Moving is no joke. Not only does it often require months of preparation, but it feels like the work is never over. After I packed up my apartment in NYC and moved across the country to Los Angeles, it took me months to settle in. Still, this was the first time in a handful of moves that I worked with professional movers, and they taught me some invaluable tips for moving that I wish I’d learned earlier.
Here are five essential hacks that make moving easier—straight from the pros.
Don’t Move Everything
Before you start throwing everything in boxes, really take stock of what you’re taking with you. Things like half-used shampoo bottles, mostly burned candles, and cheap bottles of wine can weigh you down—and that can be money you’re throwing out if the moving company prices their rates based on weight. Go through everything and figure out what you can get rid of, donate, or sell at least two weeks before moving day. This can save you a lot of time when you get to your new space.
Keep Important Documents On You
I learned this the hard way: You don’t want to fish through dozens of cardboard boxes to unearth your passport, chequebook, or other crucial papers. For any vital paperwork that you won’t need until after the move, keep them safe and easy to track by investing in a plastic, water-resistant bin. Not only will these items be safer and less likely to get damaged, but you’ll also be able to locate them quickly in case you need to access them soon after the move.
Take Photos Before You Unplug Anything
Some moving companies require you to unplug electronics before they arrive, and they often don’t hook them up after unloading them. To avoid frustration, take a picture of the back of your TV, computer, and any other electronics before you unplug. When you settle into your new home, you’ll know how to get them set up much more easily. (You can also apply this to other set-ups, like your pantry or anything else you have organized specifically.)
The last time I moved, I hired the movers to pack for me, too. The upside is that you don’t have to buy boxes, tape, and other moving supplies—nor do you have to set aside a weekend to pack everything. (Even though it seems like a premium add-on, it usually costs about 20% extra, so always ask!)
If you’re the one packing, make sure you pack by room—ideally where you had things in your old space, rather than where you assume you might keep things in the new one. Keep in mind that most moving companies would rather not move any liquid items, especially if they’re cleaning products that have bleach and ammonia. (Our products never contain any harsh chemicals, so they should get the green light.) Still, it’s best to pack them in a plastic tote so if they leak, they’re less likely to ruin your other belongings.
Clean Your New Place Before Your Stuff Gets There
Your movers will likely drop all your boxes in each room without paying attention to any dust or dirt already on the floor. This can make unpacking less than pleasant, so if at all possible, try to set aside a few hours to deep clean your new place before it’s littered with boxes of your stuff. If you’re moving solo and can’t be in two places at once—or if you’re moving cities or states, you can certainly hire cleaners for this. But if you’re staying local, make sure you give your new home a good mopping, dusting, and cleaning before you officially move in.
Of course, I wish I’d known to take photos of my electronics—or that having the movers pack for me would only cost an extra few hundred dollars. Wishing you a smooth move :)