moving truck

10 moving do’s and don’ts

You may be excited about moving into a new home, but first you have to actually move. Moving is a hassle — packing, loading the truck, cleaning your old and new home, tracking down your security deposit. It’s not a lot of fun.

Follow this list of 10 do’s and don’ts to make the process go much more smoothly and you’ll be settling comfortably into your new home in no time.

1. Do give your landlord sufficient notice of your intent to vacate.

If you’re on a month-to-month apartment lease, make sure you provide at least 30 days’ notice of your intent to vacate. If you’re in the midst of a longer lease or unable to provide 30 days’ notice, find another reliable tenant who’s interested in renting your apartment immediately so your landlord doesn’t experience any lag time between renters.

2. Do make sure to be there when your landlord inspects your apartment.

If small repairs or cleaning needs to be done at your apartment, you’ll have the opportunity to address those issues to get your security deposit back. If you performed a move-in inspection when you first leased the property, make sure you’ve got that document handy so you can note any pre-existing damage.

3. Do provide your landlord and the U.S. Postal Service with a forwarding address.

Postal Service truck

This is vital to getting your security deposit back, as well as promptly receiving mail at your new address. Many creditors won’t accept moving as an excuse for late payments, so spare yourself the late fees by proactively updating your address with the Postal Service.

4. Do sort and purge.

If you haven’t used or seen an item in the past six months, you probably don’t need to take it to your new home. Save yourself the packing (and unpacking) time, not to mention the clutter, by going through each room and grouping items into three categories: keep, trash, donate. Many charities, like Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill, will come to your home to pick up your donations.

Check out these six packing tips:

5. Do pack a suitcase with important items.

Mistakes happen, boxes get lost, and moving companies take longer than expected. Don’t be caught without your essentials. Pack a suitcase with enough clothing to get you through the week (including work and casual clothes), toiletries and prescription medication.

You also might want to put together a binder of important documents that you’ll keep at all times. Hang onto items like birth certificates, and copies of insurance policies, leases and anything that you wouldn’t want to caught without during your move.

6. Don’t forget to take pre-move measurements of your new place.

There’s nothing worse than getting to your new home and realizing there’s absolutely no way to get your couch into the home. Be prepared, whether that means selling furniture that won’t work in your new space or getting to your new home early to take doors off hinges to help furniture fit through the door.

7. Don’t forget to defrost the freezer.


If you’re taking your refrigerator with you, make sure to empty, unplug, defrost and clean it at least 24 hours before your move. Plan to use up all your groceries before this time so you won’t feel so bad about indulging in takeout on the days leading up your move.

8. Don’t let just anyone help you move.

Look for a reputable moving company with plenty of good reviews. If a friend has had a positive experience with a moving company, try to find out who worked on her moving crew so that you can make a special request. You’re trusting movers with all your personal belongings, so you want to make sure you they’ll keep your belongings secure.

When the truck arrives on the day of your move, verify that the truck is from the company you hired. Fraudulent movers and scams are not uncommon. Make sure you protect yourself from losing some or all of our belongings.

Follow these nine tips to avoid moving rip-offs:

9. Don’t forget to thank your moving helpers.

Whether you’ve hired professional movers or recruited family and friends to help, remember that moving is no picnic for anyone. Have plenty of refreshments available, especially on hot days, and some easy-to-consume snacks like doughnuts and granola bars.

Once you’ve unloaded at your new home, make sure to tip the professional movers. A tip of 10 percent to 15 percent of the total cost is considered fair, but if you had an especially challenging move (such as lots of stairs), you might want to give more. If friends or family helped you move, have pizza or other special treats ready to thank them for their hard work.

10. Don’t trash all of your moving supplies.

Sure, it was a pain to track down all of those boxes, and bubble wrap has definitely lost its allure. But take just a little extra time to give your moving supplies a second life instead of sending them straight to the landfill. If your boxes are in good shape, list them on BoxCycle. You can buy or sell boxes there, avoiding the hassle of harassing the produce manager at your local grocery store for boxes or spending a fortune on new boxes. Otherwise, keep those boxes for your next move or recycle them.

Bryn Huntpalmer is editor of Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to home decor and design websites, her writing can be found on Lifehacker, and on her personal blog, Her Own Wings.

Categories Moving