There is something I’d like you to know about me even if we never meet, – I’ve moved a lot. You may think that by now I’ve become a pro in moving, but honestly, I am still learning from my mistakes. I’ve lived in different cities in Europe and the U.S. Every time I had to move house, in the best case scenario, I would always start packing the day before and sometimes – just a few hours before the big move even though I had been trying to “convince” myself to start planning, at least, a few weeks earlier.
As you have probably already guessed, I would always end up frustrated, with not enough boxes, a complete lack of time and too much pressure to finish packing, chaotically throwing everything in boxes: fragile or not, valuable or not, clothes, dishes – all tossed in the same carton. Given all my past experiences, I’d like to think that I had learned from my mistakes, and I would never allow myself to go back to my old habit again, because, believe me, having all the stress of moving combined with the limited amount of packing time is just the worst.
If you are planning to move and so far have made almost the same mistakes as I have, all the tips below will help you rationalize your time and make your moving process less frustrating.
Choosing the right time to move is critical, as it can not only make your relocation journey go smoothly but also save you money. Good news: Spring is already here, and summer is just around the corner. Bad news: It is the peak of moving season, and you know how busy moving companies are throughout spring and summer. With many demands coming their way, moving companies tend to increase their fees, which is something you cannot control, unless you postpone your moving during the off season (fall-winter) if your moving plans can wait.
In case you have to move soon and cannot wait until the summer is over, you can still save some money by picking the less busy days of the week, such as Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Picking any week other than the first and the last week of any month is also a good idea. People tend to move either at the end or beginning of the month, so you can still avoid the busiest weeks, even when you have to relocate during the peak moving season.
Booking a few months in advance can save you money. But if you want to take advantage of low prices, you also need to do your research in advance. When looking to hire a moving company, you should keep in mind that to find the best out there, the company that offers great quality for a great price, you have to do your homework: research, call, e-mail, ask questions and get recommendations.
What else can I do to make the moving process less stressful and more efficient?
Stay away from scams!
“A con artist with just a truck and a website can claim to be a legitimate mover with unfortunate results for consumers who don’t check out a company in advance,” according to Linda Bauer Darr, president and chief executive officer of the American Moving & Storage Association.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid moving scams:
1-Use sites like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the American Moving & Storage Association to make sure that a moving company you are looking to hire is reliable and trustworthy. Reading reviews, testimonials and asking around is also advisable.
2-Do not make the full payment in advance. Check you have received all your belongings safe and sound before making a final payment. In case of damage, you can get a part of your money back so always read the contract and the terms and conditions carefully.
3-Contact the moving company in advance to get a feel for whom you’re dealing with and make sure you’re not being deceived. If you can meet with a representative of the company in person, even better. Make time, so you get to ask every possible question you may have. You will feel more at ease after you’ve cleared all your doubts, and it’ll give you confidence that everything is going to turn out as you expect.
4-After you have drawn up a list of potential movers, compare them to select the one that works best for you. When asking for an estimate, do not rely much on the company that is offering you the lowest price. The cheapest option is often not the best. The cost of move most often will depend on the weight of your goods, something that can be determined best during an in-home-estimation. Therefore, the company will need to see what items are being transported in advance, and the initial price you get via a phone call may not be the same you end up paying.
Consider doing your own packing
You can always let the moving company take care of packing, but that does not come without charges. If you are looking for savings, I would advise you do all the packing yourself. It will probably cost you a lot of time and energy, but there are a few good reasons why you should do it:
You know your belongings better than anyone. Therefore, you are the only person that can pack everything that belongs in a particular room in one box or a set of boxes. Make sure to label all of your boxes and mark the ones with fragile objects or expensive items to be handled with extra care. This measure will not only be helpful to movers but to you as well – it will make the unpacking way easier and save you a lot of time.
Once you start packing, go through all of your belongings and see if you can get rid of things you no longer need or use by donating, recycling, or selling them. This way you will have fewer things to pack and move, save time and maybe earn some extra cash. Pack all your winter clothes first if you move during spring and summer and then other goods that you are not using. Pack the things that you use the most a few days before moving and leave at least some handbags with the items that you need and use daily handy.
10 Extra Tips
1.Make a list of all the things you need to do before you move. This way you will see the big picture more clearly, know what is coming next, and plan accordingly.
You may also need to notify the post office of your upcoming change of address, or you can change it yourself here.
2.It is imperative to not only book your mover in advance but also keep in contact and inform them of any changes in your moving plans so that you are on the same page. Call them 1-2 days before the moving day to confirm previous arrangements and ask any last minute questions you might have.
3. If you are moving with your family, you may need to check with your children’s school and ask to have their records sent to the new school they’re being transferred to.
4. I often have a problem finding and getting the right quantity of boxes, so I always end up with a few items that didn’t fit in. This turns into a complete nightmare – to realize you need more boxes a few hours before the movers are scheduled to show up. To avoid unpleasant surprises, order all the moving supplies in advance, and make sure to get a few extra boxes just in case. Better safe than sorry.
5. If you are taking a refrigerator with you, make sure to defrost and clean it beforehand.
6. Once you have set the date for your move, try to avoid any shopping sprees. It is better to shop once you move to your new destination so that you don’t end up with extra items that require packing.
7.Check if you’ve forgotten anything and make sure not to leave any electronics behind.
8. The moving company will do an inventory, but it’s advisable, you also make a list accounting for all the boxes being shipped and their content.
9. Don’t forget to keep the movers refreshed. They have a hard job, so bottled water, soda, and light snacks are always welcome; that in turn will make it easier for them to take extra care of your belongings during the entire move. Tips are always appreciated if you feel they’ve done a great job.
10. Try to make your move Eco-friendly. According to the U.S Census Bureau, there are around 40 million people moving annually within the United States. You can only imagine the air pollution caused by all that daily moving activity. Whether you care or not about the environment, you should, at least, agree that polluted air can negatively affect you and your loved ones.
So why not help decrease the amount of pollution by making your move Eco-friendly? Here is an article I wrote a few months ago, it’ll give you a few tips and guide you through your Eco-friendly move.