moving day

Whether you’re relocating to take a new job or buying a bigger house to accommodate a growing family, moving day can be stressful. But you can reduce the stress by following these 10 steps to ensure the day runs as smoothly as possible.

1. Get kids and pets out of the way. Moving day isn’t the time that you want your kids running around or your dog digging into boxes. Make arrangements to have the children stay with a babysitter or relative and to take Fido to a pet day care center or a friend’s place.

2. Make arrangements for the truck. If you’re moving to or from an apartment, it may be difficult for the moving truck to park to load or unload. Some apartments might even require you to reserve space for the truck in advance or move only during certain hours. Make sure you know what the rules are before moving day.

3. Pack last-minute essentials. The last thing you want to be doing an hour before the movers are scheduled to arrive is pack up your wine glasses. If you can, start packing non-essential items at least four to six weeks ahead of the move, said Malik Keene, co-founder of K&M Delivering/Moving Inc. in District Heights, MD. That way, you can concentrate on packing only those items you need on moving day. In fact, you might pack your overnight and morning essentials in a small suitcase that you can take with you.

4. Double-check valuables and important papers. Never send eyeglasses, valuable antique jewelry or important documents such as passports, birth certificates and financial documents to your new home in a moving truck. Instead, put them in a safe deposit box or keep them with you, Keene said. Before you leave, make sure you have your credit cards, checkbook and any other critical items.

5. Go over paperwork with the mover. If you’ve hired professional movers, read through all paperwork and be sure you understand it before signing anything. Make sure you have your own copies of relevant forms such as the bill. While you want to have your money lined up to pay the movers once the job is completed, avoid paying before the work is done, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. The only money that might change hands in advance is a small deposit of about $100 or less, said John Bisney, a spokesman for the American Moving & Storage Association. “When a consumer is asked for half upfront—or, in some cases, the entire amount—then something is probably wrong,” he said.

moving truck

6. Give your movers your new home floor plan. If you have a floor plan of your new home, you can indicate where all of your furniture should go. That will let the movers know where to put everything without you having to direct every step.

7. Have your home inventory checklist ready. You should compile a list of everything that’s leaving the house. Keep a copy for yourself and give one to your movers. Your list should include the condition of each item, its estimated value and where it’s located in your home. If you’ve done the packing yourself, indicate which box each item is in.

8. Prepare the house for the move. You can do certain things to make the actual moving process easier. For example, move items that are blocking the doorway or that can be tripping hazards, such as floor mats or rugs. Also, remove the spring on the screen door so no one must hold it open. If you’re planning a DIY move, get all of the moving tools you’ll need in advance, such as hand trucks and furniture pads, suggests Kevin Kleckner, director of national consumer sales and programs at Penske Truck Rental.

9. Clean up and do a final walk-through. Before the moving truck drives off, do a last-minute walk-through to make sure no boxes or other items have been left behind. Throw away trash and wipe down counters so you don’t have to come back and do that later. Also, lock the doors and windows, shut out the lights and unplug appliances.

10. Stock up on beverages and snacks. Since it’s going to be a long day, keep some bottled water and snacks on hand to keep your energy up. You might even offer some to the movers, particularly if they’re your friends. While it’s not a necessity, it’s a nice touch and makes a challenging day a little nicer for everyone.