Finding a perfect new house or apartment is always an exciting process — until it comes time to actually pack up all of your worldly possessions and get them to your new place. Moving can definitely be a serious headache, so it’s easy to let a few details fall through the cracks as you hurry to get the job done.
Want to stay ahead of the game? Here are some of the biggest mistakes people tend to make before, during, and after a move — and how to avoid them.
Most people realize that moving requires careful planning, but they’re not always aware of how much time it actually takes. Packing your belongings may seem like a straightforward task, but you should also take time to weed through your stuff as you pack to make sure you don’t bring items you don’t really need.
To minimize stress, get started early. Try to give yourself two months to arrange for the movers, purge your belongings, and pack the boxes and bags for your move.
Handling a move yourself may seem like a pretty good way to save money, but it can quickly become a disaster. A DIY move almost always ends up requiring more time and labor than you anticipate, and there are just too many things that can go wrong. Between the possibility of injuries and damage to your furniture and other belongings, it’s usually not worth the risk.
Hiring a moving service is the best way to make sure things go smoothly on the big day. If you’re looking to save money, you can always designate some items that you’ll cart to the new place yourself. However, it’s a good idea to leave your bigger, heavier items to the professionals.
If you decide to hire professional movers, you’ll find plenty of companies to choose from. But they’re not all reputable. Because you’re entrusting a company to handle your valuables and treasured belongings, you want to make sure that the company has an excellent track record. Pitfalls to hiring a sub-par mover could include damaged items, inflated costs mid-move, and tardy moving trucks that you can’t depend upon.
Even if a moving company gives you a quote that you like, practice due diligence. Ask friends and family for recommendations, read online reviews, and talk to more than one company before hiring one. The American Moving & Storage Association keeps a list of trustworthy companies, so you can easily search for options in your area.
During your move, some of your most valuable and beloved belongings will be at risk. Licensed moving companies often provide released-value protection, but that protection only pays 60 cents per pound for damaged or lost items. That means you may not get anywhere near the full value for damaged items that are expensive but don’t weigh much. Some companies offer full-value protection, but that only provides replacement items for anything that is damaged or lost.
If you don’t have adequate insurance coverage, you could end up holding the bag if your TV or another valuable breaks en route to your new place. So before you sign a contract, ask the moving company what kind of coverage it offers. Check your homeowner’s policy to see if your coverage extends to items in transit, too. You could also opt for separate liability insurance or moving coverage from a standalone company to give you peace of mind.
Moving is stressful for the entire family, so don’t forget your favorite four-legged friend or other pets during the process. If you’re moving to another state or a great distance from your current location, the travel can be especially hard on your pets. You don’t want to worry about them getting lost in their new neighborhood, either.
Before the move, visit the vet to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and they have all the necessary tags and certificates.
If you have a large dog, invest in a quality leash. And if your pet has issues with motion sickness, talk to your vet about that beforehand, too.
If you’re moving to a house or apartment not far from your current location, consider taking your pet to the new place for a look around before move-in day so they can get comfortable in their new home.
You should also make sure you have the appropriate carriers for your animals so they stay safe in transit.
When you’re packing for a move, you’re usually in a hurry and want to finish as soon as possible. But if you don’t organize the contents of the boxes and label them properly, unpacking can take much longer, leading to serious frustration.
Resist the temptation to throw random items in boxes. Group items together, and place them in the same box to make unpacking easier. Use a label maker to clearly identify the contents of each box. That way, if you desperately need your coffee maker when you reach your new place, you’ll know exactly where to find it.
No one’s going to argue: decorating a new home is a lot more fun than unpacking. But don’t start hanging photos and laying down throw rugs just yet. That’s a surefire way end up with a messy, cluttered home that’s not ready for that first dinner party you’re planning.
Unpack all of your belongings first. That will help guarantee that the place is as neat as can be — and you will know where everything is. Once you’ve unpacked, you can start hanging artwork and arranging the potted plants so your new home looks and feels amazing.
Moving is always going to be something of a hassle. But if you do a little planning, you can easily avoid some of the most common mistakes, which means you’ll be comfortable in your new home sooner rather than later.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.