According to the United States Census Bureau, Americans will move an average of about 12 times in their lifetime, and packing your belongings to move either across town or across the country can be stressful. That’s a lot of boxes, a lot of organizing and a whole lot of worry. To help simplify the process, here are some easy moving tips to help you get this task done without being overwhelmed:
1. Devise a Simple Location System
If you know where your stuff will go in your new home, then label your packing boxes accordingly and group them together. You can even hang signs on the wall to designate certain areas for boxes that are going to the same space. This will make it extremely easy to find your belongings once you get to your new space.
2. Purge Your Stuff
Instead of paying movers to lug around a lot of things you don’t use or haven’t used for years, sell or give away items. Take photos of things you’re selling and use a free site like Craigslist to advertise it. If you donate items to a charity, you can also get a tax deduction. Don’t forget to shred your old documents and recycle what you can.
3. Pick the Right Time
If you’re moving to or from a big city, avoid moving on the weekend or even Friday since these are some of the busiest times, says the Chicago Tribune. Traffic can be crazy, and you don’t want your movers to get stuck — especially if you’re being charged by the hour. Plus, weekends in cities are filled with festivals, ball games and parades, which can cause traffic jams.
4. Choose Inexpensive Dates
The best months to move are November through New Year’s Day, according to Allied Van Lines. Moving companies are the slowest then, so you can get some great deals. By avoiding the summer, which is the most expensive time to move, you can save money and hopefully stress. Also, if you can coordinate moving during the middle of the month, you could also land even lower prices. The busiest times for movers and truck rentals are the beginning and end of the month. You could also get a better price by moving Monday through Thursday.
5. Use Containers You Already Have
That three-piece luggage set in your spare bedroom closet could be great for packing your linens or seasonal clothing. You can fill dresser drawers, too, if that’s acceptable by the movers. Do you have storage ottomans, hampers, coolers or baskets that can you substitute for boxes? Look around your home for items you can use as moving containers.
6. Pack Essentials and an Overnight Bag
In the rush of packing up everything, you might forget to pack an overnight bag with your clothes for a few days. However, if your moving truck gets delayed, you might need essentials like pajamas, toiletries and some cash, so make sure your overnight bag is ready. Consider packing a box of cleaning supplies, light bulbs, toilet paper, garbage bags and bottled water for your new place, too.
7. Protect Valuables
The irreplaceable 18th-century desk you inherited from your aunt needs special treatment from movers. Communicate that to them and ask ahead of time what you need to do in order to protect it. Also, if you have jewelry, coin collections or other valuables, carry them instead of putting them in the moving truck. You should also consider insuring anything that is breakable and valuable if you’re using a moving company.
Remember that the moving process is just the start of a new adventure in your life. Not everything will be perfect, but if you stay calm and patient, and use these tips, you might find it a little easier.