Should You DIY Your Move?
Moving yourself will most certainly cost less than hiring a moving company, but before you go it alone, consider:
- How big the move is. Taking a teen off to college or even moving into a first or second apartment is a much different experience than moving into a four-bedroom house or downsizing to a retirement condo. Outline exactly what will be involved, in terms of quantity and size of belongings and furnishings to determine how much and what kind of help you'll need.
- Your and your helpers' stamina. Moving is exhausting, both mentally and physically. Are everyone's back/knees/stress-coping skills up to it?
- It will cost more than you think. Factor in: the cost of supplies (boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap, rope), gas and tolls (moving trucks get less than 10 miles to the gallon and cost more at the tollbooth), equipment rentals (hand trucks and furniture pads aren't usually included), buying your helpers lunch/dinner and beverages, and on-the-road costs (hotels, meals) if your move will take overnight or longer.
Plan Your Move Ahead of Time
- If you’re not sure how to organize your moving timeline, check out our moving checklist to break the process down into the months and weeks preceding your moving day.
- Will you need someone to watch your kids or pets throughout the moving process? Are you counting on your friends to help you out on moving day? Give all of your helpers plenty of advance notice, especially if they won’t be getting paid for assisting you. And while you’re at it, make sure you’ve requested time off work on your moving day.
- Notify utility companies, the post office, insurance companies, the bank, and anyone else who needs to know about your change of address at least two weeks before you leave.
How to Organize Before Moving
- Clean out and organize the storage areas of your home such as closets, the attic, and the basement as soon as you decide you want to move.
- When deciding which things to keep, donate, sell, or throw away, organize by category instead of by room. For instance, go through every laundry hamper, dresser, closet, and suitcase in your house and make a pile of all of the clothes you own before sorting them.
- Moving is the best time to be particular about the things you keep. If you don’t want your new home to be cluttered, don’t take things you don’t need, you forgot you had, or you haven’t used within the last year.
- Do you have friends helping you move? Invite them over ahead of time and give them first dibs on anything you’re planning to sell or give away.
- A garage sale can lighten the load and put more money in your pocket both from selling items and saving on the cost of shipping.
- Golden Camel Moving cannot transport perishables. Stop buying groceries one to two weeks before moving day and start finishing off your perishable food items.
- Pack the essentials that you will need during your first night in your new home (toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates and plastic utensils, snacks, coffee and coffee pot, bath towels, sheets, and cleaning supplies) separately in a clear plastic bin. Also pack a personal overnight bag (change of clothes, laptop, and toiletries) to take with you in the car. Make these the last things you pack so you can find them right away.
- Take personal and sentimental items that can’t be easily replaced with you in the car instead of having the movers load them on the truck.
- Pack important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, and tax documents in a special box or briefcase.
- To save time and labor, pack things in place whenever possible. For instance, pull out your sock drawer and seal the socks inside with plastic wrap instead of taking them out and packing them in a box.
- Use wardrobe boxes to safely back clothing items like coats and nice dresses without taking them off their hangers.
- Vacuum seal your off-season clothes for easy storage when you arrive at your new home.
- Write detailed labels on boxes stating which room they belong in (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, dining room, etc.) and write labels on the side instead of the top so they can be seen when the boxes are stacked.
- To avoid losing small parts like screws and cords, put them inside plastic bags and secure them on the item they belong to with tape.
- Take photos to remember how the wires are connected for your electronics instead of struggling to put your sound system back together.
- The safest way to pack electronics is in their original boxes.
- Pack your dishes vertically in a box like records, instead of horizontally in stacks. They’ll be less likely to break.
- Are you a visual person? Use different colored tape to organize your boxes by room at a glance.
- Never lose a box or go looking through five different boxes labeled “kitchen” to find the pizza cutter again. Label each box with a number and make a list of all the items packed in the box corresponding with each number on a notepad, on your phone, or in a Google Doc.
- Don’t struggle with an enormous box of hardcover cookbooks. Pack heavy items in small boxes.
- Prevent toiletries and other liquids from leaking by removing the cap, placing plastic wrap or a plastic bag over the opening, and securing the cap back on over the plastic seal.
Tips for Moving Day
- If you’re moving into or out of a rental, take pictures of the empty house or apartment to avoid having to pay for damage you didn’t cause.
- How much do you tip a mover? While tipping your professional movers is not required, it is customary to tip 5% of the total bill or $20 to each person. Another way to show appreciation is to provide water or other refreshments.
- When you get to your new home, make the bed right away so you can fall into it at the end of a long day.
- Place your boxes in the rooms they belong in for easy unpacking.