The mission is simple: move everything you own from your current home to your new one. The actual process? Long, stressful and headache-inducing. The pressure is multiplied when you’re moving to a whole new city.
How do you get everything safely from Point A to Point B on a tight schedule?
With a lot of planning. Here are our 30 best tips to make the process of moving to a new city as smooth as possible.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Time it right.
- 2. Make a checklist, a timeline and a budget.
- 3. Start early.
- 4. Choose the right movers.
- 5. Consider leaving the packing to the professionals.
- 6. Estimate how much you’ll need to move.
- 7. Check your insurance coverage.
- 8. Plan for your pets.
- 9. Plan for your vehicles.
- 10. Don’t forget outdoor items.
- 11. Remember items outside your home.
- 12. Evaluate your furniture.
- 13. Get rid of things you don’t want or need.
- 14. Gather packing supplies.
- 15. Make use of short-term storage.
- 16. Create an inventory list.
- 17. Label everything.
- 18. Use creative containers.
- 19. Pack heavy items in smaller boxes.
- 20. Put small containers inside larger ones.
- 21. Pack breakables properly.
- 22. Fill your boxes to the top.
- 23. Pack hazardous items separately.
- 24. Keep things organized.
- 25. Protect your valuables.
- 26. Use up your food.
- 27. Confirm details with your mover.
- 28. Prep the things you’ll need right away.
- 29. Clean your new place before moving everything in.
- 30. Tip your movers.
1. Time it right.
When you’re scheduling closings for your old and new homes, and then scheduling movers on top of that, pay close attention to the timing. You need to make sure you can still be in your existing home when the movers arrive. You’ll also need access to your new place when you get there. Ask your real estate agent for help so you don’t end up with nowhere to put your belongings.
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2. Make a checklist, a timeline and a budget.
It’s easy to lose track of things when there are so many things to remember. Keep a checklist and specify when each step must be completed.
Setting a budget ahead of time will allow you to decide how much help you can afford.
3. Start early.
Packing takes a long time — longer than you think, unless you’ve done it many times before. Start weeks, not days, before moving day.
4. Choose the right movers.
Make sure you choose a reputable company that has good reviews and client testimonies. You can find these companies on review sites such as ProMoverReviews.com. Call the companies to get quotes and make sure they have the proper insurance. Moving scams are out there, so choose wisely.
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5. Consider leaving the packing to the professionals.
If you’ve got more money than time, you might want to pay the professionals to pack things up for you. They’ll be efficient and it will free you up to arrange all the other details of your move.
6. Estimate how much you’ll need to move.
Your movers will want to know how much you’re moving. Make a list of your rooms and large furniture items and ask for help estimating the number of boxes per room. They can tell you what’s typical for each room, with a range to account for minimalist or maximalist tendencies.
7. Check your insurance coverage.
Your homeowner’s or even your renter’s policy may cover your belongings until you get them to your new home. These could supplement the moving company’s coverage.
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8. Plan for your pets.
Consider having cats and dogs stay with a friend for a while so they don’t get caught underfoot while the truck is being packed.
Some pets are easy to take in your car, but pets that live in cages or tanks may require a game plan. A fish tank, for example, is a challenge you don’t want to ignore until the day of the move.
9. Plan for your vehicles.
If you can’t or don’t want to drive the vehicle yourself, you’ll need to hire someone to move it. Some long-distance moving companies offer this service. If you won’t need the car in your new location, arrange to sell it well in advance of the move.
10. Don’t forget outdoor items.
Are you going to take your patio furniture? Planters? Wheelbarrow? Think about these large items ahead of time and make sure they’re part of the plan.
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11. Remember items outside your home.
Don’t forget any belongings that aren’t currently in your home. Are you renting a storage unit? A safe deposit box? Are you paying someone to store your boat or your snow tires? Plan to retrieve your items and have them ready for the movers to take or for you to transport yourself.
12. Evaluate your furniture.
If it’s not going to fit in your new home, either physically or aesthetically, don’t bring it with you. Sell it or donate it.
Don’t forget to measure! Don’t pay to move a couch across the country only to find it won’t fit through your new front door.
