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Moving Tips: Checklists for Packing and Moving Out

With a little planning, moving day can be stress-free. The following tips offer simple solutions and suggestions to the typical obstacles that families face while moving.

Moving Tips

Preparation for Moving

Moving Boxes

Taking some time in the days, or weeks, before your big move to make sure your family is ready will save you frustration as moving day approaches.

  • Get rid of unnecessary clutter before you go. Host a garage sale, or donate goods to your favorite charity.
  • Dispose of as much trash as possible before the big day.
  • Depending on the number of items you have to move and the time you have to do it, it may less-expensive to move yourself, rather than hiring a mover. Or consider hiring a mover for larger items (like furniture and appliances), and do the rest yourself.
  • Overestimate the time you'll need to complete the move. Moving almost always takes longer than first anticipated. Be smart and plan extra time for miscellaneous tasks that can potentially alter your schedule.
  • Don't try to move any objects that are too heavy for you to carry. Ask family and friends to help.
  • Don’t overpack boxes. A common mistake many people make is using oversized boxes to pack a lot of things. The heavier the box, the harder it's to move, and the more likely it's to fall out on the bottom. If you can’t lift it easily, it’s too heavy. Boxes shouldn’t weigh more than 50 pounds. (And remember to lift with your knees, not your back.)
  • Take extra time to pack everything carefully. Use newspaper or bubble wrap to separate and cushion fragile items. Wrap each item separately. Use extra packing material to fill in the empty spaces in the box to minimize movement between items. Pack plates and china vertically rather than stacked on top of each other.
  • Clearly label all the boxes with permanent marker. This will help you identify where they need to go once you arrive at your new home. Also, be sure to label which boxes contain fragile items.
  • Designate one room in your home where all boxes will be placed before the move. This will serve as a destination point while moving and will decrease carrying and loading time.

Shop Moving Boxes

First-Night Kit Essentials

Make sure you have these items at hand, especially if you've hired movers who'll arrive with the rest of your goods several days after you. Packing a few essentials will save you from having to scramble through closed boxes to find necessities or make last-minute shopping trips for items you forgot to bring along.

  • Alarm clock
  • Aspirin or pain reliever
  • Basic cleaning supplies and paper towels
  • Bedding and linens
  • Box cutter or knife
  • Change of clothes
  • Coffee maker or instant coffee and tea
  • Disposable plates, cups and eating utensils
  • Extension cords and batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlights
  • Light bulbs
  • Map of new area
  • Medications and eyeglasses
  • Pet supplies
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver and hammer
  • Snacks
  • Tape and dispenser
  • Toilet paper
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, razors, etc.)
  • Toys and games for the kids
  • Work gloves

Remove Obstructions

On the day of the move, you want to be able to get in and out of your house quickly. If you prepare, moving day can go much more quickly and easily than you could've anticipated.

  • Move potted plants and planters from the front porch, walkways and driveways.
  • Disconnect the spring on the screen door so it stays open.
  • Remove all rugs and door mats.
  • Remove all low-hanging items.
  • Arrange for someone to take care of the kids and pets while everything is being loaded.
  • Park the truck as close as possible to the house.

Be Prepared for the Movers

If you've chosen to hire movers, be prepared to answer common questions and help them with any obstacles they may encounter. Good communication with your moving team can help ease your mind and eliminate many moving-day mishaps.

  • Be present to answer any questions movers may have.
  • Carefully read the bill, ask questions as needed and obtain a copy.
  • Accompany the driver while your inventory is prepared.
  • Ask questions and obtain a copy before the driver leaves.
  • Let your movers know about items that require special handling.
  • To pay movers during unloading, have a certified check ready.
  • Exchange contact information with the driver.
  • Ask for the truck’s departure time.
  • Check for damaged or missing items. Note them before the departure.
  • Create a central floor plan or label rooms so items arrive in the right place.
  • Keep water, soda and snacks on hand for movers. Designate a bathroom for use.
  • Perform a last sweep of the house: Look through all closets and shelves and check walls. Also, check in the garage, attic, crawl space, storage unit and under the stairs.
  • Keep money on hand to tip the driver and moving crew.
  • Review all paperwork with your driver before signing.
Good to Know

Once you're all moved in, use our New Home Checklist to get everything organized.