Moving day is exciting: You’re (hopefully) upgrading from your shoe-box-sized New York, NY, studio to a better abode, you get to decorate a brand-new pad, and you’ll have a whole new neighborhood to explore. But moving can also be incredibly stressful. How can you possibly pack up every single thing you own (and then unpack it!)? What if the movers break your one favorite piece of heirloom furniture? What if they hit you with an exorbitant bill? The list of concerns goes on.
Since 40 million Americans are expected to move this summer alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s time to take some of that anxiety out of the equation. Here are five moving tips to make the task as painless as possible.
1. Hire professional movers
You may think you’ll save money by doing it yourself (or begging your friends to help you), but trust us, you’ll pay in other ways — like with a sore back. “However long you think it will take, multiply it by four,” says Josh Cohen, founder and CEO of Junkluggers and Luggers Moving & Delivery, a junk-removal and moving company in Stamford, CT. “Plus, you may need things like a certificate of insurance to move into your new building. That’s something a moving company will have already taken care of.” Before hiring any mover, read their reviews online or check with the Better Business Bureau, advises Cohen. You can also check the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website to confirm a mover’s license is up to date.
2. Size up your stuff
Before you start packing, make a list of all your belongings — it’s also a good time to start throwing stuff out or selling it. Not only will this itemized list be helpful when telling your movers how much stuff you have to move, but it also will come in handy when unpacking, to ensure nothing was lost in transit.
3. Pack logically
While it’s tempting to just throw everything into boxes and sort it out later, having a method to your madness — er, packing — will pay off in the long run. Write detailed descriptions on each box and color-code boxes by room, which will make it easier for you to unpack when the time comes. “Take pictures of the way your electronics are set up and then label the cords accordingly,” says Chip Wade, star of HGTV’s Curb Appeal and a consultant for Liberty Mutual Insurance. “This will making hooking everything up in your new destination much simpler.”
4. Keep essentials close by
Wade recommends creating a “tool kit” full of items you’ll need as soon as you get to your new home. Load it with basic items such as a hammer, nails, and drill, as well as cleaning products, toilet paper, snacks, water, phone chargers, a power strip, and toiletries. If possible, take this box in your car to ensure you’ll be able to find it when you need it. The same goes for any sentimental or valuable items. Incidentally, moving companies often have a list of items they won’t move, like expensive artwork, pianos, and jewelry, etc. Ask whether your company has any no-nos before the big day, so you can plan to haul these yourself.
5. Familiarize yourself with your new space
Not only will this help determine the order in which you pack and unpack the truck, but you’ll also be able to visualize where your furniture will go in your new home, and you can direct your movers accordingly. If you’re unsure if an item you currently own will fit in your new place (like your king-sized sleigh bed), make sure to measure it before schlepping it across town. You may find it won’t fit in your new room, and you can sell it in advance. Then once you get through the move, all that’s left is to settle in and unpack your boxes — which will be placed in the correct rooms!