Smooth move

Share this:
June 27, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Shelley McKay
Shelley McKay

The top moving mistakes, straight from the movers' mouths

Even if you're excited about moving into your new condo or apartment, moving is still a crisis - significant change full of excitement, anticipation and anxiety.

To minimize the stress, be aware of and avoid the most common pitfalls people make when moving. These tips are from local moving professionals.

Pitfall #1

Not planning ahead.

"The worst thing a family can do before moving is not plan ahead. Whether renting a truck or scheduling professional movers, scheduling the day's events beforehand will make everything progress smoothly, especially during the busy summer months when trucks and movers can be booked months in advance," explained professional mover Yvon Altier-Carter.

Pitfall #2

Not being realistic about the amount of belongings to be moved.

Sometimes people cope with big tasks by mentally minimizing them. Be aware of this tendency. Build in "extra" time and, if you're working with movers, be truthful about the number of rooms of furniture to be moved. Being honest with yourself - and the movers -will help avoid possibly adding costs.

Pitfall #3

Not checking your insurance.

Your property insurance may not cover items while being transported from one house to another. Check with your insurance provider and purchase additional insurance if you are not covered. After all, even if you're working with professionals, accidents do happen.

Pitfall #4

Not using good boxes and quality packing materials.

Used boxes can house bugs, carry foul odors and contain unhealthy allergens such as mold and animal dander. And using poor-quality packing materials can cause breakage.

Your possessions are valuable. Use clean, sturdy, new boxes, packing tape (not duct tape) and quality packing materialst.

Pitfall #5

Not packing ahead or thoughtfully.

So many people leave packing until the last minute. This can result in damage to your valuables since items may not be wrapped and packed properly.

Be sure to pack a few weeks ahead of time, and label boxes according to their destination room and/or contents.

To make sure it's noticeable, use a different-colored, preferably red, marker to write "FRAGILE" on boxes with delicate items.

Pitfall #6

overlooking items that need to be moved.

Be sure to check crawl spaces, attics, garages, off-site or apartment storage units and even the yard for toys, tools and garden art. It's often difficult to collect these items after new tenants/owners have moved in to your old place.

Pitfall #7

transporting houseplants, pets, etc. in a moving truck.

Houseplants and pets are not permitted in commercial moving trucks, whether it's going two or 200 miles. Other items that aren't allowed in moving trucks: illegal substances, firearms or flammables, including alcohol.

Pitfall #8

Not planning for a few days of confusion.

Be sure to pack your essentials box with personal information, cash, necessary financial information, medication and prescriptions, toilet paper, a change of clothes, toys and entertainment for the kids, etc.

Move this box yourself, even if you're moving only a few blocks away. Not needing to search for important items will save time and reduce stress.

Pitfall #9

Not being available the day of your move.

Be on hand when movers arrive to answer questions, unlock doors and offer directions to the new home. Tell your mover how to reach you at your destination and be in touch during transit. Since most movers are paid hourly, be prepared to pay extra if you are late or not available.

Going with a local and reputable company will also minimize stress, said Mike Goergen of metro-area moving company Two Men and a Truck. "Relying on the Internet for quotes and booking an out-of-state mover can be a costly mistake."

And no matter how well known the mover is, make sure they are licensed and bonded, and be sure to review all estimates before signing a contract. "Trusting an unreliable mover with your personal belongings isn't worth saving a few dollars," Goergen added.

Shelley McKay is a freelance writer with Cricket Marketing,, in Minneapolis.