Five Essential Tips for a Stress-Free Move

Even if you’re new to the moving game, there are no doubt a number of helpful hints you have gathered along the way from friends, family and colleagues – everything from warnings not to wrap fine china in inky, smudgy newspaper to encouragement regarding the liberal use of bubble wrap. Add the following key points to your mental checklist and you’re well on your way to a smooth and easy move.

Plan It!

If you’re using a professional mover, the first step is to invest the time to research the company thoroughly so you can make a thoughtful, informed choice. Get answers to all your questions, check out the supplied references, and ensure the firm is experienced and established in the industry. If your move schedule is flexible, find out if booking on a certain day of the week (avoiding inevitably busy weekends, for instance) might get you a helpful discount. Depending on the day you ultimately select, consider traffic patterns, rush hour and even special events that may affect transportation to your new digs. If feasible, map out an efficient route so everyone involved – either the pros or your accommodating friends and family who agreed to pitch in – takes the quickest path between the two locations, especially when multiple trips are required.

Mark It!

What seems like obvious advice is perhaps one of the most commonly overlooked and underestimated tips: Label, label label! Even though you think you’ll remember that you packed the mixing bowls with the silverware, go ahead and write it on the box (the side of the box, not the top – rookie mistake) just for kicks. When the time comes to load up the new kitchen cabinets – or make your inaugural meal! – you’ll be thankful that you were so meticulous. Just as you should be specific in this instance, it also helps to think big: Make sure each box is labelled clearly and in LARGE LETTERS with the appropriate room so movers know instantly where to place it. There’s no sense in wandering through the new house toting around items if the professionals can do the heavy lifting and get it to the right spot to begin with. Use specific terms like “Bedroom 1” and “Bathroom 2” in your labels, then tape corresponding signs to the doors of the rooms in the new house so you don’t have to be available to give directions.

Protect It!

If you grabbed some manageably-sized containers from the liquor store to snugly accommodate smaller items and supplement your box stash, don’t toss the cardboard grids inside the wine boxes. They perfectly suit the safe transport of delicate drinking glasses. Bonus: These boxes often sport convenient, built-in handles that similarly also make them easy to lift. Also, keep in mind that your sheet sets, blankets and tablecloths can pull double duty: Use them as additional protective material between breakable items. They have to get packed up anyway – why not have them serve a purpose and provide an additional layer of buffer?

Document It!

Walk around and take pictures of specific details in your current home so you have a quick reference when organizing the new place. If you like the way your bookshelves are staged, then snap a few photos to ease setup. The same goes for taking the guesswork out of hanging your new picture galleries. If your framed artwork or photos are presently arranged a certain way and you plan to duplicate the design in the new pad, why not capture it for all posterity? You can’t necessarily rely on your memory to hang onto such nitpicky details. Practically speaking, this is also a great practice for electronics. Before you box them up, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a pic of the hookups – which cords fit where – to make your computer, gaming system or TV hum and come back to life hassle-free.

Bundle It!

Pack a separate box of the items you will need immediately upon arrival in your new home – such as light bulbs, power strips, extension cords and chargers. Keep that box handy (along with your overnight bag of clothes and toiletries) for easy access. Storing them all together makes sense and saves brainpower, so you have one standard go-to spot and don’t waste time digging around in several scattered cartons. Similarly, certain other items shouldn’t be packed up until your actual moving day. Designate one shelf or corner for last-minute basics like a heavy-duty marker for on-the-fly labeling, extra rolls of packing tape, large trash bags, sealable storage bags in several sizes, a few rolls of paper towels and standard cleaning supplies.

Keep these handy tidbits in mind when planning the ins and outs of your next move – going the extra mile might just spare you a headache or two. You’ll be glad you did!