I wish someone had given me some moving tips on how to make moving easier for me and my family when we made the move this past summer from Chicago to South Georgia. Moving is so hard. It wasn’t too bad when I was a single lady living on my own in a studio apartment. But when you have settled in a three-bedroom home for several years, and have added a baby into the mix, everything takes triple the amount of time to get done. After contemplating my experience, I have come up with the moving tips that I think could be helpful in reducing stress and overwhelm, and just getting it done!
This post is sponsored by Gameday Moving Services, a moving company serving Athens, GA, Athens-Clarke County, and the surrounding areas. They offer packing and unpacking services, moving labor, furniture assembly/disassembly and storage services. Gameday Moving services does in-town and out-of-state moves as well to meet all of your moving needs.
1. Do a Whole Home Clean Out
If you are even thinking you might be moving in the near future, even if you don’t have a solid date, destination or plan, do yourself a favor and clean out your home. Consider this a Spring Cleaning session. If you decide not to move, then you will still benefit from a more organized home. However, if you do decide to move, it will make the whole process so much easier. It will also give you a good sense of how much stuff you have that you want to take with you, which will help you give the movers a better idea of what your needs are when the time comes to book.
Go through every room and go through your clothes, go through the pantry, the closet, the garage. See what you use frequently and what has been sitting around and decide if it is something that you want to take with you to your new home. This is an easier process if you are moving into a similar sized home, but you may have to be more ruthless in what you get rid of if you are downsizing.
All of what we wanted to discard, we put into one of two bins:
- Giveaway/Charity: things that may have had only personal sentimental value that we no longer need to keep (clothes, accessories, books)
- Yard Sale: New or gently used items that someone would be willing to pay money for (name brand clothing, speakers, TV sets, appliances, furniture, kitchen equipment). I would also consider using OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari or Poshmark to sell these items.
- All the money we received from the sales helped to cover the cost of moving expenses (win-win).
2. Set your Moving Budget
Moving can be extremely expensive, depending on the distance of the move and how many services you need. A budget will keep you on track to keep you from spending unnecessary money on add-ons that moving companies like to charge, like packing materials, boxes, etc. It will also give you a hard line on your negotiations. If you have a clear budget in mind, it will be easier to ask each company what they can give you for your price. In this phase, you can also check to see if your employer will reimburse you or give you funds for the move, if you are moving for work. Importantly, having a budget in advance will give you a target for preparing your finances for any additional costs that might crop up during the moving process, as well as time to save for those expenses.
3. Book your Movers ASAP
As soon as you know when you need to move, call around and book your movers. Get a date on the books as soon as you can. Especially in the Summer months when more people are moving, dates get booked fast. The further out your book, the more room you have to negotiate your prices as well. I called the movers 2-3 months out and called again one month out, and the difference was at least $1500.
We ended up needing to book a U-Haul because we just waited too long, so our move was way more labor-intense than it needed to be. Also consider how much help you will need to get your things onto the truck. If you can get your friends or neighbors to help with this, it will save a lot of money, but just give them enough notice so that they can plan. Otherwise, be prepared to pay extra for the movers to pack things up for you.
4. Start Packing Early
Part of our problem was that we grossly underestimated how much time it would take to pack. Again, start with things that you don’t use as frequently (ie sweaters, special occasion dishes, movies) and put those aside. Head to the grocery store and ask for cardboard boxes (because they’re free!) and get some packing tape, and start filling those boxes. Take advantage of low-hanging fruit, like picture frames, art work, guest bedroom linens, and pack those away.
If you start early enough, you can get it done by putting in just a couple hours of focused energy every week so that it doesn’t become an insurmountable task because you waited until the last minute to start. As the date arrives for the movers to pick everything up, start bringing things downstairs, or put things in the garage to reduce the time the movers need to spend loading up the truck. Some companies charge hourly for labor. This whole packing process should be so much easier and more efficient because you already went through and tossed things that you don’t want to take with you in Tip #2.
5. Approaching Moving Day
Be sure to keep an overnight bag for each member of your family set aside with essentials that you will need until you arrive at your final destination. Pack those and whatever baby gear you have in your personal vehicle, so that what you need isn’t somewhere on a truck where you don’t have access to those things. Keep your important documents (identification, files) on your person, so that they are safe in case something happens to the moving truck. Finally, if you have a small child that requires constant supervision, have a friend or family member come by to watch them so that you can participate in the packing. I wish I had some childcare. I would have been able to pitch in more, and then I would also be able to pack my boxes the way I wanted them packed.
6. On Moving Day
Make sure everyone has something to eat before you get started just to avoid any unnecessary meltdowns! Keep any pets in a bathroom with their things so that they are not as stressed out with all of the strangers in the house. By this point, everything should be organized and waiting for the movers to load onto the truck. Update your inventory and confirm when your things are going to arrive at the final destination.
Get a good contact number, either of the driver, or someone at the company who can contact the driver so you can get an update on where your truck is in case they are running late. This happened to us during our move to Chicago. We slept on the floor of our apartment with just the contents of our suitcase for three days because our truck was running late and we couldn’t get in touch with the driver. All this being said, moving day should be the easiest day because of all of the back-end work you put in. Just enjoy the trip to your new home! The unpacking process is so much easier to deal with.
Moving is hard. I wish I had these tips before our move. I saw how hard it was going to be before we started packing, but I wasn’t organized with a strategy to help make this move go smoothly. Now I know for the next time! I hope these moving tips will help you better prepare for your big family move. Gameday Moving Services will be there to help you for any long distance moving you do in the Athens, Georgia area as well as labor, apartment or commercial moving.