is hard work. Once everything has made it to your new home, chances are you will be too tired to dig through all the boxes to find your toothbrush and phone charger. Schneider recommends that everyone in the household pack an “essentials” bag before the move so you can find toiletries, medication, important papers and any special jewelry or firearms you might want close at hand.