Tell someone you’re moving, and chances are the first thing they’ll do after asking “where to?” is offer their sympathy.
That’s because moving is universally recognized as one of life’s most stressful experiences. Even if you hire professionals to do the actual moving of furniture and boxes, there’s still plenty of prep work.
Ross Sapir, founder and CEO of Roadway Moving, a New York moving company ranked first on Yelp and Angie’s List, has compiled for ABC News some of the lesser known do’s and don’ts for packing and moving. Here are his top tips.
Do all of the packing and labeling before moving day.
“You’d be surprised how many people get stuck in the last minute rush to pack everything and move it all in one day,” Sapir said. “Make sure everything but a change of clothes is packed and ready to go.”
Don’t forget to color-code your boxes for each room.
“Most people know to label their moving boxes but unpacking is much easier for you and your movers if your boxes are color-coded according to the room,” he explained.
Find free boxes at grocery stores and online.
“You can save tons of money on packing materials if you take advantage of the free packing materials at grocery stores or check online for free boxes,” Sapir said. “Craigslist’s free section is a great place to start.”
Don’t forget to hire a babysitter or a pet sitter.
“If your children are old enough they can be helpful throughout the process, but if not, it’s better to have them secure and out of the way while you’re packing up and moving. The same goes for your pets, they tend to get underfoot of movers,” he noted.
Use packing materials you already have.
Sapir said that suitcases are perfect for transporting items, especially things that are heavy or awkwardly shaped.
Don’t forget to pack an overnight bag to use on the first night.
“After a long day of moving, you’re not likely to want to go through all of your boxes just yet,” Sapir said. “Pack an overnight bag with the essentials such as toiletries, a few outfits and pajamas for use on the first night.”
Do keep important documents with you.
“It’s best to travel with your most important items in hand. Keep a file of important documents with you while you move so that they are less likely to get lost in the shuffle,” he said.
Don’t place small objects directly in boxes.
“Keep sandwich bags handy for little pieces of electronics and label the bags specifically,” Sapir said. “These tiny pieces tend to get lost in the shuffle and can make life difficult when putting everything back together.”
Do give specific tasks to any friends helping.
“Make sure you plan out their specific jobs before they come over; this way they will be able to help out in the most efficient way possible,” he said.
Sketch a floor plan before you move.
Sapir said to try to plan out where each item, especially the big ones, will go and how everything will look. This will make it easier to put things in the right place immediately upon arrival.