Summer is just around the corner and is by far the busiest time of year to move.
In fact, 36 million people moved in the United States just last year! If each person that moved donated one can (or 1lb) of food, then we could feed more than 30 million people!
Additionally, moving creates more waste than most of us realize. Did you know, on average, 900 million cardboard boxes, 345,000 tons of food, and 353 million gallons of fuel are wasted each year from moves?
Since we began in 2009, our network of movers has helped move thousands of people every year, so we have a pretty good idea of how to make moving less stressful and more efficient.
Check out some of these top moving tips and tricks to make your move easier, cost-effective, and more sustainable.
1. The best time to pack
Try not to wait until the last minute to get to packing! Start early and set goals for yourself to make it go by faster. If you are getting started early (say 2 months or more), try to pack at least one room per weekend. If you are packing a little more last minute (say about 2 weeks) then you may need to pack 1 room per day. Either way, try to space it out so you take the proper time and care to pack your possessions properly.
2. Pick the right moving box
Trust us when we say, you don’t want poor quality moving boxes. They can make EVERYTHING worse. The typical brown moving box is not a bad place to start (our team’s personal favorite is from Home Depot). Make sure to upgrade to the ‘Heavy Duty’ for things like books and other heavy items or valuables. It’s better to pack heavy things like books in multiple, smaller boxes so they’re more easily movable instead of one larger, EXTREMELY, heavy box.
Did you know 900 million cardboard boxes get wasted every year across the country? Rather than getting one-use boxes, rent them or even use plastic ones that you can keep and reuse! You can pick these up from Walmart, Amazon, and other places. If you don’t want to purchase yours then consider renting them to minimize waste at ZippGo, Bungo Box, Bin it, and Rent-a-box.
3. Pack Lightly
Things like books, movies, and records may not seem heavy individually but pack a full box, full of them and it just might hurt your back. Pack these in smaller boxes so they’re easier to carry and make sure to put these in the bottom when stacking boxes so they don’t squash anything below them.
4. How to protect your breakables
The worst thing to happen is moving into your brand new home, opening your box with all your precious valuables, and finding them all broken. The simplest thing to do is wrap your breakables in newspaper or bubble wrap to keep them from shattering in the back of your moving truck.
Plates, cups, and other dishware can also break easily in a box. Avoid the constant clinging by putting a piece of Dish Foam in between each plate as you stack them and wrap dish foam around each glass. Biodegradable packing material is another great option - Greenwrap and Corrugated Bubble Wrap are eco-friendly and sold on Amazon!
Although bubble wrap is the easiest option, keep in mind that 90 million pounds of packing paper and 30 million rolls of packing tape get wasted every year. Reduce waste and go eco-friendly or use what you have around the house.
Pro tip: Want to save money AND resources when packing valuables? Use your clothing as a buffer between breakable items! You have to pack your shirts and socks anyway, why not use them to wrap your fragile items. This way, you save space, reduce waste, and pack your clothes at the same time.
5. How to remember where you packed everything
Use labels on your boxes so that you remember what is going in each box and group similar items together to make them easier to find. You can also take a photo of what is inside the box and tape it to the top of the box! That way, you're not struggling to find the important items when you’re unpacking.
6. Pack the silverware and kitchen last
Leave out a few kitchen appliances and silverware when packing so that you don’t have to use paper plates when preparing for your move! You can pack those up last right before you leave.
7. Purge/Donate what you don’t need
Moving forces a lot of people to realize they are borderline hoarders and have collected a decent amount of junk over time. You may realize you have a lot of stuff you don’t really need to take with you.
8.4 million tons of junk is wasted each year. This includes all of the things sitting in cabinets, drawers, and garages that get thrown out. A good rule of thumb – if you haven’t touched it since you moved in, it’s probably good to purge.
8. How to sell things on Facebook Marketplace & yard sales
Host your own yard sale when it's time for you to move! Go through your things and decide what you don’t want anymore and for all the things you don’t, put them in a garage, basement, or another area that you can keep separate from your other items then put together a yard sale. It’s usually best to host one on the weekends over a few hours. Get yourself a chair as you might be outside for a while and be ready to negotiate just about every price. Don’t forget the yard signs around your neighborhood pointing people to your sale.
Don’t have the time or energy for a yard sale? Post select items on Facebook Marketplace. We’ve found it to be much safer and faster than Craig’s List. Make sure to take good pictures of your item(s) and check out a few similar items to know where to best price it. Like a yard sale, be ready to negotiate a bit. Once you found a buyer, try to find a public place for the exchange and you’ll be all set.
If all else fails, try donating it to a local charity. There are also a lot of donation centers that take old electronics and wires and repurpose them.
9. Set up your mail forwarding
Don’t forget to set up your change of address with the post office! This will help make sure all of your mail is sent to your new address starting on your moving day. It’s super easy to do - just click this link and fill out the form! A good rule of thumb is set up your change of address about two weeks before the big move!
Picking a Truck and Mover
10. How to choose a mover
If you are hiring movers rather than renting a truck, hire movers that care about the environment and are eco-friendly (you can find a social responsible mover with this awesome tool!). Use word of mouth references and online reviews to help make your decision.
Pro tip: Make sure to ask three different moving companies for price quotes. Then, you can pick the most cost-effective option rather than going to the first ones you can find. Chances are, you can save money without even knowing it.
