Did you know that a recent survey of 2,000 Americans found that, on average, people make at least five different mistakes while moving, and 44% make these moving mistakes repeatedly?
Most of the time, mistakes with residential moves are due to last-minute packing and not saving enough money for moving expenses. The good news is you can make the residential moving process much easier by learning about the common mistakes to avoid.
Keep reading this guide to learn the top ten mistakes to avoid when making a residential move!
Table of Contents
1. Not Decluttering Before You Pack
Although it’s tempting to skip the decluttering process, it’s one of the most significant moving mistakes you can make. Most people have bags or tubs of items they’ve long since forgotten.
The reality is all of these items are only collecting dust. Not decluttering means you’ll have more to pack, more to load on the truck, and pay a higher price for your move.
To avoid this, take the time to get rid of the things you don’t need anymore. The best way to begin this process is by creating three boxes or bins and labeling them as keep, donate, or trash. You can even consider selling items online to make some extra cash.
It’s best to start at least two months before you move and go through each room in your home.
In addition, creating a checklist of everything you need in your new home will help you downsize even more.
2. Not Giving Yourself Enough Time to Pack
It’s completely understandable if you dread the packing part of your move. However, procrastinating packing only leads to more stress and chaos on your moving day.
It can also lead to overstuffing your boxes, which adds weight to your load. You may also find that you don’t have enough packing materials at the last minute. When this occurs, you’ll likely spend more money buying packing materials since you won’t have time to look for sales.
So, when packing for moves, it’s best to put a plan in place. Once you’ve decluttered your home, you can place boxes and packing material in each room. Then, give yourself time to tackle one or two rooms each week. Make sure you have plenty of packing materials like bubble wrap, tape, and packaging peanuts.
If you’re moving locally, give yourself at least two months to complete this process. Long-distance moves usually require more downsizing and organizing.
You can also take this time to determine if packing is something you can do on your own or if you should use a packing service.
Most residential movers offer packing services, and it’s something to consider if you have a lot of fragile valuables, large bulky items, or lack time to pack on your own.
3. Not Thinking About the Unpacking Process
When moving to new homes, many people only think about packing everything as quickly as possible. However, you must remember that everything must be unpacked once you arrive at your new home.
Although this may seem obvious, it’s all too easy to throw everything in boxes and not think about what happens later.
To avoid a nightmare with unpacking, you’ll need to take specific steps during the packing process. First, be sure to take the time to pack your items correctly. This includes using enough packing materials and the correct-sized boxes for large items to avoid damage.
Finally, it’s essential to label all of your boxes correctly. You’ll need to include a detailed description of the contents in each box. You can even color-code your boxes by the content or rooms. Also, make sure to clearly label boxes with fragile items.
4. Not Researching Moving Companies Enough and Getting Quotes
Don’t make the mistake of hiring the first moving company you find on Google. If you don’t give yourself enough time to weigh the options for moving services, you could end up going with an unreliable company that costs more money.
In addition, there are moving companies that scam people by stealing their belongings.
Your first step to avoiding this problem is to search Google for the top five moving companies in your area. Read the positive and negative reviews and pay attention to the moving company’s response to these reviews.
It’s also good to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reviews, ratings, and complaints. Check out the company websites for customer testimonials and more information about their services.
Once you narrow down your list to the top three companies, you’ll need to get quotes from each company. This way, you can compare quotes and get the best price for your move. While comparing quotes, be sure to include different services you’ll need, like:
- Packing and unpacking services
- Packing supplies
- Appliance installation
- Moving large and bulky items
- Rigging through windows
- Furniture assembly
- Additional equipment
Moving companies might offer all or part of these services, but you’ll need to check if they cost extra. Moving companies typically charge a base moving fee and specialty items fees for pianos or pool tables.
When you take the time to do your research, you’ll find the best moving company for your needs and budget.
5. Not Taking the Time to Create a Budget
Residential moving costs can add up quickly. If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you might be unable to cover all the expenses.
If you’re proactive about creating a moving budget, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress. You’ll also be able to take time to look for ways to reduce your costs.
First, factor in the moving quotes you receive. It’s also important to realize that the time of year can affect your moving costs. For example, moving during the summer typically costs more since more people move during the warmer months.
Next, you’ll need to begin putting money aside for your moving budget and tracking your daily expenses. Track how much you spend on groceries, bills, and housing payments. Subtract the number of your monthly expenses from your income to see how much you can start putting toward your moving budget.
