10 Moving Tips | Money

Moving is probably one of America’s most dreaded tasks. In fact, one in 10 Americans say they would rather spend a week in jail than move, according to a survey by Life Storage, a real estate trust investment company.

But while it might be a dreaded task, most of us have to move at one point or another. So, if you’re part of the “I hate moving” crowd, here are some moving tips to help make things smoother.

1. Do your research and pick a legitimate moving company

A lot of people choose to move using their own vehicle or rent a truck to save a little extra cash. But if you have many items — especially heavy ones — hiring professional movers may be the better and more convenient choice.

Still, you don’t want to hand over your precious belongings to just anyone, which is why we recommend you do the following when weighing your options.

Watch out for red flags

It just takes a quick Google search with the phrase “moving company scams” for hundreds of results to pop up.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), one of the agencies that regulate movers in the U.S., these are some of the telltale signs your mover is fraudulent:

  • Gives you an estimate without an onsite inspection
  • Demands a large deposit in cash before the move
  • Lacks a physical address
  • Answers the telephone with a generic message instead of the company name
  • Cannot provide information about its insurance policy
  • You can’t find its registration number online, or they cannot provide it when you ask
  • Doesn’t give you a written copy of your estimate
  • Says it will determine the charges after loading

If you spot any of these, the best thing to do is stay away and look for other alternatives.

Request a binding estimate

There are two types of estimates: non-binding and binding. Moving companies offer one or the other, based on how much your items weigh and how many movers and vehicles are needed to relocate your belongings. The difference is that, with a non-binding estimate, you may end up paying more if your items weigh more than was originally estimated.

You should always aim to do business with a company that offers binding estimates, as these types of agreements guarantee that you won’t be charged more than what you were initially quoted.

Verify the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an organization that accredits businesses based on their ability to offer services as advertised and their commitment to effectively address and resolve customer complaints.

Companies with ratings of A or above are generally considered more reputable. Besides providing ratings, the BBB also has a comment section in which you can view customer complaints and the companies’ responses. This information can give you additional insights into whether or not you want to do business with a particular company.

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2. Make a moving day bag

In case you can’t unload everything on the day of your move, take the following important items in a separate carry-on bag:

  • Personal IDs
  • Spare cash
  • Records of all your belongings (including their value)
  • A copy of your moving contract
  • Important documents, like your new property’s contract
  • Spare keys
  • First aid kit (you never know what can happen!)
  • An extra set of clothes
  • Snacks
  • Toilet paper
  • Electronics
  • Chargers

3. Finish packing before the move

Packing procrastination can lead to potential mistakes like leaving important items or documents behind, not packing fragile items properly and overstuffing boxes to their breaking point.

If you have professional movers, this part may be easier as they’ll do most of the hard work for you, but still, here are some tips to amp up your packing game:

Packing Tips

Declutter before you pack

Before you move, take the time to identify things you don’t need to take to your new place. If you’re DIYing your move, this will help you save money on packing supplies and make packing easier.

If you’re hiring a moving company, reducing clutter could help you save hundreds of dollars. Moving companies usually charge by the hour, the weight of the items and how many movers or trucks are needed to get the job done.

When decluttering, make sure to divide the items into four categories: keep, toss, sell or donate. You can use storage bins or plastic bags to help you keep things organized.

Have a moving checklist

Color-code boxes or label them so you know what’s in them. Additionally, take inventory of what is going into which truck and, if possible, take pictures of what’s inside each box. These steps will streamline unpacking once your items arrive at their final destination.

Stock up on supplies — the smart way

Even if you hire professional movers, you’ll probably need some supplies of your own, like packing tape (lots of it) and several boxes.

Sure, you can buy cardboard boxes at an office supply or hardware store, but most local grocery stores will have these available for you at no cost.

4. Have a moving truck loading plan

Start by loading the heaviest items — such as your fridge, sofa and dressers — first, placing them as close as possible to the cab. That way, these will act as a sturdy base to protect other belongings.

Next, stack up medium-weight objects, like tables, chairs and heavy boxes, and place lighter items on top of them.

Finally, fill up any empty spaces with bed sheets, blankets and other soft items to provide padding that can minimize movement inside the truck.

5. Get a shoulder dolly

Fun fact: the Incredible Hulk can lift over 100 tons without breaking a sweat — but you can’t.

A shoulder dolly is a two-person system consisting of two harnesses connected by a lifting strap with tension metal buckles. They are used by professional movers to reduce back, shoulder, arm and hand strain.

With a shoulder dolly, you and your companion can safely lift up objects weighing up to 800 pounds, as long as their width doesn’t exceed nine feet. You can buy one online, at local hardware stores or major hardware chains for about $40.

6. Use blankets to protect sensitive furniture

Besides using blankets to fill up empty spaces in the truck, they can also be used to protect fragile or delicate items, like glass tables, mirrors, paintings and ceramics.

They also come in handy to protect wooden furniture from scratches and minor dents. Although any type of blanket or cloth will do, quilts and comforters should be your first choice, as they provide an additional layer of padding.