1. Consider Using a Moving Company. People avoid movers because of price, and the more professional and insured movers tend to be on the costlier side. But there are benefits to movers and ways to keep costs down.
Most likely you won’t need movers for everything. Try limiting usage to large, awkward, and sensitive pieces. Though movers have a minimum fee, the less they move and the fewer people required may give you room to negotiate.
Reputable moving companies invest in specialized trucks with electronic ramps, straps, dollies, and blankets to safely transport and deliver your furniture. They know how to move things the right way.
Another important benefit of using movers is their insurance coverage. Damage to homes and furniture can be expensive. It pays to have insurance as a backup. Insurers cover the cost of repairs or, if repairs aren’t possible, they compensate for the original value of pieces minus wear and tear. Though the total may be less than you want, it’s better than the out-of-pocket costs from damaging items yourself.
2. Commit to Packing Materials. If you plan to do the packing, it pays to use the right tools. Thankfully, many of them can be free or rented.
For moving boxes, U-Haul offers a free box exchange. Local bookstores are also good sources. Also, check sites like Craigslist and Nextdoor.com and local community groups on Facebook.
You can rent a wide variety of dollies, including some designed specifically for going upstairs. Pick up straps and blankets while you’re there; you’ll need them. Truck rental companies such as U-Haul, Budget, and Penske offer materials for rent, and Home Depot is also a good source.
If you buy, most materials are purchasable from these same sources. Other good sources are Walmart, Amazon, and Lowe’s. And don’t forget to pick up plastic wrap, bubble wrap, packing tape, blue tape, furniture floor sliders, pen markers, and stickers marked “fragile.” Though bubble wrap is expensive, you can use it sparingly on furniture legs and corners of artwork.
3. Prepare Furniture Before Moving. Furniture can create damage as it leaves one home and enters the new home.
Drawers are especially troublesome, easily sliding open and banging against walls or tipping furniture over due to weight imbalance. By removing drawers, you avoid emptying them and make furniture easier to carry. If they aren’t removable, tape them closed with plenty of blue painter’s tape.
Large furniture like sofas, desks, and beds, are heavy and awkward. In the case of furniture pieces, the first step is to make each one as small and light as possible, removing cushions and disassembling legs and panels. If legs are permanent, bubble-wrap them for added cushion against walls and doors. Then wrap the pieces in plastic wrap to protect them from dust. Finally, cover them with blankets that are secured tightly with tape.
When using cardboard boxes, fold the bottoms flatly and tape them with packing tape. Boxes can easily become heavy during a move, so always carry them from the bottom.
4. Pre-Plan Your Route. Take the time to chart your move. Use the entrance with the least distance and fewest steps. Pre-measure door frames and hallways to ensure items fit. Remove doors if needed, setting them out of the way. Make sure all routes are open and clear.
If possible, start from the furthest room to prevent clogging pathways. If this is too hard to organize, try furnishing rooms before furnishing hallways, and keep the items on the sides of rooms to allow easy access and prevent tripping.
For long and bulky items, pre-plan your movements through hallways and doorways.
5. Once You Set Down, Use Caution. When first setting items in each room, avoid placing them directly against walls. You will avoid banging walls when maneuvering heavy items and you can easily organize electrical cords behind them. When ready to do the final placements, lift items or use furniture floor sliders to push furniture into place without damaging floors.
Committing to these simple rules will make your move damage-free. They also make your move go faster and smoother, saving you time and energy.