The Art of the Move: How to Avoid the Worst Day

updated on 13 January 2022

5 minutes, by Erika Nesto

Life is a journey. Moving, on the other hand, is about getting it over with and forgetting it happened.
Life is a journey. Moving, on the other hand, is about getting it over with and forgetting it happened.

On average about 40M Americans relocate each year. With the pandemic, people shifted to en masse, with a third of young adults moving as result of the pandemic. As offices reopen and businesses react to a changing labor force, some of past year’s migration may happen in reverse.

More people moving means more people encountering common pitfalls that we all know too well. Sadly, in addition to the normal chaos this year, is a nationwide shortage of moving trucks and professional movers. A 2021 moving survey shows 71% of moving companies have increased delays and 67% of professional movers do not have enough drivers.

Fortunately, like almost everything, a little organization and effort can arm you to prevent most issues before they arise. Let’s start with understanding the most common moving pitfalls and how can we prevent disaster.

Moving is horrible, but it'll work out even if you procrastinate, right?

Wrong.

Picture this. Your move out day is marked on your calendar. The move is exciting. It’s like a fresh start and a chance to buy a full set of dishes.

However, your nerves are also making an appearance too. Work and normal life events seem to be as busy as normal, yet the move is just around the corner. Every time you think you have a plan for everything, you seem to find some new thing left to do.

Beyond the bandwidth issue, you keep thinking of new things to pack, details that need planned, or some new kink in the plan. Your poor brain is trying to avoid little frustrations that keep happening and to focus on joyfully setting up your new pad. Therefore, you find yourself procrastinating on a few details.

We get it. A member of our team actually just had the “pleasure” of renting, packing, and driving a 20 foot moving truck for 9 hours a couple months ago. It was a truly horrible experience. Hopefully, we can spare you some of our pain.

What are the most common moving issues?

  1.  House or mover problems
  2.  Poor planning
  3.  Scams and surprise expenses
  4.  Accidents or injuries
  5.  Broken or missing items

CYC Movers reported that the new house not being ready on time is the number one issue for movers. That sounds painful. We’ve been blessed to not personally have experienced that pain, but we would like to add a few other issues: movers not showing up on time, the move taking longer than expected, and traffic problems delaying transit while movers on arrival stand waiting.

Many housing or moving problems are out of your control, resulting in extra costs or time during the move. Similarly, not planning for parking permits or surprise expenses, like tipping the movers, can result in frustration on an already painful day. While not everything is fixable, the more you can prevent or give yourself wiggle room, the better.

Conversely, most accidents, broken items, and issues from poor planning can be prevented. Assuming you will need breaks in transit, not rushing the move, and properly organizing the orchestration is critical. It’s like getting married. Rushing and skipping steps is bound to lead to trouble.

How to make the most of a bad situation

We recommend starting with a simple checklist, like the one here, to ensure you’ve at least thought through major items. Additionally, there are some specific actions that can protect against common issues.

Step one is always to plan the move out, move in, and transit from point A to point B. Make sure to create a detailed calendar of key moving tasks, dates, costs, and deadlines. Make note of the exact date and time that the moving company will assist with moving your items. Then add a couple hours for inevitable problems or any late arrivals.

Also include a backup plan and think through potential issues that may delay your move. Prevent accidents and broken items by giving yourself enough time to tackle things step-by-step and thoroughly check how items are packed. Throwing things into boxes in a rush equals pulling broken things out of boxes later on.

Before the move, we strongly recommend double confirming with the landlord, builders, and movers to ensure that all of their plans continue as expected. It is much harder to adjust day-of.

When packing boxes, make sure to mark some as fragile and where they should be moved into the new place. If you are having professional movers, this information can be relayed to them as well. Even if not, knowing something is heavy or fragile makes unloading far easier than checking every box.

Finally, addressing our favorite mistake... Make sure you’ve thought through how the couch or big items fit through a doorway or up the stairs. Hiring some folks to hulk it up the stairs only works if the couch actually fits. We have actually watched someone angrily saw a couch in half to get it into a basement.

There are good and bad ways to move a couch.
There are good and bad ways to move a couch.

Final notes

While we all move from time to time, especially with the rise of remote work, the experience is never fun. However, taking the appropriate steps allow you to weather the monstrous task of moving with grace.

We encourage you to check out our moving checklist to make sure you think through the right items. In addition, there are numerous guides and moving videos on big furniture if you need help. Thanks for tagging along for our moving checklist!

While WellPaid isn’t a moving company, the service can at least simplify splitting house bills or finding new services. If you’re moving in with roommates, sign up for WellPaid’s automated transfer and service sharing tools to check one thing off your list.

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