Tuesday, July 20, 2010

5 Tips for Moving Local

So we're getting ready to move into a new apartment. It's actually across the street! We were looking for something bigger, but we like the location. We really lucked out with this apartment. It's $200/month more than our current apartment, but it's over 50% bigger!

As I've been moving, I've thought of some ways that I've found that have made moving a lot easier, so I thought I'd share. Granted, with only a two-bedroom apartment, it's not quite the same task as it would be if we had a whole house, but I think these tips can scale up, so hopefully I'll include something that helps you.


Image by Meathead Movers

Everyone needs boxes to move. This is especially essential if you're moving to a new state and everything has to be packed up before you can move. But boxes can be expensive to buy. One way to save is to get boxes from stores. In our area, I know you can have boxes saved for you from both Walmart and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but I'm sure a lot of stores are willing to do it. I got my boxes from Walmart. To do so, I had to call the night before (before they started stocking the shelves) and ask them to reserve some. As they stocked, they put some of the good boxes in a cart. Otherwise, they crush all boxes by 6:30 a.m. This way they knew to reserve them. I also had to pick up the boxes by about 7 a.m. or they would have gotten rid of them. Totally worth it for free boxes.

Another way to get boxes is through sites like Craig's List that has a free section. Many will list boxes for free once they've unpacked. This is a good way to get boxes, but I was unsuccessful with this because even if I saw the ad an hour after being posted, often they were already gone! But it's definitely one way to get boxes.

Box Up Early

  • Store boxes around you're house (such as boxes of books in the bookcase)
  • The week of the move, pack any clothes not needed the next few days
  • Pack any items you won't need before the move--some each week
  • When you get close, pack up your dishes and use paper plates and cups and plastic forks, etc.
  • Make sure you're labeling the boxes as you're boxing. This should be somewhat detailed in small print and larger with the room it should go in. This makes it easier when you're trying to find something specific.
  • Where possible pack like with like, i.e. kitchen stuff together. Though realize that when you get towards the end, you'll just be throwing stuff in boxes and probably won't even label them anymore :P.

Pack a Suitcase with Essentials

You'd probably automatically do this if you were moving to a new state because of the travel time needed in between packing and arriving at your new home, but even if you're moving within the state or city, packing a suitcase can relieve a lot of stress. This is especially important if you have medications that you need daily. By packing essentials in a suitcase, you'll know exactly where to look for clothes, hygiene items, and medications without having to look through a million boxes. If you have kids, their essential items may include a beloved stuffed animal or a treasured blanket, which will be especially needed to help them feel secure in their new home, and will save you stress not having to look through all the boxes to find that special item.

Basically, you'll want to pack anything in that suitcase that you'll need the first three days. It may be that you'll unpack quickly and not need this suitcase, but you can't predict how things will go when you arrive at your new home and you'd have to pack the items anyway (and bring along your suitcases), so why not pack those items into the suitcase?


One of the hardest things about moving is getting everything cleaned. This is especially true if you're renting and you need things cleaned and ready before your landlord inspects the place (i.e. if it's not done by then, you'll be charged for it). The best way to deal with this is to clean as you go. Even if you can't move things out yet, start going through and do a deep cleaning of rooms. This can happen as early as a month ahead of time. Empty closets and cupboards and wipe them down. Wipe down light fixtures and windowsills. Wipe down baseboards and fix any holes.

You also might want to consider taking care of any minor repairs. If you're required to patch up holes made by nails or curtain rods, take down the pictures and curtains and repair the holes way in advance. Replace any missing or burnt-out bulbs. These are little things that can cause stress on the move day.

Cleaning ahead may mean you have to clean things twice, but things like light fixtures, grates, baseboards, and windowsills won't get very dirty in a month's time and it will save you time the day of.

Via Adventure with Melanoma on Blogspot

Get Help

One great way to save money is to ask help from neighbors and friends. If you attend a church, see if other members would be willing to help you move heavy items onto the moving truck. You can also see if they have items that will help you in the move such as a dolly. This can help ease the stress on your back even when just moving boxes, but is especially helpful with some furniture. If you can't find one to borrow, consider renting one. According to U-Haul's site, you can rent a regular dolly for as low as $10, a furniture dolly for as low as $10, and an appliance dolly for as low as $12. For that price, it'd be worth the strain on yourself and your helpers.

It helps to buy a treat for your helpers to have when the deed is done such as donuts and milk, pizza, etc. (depending on the time of day).

Measure Ahead

If possible, measure the new home ahead of time and measure your furniture. Then plan out where you want your furniture according to the measurements. It also helps to know where electrical outlets and light switches are so you know you won't be covering any. By deciding where the furniture will go, you won't have problems having to shuffle items. You can put furniture right where they should go.

This is especially helpful if you have friends or family bringing in the future. Being able to say where everything goes saves you time and means that everything is right where it needs to be so you aren't straining your back later because everything was piled in the living room.

Take apart furniture when and where possible as well so that you don't have to worry about narrow hallways and tight doorways.

With lots of preparation and planning, your move day will go more smoothly and you'll be able to get it all done in time for your move-out inspection.

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