Moving is often made stressful by poor planning. Whether you realize it or not, moving—in our out—is a big decision. You’re making a change onto some new. Preparation and planning can reduce, if not eliminate, the stress of moving.
Pick the Right Moving Company (Or the Right Friends!)
The first step in planning and executing a successful move is to pick a qualified moving company, or organize to do it yourself with, of course, the help of friends and family. While most people suggest calling a moving company several weeks in advance, I recommend starting your research two months in advance. Of course, there are exceptions when your move is an emergency and you don’t have the luxury of two months, but two months should give you adequate time to filter out the moving companies—from the reputable to the downright scammers.
Select the Right Date
Select a “move in” target date, but be flexible as the date may need to be adjusted because of requirements/rules of the building you are planning to move into or out of. These requirements and rules may restrict not only the time of day for moving in or out of a building, but often the day itself. Some buildings restrict move in days because the management office is closed, while some require reservations for truck parking, or reservations for the elevator. To avoid problems you should first check out the policy of the building. Moving companies are most likely to offer incentives or discounts when the move is planned weeks in advance in contrast to a couple of weeks.
Take the Time to Research
If you choose a moving company, you must take the time to do research. We recommend taking three proposals for the move. Horror stories regarding unscrupulous moving companies could fill entire files at agencies like the Better Business Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. In fact, USDOT’s Protect Your Move is a great resource for such research. USDOT site contains a database of complaints and actions taken against registered interstate (moves from one state to another) moving companies. Even small companies occasionally move personal furnishings and belongings between states, and therefore the moving company is regulated by interstate commerce laws. Other useful resources for finding a reputable moving company are Angie’s List and Yelp.
Finally, ask your friends and family members for referrals. The dangers of using an illegitimate company runs you not only the risk of being overcharged, but the risk of damage or loss of your belongings. Once you have developed a list of three companies (or more), ask them to visit your home and provide a written estimate. Some movers charge by volume, others do so by weight. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t included, and what charges are additional. Many moving companies will agree to a fixed price especially if the move is local.
Invest in Proper Insurance Coverage
Some buildings require the moving company to provide an insurance certificate in advance before allowing them to perform work within the property. Regardless of the building having such a requirement, you should request a certificate. Proper insurance coverage will protect you against third party injuries, potential claims for damage by the apartment building and damage to your personal property. If you have a renter’s insurance policy in place, it is possible that coverage could be extended or afforded for personal property loss which occurred during moving. Check with your insurance agent regarding coverage prior to the move. It may be cheaper to add insurance coverage to your renter’s insurance policy than to pay for insurance coverage offered by the moving company, or other sources.
Regardless of whether or not you move yourself or hire a moving company, if you are completely packed when moving day arrives, the move will be less stressful. The most important advice in packing for a move is to do so over an extended period of time. I recommend purchasing boxes and packing tape from your local Home Depot, Lowes, U-Haul or search online. Pack one room at a time, and carefully mark the contents of each box with a permanent marker. You might also want to color code the boxes with stickers, one color for each room.
Here are a few useful moving and packing tips:
- Put Styrofoam paper plates between your china or ceramic plates
- Use socks to protect glassware
- Use old bed sheets to cover furniture during the move
- Rent or borrow a hand moving truck–great for moving multiple boxes down long sidewalks or hallways.
Once you arrive at your new home, unpack your boxes one at time. If you marked each box by room, you will find that unpacking is considerably quicker than packing.