Choosing a Moving Company

Have at least three movers come to your home and give estimates. Be sure to ask whether the estimates are binding, non-binding or guaranteed not to exceed a certain amount. Obtain each company’s assigned Motor Carrier number and call the USDOT at (202) 358-7000 to determine if they are registered and have the proper insurance on file. Ask your prospective moving company for a copy of the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet.

Relocation to Your New City

If you’re one of the 40 million Americans planning to move this year, you need a strategy. Starting early and staying organized is the key to a painless move. In general, follow the pre-move checklists provided. These lists will help you track the myriad details needed to facilitate your move.

If you are selling your present home and/or buying a new one, refer to the home inspection checklist and the mortgage glossary. If you are planning to rent in your new city, read the article on rental tips. And, if you are undecided, we hope the article entitled “Buying vs. Renting” will help you assess the pros and cons of each.

Whatever decisions you face based on your particular circumstances, stay positive, calm and organized. And, don’t forget to make some time just for yourself. It will probably save you a lot of time in the long run!

Packing Tips

  • Sort your belongings. If you don’t use an item, dispose of it.
  • Label boxes indicating what they contain and in which room they should be placed.
  • Drain gas and oil from power tools so they will not leak; dispose of all volatile or corrosive chemicals.
  • After cleaning out the refrigerator and/or freezer, place pieces of charcoal in them to prevent mildew.
  • Pack important records in easily accessible place. Include medical, dental, school, insurance, credit card and tax records.
  • Use strong, clean containers with lids secured with twine or tape.
  • Put no more than 50 pounds in each container.
  • Place heavy items towards the bottom of the containers; lighter items on top.
  • Protect all finished surfaces from scratching by wrapping them in paper.
  • Use plenty of cushioning such as shredded or crumpled paper to protect belongings in boxes. Remember that newspaper ink can rub off and stain items packed with it.
  • Pack items tightly to avoid shifting during move.
  • Fragile items, like china, should be packed in reinforced boxes or in special boxes with compartments.
  • Individually wrap and cushion electrical appliances.
  • Make sure liquids and foodstuffs are placed in carefully sealed containers. Wrap and pack kitchenware tightly to prevent damage.
  • Chests and dressers should not be overloaded since glued furniture joints could collapse.
  • Unusually shaped or valuable items should be crated or moved by you and not the movers. Easily crushed items should be individually boxed and cushioned.
  • You should not remove home fixtures such as window treatment hardware, towel racks and electrical fixtures. Unless your sales agreement specifically states otherwise, such items are usually considered legally part of your residence.Let the moving company pack furniture, mirrors and artwork to prevent damage.

Stay Organized

Here are some basic tips to help make moving less traumatic:

  • Pack an “Immediate Box” or an overnight suitcase with the necessities you’ll be needing right away. Don’t forget to include medicines and a first aid kit, toilet paper, tissue, and paper towels.
  • Pack an “Immediate Kitchen” box including trash bags, the coffee pot or tea kettle, toaster, plastic silverware, paper plates, styrofoam cups and some non-perishable snacks, such as crackers, peanut butter, dried fruit. This way, there will be some instant sustenance while you get organized.
  • Affix colored labels to the moving boxes according to destination. Put the same-color labels or signs on the door of the rooms where these boxes go. This way, movers will be directed to the correct rooms if you’re not available to tell them where to put each box.
  • Make a detailed floor plan for where you want things to go in your new home. Photocopy it so you can tack up copies in every room for the movers.
  • Take snapshots of wall units and shelves, so you know how things were arranged on them.