I may not be an expert, but moving 4 times in the last 2.5 years teaches you a lot! We’ve wasted money, made mistakes, but we have learned a lot along the way.
1. Ask your movers for FREE boxes
It wasn’t until the end of OUR LAST MOVE, that our moving coordinator mentioned that 99% of all moving companies will give you gently used boxes for FREE. Movers use tons of these bad boys wrapping paintings, fragile items, or what-have-you. Anyways, ask your mover for boxes because it’s amazing how much money you can spend on just boxes alone!
For our first move, I tried to save us some money and scavenged for boxes. We hit up grocery stores, retailers, liquor stores, etc. Most of which cut down boxes and compact them as soon as they come in, but we did get lucky a few times and even dumpster dove! It sounds ridiculous but I’m pretty sure we spent around $400 just on packing supplies for our last move alone, it ADDS UP. By our fourth move, I was already exhausted and was much less particular (maybe like with your last child?! ha!). So, to save time we bought all our boxes. FYI, Wal-Mart boxes are surprisingly high quality, even our movers were impressed (and they’re way cheaper than UPS, Lowe’s, Home Depot!)
2. Hire the professionals
Stick with larger well-known moving companies for longer, cross-country moves. They tend to offer better insurance coverage on your belongs, and in general, offer more assurance. We’ve used both Allied and United for our long distance moves, but our experience with Allied was a bit better. For our in-state short distance move, we did some homework on local movers, found a smaller company and saved some money! But, if anything would have broken it probably would have come out of our own pocket.
3. Get creative with your packing materials
Our last moving crew paid us the nicest compliment, they said they’d hired us to pack for them because not a single one of our boxes was dented or squished! I always assumed that was a sign of a good mover, but it’s really how well you pack your boxes. Filling boxes fully and distributing weight evenly is key to keeping your boxes intact and your items in one piece.
Get creative with your packing materials! We used our t-shirts, scarves, jeans, towels, sheets, etc. to wrap items and to fill awkward gaps in boxes. I’m not saying to use your Gucci sweater to pad your grandma’s fine China, but you get my point. We did grab a couple of Dish Packs from Wal-Mart (like these) for dishes and lots of wrapping paper (like this) for fragile items. All our movers recommended using paper over bubble wrap, it’s cheaper, more versatile, and actually provides more protection.
Our packing strategy:
- Pack room to room. Pull everything that needs packing to a central location.
- Start a box with your heaviest item on the bottom.
- Keep filling the box with lighter items. (Be sure to fill every nook and cranny!)
- Don’t forget to LABEL YOUR BOX
4. Plan ahead
Think ahead and be sure you know what you’re moving into! Pay attention to your next apartment or abode, does it have ceiling lights? Ours didn’t and I’m so glad we realized that and brought some lamps with us before moving into an extremely dark apartment! Consider leaving items like your vacuum, lamps, pots & pans, water bottles, or even cutlery in your car so that you have somethings handy before your movers deliver your belongings (and to prevent overbuying too!). Our longest move took 13 days before we received our things, be sure to ask your mover the time they estimate so you can be prepared!
5. Leave space in your car
If you’re driving to your new destination, leave designated space open in your car! Every move we ended up with odds and ends that we didn’t know how to pack. We simply put them aside and showed our movers when they arrived, turns out they like having some loose items to wedge between your boxes in the truck to prevent items from shifting during their drive (that doesn’t sound scary does it?!). I also like to leave the back seat of the car empty as a designated travel space for purses, suitcases, prescriptions, toiletries, houseplants (I wish I had a photo documenting my baby lemon tree strapped into the backseat in an insulated bag from Hello Fresh), a cooler, or whatever you might need while on the road!
My Packing Must-Haves
Thank you for reading our 5 moving tips! We hope these help you prepare for your next more. Do you have any special packing tips? We’d love to read yours in the comments below!
** Contains Affiliate Links to Amazon.