12 Essential Moving Day Tips

We hear it all the time.

Moving is stressful.


Not exactly earth-shattering news.

But did you know that with a little planning and foresight you can minimize the likelihood of having a move day horror story?

It’s true.

Read on, because we’re about delve into this hot topic.

1. Make a ‘to-do’ list

From kids, pets<, and utilities, to professional moving companies, realtors, and memories, moving to a new home can be an overwhelming experience.

Add to that the uncertainty of starting a new chapter in an already busy life, and it can be downright exasperating.

In scenarios like this, it’s a good idea to prepare a written list of things you’ll need to do to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Prioritize each item and cross completed tasks off with a big red pen or highlighter so you can see your progress—it’ll give you extra motivation when the going gets tough.

Let us help your moving process, check out our ultimate moving checklist

2. Wake up early and eat a hearty breakfast

Ask any mover and he (or she) will tell you that sleeping late and eating grapefruit for breakfast is a lousy way to start the big day.

It may require setting that dreaded alarm clock, resisting the urge to hit the snooze button, and making an early trip to a diner for a high-calorie meal, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Getting an early start with a full stomach means you’ll have the hours and energy necessary to get into your new home as soon as possible.

3. Wear the right clothes

Ever seen professional movers wearing sandals, Bermuda shorts and tank tops?


That’s because they’re woefully insufficient for the rough-and-tumble world of moving.

Banged shins and crushed fingers are common occurrences, so instead consider wearing long pants or sturdy shorts, boots or shoes with laces, and a long-sleeve t-shirt that’ll protect your arms from bumps and scrapes.

Likewise, clothes that fit too loosely are more likely to get snagged on doorknobs, garden tools, and big-screen televisions, which can lead to unnecessary injuries and damage.

Depending on where you live and when you’ll be moving, it’s also wise to plan for eventualities like snow, rain, and excessive heat.

Your move clothes will probably be dirty, damp, and odorous, so set aside a clean outfit for the end of the day.

4. Minimize move day packing

If you’ve followed the advice from our previous article, you set a schedule and packed the vast majority of your items before move day.

That being said, there are always things that’ll need to be boxed at the 9th hour.

Here we’re talking about toiletries, sheets, comforters, bath towels, kitchen utensils, and lamps.

To accommodate these items, keep a few boxes at the ready to make the job quick and easy.

Resist the urge to allow the movers to load them as-is.

It’ll likely lead to damage, so take the time necessary to box them correctly.

5. Set personal items and essentials aside

Though the movers will load and move most of your household goods, there are always things you’ll want to handle yourself.

Items like medication, jewelry, irreplaceable family heirlooms, important documents like credit cards, change of clothes, and phone chargers should set aside in a closet or small bedroom.

To avoid them being accidentally loaded, put an ‘off-limits’ sign on the door, and show your movers where they’ll be before they get to work.

6. Have cleaning supplies on-hand

Even dwellings inhabited by the most fastidious housekeepers tend to look like pig stys after they’ve been cleared of furniture.

After you’ve done your final walk-through and the movers have pulled away, you’ll probably need to do a little sweeping and dusting to prepare your old home or apartment for its new residents.

A dustpan and broom, a few rags, a feather duster, and some detergent should be sufficient to get the place looking presentable.

Set these items aside with the aforementioned essentials so they don’t mysteriously disappear mid-move.

7. Don’t have the utilities turned off on move day

Regardless of whether you’re using professionals or doing it yourself, moving tends to take longer than expected.

In fact, some moves continue long after the sun has set, and in instances like this, the last thing you want to deal with is a dark house with no water on your first night in your new house.

Toilets that don’t flush + bumping into walls = a horrible end to a long day.

Dealing with the power and utility companies should be included on your written to-do list, and scheduling shut-offs for the day after your move will help avoid this unpleasant situation.

8. Find a safe place for kids and pets

Kids, pets, and moving go together like alcohol, lawn darts, and family reunions.

In other words, not very well.

If possible, make arrangements for small 2 and 4-leg family members to spend move day with friends or relatives.

If it’s not an option, set aside a room in the house where they can eat, play, snooze and relax out of harm’s way.

See our guide to moving with children — or the one about moving with pets.

9. Make sure you have enough cash

Running to the ATM only to discover that it’s out of cash or out of order is another move day hassle worth avoiding.

A few days before your move, calculate how much you’ll need for things like tips, take-out food, and drinks.

If you’re paying your movers with cash, add another 10 or 20% on top of the estimated cost in case things take longer than planned.

10. Food, drinks, and first-aid

We’ve already established that carrying heavy furniture into and out of homes and moving trucks is a dangerous activity that requires tons of energy.

Breakfast may be the most important meal, but proper nourishment and first-aid are all-day concerns when it comes to moving.

Hydration is paramount too, so have plenty of water and sports drinks like Gatorade on-hand even if you’ll be moving during cool months.

Though pizza is a popular move day treat, it may not be the way to go.

Heavy, greasy food tends to make everyone sleepy, so consider smaller meals spread throughout the day, and save the pizza for quitting time.

To deal with inevitable minor injuries, have a basic first-aid kit available as well. And toilet paper. Don’t forget the toilet paper!

11. Assign tasks to your team (for self-moves)

Taking charge of your DIY move doesn’t necessarily mean barking orders like a drill instructor, but you will need to be organized and assertive.

Don’t wait ’til the last minute to consider everyone’s role.

A day or two beforehand, make a list of those who’ll be helping and assign each a task or two that fits their physical ability and aptitudes.

To avoid being labeled a petty tyrant and armchair quarterback, assign yourself a few as well.

12. Do a thorough walk-through

Regardless of how careful you think you’ve been, there are almost always overlooked items lurking in the recesses of your semi-empty home.

Once you’ve left for good, retrieving them may not be so easy.

After all, you’ll no longer be the renter or owner, so take the time to do a thorough post-move inspection.

And as they say, 4 eyes are better than 2, so enlist the services of a helper to ensure nothing escapes detection.

You’ll want to open drawers, cabinets, and closets, and check little-used areas like attics, basements, crawl spaces and sheds too.


Though no amount of planning and prep will guarantee a perfectly smooth move, by taking the aforementioned tips into account you’ll significantly increase the likelihood of having a positive experience.

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