The Right Moves: Tips for Moving with Minimal Stress


Let’s face it. Making a big move is never completely easy or stress-free, and there are just too many things to think about and do. But you can make it simpler and reduce stress. Here’s how. 

Plan way ahead!

It pays to calendar your packing and moving tasks. Make a checklist, categorizing tasks by time frame. You can make separate to-do lists for two months, one month, and two weeks before the move, and another for moving day. Or you might prefer a week-by-week to-do list. Go with whatever works for you. The important thing is, you know what things to do and when to do them. 

Up to a year ahead, set your budget and start saving up for the big move. Costs quickly accumulate as you move forward. Best to be ready with the funds you’ll need. 

Discuss your plans with family and friends who are willing and able to give you moving advice, or even help out at different points in your timetable.  

Do your research.

Look up the area to which you’re moving. Know the local rules and regulations for residents. Learn the access routes from your new home to your essential places. For instance, you might want to know where the following are: pharmacy, dentist and doctor clinics, grocery store, market, bank, school, and place of worship. Don’t forget to find out the best route to your workplace. 

Draw up a list of the moving companies in or near your current location. Get recommendations from people you know. Pare down your list to three, and look more closely into these. If you have pets, find other movers who specialize in this service. Find out what specific services the movers offer and the fees they charge for these, including add-ons, if any. 

Look for sources of packing materials and tools. You’ll need these basics: boxes (include wardrobe boxes if feasible), packing paper or newsprint, packaging tape, garbage bags, bubble wrap, scissors and cutters, marker pens, and sticker paper (pre-cut to business-card size indifferent colors).   

If you’re making a DIY move, find out where you may hire a moving truck or van. Be sure you either know how to drive one, or know someone who can drive it on moving day. 

Hire professional movers, or get help for a DIY move.

Consider your budget. If you can afford it, decide which professional movers to hire from your list. If this is beyond your budget, commit to a DIY move and start recruiting family and friends to be your moving team. 

If you decide to hire professionals, don’t immediately go for the movers with the lowest rates. Check them out for trustworthiness and efficiency as well as the specific services they offer. You may find yourself better off with somewhat higher-priced movers with a better performance record and a wider range of services.  

Confirm with your chosen movers the fees you’ll be paying, both for the standard services and for any add-ons of which you take advantage. There should be no surprises on this matter on moving day. 

If you’re making a DIY move, organize your moving team of family and friends and commit them to a schedule of tasks for different points in the packing and moving process.  

About a month before moving, confirm your move date with the movers you’ve hired, or if this is a DIY project, with the people you’ve recruited to help you. 

At least two weeks before moving day, coordinate with your movers on finding parking space at your current location and at your destination. 

Transfer utilities and notify people.

Set both the cancellation date for utilities at your current location and the start date for these for your new home. Confirm these dates — avoid mix-ups where utilities are concerned! 

Avoid mix-ups in delivery or billing as well. Update your contact information for your internet connection, credit card account, and any subscription services you have signed up for.  

Also, update your contact information with colleagues, family, friends — all the people with whom you need to remain in contact during and after the move. 

If you’re renting your current place, notify your landlord of your plans at least thirty days before the move. Check your lease document as well, in case there are specific notification requirements that you need to fulfill. 

Pack up!

Reduce the amount of packing you have to do. Sell or give away things you no longer need, as long as these are still usable. Dispose of things that are completely useless to you or anyone else. 

Take photos of items that have to be disassembled for the move, so you’ll know which parts go where in reassembly. Take photos of the cords and cables of electronics so you’ll know how to reconnect them. 

Organize the items you’re packing. Valuables and essentials should be in a bag that you can carry and keep with you throughout the moving trip. Items needed immediately upon moving in should be in separate containers from those that can wait longer to be unpacked. 

Save time, money, and the environment by being resourceful. Instead of bubble wrap, use towels, scarves, and linens to protect breakable items like glass or ceramics. Instead of buying additional boxes, pack some of your items in desk and cabinet drawers. When full, tape up these drawers firmly to keep the items intact. 

Keep your clothes on their hangers, and tape or tie the hangers together in groups. Cover each group of clothes with a garbage bag to keep them clean. You can also use wardrobe boxes for this purpose. 

Using marker pens and sticker paper, label and color code bags and boxes according to their contents and where they belong in your new place. Before moving day, go to your new home and color code the rooms as well. Post color-code guides on the doors to help movers know where to put the things they bring in. 

Especially if your move is a DIY project, organize your packed boxes according to weight. You should know which ones can be carried by a single person and which ones need teamwork to lift. This will make loading and unloading more organized and efficient. 

Make your move!

Prepare an overnight bag with toiletries and some changes of clothes so these are ready to use when you move in. 

Loading and unloading can drain energy, so keep yourself and your movers fed and hydrated throughout the moving day. 

Do a final clean up of your current place, and give keys, entry codes, and the like to your landlord or the new owner, if any. 

Before signing your bill of lading or making your payments, inventory all bags and boxes handled by the movers to ensure that everything has been loaded. When you arrive at your destination, also check that nothing has been lost. Pay the movers the previously agreed-upon amount, as well as tips of 5% to 20% of the total bill, depending on the size of the move.  


The keys to making a big move simple are careful planning, research, and organization. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll make the right moves when you make your big move!

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