How To Make Moving Suck Less

(Image Credit: TheMuuj)

I’ve moved many people over the years. Some of those moves went great. Some were a nightmare.

I remember being on a missions trip in Charlotte, NC where a group of us volunteered to move a family that none of us knew. I’ll never forget that image of the family smiling and waving at us from the breakfast table when we walked in that Saturday morning.

Not one thing was packed and there wasn’t a box to be seen anywhere. The whole family was sitting at the breakfast table eating breakfast. It pretty much went downhill from there.

Here’s some practical tips to make your move run smooth and to make things as easy and enjoyable for those who will be helping you:

Before The Move

  • Rent a truck (make sure you rent it in advance as some weekends don’t have trucks available)
  • Don’t skimp on the truck size. It’s worth the extra money to make sure you have enough space to make it in one trip.
  • Ask people to help and confirm who will be there to help you move. Don’t assume; you know what that does.
  • Ask a lot of people “Many hands make light work
  • Give people early notice and remind them when it gets closer for the best possible turnout
  • Plan to move everything over in one trip (movers lose motivation when they have to come back for multiple trips)
  • Pick a good time to move (after people are done working on a weekday or a Saturday morning – Saturday mornings usually work best)
  • Start early but not too early (give people some sleep but don’t blow their whole day if you don’t have to)
  • Pack everything you can (it’s very demotivating to arrive at a move and to see a bunch of stuff that should be packed sitting there unpacked)
  • Don’t use big boxes for heavy items (like books). This makes the boxes too heavy to carry.
  • Use enough tape on boxes so they don’t break open, and if you’re using garbage bags, make sure they are strong enough
  • Mark on your boxes what room the box will be going in at the new house
  • Label each room in the new house so movers know where the boxes go without having to overwhelm the person moving with unnecessary questions about where things go
  • Make sure kids are being watched at a different location so they are not in the way of the movers and so that no one gets hurt
  • Promote incentives to prospective movers when you ask them to help you (donuts, lunch, one trip, everything’s packed, lots of people will be helping, etc.)
  • Don’t forget to have all the utilities set up beforehand (water, electric, gas, internet, cable, etc.)
  • Check the new house to see if your dryer cord matches the outlet and plan to get a new cord or outlet if needed (3 or 4 prong)
  • When taking things apart, put the hardware in a baggie so nothing gets lost

During The Move

  • Have donuts ready for movers as they arrive and use the presence of these donuts to motivate movers to show up (donuts are very motivational)
  • Pick a good Tetris player to stay in the truck and pack the items for maximum use of space and so that you only need to do one trip
  • Wear a weight belt for proper back support (you look like a dork but at least you can walk at 40)
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Leave your ego at home when lifting heavy objects (get help)
  • When loading, finish whole rooms when possible to get a sense of accomplishment
  • Have lunch ready for movers at the new house (it’s usually better to eat lunch after everything is unloaded, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break)
  • If you’re the person moving, don’t unload; direct traffic for the movers. Stay by the truck and let them know where everything goes. This makes things go much faster.
  • Have someone cleaning the old house while you are unloading into the new one
  • Load some fragile stuff into cars so they don’t break in the truck
  • Have basic tools available for the load and the unload

After The Move

  • See if people will help setup beds (you’re going to be exhausted at the end of the day and setting up your beds is the last thing you are going to want to do then)
  • Utilize heavy lifters for rearranging of any heavy furniture before they leave

What did I miss?

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

6 Replies

  1. “The whole family was sitting at the breakfast table eating breakfast. It pretty much went downhill from there.” Lol. One time I helped someone move who had almost nothing prepped and used small white trash bags and laundry baskets for everything. They didn’t have any donuts either.

  2. I know it’s painful. Times like that are good tests. 🙂

  3. This is awesome. I’ll Definitely send it to people who are going to have a move day. I second the “If you’re the person moving, don’t unload; direct traffic for the movers.” Gotta keep a steady flow!
    I would add:
    Have music playing and smiles – Anything to avoid appearing hectic or chaotic, even if it really is. It makes me less motivated.
    Tell people to close=toe shoes or work boots (no crocs!)

  4. Kyle+Laura VK

    And alllsooo… I posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago and my friend Alvin used it as a moving checklist! They said it couldn’t have gone better!
    So, thanks a lot. I love these.

  5. Awesome. That’s great to hear.

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