20 Most Common Moving Mistakes

20 Most Common Moving Mistakes

Moving is one of the most stressful life events–For many people, it causes more pressure than divorce. All that stress, combined with the almost infinite details that go into a move, can lead to mistakes.

No one wants to create more stress or generate problems that cost time and money during a relocation. That is why we have put together the 20 biggest moving mistakes we see our clients making.

Go through the list, and when you are ready to enjoy a seamless and low-pressure move, let the moving professionals at Ward North American help you avoid costly mistakes and embrace a move that is everything you need it to be.

Mistake 1: Failing to Consult a Moving Checklist

Moving can quickly become chaotic as you try to juggle the many tasks that accompany relocating. That is where a moving checklist can be helpful. A list of important moving tasks, and when to complete them, can keep you on track and lead to a less stressful moving process.

Mistake 2: Waiting to Find a Moving Company

Moving companies, at least the reputable ones, tend to book quickly, particularly during busy moving seasons. You should find a moving company about 12 weeks before you relocate. Waiting longer means you may have a hard time finding a company to help when you need them. There is nothing worse than finding the right company and discovering that they are already booked for your preferred moving day.

Mistake 3: Choosing the First Moving Company You Find

The pressure to find a moving company early should not, however, lead you to sign a contract with the first company you Google. Not every company is trustworthy, and signing hastily has cost many a client time and money, thanks to stolen, delayed, or damaged belongings. Instead, set aside time to compare multiple moving companies and identify the one that best meets your needs.

Mistake 4: Failing to Vet Your Moving Company

Not every moving company is equally skilled or reliable, but you will not always be able to tell at first glance. That is one reason you should take the time to vet your moving company before you commit to them.

Make sure to ask any questions you have as you look into moving companies, but always include questions such as these:

  • What references do you have for your work?
  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • Is your estimate binding?
  • What additional fees are there?
  • What additional services do you offer?

Base your choice of moving company on complete information to avoid ending up with a company that will not work for you.

Mistake 5: Not Reading your Moving Contract before Signing

Your moving contract is a binding description of the services your moving company will provide, and the costs you can expect to pay. Make sure you understand, and agree with, the terms of the contract before you sign to avoid unpleasant or even costly surprises later on during your move.

Mistake 6: Not Getting Moving Estimates

A key part of planning for your move is knowing how much you will need to spend on moving services. These services could well be the majority of your moving budget, so getting reliable estimates is key. Make sure every company you consider provides you with an estimate for the move. Plus, make sure you understand what is included in the estimate, whether or not the estimate is binding, and any additional fees you may incur.

Mistake 7: Failing to Budget

Couple arguing

Once you collect moving estimates, you can begin to create a budget for your move. If you jump into your move without a plan for how much to spend, and where to spend it, moving costs can quickly multiply. You may find that you spend more than you have available on packing materials, additional moving services, extra fees, fuel, and more.

Decide how much you have to spend, and then use estimates from your moving companies to decide the best way to stay within that budget. A good moving company will even work within your budget, ensuring that you get the services you need for a reasonable price.

Mistake 8: Choosing Cost over Value

Your budget is important to a successful move, but many clients have come to us after having been burned trying to get the lowest possible costs for  their move. Chances are that the cheapest mover will not be the most reliable. Instead, look for a mover who provides a high value for your dollar–Reliable, comprehensive services and a professional, responsive attitude that you can trust.

Mistake 9: Giving Yourself Too Much or Too Little Time to Pack

Packing almost always takes more time than you realize, particularly if you plan to sort through your belongings first (You should). At the same time, too early of a head start could leave you tripping over packing boxes and hunting for items you need before your move.

A good rule of thumb is to give yourself about 5 days to pack a 3-bedroom house. Add another day for packing valuable or fragile items. Or, choose a mover who can do the packing for you, and who has a track record of careful and successful handling of even the most valuable items.

