So you’ve found the perfect place and signed the lease. Now it’s time to move your stuff – probably lots and lots of stuff. Start by creating a move budget and figuring out how much time and stuff you have. They’re all are factors in deciding whether to do it yourself or hire professional movers. If you have to move quickly, hiring professionals might be the best route. If you have plenty of time and people to help with the heavy lifting, a DIY approach may make more sense. Even moving a studio apartment likely requires some heavy lifting. You can estimate the truck size you need based on the size of your current living space or use a moving calculator. Here are some more moving tips:
Packing your stuff
Sorting through your things is the perfect time to jettison what you don’t need or care about. As you look around your current place, ask yourself what you could donate. You’ll be helping someone else, and it may be a tax deduction for you.
Make sure you have the basic supplies:
- Boxes (variety of sizes and styles)
- Packing paper
- Bubble wrap and/or cushioning foam
- Packing tape
- Moving blankets
- Plastic wrap
- Paper towels
- Screwdriver set
- Markers for marking boxes
Pack one room at a time. It helps break up a huge, daunting task into more manageable pieces. It also makes unpacking easier. Packing is part art, part science. Some tips to help to stay on the right path:
- Wrap all items carefully and keep each box cushioned inside.
- Mark all boxes according to the room they’ll be moving to.
- Limit box weight to about 50 pounds.
- Keep all of your important items (power cords, prescriptions, etc.) in one box labeled “essentials.”
Check out other pro packing pointers here.
How to DIY
If you’re going to do the move yourself, here a few essentials:
Ask for help – the more the better. Give friends and family several weeks’ notice when requesting help and stay flexible. When they’re on site, keep your helpers hydrated and nourished with water and snacks. And remember to return the favor — it’s only fair.
Rent the right equipment. A rental truck will be your biggest cost. Sizes range from pickups for smaller, short moves to full-size trucks. Compare rates and remember to factor in the cost of fuel and other miscellaneous charges like towing your car. Check out these truck-driving tips if you’re a novice. Some personal auto policies provide coverage for driver’s liability of the truck rental. Check with your provider. In addition to the truck, here are a few other items you’ll need to rent or borrow:
- Dolly, hand truck, and/or moving sliders or straps for heavy items
- Pads and blankets
- Personal protective clothing (knee pads, etc.)
Protect unboxed items. Disassemble furniture to the smallest components and keep fasteners in a sealed plastic bag marked with the item (bookcase, media cabinet, etc.). Wrap all unboxed items in pads, plastic wrap, or other padding will help prevent damage during the move.
Loading and unloading safely. Be sure you’re loading and unloading the truck safely and smartly. This is where the dollies, hand truck, moving sliders, and moving straps make a difference for you and your friends, lessening the strain of lifting. Load the largest and heaviest items first, into the end of the truck nearest the cab. Pack items close together to save space and avoid shifting in transit.
Tips for moving with a pro
Before you sign a contract with professional movers, you should:
Check them out. Make sure your movers are licensed, insured and reputable. Get referrals from friends, check the company’s USDOT number, and search the web for ratings and reviews.
Get accurate estimates. Online or phone estimates are a starting point, but you should get an on-site, binding estimate to ensure you don’t have any extra fees.
Check the paperwork. After selecting a moving company, review all of the paperwork before you sign it. Make sure you understand your contract and rights as a consumer.
Move’s done – now what?
No matter how you make your move, there are still a few things on your must-do list.
Ensure the place is move-in ready. You already checked on the condition before signing your lease. Now make sure all requested repairs have been done. Document the move-in condition of the rental using your camera phone (apartment selfies, anyone?). Key things to check the condition of:
- Walls, ceilings, floors, doors and screens
- Electrical components such as light fixtures and security alarm features
- Fixtures such as sinks, tub, shower and toilets
- Appliances including refrigerator, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer
- Mechanical components such as water heater, smoke detector, thermostat, heating and cooling systems
Activate utilities. Unless they are included in your rent, you’ll need to make sure utilities such as electricity and water are transferred to you.
Unpack—with a strategy. Last but not least, unpacking requires just as much thought as packing. Get started with these expert unpacking tips.