During our most recent move, it dawned on me that this is the 21st time I’ve moved in my lifetime! After spending most of my life moving once a year from house to house, city to city, and across the country a few times, I’ve built up years of experience to make moving as painless as possible.
Our most recent move was to an apartment 3 buildings away – my shortest distance to date! Moving a short distance can be deceiving – it might seem like it’ll be a piece of cake, but they can be more difficult than you might think. So in the spirit of sharing what I’ve learned over the years, here are some ways to make your moving day (short or long) go much more smoothly!
Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Short-Distance Move
#1: Take packing seriously.
Whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, you still need to pack your things carefully. Anything that is fragile is still fragile for the short time you’re moving it, so pack those things carefully in tissue paper, bubble wrap, or whatever works best.
Also, don’t use the “empty box method” of packing – it’s a huge waste of time on moving day to keep packing and unpacking the same box. It’s also incredibly annoying for the people you get to help you move – they won’t want to wait around for you to pack/unpack (and definitely won’t want to help do either).
#2: Prepare a “new place kit” with important things.
Moving can be chaotic, and the last thing you want to do during a long day of moving is hunt through your boxes to find the toilet paper – or (gasp) discover you forgot to bring some with you. Here are some suggestions to pack in your kit:
- Toilet paper. Don’t leave you or your helpers stranded with no t.p. – that’s the worst!
- Paper towels (leave some in the bathroom and kitchen)
- Hand soap (one in each bathroom)
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies
- First aid kit (bandages, antibacterial spray, ibuprofen, ice pack, tweezers, etc.)
- Water bottles and easy snacks for you and your helpers (granola bars are my personal favorite)
- Important documents for moving in or out (lease, checkbook, utilities information, etc.). If you have a purse or locked glove compartment, that’s a great place to put everything vital to getting those keys!
#3: Use your car for small stuff.
If you’re making a short trip like, you can get away with moving most stuff in your car(s). We moved almost everything in our two cars, and only rented a pickup truck for a couple hours to move furniture. It ended up being cheaper and easier to do this than renting a larger truck.
When using your car, make sure it’s ready to go the night before – fill up the tank, check tire pressure, and clean out all the junk! Also, don’t pack the car up the night before – that’s practically begging someone to break in and steal everything.
#4: Valuables stay with you – and only with you.
It’s pretty common knowledge that moving can leave you vulnerable to theft, especially if you are occupying two homes at once (like we did).
To prevent this, I have a few suggestions:
- Leave your valuable items (computer, television, jewelry, paperwork, mementos, etc.) in the home you’ll be sleeping in each night. Burglars keep an eye out for movers who leave and don’t return in the evening!
- Keep important documents for moving day (lease, checkbook, cashier’s checks, etc.) in a safe place. A locked glove compartment is a great suggestion if you can’t keep an eye on your purse or don’t use one.
- Do not allow a moving company to move anything irreplaceable. There are more cases than I can count of moving companies “losing” valuable jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other expensive items – and no amount of insurance can replace having a family heirloom stolen. If you’d be heartbroken if an item got stolen, move it yourself.
- Close all windows and blinds of the home you won’t sleep in so people can’t peek inside, and leave on a few lights around the house as well. Also, double check all doors are locked and in working order before leaving – in a new house, you’d be surprised how many people forget they have a back or side door to lock!
- Don’t broadcast over social media that you’re moving until it’s already done. It’s not smart to tell the general public that you’re leaving your home empty for the night (or a few nights). Don’t trust that information to the general public – you never know who’s lurking around online!
#5: Don’t overdo it on moving day!
For most people, moving is one of the most physically taxing things we’ll ever do. Even if you’re in good shape, most of us don’t spend 12 hours every weekend lifting boxes and furniture up and down flights of stairs. Take care of your body with these tips to save yourself from excessive stress or potential injuries!
- Don’t rush! Take your time moving heavy objects to avoid mistakes and injuries.
- Take frequent breaks to rehydrate, eat, and stretch. If you need to, put a reminder on your phone to stop and rest every hour for a few minutes.
- Be realistic about your physical limits. If you can’t lift something, ask for help. If you’re lifting something with a partner, speak up loudly if you need to stop or readjust. Don’t try to be a tough guy – that’s when injuries happen!
- Take care of those helping you move! Make sure everyone stays safe, encourage everyone to break for water/snacks, and remember to thank them for taking the time to help.
- Accept the day is going to come with surprises. Moving is stressful for everyone, and it always comes with complications along the way. Try to take it all in stride, and know that in the end, it’ll all be okay.
- Once you’re done moving, REST! Don’t try to unpack the whole house in one night – go out for dinner or order in a pizza, and spend the evening recuperating. Those boxes will still be there tomorrow – and you will be much happier to tackle them after a good night’s sleep!
I’d have to say our most recent move was one of the easiest we’ve done, mostly because it was around the corner – but also because we tend to be well-prepared on moving day. It was exhausting, but thankfully I woke up the next morning ready to tackle the unpacking and decorating with more energy than I’ve ever had the day after moving.
I hope these tips help you on your next move – however far it is!