13. Get rid of things you don’t want or need.
Moving is one of the best excuses you’ll ever have to get rid of things you no longer want or need. Sell or donate everything you can. Pay special attention to duplicates and broken items that you’ll never get around to fixing. Think of items you won’t need in your new location due to climate differences or home size.
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14. Gather packing supplies.
Save up your delivery boxes and other small containers. It may be worth the price to buy some sturdy moving boxes and bubble wrap from the moving company or a truck rental company. Wardrobe boxes let you hang your clothes, which can save time and re-laundering.
15. Make use of short-term storage.
It may be useful to have an extra space where you can store things that are ready to go. Start with rarely used and out-of-season items. You may also want some short-term storage available in your new location, in case you need space in your new home for repainting or repairs.
16. Create an inventory list.
As you get organized, start keeping a list of everything you pack and where you put it. You can even number your boxes and list their contents on a spreadsheet.
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17. Label everything.
Don’t trust your memory when it comes to what you’ve stored where; write it down. Each box should be labeled with its contents and the room where it will go. Label the sides so you can read them when they’re stacked.
18. Use creative containers.
You can pack things in suitcases, laundry bins, and fabric tote bags; not everything has to go in a box. You can also modify boxes by cutting and taping them to make the perfect size. Cut “V” shapes in the sides to create handles.
19. Pack heavy items in smaller boxes.
Make it easier on your body by packing heavy items like books or liquids in small boxes. Light items, like bedding, pillows and bulky kids’ toys, can go in big boxes.
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20. Put small containers inside larger ones.
Use small boxes to contain items that could easily get lost. Put multiple small boxes into larger boxes to make them easier to keep track of.
21. Pack breakables properly.
Use foam sheets or bubble wrap for the most breakable items. Newspaper, tissue or paper bags can help prevent scratches. You can also use things you have already, like clothes, towels and sheets. Glassware is obviously fragile, but take special care with electronics, too.
22. Fill your boxes to the top.
Since they’ll end up being stacked, prevent crushing by filling your boxes to the top. Bulky items like hangers, throw pillows, and rolls of paper towels can be set aside and used as needed to fill up boxes.
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23. Pack hazardous items separately.
Anything potentially toxic, or that could leak, should be packed separately from other items and in safe containers. This includes things like cleaning supplies, fire extinguishers, paint, large batteries, etc.
24. Keep things organized.
If you’re taking apart computers and furniture, take a picture first. Then make sure you save all the small components in labeled bags.
25. Protect your valuables.
Your movers should be properly insured and trustworthy, but if there are particular items that are critically important, or that hold significant sentimental value, you may want to move them yourself. Pack these up early and label them clearly so the movers don’t take them by accident.
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26. Use up your food.
If you don’t want to be stuck trying to move frozen pizzas and tater tots, start using up the contents of your fridge and freezer a couple weeks before you move. That goes for items in your pantry, too.
27. Confirm details with your mover.
If you choose the right mover, they should make sure everything is confirmed and on schedule, but it never hurts to check. If there’s any reason to think the company is not on top of things, call again the day before the move to make sure everyone knows the plan.
28. Prep the things you’ll need right away.
What will you need to get by for the first week if something goes wrong with the moving truck? These are the things you should pack in your own car. Pack as you would for a short vacation. You might also want to designate an “open first” box with things you’ll need when you arrive.
Make sure you have any medications you’ll need during the trip and for the next few days, and be sure to make a checklist for your last-minute items, such as your phone, wallet, keys and charger.
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29. Clean your new place before moving everything in.
If you have time when you arrive, clean the new house before you start to fill it with boxes and items. If you’re lucky, the former owners will have left it nice and clean already, but in any case it’s nicer to move into a freshly cleaned house.
30. Tip your movers.
To make sure things go smoothly on moving day, figure out ahead of time how much you want to tip the movers and set aside the appropriate amount of cash. Keep it where it’s easy to find and remember when you arrive.
Planning ahead is the best way to ensure that your move goes smoothly. Before you know it, you’ll be settling into your new home.