16 Tips for a Stress-Free Moving Day

Moving day can be stressful and hectic. We’re compiling the best tips to make your moving day stress-free, efficient, and easy as possible.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  6 min

Moving into a new home or apartment can be a life-changing event for homeowners and renters.  

Of course, “life-changing” can have both positive and negative connotations. 

That said, you probably already know that the moving process begins months before move day. 

It may sound like overkill, but it isn’t a lot of time with so much to do.

Planning a relocation involves everything from budgeting and vetting movers to getting estimates, considering alternate service options, and saying goodbye to friends, coworkers, and family members. 

In fact, there are dozens of things to do in the months and weeks leading up to your move

In this post, we’ll skip over most of them and focus on last-minute details that will improve your chances of having a smooth move. 

What to do the day before the movers arrive

Before jumping in, it’s worth stressing the importance of making a moving checklist. 

You’ll need to put some time and thought into it, but having everything written down will decrease the likelihood of forgetting something important. 

1. Reconfirm your move details

All reputable moving companies confirm dates and services before the big day. 

However, it’s a good idea to be proactive by “reconfirming” everything to ensure that no detail gets overlooked.

When speaking with your customer service representative or move coordinator, confirm –

  • Payment options
  • Pick-up and delivery dates
  • Which services you’re scheduled for (packing, unpacking, crating, appliance disconnects/reconnects, etc.)
  • Which valuation option you’ve chosen (once the movers begin working this can’t be changed) 
  • Directions to your home or apartment
  • Contact information like phone number, email and street addresses

2. Pack an overnight bag

Before dusting off your old duffle bag, make a list of things to pack for your family’s immediate use because the first night after a move can be the toughest.   

Items to stow away in your overnight bag(s) include – 

  • Medications, toiletries and toilet paper
  • Important documents like passports, wills, school records and birth certificates
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Changes of clothes
  • Bedding like comforters, pillows and sleeping bags
  • Phones, laptops and chargers
  • Toys, games and coloring books for the kids

3. Make move day arrangements for kids and pets

Having kids and pets under movers’ feet can lead to accidents and injuries. 

Ideally, they should spend the day with friends or family members

If not, they’ll need a room to themselves where they can relax, play, snack, and nap. 

If you’ve made arrangements for them to spend the day off-site, confirm a day or two beforehand. 

4. Get some extra cash

Somebody wise once said, “cash is king.”

These days credit and debit cards are all the rage, but having a few extra dollars on move day will come in handy for everything from snacks and drinks to tips, gas, and last-minute moving boxes

5. Have a First Aid kit available

Accidents and injuries are common on both DIY and full-service moves

Bruised toes, bloody fingers, and banged knees are par for the course, so having a First Aid kit on hand is necessary.

Make sure yours has adhesive bandages (BAND-AIDS), cotton balls, and rubbing alcohol. 

6. Make sure you’ve done what you said you’d do

Shooting for the stars is excellent, but being realistic is better for moving. 

If you told your moving company representative that you’d disassemble the swing set out back and pack your items yourself, they’ll expect them to be done by the time the crew shows up.

If you run out of time, it’s not a huge deal. Just let them know in advance so they can bring tools and extra packing material

Things to do on move day 

We’ve already established the importance of having a moving checklist, and by the time that moving day arrives, you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

1. Get up early

Even if you’re not a morning person, sleeping in on move day is a really bad idea.

Instead, set your alarm for two hours before the movers are scheduled to arrive, eat a healthy but hearty breakfast, and enjoy a cup or two of strong coffee.  

2. Get kids and pets situated

If they’re going elsewhere, get kids and pets up and fed before shipping them off to their move day sanctuary

If they’re staying put, make sure their room is stocked with the things they’ll need and appoint someone to watch them while you’re making last-minute preparations.

3. Be the first in line to get your rental truck

Especially during the peak season on Fridays and the last few days of the month, rental truck companies like UHaul can be madhouses first thing in the morning.  

In some cases checking in and getting your truck can take an hour or more, which means less time that you could be working.

