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Four Tips to Make Moving Easier

One in six Americans move every year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And, of course, we twentysomethings move more often than everybody 30 and older.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving from one rental to the next, moving in to your first house, or even moving back in with family, moving is a pain. It’s the heavy lifting, the re-organization and the inevitable losing personal items in the hustle of it all that makes people dread moving. Yet it’s also an important step in creating a new life.

Following a few helpful steps will shorten the time that it takes you to move and make the whole experience a little bit more tolerable.

1. Avoid the need to rush; create a schedule.

If you’ve ever had to move an entire apartment in a single 24-hour period, you know that the only thing worse than moving is moving on a tight deadline. To make sure this doesn’t happen during your upcoming move, make a schedule.

Think about the day that you absolutely must be out of your current home and into the next, and work backwards. If you have to be out in one week for example, set an appropriate schedule of what you must box up or move each day so that everything will be out when it’s time. You may choose to clear the office and bathrooms on Monday, the living room on Tuesday, the bedrooms on Wednesday, the dining room on Thursday and the kitchen on Friday. However you want to organize it is fine, as long as you have a plan and stick to it.

2. Take only what you need.

Moving is a great opportunity to clear your clutter and even make a few extra bucks. If you own stuff you haven’t used for several months, think about getting rid of it to lighten your load. Again, the sooner you go through your things, the better. Try to sell things on eBay or Craigslist before simply leaving them on the curb.

3. Take the time to actually pack your things.

When packing up boxes, be sure to use tissue paper or bubble wrap around delicate items to avoid having anything broken during transportation. Newspaper also works, but it’s best to buy unprinted newspaper from a mover or your local newspaper printer. Regular newspaper is fine to crumple on the top and bottom of the box, but don’t use to wrap dishes as the newsprint ink may rub off.

Store any liquid items, like perfume or hair spray; in large zip lock bags so that if they spill, the liquid won’t damage the rest of your items. Label each box using a dark colored marker, stating both the contents such as “toiletries” or “kitchen tools” and what room you think it should go into.

You may want to re-arrange things as you get settled into your new place, but it is essential to be able to quickly recognize what room to place a box when you arrive there, especially if you are using professional movers.

4. Get help if you need it.

Depending on the size of your move, your available cash, and the number of able-bodied friends you’re able to coerce into helping, you may or may not want to hire professional movers.

A moving crew will save you time and energy. Although you still have to pack up and box all of your items, most moving crews will come into your house, take the boxes and other large items and deliver them to your new home or other destination.

This also solves the problem of having to make numerous trips to and from your new place, if you haven’t rented a truck. If you are moving within the same city, you’ll most likely only be charged an hourly rate for using a moving crew. If you’re moving to a different state, however, the fees are usually based on the weight of your items.

Avoid moving scams by asking local Realtors for referrals. Get at least three estimates from moving companies that are licensed, bonded, and insured. Check the mover’s history with the Better Business Bureau, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Protect Your Move site and/or MovingScam.com. Don’t trust the over-the-phone quote alone. Ask for a written “not to exceed” contract before they start work.

If hiring a moving company is not within your budget, consider asking friends and family for help. This will save you from pain and potential injuries. Be sure to thank you friends and family with a dinner out or a pair of movie tickets for their time.

If moving is in your immediate future, the time to prepare is now. The sooner you start creating your schedule and boxing items, the sooner you’ll be done!

Published or updated on September 7, 2010

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About Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis is a real estate broker in San Diego, Calif. She enjoys helping both buyers and sellers and was voted one of the top 10 best real estate agents in San Diego in 2013 by Union Tribune readers. In her spare time she talks about real estate on a local radio show and manages her website RealtorSD.com.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. Tampa Movers says:

    Being one of the biggest event moving can be very stressful indeed. Thanks to those moving companies which are there to make moving hassle free. The tips provided over here are a great dose to plan and accomplish the move successfully. Thanks.

  2. Vic says:

    Not the frugalist of advice, but I recommend renting storage place for a month before the move. Everyday I got home from work and packed about a half dozen boxes a night. Popped them in the car and dropped the boxes off at a storage place on my way to work. By moving time, all I would have to worry about is the furniture. It alot easier to get help when you make it easier to be helped.

  3. Andrew says:

    The next time I have a major move, I’m following one of your tips and getting help! I’ve never hired help before, but I think it’s worth the investment. I think you can also do it frugally if you take care of all the boxing up and have it ready to go when the movers arrive. Will cut the time into a fraction of what it would take you, cut a lot of stress, and lessen any chance of physical injury.

  4. Tim says:

    A very timely article, as the long weekend was just spent moving from an apartment into my first home!

    I can definitely say that the help of friends makes the move much faster and more affordable! Instead of nearly $1,000 for an intown professional move, we were able to pay $60 for a U-Haul, and $50 for pizza, wings, and beverages and get there just the same!

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