Tips for a Smooth Moving Day

The big day is finally here -- now it's time to sit back, relax, and reap the rewards of all your meticulous planning. Making the day go as smoothly as possible with these moving tips.
By: Kara Wahlgren

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Okay, just kidding. There's not a lot of room on the agenda for R&R today, but at least you can rest assured that you've done everything in your power to stave off potential moving-day nightmares. Now it's on to your next task: making the day go as smoothly as possible.

Packing Up

  • Check the Bill of Lading. Moving companies are required to show you this contract before they start loading your stuff on the truck. Even though you're anxious to get going, take a few minutes to read it thoroughly. Make sure it matches the terms on your original service order, and address any concerns before you sign it. Hang onto your copy until you've unpacked the boxes, because you'll need it on hand if anything gets damaged.
  • Supervise the packing process. You may be tempted to let the movers run the show -- after all, they do this for a living. But you'll save yourself a lot of chaos in the long run if you oversee the process.
  • Provide sustenance. Whether you're working with pros or pals, provide snacks and water for everyone who's helping out. It'll keep their energy up, and it never hurts to inspire some goodwill in the people who are hauling your stuff around.

Check Your Home One Last Time 

Once your stuff is on its way to your new home, you'll want to make one last pass through your old haunt to make sure everything's shipshape. Don't forget to: 

  • Check the house for anything you may have forgotten. Check every closet, the attic, the crawl space, the garage, the medicine cabinet, and the drawer under your oven. If you're leaving any furniture behind for the next owners, make sure all the drawers are empty.
  • Check for any damages caused by the movers. You don't want to lose part of your security deposit or haggle with homebuyers because your cupboard left a hole in the wall.
  • Write down your meter readings. When you receive your final bill from your utility companies, verify that the figures match up.
  • Check for cash. Have cash tips of $20 to $25 per mover ready, along with money for any tolls along the way.

In Transit 

  • Before you leave your old house, give the movers your cell phone number in case either party gets delayed or lost.
  • If you're driving a rental truck, take it slow -- the extra weight will make the truck harder to handle. Watch out for low clearances, especially if you make a pit stop at a drive-thru window. If you stop along the way, lock the cargo door.

Inspect Your New Home 

Try to arrive at your new home before the moving truck does, otherwise you may be billed for the thumb-twiddling period. Once you arrive: 

  • Do a walk through with your real estate agent. Make sure everything is where it's supposed to be.
  • Check the utilities in your new home. Take a few minutes and check the outlets, light switches, appliances, faucets, and toilets in your new home. If anything's broken, you'll have a chance to address it before you settle in for the night.
  • Get organized. Tape names to doors to assist movers; map out floor layouts so movers know what's going where.


While your boxes are being unloaded, oversee the process and make sure they end up in the right rooms. (You did label them, right?) You don't want to be rummaging through the basement for your coffee pot tomorrow morning. In fact, try to banish as little to the basement as possible, because you'll be less likely to unpack the boxes you can't see. You might end up feeling like you're in a permanent state of transition; or worst-case, you may not discover any damages until it's too late to file a claim.

Above all, don't overdo it. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, make moving your sole task for the day -- schedule cable installation, phone service, and internet hookup for after you've settled in. Stay hydrated, pack snacks, and take short breaks when you need them. Moving day might be hectic, but if you're prepared, you can help it go off without a hitch.

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