Top 5 Packing & Moving Tips

By Ashley Kilroy · June 29, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Top 5 Packing & Moving Tips

Moving can fire up a rollercoaster of emotions. The early rush of excitement may give way to stress over the looming to-do list of all that needs to happen before the big move.

Like any life transition, moving requires a lot of preparation. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of ways to help streamline the process.

Below are some tips that could make moving more efficient, including a guide to common costs to prepare for.

How to Streamline a Move

Here are a few helpful suggestions whether you’re easing into a new townhouse, apartment, condo, or home.

Get Rid of Unwanted Items

Moving is a chance to let go of items that have gone unused for months or years.

In addition to being able to get rid of unwanted “stuff,” decluttering can help you cut back on moving expenses. With fewer things to move from point A to point B, there’s less need for packing materials or an extra large moving truck. It may even help make the move speedier and more cost-effective, since there’s less stuff to carry (or pay someone else to carry). What’s more, reducing how much you have can also help ensure your new place won’t feel overstuffed.

Prepare Early

As you declutter, it can be useful to identify boxes and packing materials needed during the move, such as packing tape, markers, labels, scissors, newspaper, and bubble wrap. Why spend money on new cardboard boxes when there are likely unused boxes already lying around your home or at friends’ places? A visit to local recycling drop-off points may be in order, as it’s possible they’ll have free cardboard boxes available there, too.

Consider starting off your packing a few weeks ahead of time, with non-essential items like out-of-season clothes or kitchenware that’s rarely used. And consider taking photos of all valuable items as you go. This way, if anything breaks or movers damage something during the move, it will be easier to file a claim and receive reimbursement for it.

Tie Up Loose Ends

Moving to a new area? Consider making a list of everyone you’ll want to contact once you’re settled in your new place.This may include:

•   Friends and family members

•   U.S. Post Office

•   Employers

•   Credit card companies and other financial institutions

•   Service providers (e.g., water bill or internet)

If you’re hoping to keep utilities or services with a specific provider, it may help to call ahead of time to verify if those services are offered in the area you’re moving to and if the service can be transferred to your new address on or after move-in day.

Keep in mind if you’re starting a new service with a new company, you may need to notify them weeks in advance so they have enough time to schedule a technician’s visit or mail out the necessary equipment.

If you’re leaving the region, you’ll also want to make a note to cancel recurring memberships at local-only businesses, such as gyms and fitness centers.

Organize Moving Documents

From leases to service contracts to quotes from moving companies, there’s a lot of paperwork to manage with a move. It can help to keep all important documents organized in a single folder (and be sure to print out a copy of any documents sent to you electronically). Some paperwork to include in the moving folder could be:

•   Old leasing agreements

•   A new signed lease (if renting again)

•   Invoices from professional movers

•   Receipts associated with the move

The paperwork may even come in handy after you move. Members of the U.S. Armed Services may be able to deduct moving expenses, for example. And some companies will reimburse employees who are moving to accept a new job for common moving expenses. Talk to your human resources department to find out if you qualify and which receipts or invoices will be required for documentation.

Prepare a Tip for the Movers

For those who plan to hire professional movers, setting aside cash in an envelope could help when it comes time to tip. Often, people tip their movers if they’re happy with the job they completed. Taking out cash the day before a move can simplify tipping, as it’s one less thing to think about during moving day.

Recommended: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Common Moving Expenses

When budgeting for a move, it can be useful to plan for expenses that can add up quickly.

Understanding Professional Moving Costs

If you’re moving yourself, plan on paying an average of $50 per day to rent the truck, and budget more for mileage, gas, tolls, and other expenses.

If you’re hiring professionals for the job, you can expect to pay quite a bit more. An in-town move that uses a team of two movers could cost an average of $80 to $100 per hour, according to Consumer Affairs. Moving to another state? Be prepared to spend upwards of $5,000 or more, depending on how far you’re going and the amount of stuff you’re hauling.

You may also want to consider whether to budget for packing services, which typically runs anywhere from $300 to $500, and moving insurance, which protects you in case your items are lost or damaged during the move.

If you’re looking to save a little money — and your schedule is flexible — you may want to look into moving during the middle of the week or middle of the month, when demand tends to be lower.

Estimating Transportation Costs

In addition to budgeting for the cost of moving your things, it’s good to calculate the expense of transporting yourself to your new home. Be sure to factor in expenses such as flights, lodging, food, rental car, and gas.

Other Supplies and Expenses

You might already be loading up on bubble wrap, packing tape, boxes, and labels. But there may be other moving-day essentials to consider.

1.    Cleaning supplies: Many landlords expect outgoing tenants to leave a property just as they found it: clean and empty. Be sure you have a mop, broom, cleaners, and sponges on hand.

2.    Repairs and renovations: Whether you’re patching holes in your old place or making upgrades in your new home, consider budgeting for any renovations or repairs.

3.    Furniture and other home items: You may find that when you move into your new space, you need to buy some new furniture. You may want to set aside a little extra for these purchases.

4.    New license and vehicle registration: If you’re moving across the country, you may need to calculate the cost of getting a new driver’s license and registration in a different state. Fees for getting a new license and vehicle registration vary by state.

Recommended: Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

The Takeaway

Whether you’re relocating across town or across the country, moving can be exciting. But it can also be stressful and expensive. To help streamline the process, you can remove and donate any unwanted items, assemble your supplies and the movers’ tip ahead of time, organize all the moving documents in one place, and alert family, friends, employers, and creditors of your new address.

It also helps to prepare your budget. A DIY move is often the most affordable option — on average, it costs around $50 per day to rent a truck, which does not include mileage, gas, tolls, and other expenses. A professional mover costs substantially more. An in-town move that uses a two-person team may cost around $80 to $100 per hour, but that price could climb into the thousands for an interstate move.

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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