The do’s and dont’s of moving: How to save your stuff and your sanity when relocating

Moving box

By Olivia Lee
Medill Reports

Whether your move is around the corner or across the country, relocating can be difficult and many unforeseen hiccups can arise. Here are some tips and tricks to help prepare you for the undertaking and lighten your load.

Packing advice

    1. For all of your belongings, Expert Movers, a professional moving service company, suggests you label each box with a number. Then, create a spreadsheet that indicates the corresponding contents of the box.
    2. Cover breakable items, such as dishes in bubble wrap. Make sure items don’t touch by using packing peanuts or paper as a divider.
    3. Use special boxes for other breakable items, such as picture frames or television screens. Wrap items in bubble wrap and place in cartons specifically made for large frames and television screens. This will prevent them from moving around and potentially cracking.
    4. Make sure lids are tightly sealed on food containers. To prevent leaks, place each item in a plastic bag before putting them in a box.
    5. Put liquid items, such as cooking oils and wine, in wine boxes. Visit your local liquor store and ask for extra wine boxes. It’s an easy way to prevent breakage without wrapping items individually. 
    6. Disperse heavy  items, such as files or textbooks,  across several boxes. Place these items at the bottom of the box and put lighter items, like office supplies, on top. Then no one box will be too heavy to move.
    7. Buy wardrobe boxes for clothes and shoes. Clothes can be easily hung and shoes can be easily stored in shoeboxes at the bottom of the box.
    8. Pack valuable items, such as expensive shoes and purses,  in plastic containers that allow for locked closure. This will prevent potential for theft.

Shipping options

  1. Moving containers: If you don’t have too much to move, consider using a container. According to Zippy Shell, a national supplier of moving containers, its products tend to be less expensive than traditional moving companies. However, most moving container companies don’t provide moving supplies or movers, so you’re responsible for buying packing supplies, loading and unloading your belongings, and ensuring that the container is secured and locked. This additional fee could make the final cost comparable to that of traditional moving companies like Atlas or Mayflower. 
  2. Moving companies: If you want more of a package deal, consider an all-inclusive moving companies. Many offer free quotes online based on the number of rooms and square footage of your living space. Think about moving insurance before signing on the dotted line, says Jocelyn Martinez from 2 Guys and a Van. Accidents can happen and insurance can ensure compensation for any potential damage. 
  3. Car shipping: There are many companies out there, such as uShip and AmeriFreight. For the most part, quotes are determined by distance required for transportation. However, pick-up and drop-off dates aren’t always flexible and are determined by the availability of the trucker in your area. Schedule the transport at least two weeks ahead to avoid scheduling conflicts. When doing so, ensure that cars are shipped directly to their final destinations to prevent potential damage that can occur during unnecessary transfers. 

Delivery do’s and don’ts

  1. DON’T forget to confirm delivery date(s) and time(s) the prior to your move. 
  2. DO inspect belongings as they are delivered and take note of any damage. 
  3. DON’T forget to offer water to the movers during services.
  4. DO ensure that all items are accounted for before signing for the delivery.

Additional tips:

  1. Before moving, arrange for utility services to be turned off when you leave and for new services to be turned on when you arrive at your new home.
  2. If you haven’t used an item in over a year or if the item doesn’t hold any emotional significance, consider discarding it.
  3. Forward your mail to your new address and alert your bank or companies associated with reoccurring payments of the address change.
  4. Send change of address cards to friends and family.
Photo at top: To ensure your belongings arrive at your new home in one piece, experts suggest packing items in newspaper or bubble wrap before placing them in a box. Then label the box with a number and create a spreadsheet that indicates its contents. (Olivia Lee/MEDILL)