Whether moving across town or across the country, packing up and moving can be stressful, costly and full of surprises. From shady movers and inaccurate price quotes, to over-packing or not allowing enough time to get the move set up, every step of a move has the potential for mistakes that can make a move a nightmare.
These tips will help anyone preparing for a move, whether they currently live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, with friends or with mom and dad.
1. Hiring a shady mover.
We’ve all heard horror stories about moving scams, and perhaps maybe you’ve been the victim of a moving scam yourself. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, your state transportation regulator and the U.S. Department of Transportation—and even your relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues—are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache on moving day.
If you’ve done your research and still aren’t confident in the movers you’ve come across, you always can go the DIY route—just be sure you’re up for the task.
2. Messing up the quotes.
If you hire a mover, you should be able to have someone from that company come to your place for an in-home moving estimate. If a moving company won’t do an in-home estimate, you should think about shopping around for another mover.
Along those lines, don’t rely on just one quote from one mover. Contact several movers for quotes. If you really like one mover over another but your favorite company is a little pricey, try negotiating for a lower price. Always make sure to get a moving estimate in writing.
3. Packing too much stuff.
Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven’t laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, you need to “edit” your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Perhaps you could hold a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven’t seen, worn or used something in a year, it’s best to think hard about whether you need to keep it—and whether you need to haul it to your new place.
4. Failing to schedule your move well in advance.
During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting till the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks—or, better yet, months—in advance. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you’re supposed to head out. Moving already is stressful enough without adding that frustration.
5. Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time.
You’ll find very few people who’ll say that packing is fun. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by SpareFoot found that people who’d moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process.
You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won’t need right away — for instance, if you’re moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they’re out of the way. Also, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to check items off your packing to-do list.
If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives or colleagues to lend a hand. Make sure you’ve got plenty of food and beverages as a “thank you” for your volunteer helpers. If you can’t rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress.