A Guide to Seamless Moving Process [Checklist Included]

If there was a ranking of most stressful stages of a rental journey, moving would sure top the list. With very few exceptions, this process leaves you exhausted and stressed out. Although it’s hardly possible to eliminate all the hassle associated with moving in and moving out, there is still a chance to make things easier. With this in mind, we created a detailed guide to seamless moving.

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We looked back on our personal experience, talked to industry experts and all those who’ve changed enough homes to be called ‘professional movers’. As a result, we’ve got a handful of ideas and best practices to help you move with ease. So sit down comfortably, take a deep breath, and start learning.

To Save Your Time

Make it One Room at a Time

This rule applies to both packing and unpacking. First of all, it will save you plenty of time. Instead of rushing around the entire home, scale the process down to one room. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s better to sort things based on what part of your home they belong to. It makes perfect sense since you know which box comes to which room. Second of all, staying focused on one place comes with a feeling of accomplishment when by the end of the day you can cross the entire room off of your moving list.

Go Hard on Labeling

As experienced movers confirm, the way you pack affects the way you unpack. That’s why it is crucial to develop a clear system of labeling and follow it along the way. One of the most effective approaches is to use labels and index cards. Labels should indicate a ‘go to’ location (meaning an exact room where a certain box should be placed). Index cards, in their turn, are used to list the contents of the box. This system is insanely practical. The last but not least, make sure to write ‘go to’ location on each side of a box since you have no idea how they will be stacked in a truck.

Ask Your Friends and Family to Help

There is a good old saying that friends in need are friends indeed. Don’t miss your chance to find out whether or not it’s true. Ask your friends to come and help you with packing. That’s not to say that you need to gather a noisy crowd, but a pair of extra hands sure won’t hurt. To make your invitation more attractive, promise pizza and some drinks for everyone who comes (and don’t forget to keep on promises).

If Using Moving Crew, Book the First Available Start Time

Think of it this way: moving crews are made of humans, humans tend to get tired by the end of the day, tired humans are not known for productivity. The bottom line of this logical chain is clear as day: schedule your move on the early morning and request a moving crew for the same time. In nearly all cases, crews have up to 5 orders per day, and you can imagine how exhausted they feel arriving for the last request of the day. Make sure that your one is not the last.

“Request the first available start time of the day. This is especially true in the summer when moving crews are slotted for up to 5 or 6 move jobs in one day.  If your loading request ends up as their 5th move, even if you get the best crew in town, they’re going to be exhausted, work slower, and might even drop a thing or two.”

Mike Glanz, Co-Founder, and CEO of

Take Care of Bolts, Nuts, and Screws of Your Furniture

The process of moving is tiresome in its own right, so there is no need to make it even worse. That is why you should store all bolts, screws, and other tiny pieces of your furniture in a plastic bag and make it labeled clearly. As experience shows, you’ll be happy that you did it. At the very least, it will help you keep things organized.

Take Pictures of the Back of Your Equipment

Unless you are so trendy that all of your equipment is wireless, you’ll sure benefit from this tip. Putting the right cables into the right slots seems easy at first glance, but then you find yourself in tears in a company of colored cables, adapters, and jack plugs. So make sure to shoot the back of your equipment. It won’t take more than a minute but will save you time and money (the service of cable guys is not free).

Set Up Your Unpacking Priorities

There are plenty of approaches to follow, but most experts agree upon this unpacking order: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and all the rest. Such order makes the most sense. When you are tired from a long hard day (and most of the moving days are long and hard), you’ll sure need a place to sleep before another round of unpacking. Having your bathroom cleaned and stuffed with toiletries will help you feel a little more human during your first days after move-in. As for the kitchen, this room usually takes the most of the time to unpack. That’s why you’d better hold off on it until your bed and bath are ready.

Hire a Cleaning Company for Your New Home

Those who’ve moved from house to house more than once would agree that hiring a cleaning service is a great idea. It would cost you around $200, but chances are good it will be the happiest dollars you’ve ever spent. When the winterlong process of moving is finally over, the idea of cleaning your new home might get you nerve-wrecked. So why risking your health?

Aviod moving companies to save money

To Save Your Money

Avoid Using Moving Companies

There is nothing wrong with hiring specialists for your moving, but you can save decent money by choosing an alternative. As we’ve learned, there is an option of renting a truck, reserving a portable storage container, and hiring moving labor to help you with load and unload. Not only will this cost you significantly less than hiring a full-service moving company, but also will let you keep things under control, which means no ‘bait-and-switch’ pricing tricks. According to Mike Glanz, this approach is called ‘hybrid moving’ because it’s partially DIY and partially full-service.

Don’t Buy Boxes, Search for Free Ones

Moving is already costly enough, so don’t make it even more expensive. Buying boxes are the easiest course to follow, but sure not the best. If you work in a big company, chances are good that your office manager regularly orders boxes of printer paper. If you know about your moving well in advance and inform your office manager on this matter, you’ll have enough time to collect plenty of free boxes. Alternatively, you can hunt online with services like U-Haul Box Exchanger, Freecycle, or FreeCardBoardBoxes.

Consider Used Furniture

If you think that preowned furniture is not worthy your attention, keep in mind that antique furniture cost a lot and it’s not new in some way too. Sometimes you can find a good-as-new coffee table, sofa, or even large electronics for a significantly smaller price. Prejudice and stereotypes are nothing but limits. Think out of the box and you’ll get a chance to save money and fill your new home with unique pieces of furniture.

Move on Weekdays

Although weekend moves seem like the most logical choice, you can save a decent sum of money by scheduling it on a workday. The thing is that moving services tend to charge more during the busiest periods. The explanation is simple: moving companies, even the biggest ones, have a limited number of trucks. And when there are too many requests, they’re forced to rent trucks from partner companies. Obviously, they’ll charge you for this extra expenses.

Choose Alternative Packing Materials

In nearly all cases, moving company offer packing service to protect fragile and breakable items from a damage. And their packing materials are sure great, but there is one catch. They have no superpowers, which means that your clothes, pillows, ziptop bags, and liners can do the same job for free.

To Reduce Stress

Start Earlier

If you don’t like the idea of being stressed out, plan things well in advance. No one’s gonna tell you what particular schedule to follow. It all depends on your personal daily routine, the size of your home, its level of clutter, and even your temperament. Some people suggest starting as early as 60 days ahead, while others say that one week is more than enough. No matter which option is more appropriate for you, the bottom line is this: avoid packing under the wire.

“Our move from Ohio to California brought me to tears. We hadn’t started packing early enough, so we rushed to throw many last minute items into boxes the night before we planned to drive cross-country. Somehow we got it all into the U-Haul truck, but I could’ve saved myself a lot of grief. Now I know to start the packing process months before we move. A little done each day can help a lot.”

Ali Wenzke, Founder of The Art of Happy Moving

Give Your Landlord a Prior Notice

A failure to give a prior notice is one of the most common mistakes tenants make. So if you don’t need another portion of stress added to a moving rush you already have, study the topic of a prior notice. It all depends on the state you live in and the text of your lease. In some cases, you’ll need to hand-deliver a written notice to your landlord, while in others, you’ll only need to use a certified mail. A standard time of prior notice is 30 days, but some states or customized rental agreements might ask you to start the process even more beforehand. What’s more, make sure you know how to write a moving out notice.

Request Full-value Moving Insurance

As you watch the last box of your ‘life’ sinking into the truck, you are likely to get worried about getting things back in a good shape. They say worrying is useless, so you’d better find the way to calm yourself down. A glass of wine is sure an option, but it won’t repair your family china in case it’s broken. That’s why buying a moving insurance is a way better solution. To safeguard your personal belongings, spend some dollars on full-value moving insurance. There are options to suit every pocket.

Transfer Utilities in Advance

As experience confirms, utilities are slow and with bad customer service. That’s enough reason to call them well prior to your move-in date and schedule the utilities to be switched on at least one day before your move-in. First and foremost, take care of gas and electrics. You’ll sure appraise a chance of having a shower and preparing a meal.

Declutter Your Belongings

As experts suggest, moving is a perfect chance to declutter your home. So take the most out of the opportunity. There are plenty of options to choose from ranging from donating clothes you no longer need to setting a garage sale. If it gives you hard times to assort your stuff into ‘keep’ and ‘get rid of’, follow the one year rule. This is especially true for clothes and accessories.

“Moving is a great time to declutter your life! Get rid of old junk that you don’t use anymore. Fight Club had it right – the things you own end up owning you.”

Brian Davis, Co-founder of SparkRental

Choose a Trustworthy Mover and Provide Them Clear Instructions

If healthy nerves are ranked higher than money in your personal system of values, then you should choose a good moving company to help you arrange the process. Although hiring such services costs money, it is worth the time and effort you are saving if your life is too busy to keep things under control. Oftentimes, full-service moving companies take care of everything from inventory to packing, protecting, loading, and even cleaning.

“Give clear instructions when your movers arrive, and be on hand to answer any follow-up questions. But do try to stay out of the way as much as possible when they are lifting and moving heavy items! Top tip: Always know exactly what is included in the service you have booked, and be prepared so that they can get started as soon as they arrive.”

Kyle Gesuelli, Expert from Handy Storage

packing boxes for moving

Pack Your ‘Day One’ Box

Write a list of things you’ll sure need during your first day in a new home. Consider it a box of first-day essentials. This way, you won’t need to unpack 20 different boxes just to take a shower, change your outfit, and charge a laptop. You can customize your list depending on personal needs, but make sure to include hygiene items, toiletries, first-day outfits, gadget chargers, pillows, some mugs and plates, and whatever else you think you’ll need right away.

