Every year, millions of Americans move from one home to another. On average, 40 million Americans move each year. And 80% of those moves are during the peak season from April to September. June and July are the busiest months, and the closer you get to the end of the month, the busier it gets. Weekends are especially popular, so the busiest moving day of the year is usually a weekend close to the end of June or July. With all that moving, it is no surprise that moving rates as one of the most stressful major life events. But moving doesn't have to be stressful. If you plan well and follow some simple guidelines, you can reduce your stress and have a smooth, stress-free move.
Have a Plan
One of the most significant things you can do to keep your stress level down is to develop and follow a plan. You may not be the most prolific planner or the most organized person you know, but your plan doesn't need to be complicated. A simple to-do list with some dates will make a huge difference. Start this list as soon as you know you are moving. Your list should include a packing schedule, room by room. It should also have deadlines and reminders for important tasks like getting estimates from movers, picking a mover, stopping your utilities, arranging for a dumpster if you need one, and any other crucial steps you need to move.
Don't Move Things You Don't Need
We know that you have a lot going on during your move, but now is a great time to get rid of clothes and other items you don't need. It doesn't make sense to pay to move belongings that you don't need and won't miss. So take some time early in your move to get rid of the excess.
Clothing is a great place to start. Look through your closet and set aside anything you haven't worn in 12 months. If it's in good condition, you can donate it. If a piece of clothing is broken, ripped, or stained, be aggressive with your trash pile. If you have the time and desire, you can try arranging a garage sale to get rid of spare clothing and other items you don't want to take with you. Otherwise, create a donate pile, and don't be afraid to toss anything you don't think you can donate.
Be A Prepared Packer
Before you start packing, make sure that you have a plan and that you're prepared to do it right. The first thing you will need is packing materials. You'll need plenty of boxes and packing materials like packing paper, bubble wrap, and specialized padding like dish sleeves. A good rule of thumb is that you will always need more packing materials than you expect. Before spending a bunch of money on boxes and other materials, see if you can get used moving materials from family and friends. Reusing materials is better for your wallet and the environment. If you do need new materials, many stores will take back unused boxes. Purchase plenty to avoid having to run out and by more. You can always return extras after your move.
Besides having enough packing materials, you can make moving easier by preparing to organize the items you pack. There are a few organizational tips that will make unpacking much more manageable. First, get some stickers in a few different colors. Assign a color to each room of your new home. Then, as you pack, place a sticker on each box corresponding to the room where you'd like the movers to put it. Once you get to your new home, put a sticker on each room's door so the movers know which boxes to put there.
Another helpful packing trick is to create a list of the items you pack. Create a numbered list and put a number on each box as you pack. On the numbered list, write out the contents of the box. That way, when you are unpacking and looking for a specific item, you'll know where to look. If you like, you can make a list on your phone or in a digital file so that you can search for a term and find the right box quickly.
Use the Right Boxes
Moving and packing are more manageable when you use the right boxes to pack. It can be tempting to pile lots of stuff into big boxes. But moving will be much easier on you and your movers if you can load boxes correctly.
Use small boxes for heavy items. Pack books in extra-small book boxes, because they can get quite heavy. If you have large, heavy items, put them in a large box, but then fill in the rest of the space with packing materials instead of more heavy items. Save large boxes for light, bulky items.
One of the most convenient types of packing boxes is the wardrobe box. A wardrobe box is a tall box with a bar for hanging clothes. It allows you to take items directly from your closet and place them in a box without removing them from hangers. When you get to your new home, you can take out the hanging items and put them directly into your closet. If you have a box with shorter items, like shirts, skirts, etc., you may have a lot of space at the bottom of your wardrobe box. You don't want to overload the box, but if you have extra items like pillows, sweaters, or other light, bulky items, putting them at the bottom of your wardrobe box is an excellent way to maximize your space.
Prepare for Moving Day
Many people find that moving day is incredibly stressful, but it doesn't have to be. To prevent a last-minute rush, consult the list you prepared and make sure that you stay on schedule with your preparations. Don't fall into the trap of leaving lots of small items for the last minute. Instead, pack a suitcase for your last week in your old home. Include just the sorts of things you would take on a business trip or vacation—clothes, toiletries, devices with their chargers, etc. In addition to your packed bag, keep a small collection of cleaning supplies to clean out your old home before you leave. If you can get the keys to your new home before move-in day, you'll want those cleaning supplies to do a little cleaning before all the boxes and furniture show up.
Lastly, make sure that you get adequate food and rest in the last couple of days of the move. It may seem impossible, but if you kept to your schedule and got things done on time, you should be able to get a full night's rest. Avoid the temptation to live off of coffee those last couple of days. Make plans to stay well-fed, whether that means keeping a little bit of food that you don't pack or ordering out.
Find the Right Movers
While packing and prepping are significant parts of your move, your movers can help make the difference between a stressful and a pleasant move. No one wants movers who show up late, aren't adequately trained, or just do a lousy job. We've seen too many movers who break people's belongings, damage their houses, or even hold their property hostage for more money instead of delivering it on time.
If you want to be sure you've got the best movers, check out these TrustDALE certified moving companies. As TrustDALE partners, they have all passed Dale's 7-point investigative review and agreed to let Dale make it right in case of a disagreement. And every mover on TrustDALE is backed by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right™ Guarantee.