11. How to choose between a round trip or one-way rental
It's important to decide if you should take a round trip or do a one-way rental. A one-way rental allows you to pick up the moving truck near your old home and then drop it off when you get to your new home. A round-trip rental requires you to return the truck back to where you got it from. One-way rentals will cost more but likely will save you the hassle if you’re moving out of state.
See what pricing works for you and if you will need to be back near your old home anyways before deciding if you need a roundtrip or not.
12. What size moving truck do you need?
Most rental companies have different recommendations for what size truck you need. It is recommended that if you are moving to a 1-2 room apartment, you need a truck less than or equal to 22ft. If it is a 5-room house, you may want a bigger truck, like a 26 ft one.
13. Where do you stay on an overnight trip?
Depending on how far you have to go, you may need to book a hotel for the night. There seem to be two popular methods when deciding where to stay; (1) Driving until you get tired and then find a hotel, or (2) booking your hotel in advance. We have done both and we can say that #2 is the much preferred and safer option.
Being tired behind the wheel of a large truck is less than ideal. Additionally, you’ll likely get better rates and selection when you aren’t showing up without a reservation at 11 pm.
Be sure to book your hotel a few days (if not a few weeks) in advance and look for a hotel near the highway. Don’t try to stay in a downtown or a super busy part of town as the roads may be harder to navigate with a truck and hotel prices may be higher. When making your reservation, make sure the hotel allows parking for moving trucks so you won’t get towed!
Pro tip: Moving is stressful - so treat yourself on this road trip! Find a hotel with a pool for a quick dip from a long day of driving (if you have kids, swim time is the perfect way to tire them out for bed!), and get a recommendation on the best local pizza place from the front desk!
It’s Moving Day!
14. The “Go” Bag
Remember to pack your chargers, laptops, change of clothes, toiletries, and anything else you may want handy in a carry-on “go” bag so you can have them on you during the move. This way, you know where your valuables are and can access them easily.
15. Dress appropriately
Dress comfortably and appropriately! Sneakers or closed-toed shoes are a must to protect your feet from any dropped boxes. It’s also important to know what the weather will be like.
High temps and sunny? Choose shorts and a t-shirt to prevent overheating.
Moving in winter? Choose warm bottoms and layer your top half! You’ll be moving around all day, so pick clothes that are easy to take on and off depending on your temperature.
Pro tip: Make sure to come prepared with plenty of water and snacks! It’s super important to stay well hydrated and nourished throughout the day!
16. Donate your food when you move
When you move, you're going to find canned foods in your pantry that you forgot you had. Rather than tossing it, donate any food you find to your local food bank. Find a socially responsible moving company here that can help transport your donations to a local food bank!
17. How to load a moving truck
If you’ve hired movers to pack the truck - good for you! You can move on to the next step.
If you’ve chosen to load the truck yourself, it's important to load your truck efficiently and effectively. The heaviest items go on the bottom while the lighter items can be stacked on top. Similarly, the largest items go in the back while the smaller items can be upfront. Try and spread out the weight across the truck so that one side is not heavier than the other. Be prepared to hone your Tetris skills as you find ways to fit those last few items and boxes in the truck.
18. Lock the moving truck
This is one tip you definitely don’t want to forget. Once the truck is completely loaded, the truck isn’t fully closed until you have a lock. Not only can your things get stolen, but the truck can open up on the road and your belongings can fall out.
Look for a padlock with a long arch so it can go through all parts of the truck’s back door lock. Make sure it’s thick enough so it can’t easily be cut but also thin enough to fit through the truck’s back door lock. If you’re planning on spending the night anywhere then locking your truck is essential. You’ll want to get this from your local hardware store before moving day so you aren’t scrambling to get one the day of.
19. Take the least amount of trips
Taking fewer trips while moving can help you save money, time, and fuel. And, don’t forget to account for traffic when you're leaving. Give yourself enough time for the drive so that you're not scrambling and driving recklessly. 353 million gallons of fuel are used every year in just moving trips alone.
To help reduce the number of trips, fill your cars with items to move. Oftentimes the cars are best for smaller items and breakables so there’s less risk for them to move around on the drive. Make sure to pack your “go” bag in the car as well so you have easy access to a change of clothes, toiletries, etc.
If you have multiple cars, you may need to add a trailer hitch on the back of the moving truck. Almost every DIY mover offers these as an add-on to the moving truck that you rent. But remember, make wide turns, especially if you are towing a car (or else you may scrap your car or someone else’s property rounding the corner which is what this writer did). You also use that towed car as an extra place to load boxes. It’s basically another mini-moving van.
20. Do you tip a mover?
A good rule of thumb is to tip a mover anywhere between 5-15% of the amount you are already paying them. You can decide the exact amount based on what service you get from them but you should definitely always tip your movers.
21. Pick a podcast or playlist
Music gets everyone in a good mood and it’ll turn your move into an adventure! Long drives can be annoying but with the right playlist, it’ll go by quicker than you could ever imagine.
This is also the perfect time to binge that audiobook or podcast you’ve been dying to try out!
22. End your trip with your favorite food!
Have an idea of the food places around your new home! Research the best local restaurants and have a delicious first meal without the hassle of finding a restaurant when you're exhausted from having a long day!
Moving doesn’t have to be stressful - it can be exciting and fun if done the right way! Hopefully, these moving tips have helped answer some burning questions and will help streamline your moving process. If you’re a moving company and want to work with Move For Hunger, you can reach out to us here!