Planning a move is overwhelming—there is so much to get done and so many factors to consider when making preparations. If you’re feeling frantic about your upcoming relocation, don’t panic—check out our top 10 list for the most important tasks when moving.
1. Get multiple moving quotes
The most important part of your move is finding the best company to help you transport your precious possessions to your new home. There are seemingly endless moving company options, and you may not have a clue which one is the best for you. Comparing multiple free moving quotes is the best way to find the best price and service for your move. Be sure to ask each potential company about the possibility of extra fees, and provide as many details about your move as possible for the most accurate estimate.
2. Get an in-house estimate
After receiving an online quote or an estimate over the phone, make sure to schedule an in-house survey. Quotes given over the phone are often underestimated and a representative from the moving company should assess your property and belongings firsthand to offer you a final price.
3. Do a background check on your moving company
Before signing a contract with any mover, make sure to conduct a thorough background check on moving company to ensure the company has a reputation for professionalism and trustworthiness. Ask for the company’s USDOT number (required by law for any interstate mover—check state requirements for local movers), check their rating on the Better Business Bureau, and read online reviews from customers. Be wary of common signs of rogue movers—such as requests for deposits, drastically low quotes, and unprofessional etiquette.
4. Downsize your belongings
Lugging everything you own from place to place can be time-consuming and expensive. Before your move, sort through your belongings and decide what items you can sell, donate, or throw away before you relocate. Have a yard sale, sell items online, or donate to charity. The less you have to move, the lower your moving bill will be-whether you hire movers or transport your items yourself. Even with a DIY move, less items to move means a smaller moving truck and less packing supplies.
5. Get insurance
Protecting your goods during your move is essential. Everything you own will be traveling a long way, in the back of a bumpy moving trailer. Many moving companies only offer the most basic liability coverage free of charge—known as Released Value Protection. This standard coverage will only compensate you for damaged or misplaced items at a rate of 60 cents per pound—meaning a shattered flat screen that weighs 10 pounds will be worth a measly $6. Be sure to ask your mover about additional forms of insurance—such as Full Value Protection—which will compensate you for the full cost of replacing or repairing the item.
6. Make sure to pack your belongings properly
Another way to protect your goods against damage is proper wrapping and packing methods. Fragile items such as wine glasses and china or extreme valuables like artwork and antiques particularly need extra care and quality materials for optimal protection during transit. If you have a significant amount of fragile or special items to pack for your move, you may also want to consider hiring professional packing services to assist you with these tasks.
7. Plan your moving budget
Moving comes with a lot of costs—many of which are often unexpected and unaccounted for in advance. To make sure you financially plan for your move properly, it’s important to calculate your relocation budget ahead of time. Create a spreadsheet with all expected costs and their estimated amounts to determine how much money you will have to set aside for your move. This will help you to better manage your finances and ensure you have sufficient funds available.
8. Disconnect/reconnect utility services
About a month before your moving day, you should begin the process of setting up utilities in your new home. Physical utilities, such as water and electricity, are often supplied by local companies, so you won’t usually have a choice in service providers. Simply call the company to make an appointment for connection—and don’t forget to schedule disconnection at your current home as well. TV, internet and phone service will require a little more research since you will have choices for providers.
9. Organize important documents
Important paperwork such as passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records, deeds, financial statements, wills, and tax records should not be transported on a moving truck. Make sure to go through your files, organize and pack all of your necessary documents before the movers arrive so you can be sure they are placed in your vehicle or luggage for safe transport with you.
10. Pack your first-night kit
Depending on the distance you are moving, you may be without your belongings the first night in your new home—or longer. Even if you receive your shipment the same day you move, unpacking will likely be the last thing you feel like doing after a long, strenuous moving day. Packing a first-night essentials kit will ensure that everything you’ll need immediately upon arrival is easily accessible.