I hate moving. It’s stressful and exhausting, and if I never had to move again, I wouldn’t. When Peter and I moved into our first apartment together, we had the added challenge of combining our belongings, which we were surprised to find included entirely too many kitchen implements. (This devolved into the now-infamous Stand Mixer Standoff; it wasn’t pretty.) Three years later, with a baby on the way, we needed somewhere with a little more space, so we were once again forced down the uncertain path of packing up our things and moving somewhere new, preferably without killing each other.
This time around, I tried to look at our move as an opportunity to declutter and reorganize. Don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t fun, but it was about as painless as it could have been. Here are a few tips to keep you sane in your next move, too:
Hire movers. Yes, you can bribe your friends and family with pizza and beer, but it’s no fun if Uncle Jim throws out his back moving your bookshelves or your best friend drops your priceless family heirloom. At first, hiring movers sounded extravagant to me, but it turns out there are a lot of inexpensive options beyond the traditional “two guys and a truck” services. We hired a company that provides the labor only – you rent the moving truck yourself, and they load and unload it for you. The entire move with truck included was less than $200, and it only took about 2 hours (amazing!). A few things to consider before you hire a moving company:
- Get reviews online from a couple of different sources like Yelp, Google, or Angie’s List. I found our movers through MovingHelp.com, but I got a better rate by booking directly with the company.
- Find out their hourly rate and minimums. Three hour minimums are pretty typical, and don’t forget to estimate a 15-20% tip for each mover.
- Ask if they provide moving equipment like dollies and blankets (which is just one less thing you have to rent).
- Ask if they have insurance. That way if they damage your stuff, they can cover the cost to repair or replace it.
Give yourself some overlap. If possible, ask the landlord if you can get keys at least one week early. Some landlords may charge you a pro-rated fee, but ask if they’ll waive it. Explain that you just want to move in boxes, and you won’t be living there until the official move in date. If you’re buying a new house, try to stagger your closing date with your move-out date on your old place.
Have a plan of attack. Here are some helpful tips to make sure things go smoothly:
- Look for free boxes on Craigslist or at UHaul. If you buy boxes, check online sources like Amazon before getting them from local pack and ship companies (where they can be expensive).
- Sort your things into three piles: Keep, sell, give away. Use the tips from my Spring Cleaning post to decide what to keep and get rid of the rest.
- Set aside only the items you will need to use until your move, and begin packing up the rest. If there are items you aren’t sure you’ll need, put them in a box, but leave it untaped.
- Try to pack according to where your things will go in the new house. Pack things that will end up in the same room together in the same box.
- Wrap breakables in linens like dish towels and blankets to save on pricey packing materials.
- Label each box with the room name and a brief list of contents (you will thank yourself later).
- If you have overlap time with your new and old places, start moving finished boxes over and unloading them as you’re able. Then, you can reuse boxes and packing materials (reduce waste and save money – yay!).
- Use sticky notes on cabinets, closets, and drawers to help determine where your things will fit in the new place.
- Draw a layout of how you think your furniture might fit in your new space, so you can direct the movers on moving day.
Have helpful tips for moving? Please share them in the comments below!
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