You’re under contract – congratulations! The next big step is starting the packing and moving process. We have gathered our best tips from our years in the business to help make the moving process as smooth as possible for our clients.
PREPARING FOR YOUR MOVE
The single best thing you can do to simplify your move (and reduce your moving expenses) is to go through your house room by room and declutter. Put everything in one of three categories:
- Give to charity or sell
- Move to the new place
While you are in this process, be sure to make a list of your valuables (include jewelry, silver, collectables, etc). This list will come in very handy when the time comes for the actual move.
Once this process is complete, see what is left. How much stuff are you actually moving? Then it is time to call a mover.
THE ESTIMATE PROCESS
What is your moving budget? The American Moving and Storage Association estimates that the average cost of an interstate move is $4,300. The average cost move in state is about $2,300 (both estimates are for 7,400 pounds of goods). Hiring movers is a significant expense so you’ll want to take the time to research your options (or just ask us!). Be sure to check online reviews and organizations like the Better Business Bureau.
The next step is to get estimates from movers. Even if plan to move yourself, this process is very helpful. It will help you understand costs, trade offs and estimate the size of your move. We suggest you call three movers for written estimates. All movers will want to know:
- How far you are moving (local or out of state?)
- Are there elevators, how much flights of stairs, etc.?
- Are there any items that will require special equipment or extra personnel (think pianos, water beds, etc)?
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Below are some key questions YOU should ask any moving company your interview:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you licensed for out of state moves?
- What type of insurance do you carry? (workers comp, etc)
- How many people will you send for the move? (packing? moving? unpacking?)
- Is your crew bonded?
- What items WON’T you move (such as certain hazardous materials)?
- How long will it take for my things to arrive?
- What am I charged for – time, staff, mileage, packing materials, etc. anything else?
- What kinds of insurance coverage do you offer and what are the costs?
- May I pack some items myself?
- Are my goods covered if I pack them myself?
- How long will it take to pack and unload?
- What time do you start and what time do you finish?
Review each moving estimate in great detail. Make sure you understand what each one includes and and what items may change during the actual move (for example, number of moving boxes used). Estimates can be binding (essentially a flat rate) or non-binding (based on the moving company’s best guess and subject to change). See what additional charges are included; possible extra charges may be for stairs, long carries, appliances, parking, storage, fuel and awkward or very heavy items.
OPEN ME FIRST BOX
Below is a list of items you may want to pack separately. Clearly label them OPEN ME FIRST. Ask the movers to put these boxes on the truck last so you have access to them first at your new place. You may need to shop for some of these items before you start packing.
- tool kit (be sure to include a flashlight, tape measure utility knife, scissors, & an extension cord)
- trash bags
- hand soap
- cleaning supplies
- hand and bath towels
- shower curtain and rings
- paper products (toilet paper, paper towel, tissues, paper plates, etc
- bed linens, pillows and blankets
- coffee maker, filters etc.
- first aid kit
- pet food, bowls and other needed supplies
- favorite kids toys
There is a long list is a list of common household items that are either hazardous and may need to be disposed of in a particular way or may not be allowed to be moved by a moving company. Discuss limitations on what you can move with the company you hire. Such items include everything from household cleaners to oils; pesticides to charcoal and lighter fluid.
OTHER HELPFUL PACKING TIPS
- Label your boxes with the room in which they should be placed, as well as what is inside.
- Use your baskets, laundry bins, hampers, and suitcases to hold smaller items. Doing so will help cut down on the number of moving boxes you will need.
- To save on bubble wrap, wrap your breakables (dishes, glasses, etc.) in items of clothing. Also, pack your plates vertically vs. horizontally. They are less likely to break when positioned this way.
- Keep the contents of drawers intact by covering them with a product like Press’n Seal.
- Have ziploc sandwich bags handy. Use them to store any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted TVs.
- Before disconnecting your electronics, take a picture of the current set up. Refer to it when setting up in your new home so you can see how and where all the various wires go.
LEAVING YOUR OLD HOME
Before leaving your old home, be sure to clean it thoroughly (or hire someone to do so). The sales contract says the home should be left “broom clean with all trash and debris removed.” However, it makes a buyer feel more comfortable at the walk through if the standard is a bit higher. Remember the Golden Rule. Do one last check of all closets, drawers, dishwasher, garage etc. It’s always nice to leave extra keys (properly labeled) for the new owners. If you have any appliance manuals or other pertinent materials, leave them in a kitchen drawer.
If you were renting your old home, take pictures of the clean and empty rooms before you leave for good.
THE DAY OF
- get a good night’s sleep the night before (you’ll need it!)
- whenever possible, have your children and pets out of the way for the day. Be sure to read our special “moving with kids” guide as well as this article.
- have snacks and beverages available for movers and any helpers.
- plan to be hand to answer mover’s questions and direct what needs to be done
- check off moving inventory (best to assign this task to one person)
- supervise that pack last/unload first goes in correct order
- get movers contact information, including the driver’s name and cell phone number
- stay out of the movers’ way but be around to answer their questions
- prop open doors
- place toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap in bathrooms
- put a trash bag in each room for packing materials.
- make a list of all boxes or items which appear to be damaged from the move (noting the item number and description)
- tip the movers when they are finished (always, at your discretion but a standard guideline for our area is $30 per mover, per day)
HOME SWEET HOME
To make your house feel like a home almost immediately:
- clean thoroughly or arrange for a cleaning service (best to do before the move in day)
- unpack your “Open Me First” boxes and set up
- do any critical child / pet proofing
- unpack kids rooms and toys first to help them feel more settled and at ease
- hook up necessary electronics
- shop for any immediate household needs
- arrange to have the locks changed
- make a favorite family meal- one that is easy but that everyone loves- or just order pizza!
- knock on three neighbors’ doors and introduce yourself!
- love where you live!
We know this is a lot of information to digest. If you have questions on any part of the moving process, please reach out. We are always happy to help you with anything related to buying or selling, especially moving. If you need the names of reputable local movers, cleaners, organizers, or estate sale companies, we can help. Our job is not done until you are settled and loving where you live!
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I’m grateful for your advice about moving. Just recently, I’ve got a job to a new place and found out that it’ll be much easier for me to just move in there rather than to drive daily. So now, I am looking for a local moving company who could help me. It’s really useful when you said that we should label our boxes including the room where they’d be placed as well as the stuff inside.
That’s a good tip to designate some things to the trash. People tend to have belongings they don’t use. I need to move because my factory is moving.
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