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Mistakes, I’ve made a few: 6 Tips for a Safe Move

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Scams, lost belongings, poor planning; moving can be fraught with headache and peril. Especially in the case of this family, who loaded their stuff into a moving van and never saw it again.

With more than 35 million people moving each year, there will inevitably be horror stories, but you don’t have to be in one of them. Take a cue from the Boy Scouts and “Be Prepared” with this list of six mistakes to avoid. You’ll be crushing the moving game in no time and making sure your moving truck arrives safely with all of your belongings.

Watch out for Shady Movers

Don’t get scammed! There are plenty of reputable moving companies out there. The trick is making sure you hire one of them. There are some obvious signs of a bad moving company. Poor phone etiquette, a website from 1999 and general disorganization should raise red flags. But if they don’t come to your house to assess what you’re moving or give you a quote in person, then you should probably run away. Also, in the age of the Internet, you should always read up on reviews. Yelp and Angie’s List are great places to start. And also downloading the app Unpakt immediately can help you save so much time. It compares moving companies, lets you book them online and the movers on the site agree to a flat rate, rather than an estimate. It also has a pretty rad moving cost calculator.

Packing Timeline

You’ve probably heard it from your mother, who stole if from Benjamin Franklin, but “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Plenty of people underestimate the time it will take to get everything in order and packed up for a move. Plus, packing just plain sucks. But if you don’t start scheduling your movers, changing your Internet or getting rid of things you don’t need in preparation for the move, you could be scrambling at the last minute. A lot of movers book up quickly, especially during the summer.

Create a checklist and follow a timeline to make sure you’re ready for moving day.

Survival Bag and First Open Box

In the midst of trying to get everything boxed up and loaded onto the truck, many first time movers make the rookie mistake of forgetting to pack an “Open First box” and a survival bag. First-open boxes should contain things you need in the first 24-48 hours of a move. Things like lightbulbs, a toolkit, bedding or a blow up mattress, a shower curtain and other essentials. Your survival bag should include a few sets of clothes and toiletries to help you get through your first several days.

Insuring your stuff

Moving companies have to offer either “full value” or “released value” liability. Full value means just that: the mover is responsible for the full value of everything they move for you. Released value costs less, but the moving company pays a smaller percentage of value for damaged items. Another option is to call your home insurance provider. Oftentimes, they can add on moving coverage to the plan you have. If not, check out national companies who provide third-party coverage.

Weathering a move

Sometimes in the midst of packing and last minute to-do items, we forget to check the weather. Moving in the rain is no fun. Be sure to check the weather often and plan accordingly. Keep tarps on hand to cover your boxes and consider setting up plastic sheets or tents to keep things dry.

Declutter your life

There’s no point in hauling old baby toys or clothes you never wear anymore to your new place. Get rid of things you don’t need. Have an old-fashioned garage sale or sell things on Craigslist to offset moving costs, or consider donating items in good shape to a local charity. You’ll be glad you have less to pack when moving day comes around.