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How to Plan a Local Move

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Moving locally can take just as much planning and preparation as moving across the country! Don't wait until the last minute to begin planning your local relocation--these tips will help you make sure your move is a success.

Choose and book your service

There are a variety of moving services you can choose from for your local move depending on your budget and desired level of convenience. No matter which method you choose, be sure to book your move several months in advance--especially of you are relocating during the peak season between May and September.

  • Rent a truck. Often the most cost-effective option, especially for a local relocation, renting a truck can be an effective DIY method. Truck rental companies often charge a flat fee depending on the size truck you'll need, plus additional charges for fees and fuel. If you are only moving a short distance, renting a truck will be cheaper than hiring movers. However, loading heavy boxes and furniture into the back of a truck isn't easy--and neither is maneuvering the cumbersome vehicle. If you decide to reserve a rental truck for your move, be sure to enlist the aid of a few brawny friends and have the proper dollies and other tools to avoid injury or damage to your goods. You can also opt to hire a moving labor service to simply help you load or unload your truck, often for a lower rate per hour than full-service movers.


  • Hire full-service movers. If you lack time more than money, you should hire full-service movers. While you will pay slightly more, it is often worth the convenience of having every aspect of your move taken care of by professionals. You can even request packing services from your movers--what would take you weeks to wrap and pack up will take them no more than a day. Plus, full-service movers are trained in all the proper procedures for wrapping, disassembling, carrying and loading your goods and furniture, so the chances of damage are much less than if you handled the move yourself. Always make sure to get an in-home estimate from at least three companies before choosing one for hire.


  • Use portable storage. Some companies offer what is known as portable storage units. These containers are delivered to your door, where you can load them with your belongings at your leisure. When moving day arrives, a driver from the company will pick up the container, hitch it to a trailer, and deliver it to your new home. You can also continue to use it as storage if you don't have the space for all your goods. Portable storage can be an affordable alternative to full-service movers and more convenient than having to drive the truck yourself.

Know the state regulations

While all long-distance movers are required to be federally-regulated to perform relocation services, local movers are only mandated to follow state laws. Though about half of the states enforce regulation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, other states have their own regulatory agencies, and some require no licensing or registration at all. Make sure you are aware of the legal requirements in your state (or any state you will be traveling) and verify that any moving service you are considering has the proper credentials.

Gather supplies

When planning a move, it is important to have all the proper packing materials and moving tools. Some essential items include:

  • Boxes in a variety of sizes and types (including specialty boxes for items like clothing, mirrors, stemware and mattresses). You can purchase higher-quality boxes from a moving supply retailer, obtain used ones from websites like Freecycle or U-Haul Box Exchange, or find free boxes at your local grocer or liquor store. Cell boxes used to transport liquor or other bottles are especially useful for packing wine glasses.


  • Packing paper or blank newsprint for wrapping and protecting your items


  • Bubble wrap for fragile items and valuables


  • Packing peanuts for cushioning


  • Furniture blankets to protect furniture and appliances from damage


  • Packing tape to keep boxes securely closed


  • Markers to label everything

If you are renting a truck for a DIY move, you will also need the proper tools for carrying and loading your heavy furniture and appliances. Must-haves include:

  • Furniture dolly


  • Hand truck


  • Moving straps

Most of these items can be rented or purchased from your truck rental agency or any other moving supply retailer.

Organize and pack your belongings

Often the most dreaded aspect of a move, converting a household full of belongings into stacks of neatly organized and packed boxes seems like an impossible feat. Keep calm and follow these tips:

  • Downsize. The less stuff you have, the less you'll have to pack and transport. There's likely tons of useless junk cluttering up your home that you no longer need. Go through old clothes, broken or forgotten toys, and other unnecessary items you haven't used in ages. Make piles for what you want to donate, sell, or throw away/recycle. After you have purged and lightened your load, your packing tasks will get just a little easier.


  • Pack least important to most important. There are many things you need to use regularly while you are still living in your home, and wrapping them with paper and taping them inside a cardboard box will make that quite difficult. Begin by packing things you don't use every day, such out-of-season clothing, books, DVDs and CDs, collectibles, knickknacks and decorations that have no utility other than ornamental. When moving days grows nearer, begin packing everyday essentials like cookware, bathroom amenities and bedding.


  • Color-code your boxes. An easy way to stay organized while packing--and unpacking--is color-coding your boxes. Designate a color for each room in your new home--such as red for the kitchen, blue for the downstairs bathroom, yellow for the living room, green for the master bedroom, etc. Purchase stickers, tape or markers in the corresponding colors and use it to label each box that will wind up in that room. Make a key with the list of all the rooms and their corresponding colors and hang it in a prominent place where the movers can easily view it when they enter the home. This will make the unloading and unpacking process a breeze and keep you organized during the move.


  • Take extra care with fragile items. Fragile items require much more attention and caution than your other items to ensure they arrive at your new home without a scratch. Use the proper materials and methods for packing any fragile glassware or china, making sure to carefully wrap each piece and fill each box with plenty of cushioning. Cell boxes are optimal for packing items like wine glasses--the thin cardboard dividers help prevent the glasses from hitting one another during transit. Be sure to clearly label all containers with breakables "Fragile" and "This Side Up" in bold letters on all sides.

Update information

Moving doesn't end with packing your goods and shipping them to your new home. You will also have to update the following information:

  • Change your address. You won't want to miss any important mail during your move. Visit the post office and fill out a change of address form. They will forward all of your mail to your new residence automatically for one year. You should also contact your bank, credit card company, insurance, etc. to notify them of your address change. You may also be able to update this information online.


  • Transfer records. Though you are only moving locally, you may be going far enough to find a new doctor or enroll your children in a new school. Request official copies of your child's school records and transcripts, and request your medical records to be transferred to a new doctor--or ask for a copy to be released to you so you can give them to your physician in person. You may also need copies of prescriptions if you are taking any medications.


  • Disconnect and set up new utility services. In the commotion of moving, don't forget to have your utilities disconnected and cancel other services such as cable and internet. When hooking up utilities in your new home, you may have to find new providers or simply transfer the service, depending on how far you are moving. Contact the companies at least a week before your move-in date to ensure you will be able to have service as soon as you move in.

Get quotes from moving services today

The most important part of planning a local move is securing reliable moving services to transport your belongings. Always conduct a thorough background check on any moving company you are considering for hire to ensure they are trustworthy professionals. To begin comparing free quotes from qualified local movers in your area today, simply fill out our fast and easy quote form. You will receive up to seven FREE, no-obligation moving quotes from moving services near you!

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on February 3, 2014

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