How to Protect Yourself During a Move

By Chip Wade, Host of HGTV's "Elbow Room"

Protection of your valuables during a move is always top of mind. You want to make sure everything arrives to your new home in one piece and that it’s all accounted for. But, what about protecting yourself?

It’s common to overlook this step in the moving process as there are so many other aspects that go into this major life change. Protecting yourself and possessions financially and physically during your move should not be an afterthought.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break down how to protect yourself into steps: pre-move, during move, and post-move.


Packing supplies are just one cost of many that come with the moving process, but they are necessary, as they help you to protect your belongings. I find it easiest to evaluate what items you’ll be packing in boxes or bins before purchasing. This can help you avoid buying useless supplies and you might find that some of your possessions can be moved without a box, but may need bubble wrap or packing paper.

Once you have your supplies, I suggest trying to set aside a designated moving “work zone” or set up zones in the different rooms in your home. It’s helpful to have a clear space to pack in, as the process can become cluttered, which could lead to breaking or forgetting items.

During the Move

In designated work zones, I like to place some sort of tabletop, or chairs if possible, to use as countertop space. Packing on an elevation is key to save yourself from backache.

You never want to be picking up heavy boxes from the ground up unless you’re using proper form when doing so. I back the recommendation from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute of Safety that prompts you to keep any material being lifted between shoulder and knuckle height. This is the most efficient range for lifting and lowering. Also, as a rule of thumb, never lift anything that is too heavy to pick up comfortably.

Moving into a new home is supposed to be a joyous stepping stone in one’s life; the last thing you want to associate your new home with is physical injury.


After all of the preparation and packing, you’ve finally moved! When unpacking, I suggest keeping to the same tips as during the moving process when it comes to heavy lifting in order to protect yourself.

From a belongings standpoint, you want to make sure everything arrived safely. Keep a checklist handy while unpacking so you can make note of any damaged or lost possessions.

Similar to the pre-move, don’t forget to protect what took you so long to pack away and especially do not forget to protect your new investment. Give your insurance agent a call to see if your policy needs to be adjusted. Make sure all your possessions are insured and make sure you have adequate coverage. For renters, you may not have considered insurance before, but now that you’ve understood how much your possessions are worth, you’ll find that renters insurance can be an affordable option to protect your possessions.. For homeowners, taking stock of what you own will help you talk to your insurance rep on whether you have the right level of coverage whether it’s personal property or even an added level of liability protection such as an umbrella policy.

Down the road, after becoming acclimated in your new home, issues are bound to pop up. You’ll experience less worry when it comes to your possessions by taking the proper protection steps along the way.

As the host, designer, and contractor on the series "Elbow Room," Chip Wade is there from concept through construction to show HGTV and DIY viewers how to customize their spaces and transform houses into homes that perfectly suit their lifestyle. Additionally, Chip has acted as a representative for many national brands and is currently a consultant with the Liberty Mutual Insurance.