Mistake 10: Failing To Sort Through Your Belongings

Unless you want to waste time and money packing and moving items you no longer need, you will need to sort through your things before packing. Choose items to throw away, donate, and sel-typically these are items you have not used in the last year or so.

Only keep only those items you are sure you will use going forward. Accomplishing this task before movers come to pack your belongings can help the process go more smoothly. Sorting can also make unpacking easier at your final destination.

Mistake 11: Leaving Boxes Unlabeled

Unlabeled moving boxes

Packing feels like an accomplishment, but that feeling of joy will quickly turn to frustration if you don’t know what is in your boxes. Without clear labeling, you will not know where your boxes go, or where to find specific items. Instead, label each box with its contents and the room where it should go. Alternatively, you can use different colored packing tape to designate which boxes go in each room.

Mistake 12: Placing Heavy Items in Large Boxes

Some of your items, such as books, may be very heavy. Do not place these items in large boxes, because doing so will make it very difficult to successfully lift and transport your items. Instead, place heavy items in smaller boxes to create lighter parcels that are easier to manage during the move.

Mistake 13: Forgetting to Pack an Essentials Bag

Once you arrive at your new home, you will need to easily access certain items during your first couple of days until you begin unpacking. Without a bag set aside with these items, you may have difficulty finding these items in the sea of boxes. Instead, pack a bag of essentials, such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper, some clothes, and even paper plates and cutlery for easy dining.

Mistake 14: Trying to Do It All Yourself

Woman carrying boxes that are falling

DIY moving seems like a good idea because it promises to save you money. However, trying to manage your move on your own is a guaranteed stressor. Rather than add stress (and time, and possibly money) to your already busy life, hire movers who can assist with essential aspects of your move. You can even get help packing or managing heavy items even if you plan to rent a moving truck to do the loading and hauling yourself.

Mistake 15: Not Forwarding Your Mail

You will need to make sure that your mail ends up at your new home. Many clients forget about this detail and end up with long delays getting their mail, or they end up having important documents end up at their old residence. Make sure to give yourself a few weeks to fill out the paperwork and get the mail transfer started.

Mistake 16: Not Transferring Your Utilities On Time

Similarly, you will need to turn off the utilities at your old place and turn them on at your new home. Check with your utility companies to find out how early to start these processes. Otherwise, you may end up paying for utilities at your old place, or not having power or water at your new place when you arrive.

Mistake 17: Failing to Pack Your Belongings Securely

Woman with moving box remembering something she forgot

Damaged items can create stress during your move. If you fail to pack your items securely, you may find that they break during transit. Invest in plenty fo packing materials, such as bubble wrap, peanuts, and boxes, and ensure that every item is protected according to how valuable and fragile it is. You can also hire reliable movers who can do the packing for you. These professionals can also handle bulky or fragile items to ensure that all of your belongings arrive safely at your new house.

Mistake 18: Overlooking the Tax Implications of Your Move

Depending upon the details of your move, you may be able to receive tax benefits from your move. Save all of your receipts and records, and consult with a tax professional during tax season to see if you can benefit financially from your move.

Mistake 19: Forgetting About Moving Insurance

If an unforeseen problem arises during your move, moving insurance can help you recoup the cost of lost or damaged items. Failing to get moving insurance can leave you responsible for any costs incurred by damage during transit.

The best approach is to review all of your moving insurance options with your moving company. They can often provide you with multiple options to help you find the right insurance product for your needs.

Mistake 20: Not Measuring Your New Home for Furniture

Man sitting with sofa stuck between walls

Imagine moving your favorite leather couch to your new home, unloading it from the truck—and discovering that it does not fit through the front door. You would not be the first person to run into this problem. The fix is simple: Measure your space before you move to ensure that all of your furniture can fit into your space (And up any stairs or around any tight corners in your new home).

Moving doesn’t have to be stressful. With reliable, professional movers, you can get help with everything from packing to moving, loading to unloading. Here at Ward North American, we are here to help you avoid costly moving mistakes and enjoy a seamless move that sets you up for a happy life in your new location.