Wrap Shampoos and Liquid Soaps

Washing agents are sure a great invention of humanity, but you’ll find it hard to agree when part of your personal belongings smell like a hazelnut dream and are creamy to touch. To avoid this stress point, unscrew the tops from open liquid soaps and shampoos, wrap plastic around the open ends of the bottles, and screw the tops back. As simple as that, it will protect you against unplanned foam party.

Make Sure to Keep Your Routines

If you have medical prescriptions or simply don’t feel good when skipping meals, keep in mind that moving rush won’t leave you a chance to dine or easily find a pill organizer. To save yourself from trouble, think of your menu for a moving day in advance (order delivery or get some simple products like milk and cereal in your fridge). And keep your pills and bottle of water at within sight.

“Moving is a physically and mentally demanding process, which requires you to be in the best shape you can be, and skipping meals or going off your meds doesn’t help.”

T.J. Peterson from Oz Moving & Storage

Ensure Your Kids Are Having Fun

Moving is a big stress in its own right, but bored and exhausted kids can make it even worse. If you don’t want to get distracted and irritated on your move day, make sure that children are entertained and taken care of. Some experts suggest involving children into moving routine, while others insist on hiring a babysitter. The choice is up to you.

Moving Artwork Smartly

When we talk about moving valuable items, we have to understand the importance of appraising them.

No matter how good your packaging is, there is always a chance that your moving company will damage your goods and you will have to work out the damage claim with them. That’s where the appraising process will come handy and the data you gathered will help you get a fair compensation for your items.

Find a decent appraiser who will help you figure out the prices of your most important antiques and will document them. There is also one more step that can help you keep track of your goods’ condition – creating inventory.

The biggest mistake that you can make while moving artwork is simply covering it with something soft and thinking that it’s enough to secure them.

As we’ve already mentioned earlier, there are lots of different boxes that you may use and it’s no surprise that there are special boxes for your framed artworks and posters.

Note: If you couldn’t find those, simply ask your moving company, they will figure this out for you in a moment.

Tape Your Paintings

All the paintings, posters that you keep under the glass and even mirrors should be taped prior to moving.

It’s no big deal, just draw a big ‘X’ sign on it with the help of the tape and it will help you keep it from shuttering into small pieces.

Of course, it’s not an ultimate safety measure, but it’s definitely one of the elements that should be considered important, it plays its role in the big picture.

Approach Packing Artwork for Moving Responsibly

These items are called ‘valuable’ for a reason and each of them deserves a special treatment from you.

Pack each item individually

No matter what kind of items you’re packing/unpacking, each of them should be handled with care and packed individually. There are tons of different things that you may find valuable: cups, glasses, paintings, dishes, old statues, etc. – find individual packaging for each of them and make sure they don’t hit each other.

Label All These Boxes with a Fragile Sticker

So let’s say everything is packed, what’s next? That’s right, you need to make sure that all your boxes are handled with care when your moving company is loading it into the track and transports it to the destination point.

Mark boxes as fragile

The best way to ensure the special care is marking the boxes with the fragile sticker.

This is a direct order to anyone who interacts with these boxes to move them carefully without dropping, throwing, etc.

Keep Your Important Documents with You

Documents do not occupy too much space, but they are also very valuable, so when you move somewhere, you should take care of them in the first place.

It can be your lease agreement, house ownership documents or mortgage contract, no matter what kind of documents you have on hands – you should transport them with you (in a purse, bag or backpack).

Before Moving Valuables — Get Them Insured

Some of you can still worry about your items, no matter how good the packaging is or what kind of a moving company you hired. That’s quite understandable, we all tend to love rare items and care about them.

The best way for you to sleep well is to get the most valuable items insured. It will give you a chance to take a deep breath and stop caring about losing money you invested in some expensive framed artwork.

But still, we strongly recommend you controlling the whole transportation process of your most beloved items, since no money in the world and no moving insurance can replace a vintage box from your granny or a painting that was drawn in a single copy.

Wonder How To Remember That Much?

No need to challenge your memory reserves. There are plenty of other fascinating things to keep in mind. Feel free to use our comprehensive checklist on moving and be sure that no detail will be overlooked. Print this moving checklist and keep it updated throughout the moving process. When all the moving rush begins to spin, you’ll be so glad you did. Careful planning is especially important when you are moving to your first apartment. Keep in mind all the essentials and review first apartment checklist or make your own using the best to-do templates from the web.

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful and now you feel ready for your big move. They say all changes are for the better, so we wish you the best of luck in a new place. And don’t forget that we’re always here when you need a new place to live or just looking for a rental advice you can trust.

1 Comment

  1. Move says:

    A Guide to Seamless Moving Process was amazing I liked it.

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