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Moving Hacks: 5 Common Moving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

happy man loading boxes into truck

There’s a lot involved in moving to a new home. Between packing, changing your address, prepping your old place for new tenants, and managing timelines and to-do lists, there’s a lot to consider. And that doesn’t even include the stuff you need to do once you arrive.

Mistakes are a natural part of life and it’s easy to make them when it comes to moving. There’s a lot to keep track of and for most of us, moving to a new home isn’t something we do often enough to become experts. If you make a mistake here and there don’t beat yourself up. Of course, if you can avoid some of them, that’s even better.

woman with moving boxes and clipboard

We’ve put together a list of five common moving mistakes and some tips on how to avoid them. Checking this list before your move will help make the whole process a bit easier.

1. Waiting Too Long to Book

One of the most easily-avoidable mistakes in moving is waiting too long to book.

Don’t get caught up in making to-do lists and planning your own schedule. Don’t take for granted that what you need will be available on demand. The best way to be sure you start off on a good foot is to book whatever you need early on.

Movers are scarce in peak times. This includes weekends, holidays, and the “good weather” seasons like late spring and throughout the summer. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find yourself scrambling to find movers available. Prices also rise when demand is high so if you have a choice, try planning your move outside of these times.

By planning ahead you’ll be able to cross a big thing off your list, and you’ll have a date to organize the rest of your efforts around. Booking early also means you’ll be able to schedule the mover you want and the equipment you need to get the job done.

2. Miscalculating Your Budget

Budget mistakes are the most common. It’s easy to underestimate how much your move will cost. This one reinforces the first point – if you book your mover early, you’ll start by knowing what you expect to pay for a big part of getting yourself to your new home.

Know that moving large items will carry an additional charge. If you have a piano, a pool table, or a large piece of artwork, your mover will add a charge for these as they’ll need special know-how and equipment.

The same goes for a complicated or difficult-to-access entryway or many flights of stairs. Budget for these things when looking at the overall scope. Of course, your mover will factor these things into their quote when you book so make sure you mention them.

woman moving calculator stressed

Other budgetary considerations are things like cleaning your old place and any repairs you may need to take into account. The same goes for your new place – if you’re buying a home, for example, consider the repairs or upgrades you would like to do before or immediately following your move.

Consider the cost of packing materials and supplies, rental of a unit if you plan to store your things short or long term, and if you’re moving long-distance you’ll have costs for shipping or driving your car. If you have kids or pets, you may want to put them in a child or animal-friendly daycare for the day.

It probably goes without saying that it’s better to overestimate your budget. Aim a bit high and treat yourself to a celebratory dinner in your new neighborhood with all you have left over.

3. Not Getting Help

Convinced you’ll take care of the move yourself? We have no doubt that you could if you had to. But do you want to? We think you should reconsider.

There are a few stages in the moving process when help can come in handy. Don’t be too shy to ask! Why not host a packing party with some friends? Order some pizza, offer some wine, and have some chats about fond memories while you put things into boxes. Not only will you get some things crossed off your list, but you’ll also have a nice moment to reflect on all of the great times you’ve had in your current home and neighborhood.

If you really want to save time and effort, you could hire a full-service moving company. A full-service mover will bring all of the packing supplies you need and will pack your things for you. Not only that, they’ll also disassemble large furniture. At your new home, they’ll reassemble and unpack your boxes. They’ll even take the materials away with them saving you a lot of hassles – and time spent staring at boxes.

4. Improper Preparation of Loose Items

There are some things that aren’t box-worthy. This includes things like lawn and garden tools, paints, and anything that takes gasoline. Don’t wait until your movers show up to prepare these things, get a head start and take care of them before moving day.

garden tools in garage

If you’re moving to a different climate, there’s a chance you won’t even need some of these things. Leaving the snow behind? That snowblower and shovel can find a new home. If you’re moving into an apartment or condo, your lawn and garden stuff doesn’t need to come with you.

Drain fuel from any of your motorized equipment. Get rid of any paint cans you don’t need. Anything that may be considered hazardous shouldn’t be in your “take” pile so find somewhere to put these things before your movers arrive.

5. Forgetting to Pack an Essentials Box

At the end of a long day, what do you think you’ll want? A hot shower, a change of clothes, and a freshly made bed to slip into. But what happens if these things are all buried in boxes?

Save yourself some digging around and pack an essentials box. Linens, towels, a change of clothes, and a few sets of dishes and cups will go a long way to helping you feel at home without hunting. Include in this box any medications, toothpaste, and toiletries you and your family will need. Clearly label your Essentials Box (or boxes) for easy access.