Moving is stressful. Period.
You’re forced to take inventory of all the junk you’ve accumulated over the years, and you might decide it’s time to part with some of that junk.
“But I need this broken coffee maker. What if our new one goes out and its soul is transferred to this one?”
No matter how early you start, it always seems as if you end up with 3 rooms left to pack while the moving van idles in the driveway.
“Just leave it and get in the car. We’ll buy new everything.”
And, more than likely, you watch your friends and family or a moving crew—bless their helpful hearts—toss your boxes of belongings around, even the ones with “FRAGILE” written over and over again in serial-killer red writing all over the outsides.
Take a deep breath.
This last point, at least, can be remedied. You don’t have to worry yourself into a nervous breakdown when it comes to your things; you can keep your belongings safe and secure throughout the whole moving process. With a little planning, there are numerous ways to get them from point A to point B with little-to-no material casualties, and maybe you won’t have to strangle Uncle Jeff after all.
Moving your belongings is never going to be a pleasant process if you begin by throwing things into boxes without thought. Process is the key word here. There should be steps involved if you want moving to run smoothly, and you should begin by believing in the power of lists.
Make lists of everything. Write down everything you’ll be packing, from books to kitchen appliances, and check each item off as you put it in a box. If you’re feeling especially obsessive, take note of which box you’re putting the item into. This may mean numbering the boxes or creating a system of box identification. There’s no harm in knowing exactly where everything should be when you get to your new place.
Try to pack one room at a time, wrapping fragile items in bubble wrap and newspaper, using sturdy boxes that won’t implode as soon as you try to pick them up, and fill them completely so they’ll stack easily. Along the same lines, don’t overfill a box to the point that picking it up will cause you bodily harm. Avoid putting heavy objects together. Wouldn’t you rather spend the night in your new bed rather than the hospital? It also wouldn’t hurt to reinforce the bottoms and tops of boxes with lots of packing tape so they won’t break open.
Label the boxes according to which room they’ll be going to. It will save you the confusion of sitting in your new bedroom and opening up a box filled with plungers and toilet bowl scrubbers.
If you’re not on a tight budget, you might also consider splurging on specialized boxes, such as dish barrels, wardrobe boxes for clothes, or flat-frame boxes for art and mirrors. The peace of mind they bring could outweigh the monetary cost.
For larger items, especially fragile furniture, gather up all the excess blankets and tarps you can find to wrap around the edges to prevent damage. Moving services can provide you with special moving pads designed for this very purpose, but that costs extra and your own materials will work just as well.
Decide if you want to move yourself or hire a service.
This step will depend largely on your budget and how much control you want over the whole process. There are a couple of options available to you if you want to move on your own: pile everything into your own car, or rent a moving truck and drive it yourself.
Obviously, using your own car or your friends’ cars to move probably means you don’t have far to go, so lots of trips to and from your new place might not matter much. But if you’re traveling any significant distance, you’ll probably want a moving truck. You may be thinking that renting a truck and driving it yourself is not only cheaper than hiring a service to do the work, but it also means your belongings will be safer during the move since you’ll be supervising.
Well, yes and no. Before you make this decision, consider a few things. Are you comfortable driving an oversized vehicle through traffic or narrow streets? Can you back up that vehicle into your driveway without crashing through the garage? Also, think about how much stuff you have and the resources you have to move it. If you’re moving an entire house’s worth of belongings, you’ll need lots of help and maybe even special equipment to move them safely. Your friends mean well, but they might not be professionals with dollies and ramps, so this might not make your moving experience any safer.
A moving service will come with all the bells and whistles to ensure your things get home safely, but bear in mind that some services are more reliable than others. If you decide to hire someone to do the work, make sure you thoroughly research the business first. Reading reviews will give you a good idea about how careful they are with their customer’s personal effects.
Moving is always going to be something you swear you’ll never do again, but we all know that isn’t realistic. Sometimes we have no choice. By following the advice above you’ll be able to move your things safely and securely without too much worry and a little less stressful.
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