Hiring professional packers can be expensive, but the benefits often outweigh the cost.
Not only are most professional packers experienced, but they have all the right packing material and equipment to do their jobs efficiently, and by packing your items they’ll be accepting liability for them as well.
But here’s the thing –
Just because you’ve gone the full-service route doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
In fact, there will still be lots to do to ensure your move goes smoothly.
Planning and execution are key, and considering the following suggestions will increase the likelihood of having a positive experience.
1. Make a Move Calendar
It may sound like overkill, but move calendars are helpful tools even for those with good memories.
From dealing with realtors, banks, and utility companies, to downsizing, saying goodbye to friends and family and enrolling kids in new schools, there’s lots to think about before the packers and movers arrive.
A simple move calendar (either on your phone or in an actual notebook) will help you get everything done on time, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you check each item off.
2. Downsize, Discard, Donate
Yeah, we’ve said it a million times.
Downsizing, discarding, and donating are great ways to get the moving process started.
- Reduce overall move time
- Decrease packing and moving costs
- Help those less fortunate when donating furniture, toys and clothes to charity
- Raise much needed funds when selling items on Facebook or Craig’s List
In addition, channeling your inner minimalist can be surprisingly therapeutic, and charitable donations are often tax-deductible.
Conventional wisdom says that cleaning after the packers are gone is best, but that’s not necessarily true.
Cluttered homes make for inefficient workspaces, and the more you clean before the packers arrive, the less you’ll have to do after they’re gone when you’re already tired and cranky.
4. Get Rid of Non-Transportable Items
There are three main categories of items that packers and movers won’t handle.
Even if you’re just moving around the corner, packers usually won’t box: fresh, refrigerated, or frozen foods.
On local moves, these items can be moved in coolers in your car, but if you’re headed out of state they’ll need to be eaten beforehand, thrown out, or given to friends and neighbors.
Hazardous household items that can’t be transported include:
- Explosives and ammunition
- Gasoline, oil, coolant, and brake fluid
- Paint and paint thinner
- Chlorine, bleach and liquid detergent
- Lighter and charcoal fluid
Most movers provide their customers with a complete written list of items they can’t move, so if you don’t get one, ask.
Some packers and movers will handle houseplants on local moves, but they’ll usually ask you to sign a waiver in case they die or get damaged.
Others will refuse them altogether because the soil in which they’re planted may be home to invasive insects prone to taking up permanent residence moving vans.
5. Do What You Say (If You Can)
When moving it’s easy to commit to doing things you might not get around to.
Here we’re talking about:
- Packing non-breakables
- Disassembling beds and tables
- Disconnecting electronics
- Providing packers with clutter-free work areas
We’re all guilty of overcommitting, and it’s rarely a problem if handled the right way.
If it looks like you won’t get the things done you said you would give your mover a courtesy call as early as possible so they can amend the estimate and assign more packers and movers to your crew.
6. Designate a “No Go” Zone
When moving you’ll most likely want to (or need to) move the following items yourself –
- Medicine and everyday toiletries
- Work documents and computers
- Guns and ammunition
- Passports, wills, birth certificates, records of immunization, etc.
- Phones, chargers and tablet computers
- Irreplaceable family photo albums and heirlooms
To avoid these items getting packed inadvertently, set aside a bedroom, closet, or bathroom and make sure the packers know it’s an off-limits area.
Put a sign outside to remind them throughout the day, and if possible keep the door locked as well.
7. Set Aside High-Value Items
Most movers will gladly move high-value items as long as they know about them.
High-value items include:
- Stamp and coin collections
- High end electronics
- Original artwork
Many interstate movers record high-value items on a special inventory that’ll be checked off at delivery to make sure everything is accounted for and in good condition.
On this “High-Value Inventory” they’ll note what the item is, its condition and approximate value, which room it came from, and its serial number or other relevant information.
8. Label Rooms
Throughout the day packers may forget which room they’re working in.
To ensure that they’re labeling each box correctly, tape a piece of paper with the room’s name to the door and an interior wall to remind them.
Proper labeling will speed up delivery and minimize having to move mislabeled boxes from one room to another after the movers have gone.
9. Take Pictures
Filing claims at the end of a move can be A HUGE HASSLE.
They rarely get resolved in a timely fashion, and sometimes not at all.
Mover’s inventories are used to determine the validity of claims, but taking pictures of your most valuable items can strengthen your case if something does get damaged.
Keep your pictures in a designated ‘Moving File’ and make sure they’re timestamped.
10. Stock Up on Drinks and Snacks
Though moving is more strenuous, packing can be exhausting work as well.
Tips are always optional, but most packers and movers go the extra mile for customers who show their appreciation for a job well done.
Having a cooler full of water, soda, and Gatorade available for the packers during the day is an inexpensive way to keep them happy and working at maximum efficiency.
Ordering a pizza or deli sandwiches for lunch doesn’t hurt either.
Full article on: Moving Day Etiquette
11. Have Pre and Post-Pack Meetings
After the packers arrive and everyone’s been introduced, give them a brief walk-through of your home to point out:
- Items of special concern
- Your “No Go” zone
- Your signs in each room
- Where they can find drinks and snacks
- Which restrooms they can use
Then when they’re finished, do it again to make sure that boxes are stacked neatly out of the way and that they haven’t forgotten anything.
12. Be Available to Answer Questions
Especially if you’re moving during the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be tempting to avoid the packers as much as possible.
Though social distancing is important, you’ll need to be available to answer questions as they arise throughout the day.
If possible, hang out in the “No Go” zone or on the patio while they’re working.
13. Provide Masks and Hand Sanitizer
Most moving companies have taken precautions to limit their workers’ and customers’ exposure to the Coronavirus.
That said, buying a box of face masks and a few bottles of hand sanitizer is a cheap insurance policy.
14. Take Care of Kids and Pets
If possible, make arrangements for your children and pets to spend the day with friends, neighbors, or relatives while the packers are on-site.
If that’s not an option, set aside a place where they can stay safely out of the way, and make sure they have drinks and snacks and things to keep them comfortable and occupied like books, games, and pillows.