Written by: Greg Creates
Getting ready to move, maybe from an apartment into your new home or from your current home into a new one? If yes, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is this; do you move everything on your own (a so-called DIY move), or do you hire a moving and storage company to take care of everything for you?
The decision you make could have a real, and raw, effect on your move, as well as your finances and mental well-being. That’s because, as stressful situations go, moving from one place to another is right up there with the death of a family member, a wedding or a divorce, and can sometimes feel like all 3 rolled up into one! In this blog post, we’re going to assume that you’ve made the decision to move yourself and give you the advice and tips you’ll need to do it right and come out the other end smelling like the proverbial rose.
Unless you’re moving very close and can take everything in your car or truck, all of your worldly possessions are going to need to be packed into boxes. This will protect them from damage and from getting lost or stolen and, frankly, it’s one of the most tiring parts of any move, especially if you have a lot of fragile or valuable items. Packing takes a lot of time and energy, not only to wrap and pack but also to find and purchase all of the materials you’ll need like boxes, wrapping paper, tape and bubble wrap.
Tip– Start as early as possible. Packing takes time and if you wait until the last few days (or even the day before) to get started, you’re going to regret it.
Tip– Boxes made for moving are the best. Random, mismatched boxes you get for free from the store are weaker, sometimes dirty and, since they’re mismatched, harder to load on the truck correctly.
Tip– You can sometimes find used moving boxes for free (or very, very cheap) on Craigslist.
Tip– Movers will sometimes sell you used boxes. If you buy them, make sure to ask for any brochures or handouts they have with packing tips. (You’ll need them, trust us.)
Tip– Don’t overpack. If, for example, you fill up a large box with books, you’ll spend years dealing with the hernia you get when you try to lift and load that box(es). Better to have more small, lighter boxes than fewer boxes that are bigger and much heavier.
Tip– Use paper instead of bubble wrap except on the most fragile items. Bubble wrap costs more and takes up much more space, meaning you’ll need more boxes. If you pack correctly you should need very little, if any, bubble wrap.
Renting a Truck Tips
While this might seem like the easiest chore on your list, renting the right truck is vital to a less stressful move, especially if you’re moving far away. If you rent a truck that’s too small, for example, you might find yourself with a loaded truck and some (or a lot) of your stuff that doesn’t fit, meaning you’ll have to make a 2nd trip to go back and get it, and spend that much extra on truck rentals and gas.
Tip– Estimate that every room in your home (except bathrooms) is approximately 1200 pounds or about 180 square feet of space. If you have a 3 bedroom home with a living room, dining room, and garage, you’ll have 7200 pounds of household goods and need approximately 1000 cubic feet of truck space to move it all.
Tip– Get insurance on your moving truck. Once you hit the road you never know what will happen but, if Murphy’s Law is to be believed, it will happen. If you don’t have insurance and your truck crashes and burns, you’ll be very sorry you didn’t spend the few extra bucks on insurance so that you can replace everything.
Tip– Get a truck that’s 25% bigger than you need. You’re not a professional loader so having the extra room will likely come in very handy.
Tip– Reserve your truck early. On weekends (and especially at the beginning and end of every month) rental truck companies sell out and, if you haven’t reserved a truck, you might be stuck.
Like packing, loading is an art that very few people outside the moving industry will master. If done well your stuff will make it to your new place in great shape and, if not, well, you could end up with a bunch of broken, busted furniture and household goods.
Tip– Do not load all of your boxes first, or together. You’ll need them to mix and match with your furniture as you load and, if you load them all right away, you’ll be stuck trying to figure out how to load all your pieces of furniture on top of each other. (Hint: it’s very difficult.)
Tip– Load in tiers or rows, loading up to the ceiling before you start again with the next tier. Start with heavy boxes or furniture and load lighter and lighter boxes and furniture on top until you reach the truck’s ceiling. 1 tier done, now start again.
Tip– Load large sofas standing on their side with padding underneath the arms. Then, after wrapping it well with moving pads, strap it to the wall so it stays in place during the drive to your new home. Load other furniture and boxes around it like above, tier style.
Tip– Designate one person as the loader and let them do that while the others bring furniture and boxes. If you have someone with experience this can be a big plus.
Is a portable storage container a good idea?
If you’re moving out of one place on, say, the 1st of the month, but your new place won’t be ready until the 10th, a portable storage container might be a good idea. That way, your stuff can stay in the container until the day comes that you can move into your new home and you’ll save money and time, Plus, the less handling, the less chance of damage and breakage.
Should you use a service that packs, loads and unloads your truck for you?
By all means, if financially possible, yes! If you haven’t guessed by now, moving is a very stressful task. Yes, if you’re young, strong and have plenty of friends (and beer), you can make a DIY project out of this, especially if your furniture is all hand-me-downs and 2nd-hand used stuff. On the other hand, if you’re a busy professional with a life, children, nice things (and enough on your plate already) hiring a company to pack your things, load them onto the truck you’ve rented and unload them at your new place isn’t just a luxury, it’s darn near a necessity.
Hiring a crew who knows what they’re doing will make a world of difference and, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, could have a real, and raw, effect on your move, as well as your finances and mental well-being. If you have more questions or need advice about your DIY move, please contact us using the form, below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.