Other moving costs to consider include the following:
- Rental deposits
- Down payment for a mortgage
- Home inspections
- Realtor fees
- New utilities
Also, if you’re moving over 50 miles away, you’ll need to factor in fuel, food, and lodging costs.
Be sure to look for different ways to earn money, like having a yard sale. You can also cut costs by buying supplies in bulk and collecting free moving boxes from local furniture or grocery stores.
Finally, you may need to consider using a credit card or taking out a personal loan to cover your moving expenses.
6. Not Buying Insurance
Most reputable moving companies offer basic insurance to cover damaged items. You’ll typically have multiple liability insurance coverage options to choose from.
However, many times this coverage only covers a portion of what your valuables are worth. Often there are options for more coverage, but you’ll also pay more than you would for private insurance coverage.
So, take this time to look into buying personal moving insurance coverage. For the most part, residential moves are close by, so you may not be as concerned about your items. However, if you’re moving to another town or have a lot of valuables, you might want to consider purchasing moving insurance.
Your first step is to check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Some policies will cover your household goods during a move. While the coverage varies for each policy, most of the time, companies will reimburse 50% to 70% of the value of your belongings if they’re damaged due to a disaster or accident.
However, some policies won’t cover household goods damaged during a move, so be sure to check for the specifics. Other insurance policies you can consider include:
- Released value protection
- Full value protection
- Expanded motor coverage
- Relocation Insurance
7. Not Creating a Moving Checklist
Whether you’re moving across the country or a few blocks away, creating a moving checklist is key to an organized move. Having a checklist will keep you on budget and help the move stay on schedule. You also won’t forget to save essential documents or cancel old services.
You’ll first need to purchase a binder, or you can set up a Google document if you prefer to keep everything digital.
Next, use your binder or Google document to keep all your moving paperwork together. This paperwork includes moving estimates, receipts, and final bills. Create sections for receipts, contact information, and other moving documentation.
There are different ways you can create this checklist, depending on where you’re at with your move. If you’ve already started decluttering, packing, and researching moving companies, then you can focus your checklist on details like:
- Contact utility and cable companies to set up new service
- Change your address with the post office
- Change your address with insurance companies and banks
- Plan your final meals using food in your fridge and freezer
- Consider hiring a babysitter and a pet sitter
- Change the address on your car registration and driver’s license
- Cancel or change subscriptions like cleaning services or lawn care
- Start cleaning empty rooms
- Disassemble large items like bookshelves and bed frames
8. Not Thinking About Your Safety on Moving Day
Moving days are hectic, and it’s easy to get caught up with getting everything finished as quickly as possible.
However, these things can also make moving day unpredictable, and all it takes is one careless mistake to cause a severe accident. To avoid this, you’ll need to be proactive and take safety precautions on your moving day to prevent injuries.
First, you’ll need to use proper moving equipment like appliance dollys to ensure you don’t damage your home or yourself. Ensure all exit pathways are clear of hazards and obstacles so you can safely move in and out of the house.
Keep pets or small children away from boxes and furniture, and when moving items to the moving truck. Finding a babysitter or asking a trusted friend or family member to watch them while you move is best.
Finally, dress in comfortable clothes and supportive shoes that provide good traction.
9. Not Packing a Bag With Personal Items and Documents
Keep in mind moving to a new home is a huge process, no matter how organized you are. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to move and unpack everything you need in one day.
The last thing you want is to arrive at your new home and search through numerous boxes to find what you need for the night.
The best thing you can do is pack a bag with personal items and important documents you may need. You can include a few changes in clothes, medications, and toiletries. It’s also wise to include personal documents like social security cards or birth certificates to ensure they don’t get lost during the moving process.
In addition, make sure you have cash on hand for tipping and other unexpected expenses.
10. Not Asking For Help
Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Moving to a new home is a significant undertaking, and taking it on alone can lead to added stress and even accidents.
If you’re considering moving on your own to save money, you’ll need to think carefully about how you’ll be able to handle everything. First, if you don’t have a mover, you’ll have to rent a moving truck and pay for fuel. You’ll also have to move all furniture and oversized items onto the truck.
You’ll need some assistance even if you’re moving a few blocks away from your old home. If you’re not hiring a moving company, then be sure to ask friends and family members if they can pitch in. Better yet, order pizza and have a moving party to make the day more enjoyable.
Avoid These Common Mistakes With Residential Moves
Now that you know the common mistakes with residential moves, you’ll be able to navigate through the moving process much more smoothly.
Remember to take your time, form a plan, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from professional moving companies or family and friends. If you take the time to organize your move, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches along the way.
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