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10 Tips For a DIY Move

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Moving is a stressful event that can take up quite a bit of your time and energy. This is especially true when doing a DIY move. We have listed ten tips for your DIY move to help your move go smoothly and to help make sure your move is a little more stress-free.

Tip 1 - Decide how you will move

This step is the first step in any move. You will need to decide if you want to have professional movers take care of your move, or if you will take care of the move yourself. Each move has pros and cons, which you need to be aware of:

Pros - Professional Mover Cons - Professional Movers
Makes your move safer - professional packing, they take care of the driving, take care of your property, etc. Movers are much more expensive than a DIY move
They save time You don't have control over your move
Movers can minimize stress You are on the movers' time, not your own
Pro - DIY Move Cons - DIY Move
You control every aspect of your move Much more work than a professional move
You are on your own timeline Moving yourself usually takes longer than you plan
It is significantly less expensive than a professional move (usually) Costs for the packing supplies, rental truck, trailer, and fuel can add up quickly


There are options associated with DIY moves, such as moving containers that can greatly help your move. You also have rental truck options such as U-Haul, Budget, Penske, and for local moves, you even have Home Depot and Lowes rental trucks.

According to the U.S. Census, 31 million people moved in 2019. 33% of those 31 million people hired movers, 45% of those 31 million rented a moving truck, and finally, 22% moved without any moving help whatsoever.

A family preparing for a DIY move

Tip 2 - Get packing materials

The next step when moving is getting packing materials. Here is what you will need:

  • Moving boxes
  • Cushioning
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam wrapping sheets
  • Newspaper is another option
  • Rope or cargo straps
  • Tape
  • Sharpies for labeling
  • Dolly or hand truck
  • Moving blanket
  • Stretch wrap

As you're packing and moving items, you might find additional items you might need. Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and U-Haul are great places to get moving supplies. Another great place for moving supplies is Amazon.

Tip 3 – Get rid of or donate unwanted items

Before you start packing anything, it is important to go through your belongings and make piles of items you intend to take, that you intend to sell or donate, and what you need to throw away. Doing this will help you sort your items out and will make your move much simpler.

When throwing items away, make sure you are realistic with it. Throw items away that are collecting dust, that you haven’t used in at least six months, or items that are trash. Remember, the more you get rid of, the less you will have to pack and unpack.

Tip 4 – Start packing

Now that you are ready to start packing, here are a few tips you should follow for easy packing (and, subsequently unpacking):

  • Pack room by room – start in one room, completely pack it up and move on to the next room
  • Label each box – when labeling each box you can color-code them by room, what is in them, or by whatever method you choose is best.
  • Know what size boxes are used for the job – For heavier items like books, use smaller boxes. Large boxes are used for lighter items like pillows and blankets. Medium boxes are used for everything else.
  • Use cushioning – bubble wrap, newspaper, and even towels or linens can be used as cushioning for fragile items when packing things up.
  • Suitcases are great for transporting – you can use suitcases to transport items as well. We recommend using suitcases for heavy books (or your brick collection!).

Tip 5 – Get the correct moving equipment

Some equipment you will need for your move (particularly for moving day) are:

  • Furniture dolly
  • Straps
  • Furniture blankets
  • Appliance dolly

These pieces of equipment will help your move be safe and will also help your back from being blown out.

Tip 6 – Enlist some help

For moving day, you will want to enlist some help to get all your items packed into your moving truck (more than likely). You could entice your friends with money, food, or even beer for some help, or if you have great neighbors, you could ask them for some help too.

Another option is labor-only movers. You can hire them for a couple of hours, and they will load the truck up for you while you take care of other things that need to be done. Remember, there will be some sort of rate associated with this so this will be an additional cost.

Tip 7 – Pack an essentials bag

When moving it is important to pack an essentials bag. This bag (or tote, whatever you have lying around) should include:

  • Chargers
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Important documents
  • Passport
  • Snacks
  • Pet medications, food, toys
  • Water
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Medications

Each member of your family should have an essentials bag dedicated to their individual needs.

Tip 8 – Start early

When you discover you are moving, you can start packing. Obviously, six months ahead of time might be too early to pack major items, but you can start by throwing things out and making things ready to move. Remember to reserve your moving truck and trailer as early ahead as possible so you ensure that they will be there for you.

Starting on your packing and moving early creates less stress for you, and it saves you from doing everything at the last minute.

Tip 9 – Get a pet sitter/babysitter for moving day

To make sure your babies, be they furry or human, stay out of your way while you load up your moving truck, get a pet sitter or a babysitter for moving day so you don’t have to worry about them getting hurt or getting someone else hurt by avoiding them.

Instead of getting a babysitter through an app or a pet sitter through Waggle, see if a friend or someone you trust can watch your babies. This will save you money, and you will know your kids are in good hands.

A puppy being watched during a DIY move

Tip 10 – Mistakes to avoid

There are a few things to avoid when moving. They are:

  • Getting the wrong size moving truck – make sure your moving truck is the right size by being realistic with your house size, where you are moving to, and how far you are moving.
  • Not labeling your boxes – Future you will thank you for writing "living room" or “office” on the box so you know what room those items belong to
  • Not being safe – Safety is a huge factor in any move, so make sure you are safe and using the right equipment to save your back

Katherine Broome  Posted by Katherine Broome on February 17, 2022

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