It’s a timeless and universal truth: moving is no fun. Ancient Polynesian seafarers, while nervously prepping outrigger canoes for uncharted trips across the South Pacific, probably groaned in frustration when they realized at the last minute that someone forgot to pack up all the fishing gear.
Sure, locating to a new place can be an exciting adventure, but the actual moving process can be stressful, costly, and full of surprises. Make your next move as smooth and simple as possible by avoiding these pitfalls:
Hiring a shady mover. Moving scams can run the gamut from bogus “moving deposits”, to bait-and-switch estimates, to overly-complicated contracts designed to nullify mover liability. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, your state transportation regulator, and the U.S. Department of Transportation – and even your relatives, friends and neighbors – are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache.
Failing to schedule your move well in advance. During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting until the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks – or better yet, months – in advance. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you’re supposed to head out.
Packing too much stuff. Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven’t laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, “edit” your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Consider holding a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven’t seen, worn, or used something in a year, think hard about whether you need to keep it – and whether you need to haul it to your new place.
Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time. You’ll find very few people who’ll say that packing is fun. In fact, a survey commissioned by SpareFoot found that people who moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process. (Our ancient seafarers would probably agree.)
You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won’t need right away – for instance, if you’re moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they’re out of the way. If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives, or colleagues to lend a hand. Just make sure you have plenty of pizza and cold beverages on hand. If you can’t rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress.