blue moving truck

Sure, with big plans up in the air and many small details to manage, moving can be stressful. But with a little preparation and a few quick tricks, it doesn’t have to be so bad.

Wondering how to make moving day as painless as possible? Read on. The experts here at Moveline have some stress-busting tips to make the process simple, seamless and ultimately successful.

Have essentials on hand

Remember that even a simple move several streets away may still take a matter of hours. So, make sure you’ve got the basics available: toilet paper, paper towels, soap and the like. For a full listing of what to keep with you on moving day, read our post about what to keep on hand during a move.

For both yourself and the movers, be sure to keep drinking water and disposable cups out on a countertop to keep everyone hydrated, particularly if your move takes place in the summer or in a situation where a large amount of furniture and belongings are being moved (or a lot of stairs are being climbed). This simple gesture is always appreciated by moving professionals, but sometimes overlooked by even the most well-intentioned of people. Most movers won’t proactively ask for water, so a verbal offer can actually go a very long way.

Keep it simple

Maybe there are certain items you want to keep with you in your own car, or that you’re leaving for the neighbors to take, or that there’s some other grand plan for that doesn’t involve a moving truck (see our recent post on moving in the summer for a special list of things that belong in this category). Be sure to place those items together in the same space before the movers arrive, and openly communicate with them about the fact that they won’t be going onto the truck. The master bath and closet are common safe zones for such things; be sure to mention clearly to every mover on the team what’s going and what’s not.

One common blunder on moving day is forgetting to unplug electronics, from televisions to toasters, before the movers arrive, which can cause unintended delays and small calamities. A bonus tip: remove all light bulbs from lamps to prevent them from breaking in transit, unless you’d really prefer to buy all new bulbs for the new place. Stripping the bed is also expected. Leaving the sheets, comforters and pillows in the center of the bed is fine if the movers are packing them; if not, surely there’s a box for that. In any event, keep the mattress and box springs bare so the movers can get to them easily.

Clear a path

Ideally, small children and pets are off the premises of both the old and new homes during the move itself, being taken care of by a trusted third party. In cases where it’s physically impossible to have them apart from you for a few hours on the day of the move, make sure they’re in your sights at all times, and out of the way of the movers. Dogs and cats tend to run away in times of transition when untethered, and small living things of all species can easily place themselves in harm’s way without seeing that bookshelf careening around a blind corner. So truly — for everyone’s safety — make arrangements in advance. Also, check out our post full of advice on moving with a pet.

Making it easy for the movers to get from point A to point B in both your old and new places can cut down on your move time considerably. In private homes, make sure the sidewalk and at least part of the driveway are clear for dollies to move swiftly between the truck and the residence, and in shared spaces like apartment buildings, it’s wise to reserve an elevator in advance if possible, and secure any loading zones or side entrances that may be helpful for getting your belongings in and out without a hassle.

Make yourself available

It’s amazing how many surprises can lurk unseen and ruin your day if you don’t plan ahead, so be prepared for the final walkthrough well before it happens.

“Start thinking ahead of time about those sneaky spaces, like cabinets, where you forget you have stuff hiding,” urges Erik Christensen, a Moveline Move Captain. Once the move is complete, it’s complete, and as for those random tchotchkes buried in the back of the closet and canned goods lined up in the bottom kitchen drawer, you’re basically on your own to deal with them. So, have an empty box or two and a magic marker on hand and be present during the final walkthrough. A couple of boxes full of random stuff is nothing to a mover with a dolly; it’s something else altogether when it’s just you, your own two arms and several flights of stairs after the truck is gone.

Most importantly: if you have to leave the premises while your move is in progress, whatever you do, don’t return later than expected to sign the final paperwork. In most cases, movers have multiple stops to make in a day, and your actions — however innocent — can throw off someone else’s move completely.

Tip the movers

Last but not least, tipping is standard. It’s customary to tip each mover $20 for expected services, or up to $100 apiece for a truly stellar job maneuvering awkward walkways, flights of stairs, delicate objects and any other special considerations that may have arisen during the day. In instances where there’s a fleet of movers (i.e., more than three) and handing out individual bills would seem awkward, it’s best to give the total amount to the lead mover and ask him or her to divide it evenly among the team. And if you had a truly superior experience with your moving company and want to spread the word about them, there’s always Yelp. (By the way — shameless plug alert! — if you used Moveline to oversee your move and want to help others save money and stress in much the same way, kind reviews are always welcome onMoveline’s Yelp page as well.)

If you’re planning a move but haven’t hired a mover yet, let Moveline help. We simplify the entire process by helping you inventory your belongings and gathering quotes on your behalf from reputable movers. We even assign you a Move Captain to oversee everything from start to finish, and our services are free. If that doesn’t make moving day less stressful, nothing will! So don’t go it alone. Let us help you #movebetter.