Don’t be seduced by the idea of a large semi with uniformed employees coming in and packing your items with a smile. This service can cost as much as the down payment on your house.
Beware: you might be quoted one price, but once the truck is loaded with your worldly goods the price goes up significantly due to weight. Always have your estimate in writing. Check references. Best bets are recommendations from friends and family. Well-known companies often charge the highest price while local companies move for much less. They also know the area, and will not get lost.
Before you move, gather up boxes. Look for someone who has just moved and will give you their boxes. Often people will advertise on freecycle.org or craigslist that they have free moving boxes. Hit the grocery on their stocking day, which is often Monday for the best selection. Remember to ask wherever you shop. Liquor store boxes are stronger and meant to hold glass, which is perfect for your dishes. Start gathering as soon as you know you are moving. Medium boxes work best because you will have to be able to lift them too.
Look at moving as your opportunity to get rid of unneeded stuff. Start by throwing out broken items. This is a perfect time to reduce your inventory to essential items only. Don’t hold onto clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. Do not move your adult children’s stuff. If they want then they can come get it. A yard sale of the unwanted items could net you extra moving bucks if you have time or the inclination. If not, donate it, but get a tax receipt.
Your packing style is the difference between things arriving safely or being broken in route. Pad breakables with towels, washcloths, pillowcases, even pillows. This will save you money on bubble wrap and precious space. Label everything in detail. What room does it go in, what is in the box, and what order should it be opened; taking your time while packing will make your move so much smoother at the other end.
Your move may keep you out of dishes for a couple of days. Have snack foods, drinks, paper plates and cups available for hurry-up meals. Do not fall into eating out and using money you need for your new home.
The movers have arrived. Basically they know their job, but do it better if tipped in the beginning. Standard tip is twenty to fifty dollars per mover depending on distance and size of house move. This is money well invested because they will work harder for you. Also offer them drinks and snacks because it is grueling work often done in the dead of summer. Anything you have doubts about like grandmother’s china, put in your own car to drive to the location. Movers cannot move your live plants. Plan accordingly. Remember to keep your moving receipts for taxes.