The Do's and Don'ts of Moving

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

You’ve finally found the next home of your dreams after months of searching. If you thought the search was stressful, the moving process doesn’t prove to be any less. In fact, a recent survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance found that about 9 in 10 people agree that moving is at least somewhat stressful, if not very stressful. However, when approached properly the moving process can be smooth.

With May being National Moving Month, and with 51% of Americans reporting that they preferably want to move in the springtime, it’s in your best interest to know the basics do’s and don’ts when it comes to moving. Here are a few of my top tips that are easy for anyone to follow for his or her move:

DO: Make a concrete pre-move plan.

More often than not, you’re packing up a decade’s worth of accumulated stuff that you don’t want to lose or break. It’s best to slow down and start small by first making a list of all of your precious valuables before placing in boxes.

Then, label the boxes as you’re packing them away so that you, and perhaps movers, are aware of what is in each box. A mover is more likely to handle a box labeled “Glassware” with care, rather than if the box is unmarked.

TIP: Sometimes using clear bins over cardboard boxes can alleviate confusion and give peace of mind, as you’re able to see through the bins when unpacking to determine where to put items in your new space.

DON’T: Place anything into a box until it’s accounted for.

According to the same survey, nearly half of Americans have had property lost or damaged in a move. Additionally, three quarters are at least somewhat concerned about their property being lost or damaged. Unfortunately, two thirds of Americans take no action to ensure that they are documenting their valuables before a move.

Document all of your prized possessions before moving with Liberty Mutual’s Home Gallery App. This free app allows you to take a room-by-room inventory and take notes about when items were purchased and their values.

DO: Be prepared for anything.

Almost a third of those surveyed think they’re more organized than professional movers; nonetheless, it’s essential to be prepared for the unexpected.

Collect a “tool kit” to keep with you on moving day. Include everything you may need: basic tools (hammer, nails, screwdrivers, power drill), cleaning materials, toilet paper, bottled water and snacks, key electronics accessories (a power strip, phone and laptop chargers and the TV remote), and basic toiletries.

In addition, you’ve already purchased the house, so the floor plan is not a surprise. Look at your floor plan before move-in. It’s likely that some items you thought would move from living area to living area can now be put in a different space in the new home. Evaluating this beforehand can lead to less worry down the road.

DON’T: Allow yourself to become overwhelmed.

Moving is a major life change, and it’s natural that such a change may cause worry. Instead of letting this worry affect you throughout your entire day, you can actually schedule time to worry. Pick a time of day and make that your designated time to worry for about 30 minutes. You’ll find the time may come and go without even having to use it. I remember this helped me during my move into the Atlanta home where my family currently resides.

DO: Do-it-yourself when applicable.

While most people report spending less than $500 on the physical moving and settling in part of their moves, almost two thirds say they would be willing to pay more to make moving less stressful. I think it’s important to assess what you think you should spend money on and what you’re capable of doing yourself before making any rash hiring decisions.

Also, movers aren’t the only available help around. Enlist your friends! You might assume that if the person doesn’t live with you currently, then it is difficult for them to help with your move, but there are easy tasks they can assist with. For example, have a friend go around your current home and take photos of the way your electronics are set up and label the cords before you pick them up. This will make hooking everything up when you get to your destination much simpler.

DON’T: Move into an unclean home.

After all of your pre-move preparation, the last thing you want to do is arrive to a dirty home on move in day. Just as you must prepare for the unexpected during the moving process, you never know what might appear while cleaning. I suggest hiring a cleaning crew after assessing the new house yourself. When cleaning windows or tackling your new oven, you might find some fixer-upper opportunities. It is better for you to personally find these mishaps than a cleaning crew.

TIP: I always find it easiest to have a pad of paper and pen handy when cleaning to take note of any issues that appear. This is the simplest way to avoid more stress on move-in day and you’ll be much happier to move into a spotless home than one filled with dust!

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.