Have you ever procrastinated while packing for a house move, only to find yourself overwhelmed by a heap of unpacked belongings the night before moving day? You are absolutely, categorically not alone. For most people, moving is right up there on the fun scale nestled between paying taxes and going to the dentist, but it’s an inevitable part of life—and it doesn’t always have to end in tears.
Planning ahead isn’t the most glamorous solution, but it’s the best way to smoothly facilitate your relocation. It’ll also help you manage the expenses associated with a move. As is often the case, the sooner you take action, the less likely you are to encounter expensive last-minute costs and overpriced rush services.
One of the most common moving hacks is to head to a grocery store or liquor store and ask to use their old cardboard boxes for your move. It’s easy, it’s free—so what’s the catch?
It’s a fine solution for those who are moving only a few items, but if you’re packing up an entire house, you might want to splurge on proper moving boxes. These are typically sturdier than your average grocery store box (and bonus—they don’t have produce juice dripping down the sides!); plus, they often have extra features like lids and handles, making them easier to transport. Perhaps the best advantage of buying moving boxes is that they’ll all be uniform in size, making them easy to stack in the moving vehicle.
This might be one of those instances where it’s worth spending a bit more money to save your sanity. Plus, if the boxes are in decent shape when you’re done, you may be able to sell them at a discount to another person on the move.
Set this Goal for enough boxes for a 3-4 bedroom home.
You’ll need more than just boxes to pack up all of your stuff.
Packing tape is a must-have—pick up one more roll than you think you’ll need, just in case.
Box cutters and/or scissors are also crucial—keep this on you (in your purse, a pocket, or the glove box in your car), because it’s the first thing you’ll need when you start to unpack.
A few permanent markers will help you stay organized. Keep items belonging to the same room together and label each box with its contents and destination (e.g., office supplies for spare bedroom). When you’re unpacking, you can sort the boxes right away into different rooms.
Pick up bubble wrap and proper packing supplies for items like mirrors or framed artwork. For dishes, you can use clothing or scrunched-up newspaper to create an inexpensive buffer.
Depending on the distance of your move and the amount of stuff you need to transport, there are several different options available.
If you’re simply moving down the road and only moving a studio or one bedroom worth of stuff, you can probably get by with making several trips in a regular car. This might be a good time to sweet-talk your friend with the pickup truck, too.
If you’re moving more items and/or across larger distances, look into renting a moving truck. Nationwide chains typically have multiple depots, so you can pick up the vehicle in one place and drop it off in another.
Choose the size of the moving truck carefully. Most companies will provide you with a guideline based on how many rooms you are moving. If you fall between sizes, it’s worth opting for the larger option. It’ll cost you a bit more money, but it will save you from having to Tetris your stuff into a too-small space.
Moving always takes more time than you think it will. Even if you pack and tape up your boxes in advance, it’s still incredibly time consuming to haul each box outside and into the moving truck, then reversing the process after you’ve driven from Point A to Point B.
Hiring movers is one way to make the task exponentially easier. It’s also a great idea when you need to move larger items, like furniture. Movers can get the job done quickly and efficiently. They’re not inexpensive, but you might find it’s worth the splurge.
Set this Goal for a two-person crew for a half day.
Pizza and drinks
If professional movers are not in your budget, consider calling up your friends and cashing in on some owed favors. Nobody loves moving, but it sure is more fun with your buddies by your side.
Of course, you have to thank your friends for their help: Have pizza and cold beverages waiting at the new house so you can all refuel after a hard day’s work. And don’t forget to pay it forward and volunteer to lend a hand when it’s their turn to move.
If you’re moving into a building—particularly if it’s a newer one—be sure to ask ahead of time about move-in fees. These will vary from building to building. The fee covers expenses like wear and tear caused by bumping furniture into hallways and the cost of putting up curtains in the elevator or booking the elevator for your move.
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