Everyone makes mistakes—it’s part of being human. But some mistakes are avoidable if you’re paying attention and take the time to do things right. Think of it like following a recipe for dinner: if you add the ingredients properly and follow the instructions, you’ll end up with something delicious! If you skirt the directions and improvise along the way, you’re bound to make mistakes that end up in something inedible.
It’s the same for moving. Small moving mistakes can add up to big headaches, and even cost you money. But, with a little foresight and careful attention to detail, you can avoid these mistakes before they become a thorn in your side. Here’s a look at some of the most common moving mistakes, broken down by different phases of a move: packing, moving, storage and unpacking.
Common packing mistakes to avoid
- Don’t label boxes as simply “kitchen” or “bathroom.” Take the time to provide them with a simple naming convention that adds up to easy recognition. Something like “Kitchen 03/12, Fragile” tells you that this box is the third of 12 total kitchen boxes, and that the items inside are fragile.
- Don’t pack what you don’t need! Most people are in such a hurry to pack that they pack up everything without sorting and purging first. If you’re planning on getting rid of something or you no longer need it, get rid of it. Everything you purge is one less thing you’ll have to pack.
- Stay consistent and pack room-by-room. Packing a box with some bathroom things, some kitchen items and a handful of bedroom items will make unpacking that much more of a mess. Keep boxes organized by room and stick to packing only items from that room.
- Don’t use cheap, flimsy boxes! Spring for moving boxes, which are reinforced and ready to stand up to the constant handling, stacking and duress that comes with a move. Most packing boxes are extremely affordable and well-worth the cost you’ll pay for them.
Common moving mistakes to avoid
- Don’t hire just any old moving company to help you—or the cheapest one you can find. These individuals will be handling all your worldly possessions! Make sure you’re working with a moving company that has a reputation for excellence, a proven record of experience, and honest, transparent pricing.
- Don’t save packing for the moving day! While many people think they’ll be able to quickly pack as they load, this is never the case. The only thing you should be doing on moving day is moving.
- Don’t make dozens of trips back and forth from your old place to your new place. Instead, hire movers or rent a moving truck. The more trips you take, the more likely things are to go wrong during the move. You might be in a hurry and overlook items or forget something simple like locking the door behind you. Get it done in one big move.
- Let someone else lift those heavy, awkward and oversized items! You’re not doing yourself any favors by trying to move pool tables, mattresses and large furniture pieces. The cost to hire a professional is nominal and will save you everything from a trip to the ER to cost of repair or replacement for an item you accidentally damage.
Common self-storage mistakes to avoid
- Rent self-storage before you move! Many people think they won’t need it, but end up renting it anyway as they try to stage a move-in. The cost of renting even just one month of self-storage is worth paying because it’ll take the urgency out of your move. Don’t skip it!
- Don’t choose the cheapest possible storage solution you can find. Remember, you’ll be storing your items here, which means you want security and safety, along with accessibility and convenience. If you can’t access your unit when you need to or it’s not conveniently located, what’s the point in using it?
- Don’t get roped into storage you don’t need or want. Many storage facilities will see a person who needs space quickly and rope you into long-term contracts that are costly to break. Instead, look for moving-specific deals for one, two or three months, or inquire about short-term storage. Reputable facilities will be willing to work with you.
- Don’t just start moving boxes into your storage unit with no rhyme or reason. First, only put in the items you won’t need anytime in the immediate future. Second, use the “first in, last out” method for storing, which means putting your least-important items in first so they’re at the back.
Common unpacking mistakes to avoid
- When you finally get into your new digs, organizes boxes by room, then unpack room-by-room. Organized unpacking is the best way to make sure the process goes quickly and to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind!
- Unpack and put things away at the same time. Most people unpack the entire room, then sort through mountains of items. While this is convenient for seeing everything all at once, it really means you’ve separated unpacking and putting away into two tasks that take twice as long.
- Don’t rip or crush your boxes while you unpack! You can save these boxes if they’re in good condition and many times, even sell them to others who might be moving. It’s a good way to be both environmentally friendly and cost-savvy after a move.
- Don’t trick yourself into thinking you need to unpack all in one go. Once you’re settled in, unpack at the pace that works for you. This not only reduce the stress of unpacking, it also helps you stay organized and will give you a chance to make sure everything has a place.
As you can see, these tips aren’t anything mind-blowing—they’re simple things you can avoid or do to make sure your move is mistake-free. Think carefully about the best course of action at each phase of your move and take the time to do things right. Fewer mistakes means fewer headaches, which means a quicker, stress-free move for you!