Moving locally could prevent you from returning the truck on time, and extra fees may apply.    

4. Set aside a “no-go” zone

If you’ve hired professional movers, you’ll need to set aside a room or closet that’s off-limits

In other words, the crew won’t need to pack or move anything in that area, so there’s no reason for them to go inside. 

Put a big sign on the door as a polite reminder. 

5. Make sure your home is free of hazards and obstructions

Most moving injuries can be avoided by clearing trouble areas like halls, doorways, steps, stairs, and sidewalks

Move toys, plants, throw rugs, extension cords, and anything else that could cause an accident. 

During the winter, it’s also your responsibility to shovel or scrape sidewalks and exterior stairs and keep them free of snow and ice.

6. Protect your floors and walls

Protecting your home is the movers’ responsibility on full-service relocations, but on DIY moves protecting floors and walls is up to you

Cardboard and moving blankets work well in some areas, but they can make floors slippery, so use them with caution. 

7. Have a pre-move meeting

Whether you’ve hired a professional moving company or enlisted help from friends and family to move, there’s no better way to start the day than with a meeting

After a quick meet-and-greet, does a quick walkthrough of your home or apartment to point out the most valuable and fragile items.

On DIY moves, do your best to assign everyone a job without coming across as a Marine drill instructor.

Also, be sure to –

  • Point out the “no-go” area
  • Designate one bathroom for the crew to use
  • Let them know where the drinks are  

8. Stay out of the way

Nobody likes to be micromanaged, and though it’s tempting to follow everyone around like a mother hen, you’re usually better off watching from a comfortable distance. 

This is especially true when hiring a moving company. 

Remember that with the right guidance, experienced crews are more than capable of working efficiently with minimal supervision

9. Don’t disappear

Taking a cautious hands-off approach is generally the way to go, but that doesn’t mean you should spend the day at the local coffee shop.  

Plan on staying on-site for most of the day to help out and answer questions

If you trust the crew, it’s OK to run an errand or two. Just make sure that they have your cellphone number in case issues arise in your absence. 

10. Keep surprises to a minimum

Moving companies like (and need) to know what’s expected of them long before move day. 

It’s perfectly acceptable if things change on your end, but if you’ve added items or need services that weren’t included on the estimate, let your movers know as soon as possible

Packing materials to have on hand on moving day

Even if you’ve planned ahead and stuck to your packing schedule, there are always a few items that’ll need to be packed on move day

Have a few extra cartons of various sizes at the ready, as well as – 

  • Bubble wrap for breakables
  • Hangers and garbage bags (for makeshift wardrobes)
  • Stickers and a marker to tag and label boxes
  • Tape

Things to do before leaving your old home or apartment

Before setting off for your new house, the last thing you should do is make a quick walkthrough with the movers to double-check that nothing has been left behind. 

Also, verify that the movers have your contact information, phone number, and new address and that you have the driver’s cell phone number. 

Pre-move items that often get overlooked

  • Filling out a US Post Office Change of Address Form
  • Decluttering by getting rid of unused and unwanted items (it’ll reduce stress and move cost)
  • Canceling, transferring and scheduling new services with utility companies
  • Getting your security deposit back before vacating an apartment or rental property
  • Transfering or canceling subscriptions
  • Notifying banks and credit card companies that you’re moving

Frequently asked questions (faqs) 

How should I prepare for the movers? 

Moving day can be downright stressful, but by making a comprehensive moving checklist, maintaining a positive attitude, and occasionally rereading this post, you’ll be off to the races.

What are some ways to make moving day go easier?

Instead of relying on silly hacks and useless moving tips, focus your attention on carefully selecting and vetting movers, budgeting, planning, and sticking to your moving checklist. 

What are some things that shouldn’t go on the moving truck?

Important documents, medications, phones, and laptops should go with you in the car. Also, keep in mind that there are many things movers can’t take, like plants, liquids, explosives, and perishable food. 

How should you pack your car on moving day?

Especially on long-distance moves, it’s important to pack the items you’ll need first, like drinks, snacks, and a change of clothes where you can get to them quickly.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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