Whether you like the idea of the reduced cost or you just want more control over your moving timeline, you may be considering a DIY move. While this type of move certainly has its benefits, it can also be a big undertaking with all the extra tasks involved, which tend to lead to stress. However, that doesn’t mean this type of move can’t be a success—it just requires some additional planning.
A successful DIY move with no injuries, reduced stress, and even a dash of fun starts by avoiding these 5 common moving mistakes.
Mistake #1: Skipping Planning
An improvised move is a stressful move. To set your move up for success, you should start planning as soon as possible. This will give you time to plan all your move-related task and offers some wiggle room in case things don’t go exactly as planned.
Checklist. Whether you’re buying a house down the block, moving to New York, or relocating across the country, a checklist is invaluable when it comes to organizing your move and keeping it on track. You may be surprised how much you can forget with all the hustle and bustle that comes with a move. Your moving checklist should include everything that needs to be done pre-move, on moving day, and post-move. Ideally, you should also assign rough dates to these tasks. For example, “Get boxes (6 weeks before move)”.
Inventory List. Not knowing where you packed anything will only lead to future frustration, so be sure to number boxes and create an inventory list. This will help you find items in the new home with ease and can help assure you that nothing was lost or stolen during the move.
An example of how this may look:
Box #22 – Hand blender, toaster, pot holders
Box #23 – Hand towels and facecloths.
Mistake #2: Overlooking Safety
While you undoubtedly want your items to make it to their new home safely, you want everyone involved in the move to be safe as well. Taking some time to prep and learn proper moving techniques is worth the extra time to avoid injury.
Prep. Take 5 minutes to stretch out before you start any heavy lifting. Your legs, back, neck, and arms will all benefit from a good warmup.
Lifting. Surely you’ve heard this before, but it is imperative to protect your back—lift with your legs. You will also want to use simultaneous lifting when tackling larger furniture. This means that there is one person positioned on each side of the piece and a count to three before lifting or putting down. This makes sure everyone is on the same page and ensures no one is stagnant when a lift happens—a common moving injury cause.
Packing. The last thing you want is to be carrying a box and the bottom busting open. A few key packing tips:
- Ensure every side of the box has cushioning, so all your items will be in contact with cushioning, not the box walls. This will not only protect your items but keep sharp corners and edges from perforating the box.
- Keep packed boxes under 50 pounds. Additional weight puts a strain on the box and makes it harder to move in general.
- Double tape the box bottoms for extra stability.
Mistake #3: Packing Incorrectly
Packing is time-consuming, so taking time to find the right supplies, learn to pack glassware, or look up how to wrap furniture may seem like a waste, but it can save you stress from damaged items down the road.
Boxes. If you’ve decided to go the DIY route to save money, one place not to skimp is boxes. While used boxes from an online marketplace or the liquor store can be suitable for light items, it is best to pack heavy and fragile items in new boxes. New boxes are always the most reliable choice. Plus, if a box busts and damages your belongings, it will actually cost you more in the long run.
Furniture. Take the time to wrap your furniture to avoid damage and injury. For delicate pieces, you will want to:
– Dust off your furniture, making sure the surface is free of debris that may scratch.
– Wrap the piece in a moving blanket for some padding.
– Use a few layers of industrial stretch wrap to secure the blanket, keep drawers closed, and prevent any hardware from clanking around.
Other pieces that you are less worried about, especially those with drawers and cabinets, can still benefit from some stretch wrap to keep everything in place during the move.
Mistake #4: Forgoing Help
Just because you’ve decided to tackle a DIY move, doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a few helping hands along the way.
Friends. While you should never think friends are obligated to help, many will be happy to lend a hand—especially when enticed by good food. You can casually gather a few friends over to help you pack over drinks, or see who is available to pitch in on moving day.
Kids. Get the kids involved. Many children even benefit from being given packing responsibilities as it makes them feel more involved in the moving process. Have older kids start by packing their own room and if that goes well, you may even ask them to pitch in for other rooms. And don’t forget younger kids. Give them smaller responsibilities like grabbing empty boxes across the room, helping to organize, or even decorating some boxes to help keep them out of your hair for a while.
Professional Movers. A DIY move generally means that you’ve decided to forgo professional help. However, if you have large pieces like a grand piano or china cabinet, it can save you time and injury to get help moving those select pieces.
Mistake #5: Stressing
The last tip—and possibly the most important—is to try not to stress.
It is easier said than done, but stressing over every detail will only make your move that much harder for not only yourself but also those around you. There are many ways to reduce the stress of moving, such as researching the area beforehand, taking some time away, a bit of meditation. But if all else fails, try to remember that it will be over before you know it.
Moves don’t last forever, but the new beginnings that they offer can make a positive lifelong impact.
Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 25 years of experience in the moving industry. As a New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing.