Moving is difficult, especially if it’s far away. I’ve lived in 14 houses and apartments in four different states, so I know a thing or two about how much moving can suck.
From choosing a place to live to the actual logistics of transporting everything, moving can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared.
But there are ways to make it easier. Here are my six top tips to make moving as painless as possible.
1. Visit where you’re moving first.
DO NOT move somewhere blindly if you have a choice. Pictures and the actual atmosphere of a place are two very different things.
If you are looking to move to a city you’ve never visited before, plan a trip for a few days there. You’ll get a sense of not just how the place looks but factors like its walkability, public transportation, locals, and more.
And don’t just visit the downtown area or tourist sites. Instead, take a bus or train to different neighborhoods so you know where exactly you want to look for places to live.
2. Make sure the place isn’t too good to be true.
Some apartments or houses seem great, but there’s always a catch. For example, my apartment has a beautiful ocean and mountain view but no air conditioning. There is always a tradeoff, so it is important to know what that is before signing a lease.
If you find a cheap apartment in an otherwise expensive city, question why. It may be in a bad area, very small, an income-restricted unit, or missing something like an in-unit washer-dryer or air conditioning.
A deal-breaker depends on your individual situation, so create a list of must-haves. Then evaluate each listing to make sure it has those must-haves.
3. Hire movers if you can.
Yes, doing everything yourself is cheaper. But if you have the funds, splurge on movers. It will make your life WAY easier.
Just packing and moving your items to a truck can last all day. Then tack on the time it takes to actually get there. So, there’s a reason why people charge for it. It’s hard work!
Just be careful to find a moving company that is well-rated and doesn’t have hidden fees.
4. If you can’t hire movers, don’t overspend on your DIY move.
I’m not going to lie: I’ve never had the money to hire movers in my adult life. So I’ve always gone the DIY route. You can save a lot if you know where to cut costs.
Reduce moving costs by saving your cardboard boxes or putting all of your belongings into bags you already own instead. (I can’t be the only one with a trillion $1 Marshall’s bags!) Local grocery stores might even be getting rid of boxes, so you can snag some for free.
Also, try not to rent a moving truck if you’re not going far. Instead, take multiple trips in your car. Or even better, have some friends help you! It can be a fun bonding time, and you can thank them by cooking or buying them dinner after.
5. Prepare moving supplies!
You absolutely need a dolly. A dolly will make your life a million times easier, and most rental truck companies offer them as part of their packages.
Also, have more tape and boxes/bags than you think you need. It’s better to have too much than not enough. And you can always save any unused supplies for future moves, packages, or projects.
6. Space out your drive as much as possible.
If you’re doing a long-distance move, space out the drive, especially if you’re driving a moving truck.
You’ll always need more time to load and unload the truck than you think, so try to make those drives the shortest. I once made the mistake of thinking I could pack the truck by early afternoon, aiming for a six-hour drive. We didn’t finish packing until 6 p.m., and we arrived at the hotel past midnight. Don’t be like me.
Plan to arrive at your destination with plenty of daylight left to unpack. You don’t want to be exhausted from driving all day, then still have to spend several hours unloading and unpacking.
Moving can be stressful, but it’s also a new adventure! Follow these tips, and hopefully, you’ll have the smoothest move possible. Good luck and happy trails!