Millions of Americans are on the move this summer. If you’re among those taking that big leap to a new home, you can minimize moving-day chaos by organizing everything ahead of time and breaking it down into a series of manageable steps. Here is your 10-step game plan to help the experience go smoothly:
- Map it out. Plan your new layout on paper so that you know that everything fits and where it will go. Get all the measurements of your new home, including placement of doors, windows, staircases and electrical outlets. If your furniture won’t all fit, label what goes and what stays. Give your future floor plan to your movers so they can see what goes where on moving day.
- Label, label, label. Label every box with all contents and identify the room the box belongs in. Color coding can help immensely after moving day: red-marked boxes in dining room, green in living room, etc.
- Find a reliable moving company. Moving heavy furniture is exhausting, and accidents can occur that can harm people and belongings. Reputable, professional movers can save you a ton of aggravation, but if that isn’t in your budget, enlist plenty of strong, capable helpers and make sure they know the full scope of the job ahead of time.
- Protect your mattresses and foundation. The best way is to fully encase them in plastic mattress protectors. Truck rental companies sometimes provide these, but you can easily find them on Amazon or your local U-Haul store in a variety of sizes. Ideally, transport a mattress flat and don’t place heavy boxes or furniture on top. If you move the mattress on its side, surround it with large pieces of cardboard to help stabilize the mattress and prevent it from folding or wobbling. Casper has a terrific blog devoted to moving mattresses. Any mattresses that are more than eight-to-ten years old should probably be replaced rather than moved. The Better Sleep Council has tips on disposing of old mattresses. Another reason to replace a mattress? If it’s more than ten years old, it probably wasn’t made with CertiPUR-US® certified foam.
Start fresh in your new home with mattresses that contain certified foam that is made without chemicals of concern and has been analyzed and tested by independent laboratories for content and low Volatile Organic Compound emissions (less than 0.5 ppm) for indoor air quality.
- Safeguard your furniture. Take photographs of expensive or precious items to have a record if a moving company breaks something. If this is a DIY move, stock up on furniture blankets or used blankets and tape them securely around your furniture. (Avoid taping the furniture itself.) Add a layer of stretch wrap around the whole “package” for further protection and to give movers something to grip onto.
- De-assemble furniture before the big day. Cabinets, bed frames and many other pieces require de-assembling before moving. Be sure to do this ahead of time — and record a video of the process so that you’ll have a quick guide for reassembling. Keep all nuts, bolts and screws together in a resealable bag and attach it to the larger pieces with stretch wrap.
- Stock up on sliders. All hardware stores carry plastic-and-felt sliders that stick to the bottom of chair, sofa and table legs. They can prevent damage to your flooring at both ends of your move.
- Have proper moving tools. Professional movers usually bring specialized moving equipment, but if your movers aren’t pros, you’ll need to properly equip them. Hand trucks or “dollies” come in various sizes, depending on the weight load they must carry (appliances and sofas call for heavy-duty). Straps and shoulder dollies enable people to lift and haul heavy objects without straining their necks and backs.
- Check the weather. If you see the chance of a storm on moving day, have tarps and towels on hand to protect your furniture. Keep your furniture and mattresses as dry as possible by going through the garage or another route that minimizes exposure before going into the truck.
- Clear the path. Clear a route for the movers and anticipate what could present a challenge. If some items seem too big for the doorway, removing the doorstop or even the door itself can create the needed space. Many sliding doors have a special release to temporarily remove one door to create a larger opening.
One of the best moving-day survival tips we’ve heard is to pack a small overnight bag with essentials and have your pillows, sheets and blankets handy for the first night in your new home. Set up and make your bed as soon as it’s unloaded. Get a bite to eat and then call it a night — the tedious chore of unpacking can wait until you’re rested.