“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln
The best way to ensure a smooth move and stay on budget is to properly plan and prepare. The key word here is “proper.” Effort is not always effective. That said, here are 11 effective prep tips we’ve learned after a few hundred move jobs.
DO spend the money & buy boxes.
DO NOT mix and match different boxes (Amazon, Chewy, Huggies, Budweiser, etc)
When we pack a moving truck, we’re trying to optimize space while also transporting your items safely. Mismatched boxes waste truck space and stack unevenly.
Different box brands have different dimensions. A medium at Lowes may be a bit different than a medium at Uhaul.
DO use mostly small and medium boxes.
DO NOT overload large boxes.
Use small and medium boxes whenever possible and don’t overload them. If you can’t easily pick them up, then they’re too heavy. Heavy boxes are difficult for the movers to handle and may crush lighter boxes.
Large, extra large and wardrobe boxes are good for odd shaped and bulky items (they’re not good for being filled to capacity). A lot of time is wasted on the back end of the move trying to protect and pack these loose and awkward items.
DO stage your boxes in an easily accessible spot before move day.
DO NOT leave your boxes scattered throughout the house.
When you hire a moving company you’re paying for time. Most people want their dollars spent on the heavier stuff. The things they can’t or don’t want to do on their own. The boxes are usually the first thing we put on the truck so it’ll save you a ton of time ($) if you’re able to stack boxes in a downstairs room near the door.
Make sure doors and pass throughs are clear. Avoid stacking boxes in places that need to be cleared before getting started.
DO label and color code your boxes.
DO NOT reuse boxes with old labels.
Labeling boxes saves you time ($). When boxes are clearly labeled, we can be a bit strategic about how we load and can make sure the boxes are delivered to their final destination. A lot of time is lost when we have to ask where each box is going or when we have to open them to figure out where they’re going. The more prep work you do, the more automatic the move will be (time= $).
Color coding boxes with masking tape works great. Create a key for the movers to reference and mark each room with the corresponding color.
DO empty your drawers.
DO NOT leave cabinets and drawers full… even if only with lightweight stuff.
It may seem like a bit of a “hack” to leave clothes in the drawer. It’s not. Loaded furniture (even with lightweight stuff) is exponentially more difficult to handle. Loaded furniture creates extra risk for damage, injury and limits our ability to maximize truck space.
Remove loose shelves and stretch wrap them together. bag and label the pins and hardware. Then, stretch wrap empty dresser drawers shut.
DO disassemble furniture.
DO NOT tape or stretch wrap 2 piece units together.
Breaking beds down and disassembling furniture will save time ($). If you’re able to do this before the movers arrive, the “billable” time will be better spent.
Bag furniture hardware, legs & electric connections. Stretch wrap things like table legs, slats and rails together.
DO get protective material for furniture.
DO NOT cover everything in plastic wrap.
Moving pads, tape and stretch wrap is essential and will be used on every job. The plastic mattress bags and sofa covers are useful but less common. These bags are not intended to be used as a stand- alone protective device. On their own, these plastic bags are slippery and tear easily. Moving items this way is dangerous for the movers and can lead to damage. If you’re going to use these covers, they need to be securely taped in place and then covered with moving blankets. Often times, we’ll move the items without the plastic covers and then cover once in the truck for short distance moves.
VIDEO: How to Blanket Wrap a Sofa
DO get a truck(s) bigger than you think you'll need.
DO NOT underestimate truck space.
We always recommend getting a truck a size or two bigger than you think you’ll need. The extra space will give you extra piece of mind. It will also save money. When there’s room, we don’t have to play such an extreme game of “Tetris.” which means the load and unload will go faster.
Video: What Fits in a 26 ft. truck?
DO allow for extra time when closing on a new house.
DO NOT schedule simultaneous closings whenever possible.
Life is full of hiccups and that’s true in real estate too. There’s lots of moving parts. Give yourself a buffer between getting out and getting in. Navigating one of the biggest financial transactions of your life is stressful enough without having to worry about where you’re going to sleep.
Give yourself a head start. We can come out days or weeks before your scheduled move to help. This includes hauling away trash and donating the items that won’t make the move. We can also help pack boxes, disassemble furniture and move things to staging areas for a smoother move day experience.
DO schedule a "Mop Up" service call.
DO NOT plan on leaving the small stuff for you to "take in your car."
Typically the last things to leave your house are the odd shaped (lamps, mirrors, wall art & toys), the fragile and the unwanted. Boxing up and preparing these items for the move in advance of move day helps- a lot! For the stuff that doesn’t get boxed, we can come after the move day to deliver any remaining items and haul away the left overs. We can also store and deliver these items later if your move is temporary or transitory.
DO make arrangements for specialty items.
DO NOT assume the movers will be able to handle everything in the house.
Some items require specialized attention. Be sure to clearly and honestly detail the items in your home during the assessment process. Even some standard appliances may require expert handling (double door refrigerators!). Expect items like pianos, pool tables, safes, fish tanks and grandfather clocks to be excluded from your general moving quote. We can refer trusted providers when necessary and can coordinate to ensure a smooth moving experience. We cannot take compressed gas, propane or gasoline in the truck.
Know your dimensions. Weight and measurements are helpful for us to evaluate if we have the capacity to handle these specialty items. Time ($) is lost when this evaluation takes place in the middle of your move.
Trash and Stash provides moving help. Our goal is a reasonable and professional moving experience. We can be as full- service as you need. To get there though, it’s important to understand how to prepare for a move and then determine who is doing what, when. Move day becomes stressful when expectations are mismatched. Good communication makes for a smooth move. We’re here to help. Call us at 855-52-TRASH or book a free estimate here.
Other moving resources: