Five Tips for Moving Like a Professional — Without Hiring Help

Whether you’re moving to another zip code or across the country, the process of packing and moving is both exhausting and time-consuming. Many people choose to mitigate those headaches by working with moving professionals who can do the legwork for them.

While that may be more convenient, it’s not cheaper. Time Magazine estimates the cost of a professional service at upwards of $12,000, depending on where you live, how much stuff you have, and what services you’ll require. Renting a truck and loading it with the help of a few friends ranges from $40–$150 per day.

That price difference makes DIY a smart logistical and financial option. To avoid the headaches that often come with moving, approach this with organization, precision, and attention to detail. Use the hacks below to take moving from stressful to streamlined in just five foolproof steps.

Scout Around for Free & Sturdy Boxes

In the months or weeks preparing for your move, stockpile cardboard boxes. You can track down quality and durable boxes without forking over a dime if you start in advance and know where to search.

Visit supermarkets, bookstores, and even a local coffee shop or cafe to inquire about the surplus crates and boxes gathering dust in their storerooms. You can also check online through websites like Craigslist, Freecycle or the U-Haul Box Exchange.


Pack Properly

Professional packing services give you peace of mind that your valuables won’t break while moving. However, you don’t need movers to pack correctly; you just need to know how the professionals do it: “Pack the boxes so that articles cushion each other. Don’t combine incompatible items like books with glasses. And pack clothing in special wardrobe containers, so your clothes hang straight, while remaining clean and virtually wrinkle-free,” explain experts at Abba & Sons Moving. This ensures the safety of your items and makes unpacking much easier.

Get Organized with a Labeling Method

After the move comes the hassle of unpacking in your new home, so plan ahead with detailed labeling. Once the boxes have been sealed, note on the cardboard which items are inside and what room they correspond with. Use waterproof, permanent markers and color-code based on each room if that’s helpful — Think: green for “kitchen” and blue for “garage.” Also, don’t forget to write “fragile” on boxes that need extra care. You’ll forget what’s in each box and things will break if you’re not extra careful with them.

Load the Moving Truck Meticulously

There’s a precise technique for placing boxes inside the truck, both to maximize the available space and reduce the likelihood of damage to your items. Here are two potential packing techniques recommended by the Moving Team at

  • Load the largest items in first to ensure there’s enough room for them.
  • Load all your boxes in first, building a wall of boxes from the back of the truck to the door.

What’s the Moving Team’s preference? “Either way is fine, but if you have a lot of equal-sized boxes, you might find it easier to go with the wall of boxes to maximize your space. By packing this way, you can load up the truck floor to ceiling with boxes. Just be sure you tie everything down to avoid an avalanche.”

Transport With the Right Tools

Lifting and maneuvering an entire household of stuff isn’t the easiest undertaking, and the right equipment can simplify that project. Borrow or purchase bungee cords, furniture sliders, moving straps, floor runners, utility blankets or tarps, and dollies. In addition to taking the physical strain off your body, these professional-grade tools secure and protect the boxes while commuting between locations. Hardware stores like Home Depot even offer rental equipment for hourly, daily or weekly rates.

Moving doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. Prepare ahead of time, remember advice from the experts, and take a deep breath. It will be over before you know it, and if you do it right, it won’t be as bad as you remember.

Author Bio: Maile Proctor is a blogger and freelance editor. She writes about health and fitness, lifestyle, family and finance. She’s written for real estate sites like Lodgify, ApartmentGuide, ThinkRealty and more. Proctor earned her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California.

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