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Self-Moving Advice and Tips

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Moving yourself, versus hiring a professional company, has certain advantages and disadvantages. Of course, you will save a considerable amount of money, however you will likely end up trading that savings for additional time and effort. Actual savings and added effort really depend on the details of your move though.

If you are moving from a small home and/or to a local destination, this can definitely be the most cost-effective, quick and simple solution. Call in some favours to your friends and have your moving plan ready to execute on moving day. Remember to try to pack as much as you can ahead of time, if at all possible.

If you are moving from a large home and/or to a distant destination, moving yourself will definitely be a significant amount more effort and time, in turn, possibly costing you more money.

 

Self-Packing Tips

  • Use only boxes with lids. This allows better packing of the moving truck and greatly reduces the possibility of damage.

  • If necessary, purchase boxes and packing materials from a moving company. Use linens and towels to cushion fragile items.

  • Label all boxes with a list of contents, and which room they will be moved to in your new residence. If a box has fragile contents, boldly mark the outside of the box "FRAGILE". Label both the top and the side of each box.

  • Use about four inches of crumpled paper in the bottom of every box loaded with fragile items. Wrap each item individually and add paper cushioning around it. If items are particularly delicate, pack one box inside another.

  • Wrap plates, saucers and china individually, and then bundle in groups of three or four. Stand them on end in the carton; never lay them flat. Don't use newspaper to wrap fine china and other items that can't be easily washed. Newspaper ink smears easily.

  • Wrap cups and glasses individually and pack them rim down in the box.

  • Box stereo and computer equipment to prevent damage.

  • Pack pictures and mirrors in boxes. If you are concerned about damage, have these items professionally packed.

  • Leave clothes in drawers.

  • Upright file cabinets with drawers can be left full. Lateral file cabinets, desks and credenzas need to be emptied.

  • Check to see that caps are secure on toiletries, medicines, cleaning products and laundry soap.

  • Do not pack any flammable materials or aerosol products, including hair spray, shaving cream, deodorant, insecticides, cleaning products, spray paint, nail polish remover, bleach, lighter fluid, and motor oil. The temperature inside a closed moving van can reach 150 degrees, and these combustible items can trigger an explosion. 

  • As you pack small boxes, move them into a staging area such as the living room or the garage. This makes moving day progress faster.

  • Make sure a few hand tools are easily accessible. You may need them right away in your new house.

  • If you are moving your belongings into a storage unit, get a unit larger than you require. This way boxes can be stacked against each wall to leave an aisle down the middle for easier access to stored items.

  • Make sure your belongings are insured for an adequate amount, and carry enough cash to cover emergency situations during your move.

 

Are you prepared?

Firstly, you need to make sure you’re in suitable condition to move. If you’re sick, injured or just too weak to pull off a moving job, then you shouldn’t be moving by yourself. Therefore, you should contact a moving company. If you’ve had severe injuries in the past, such as back injuries, you should most likely avoid self-moving in case the injuries re-surface. Also, check your insurance to see if you’re covered for accidents, injuries and damage to your goods if you self-move.

If you’re in good shape, then start planning your move. It is highly recommended that you acquire the assistance of friends or family – you don’t want to be lifting all those heavy boxes by yourself. Make sure they are in good physical form to help you out. But don’t forget to reward them with some pizza and cold beverages; you want them to still talk to you, right?

Now, start planning for your move. Make sure you have arrangements for your move-in day at least two to three weeks in advance. As well, as time narrows down to move-in day, compile a list to keep you organized while packing. Head down to the local store and get the materials that you’ll need: boxes, tape, box cutters, permanent markers, work gloves, plastic wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.

 

Just Keep Truckin’ Along

Most likely, you’ll have to rent a truck from a rental truck company. They have trucks that vary in size, so even if you don’t have a lot of possessions or smaller pieces of furniture, you can still rent a relatively small truck or van. But if you do rent a truck, make sure you have the required licence to drive one. Most of the time you’ll be able to get away with your regular driver’s license if you rent a smaller truck, but you may be required to get a special one if the truck is larger.

Once you get your truck, make sure you load all you possessions properly into the truck. Start with heavy furniture at the back of the truck and heavier boxes at the bottom. Load lighter items on top of heavier items. Use plastic wrap and rope for any items that may topple or need extra sturdiness. Make sure you pack important documents and items last, or carry them in a different vehicle, not the truck. And don’t forget to lock it too!

If you have never driven a truck before, then you may want to practise. Remember, these are much larger than your car and they move a lot differently. Here are a few tips for driving, loading and unloading a truck:

  • Drive with caution: Especially when you have all your belongings packed in the back, trucks won’t go too fast – so don’t push it. Drive at or slightly below the speed limit and try and avoid driving in the far left lanes if you’re on the highway. Patiently take turns and when approaching a stop begin to break earlier than usual. Keep an eye out for smaller vehicles and pedestrians.

     
  • Backing up: Try and avoid backing up as much as you can, but if you need to, get someone to help direct you from the outside. Use the side view mirrors and take your time when executing the back-up.

     
  • Don’t exert yourself: If you’re driving long distances, try not to drive more than 6-8 hours at once. Allow some time for rest. When unloading the truck, make sure you lift with your knees and not your back. As well, maybe rent a trolley or hand jack to easier manoeuvre boxes around. Drink lots of water.

     

If you don’t trust yourself driving a truck or don’t want to, you can always hire a self-moving company. Essentially what these companies do is drive the truck for you, but you’ll have to pack, load and unload the truck. You do all the moving, they do all the driving.

Self-moving can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can save lots of money if you’re prepared and have the right amount of help. If you keep focused, energized and positive, your moving experience will be less stressful and easier to handle.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific location. Please consult a REALTOR® professional for more information on moving resources.