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Packing for a Move Checklist

Updated on May 8, 2014

Packing list

Deciding to move, whether it is your first or one of many, can be daunting. Creating lists is always helpful. But be careful not to make just any list. Make lists that can help you, your family go through the move in a smooth as possible way. Some would say that before a move is even decided on that they should be a list of why and why not to move. There are those who keep a list on hand of how to move since they are always on the move from year to year or every few years.

Once they decision has been made sit down and write down all the things that are floating through your mind right then. Things like, find schools, get boxes, garage sales, moving party, etc. In that moment you will catch everything in a net, at some point things will stop floating though your head or they pop in as more organized information. But for now just catch everything that is coming through.

What goes & what stays

Instead of running for the yellow pages or Google to find the nearest moving company start with going through all your belongings. Begin going from room to room. Decide what will go with you to you to your next home and what will be given away, sold or stored. If you know you will be returning to the area it might seem like a good idea to store some of your belongings. As you go in a room tape a piece of paper on a wall in the room. Have the list in an easy to read place. As time goes by things that stay vs things that move might change places. Having these room lists available will also be helpful when the moving company comes to verify how much to plan for in costs.

Moving Experience

How many times have you moved in the past five years?

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Finding a moving company

There are a few ways to go about finding a moving company. As with a lot of things word of mouth is an excellent way to find a company who will work for your family. Make sure that your move matches the word of mouth move. For instance getting a referral for a company who did a local move and you are moving across the country is not a good match. The moves are completely different and the costs will be different as well.

There are all kinds of moving companies now a days. Depending on what your needs are the movers can do packing, loading on at the old location, moving it to the new location and unloading it at your new home. Some will unload to your home and your business as long as the addresses are not too far apart. Others will provide moving supplies, load at the old location, move load to new location and unload. There are a few moving companies which will provide you with a moving trailer which they leave at your house. You pack your items and load them into the trailer. They come and pick up the trailer and deliver your trailer to your new home where you unload it. The above mentioned are mostly for long distance moves but some could probably be used for local moves.

The costs for each of these varies. There are companies that do a weigh in and those that do it by square footage and rooms. I believe the most affordable way is to have the items weighed. If a company says they weigh your items then the good ones will send someone out to your house. They will go item by item with you (those room lists will be handy then) and enter into a handheld computer which estimates the costs. When they right up the contract they will then go over the amount the handheld gives them so that if you decide to keep some stuff and it weighs a little more you are not shocked. Usually with these good companies after the weigh in you find out they moving costs are a little less than initially estimated. This makes everyone happy.

Local moves you movers typically do not pack your items for you. They will load and unload them. Over the years there have been companies such as Starving Students, Two Men and a Truck which initially began as smaller local companies and now they compete with Mayflower, North American Van Lines and United Van lines size companies. Now they offer packing, loading and unloading as well as unpacking. Two Men and a Truck offer a check list service as part of their package.

List of Moving Companies

Two Men and a Truck
local/long distance
local/long distance
local/long distance
Here are just a few companies to begin looking at for moving. The first two have moving services which include packing the last two are pack yourself and load yourself while the unit is moved to your new location.

Moving Day

On moving day make sure to have extras around. You will always have those few things that never got packed or you decided you could do without until you arrived at the new place. Below is a small list of things to have on hand.

  • Extra colored tape
  • Boxes-all sizes
  • Markers
  • Blankets for cushioning breakable items
  • Bubble wrap
  • Box cutters/scissors
  • Drinks for the movers
  • Food for the movers

Lists and Labels

Do not forget to label your boxes. For those who have not moved more than once this might seem over the top but labeling is crucial to a swift setting in the new home. If you end up putting some items in storage having boxes labeled will help you find the things you want to unpack and the things which need to get into storage.

With all the new colored tapes going around if you are able to financially spend a little extra the different colored tape can be for different parts of the house. For instance if you want to allow the kids to have a part in the move allow them to pick their colored tape. All the boxes that belong to them will have that tape. If your move is long distance the sight of that tape will feel good to the kids as to where their stuff is and they can tell the moving guys to take it straight away to their room.

With the tape the movers and you will know where they boxes go in the new location. Sometimes hand writing can become scribble and difficult to read. Then you end up with a box for the garage in the living room. When you use colored tape the movers, can learn where they boxes go in the house. Often companies, such as Mayflower, United Van Lines will use the same movers for long distance moves. The guys who pick up your belonging will be the ones who take it across the country and unload it for you.


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