Stressful, expensive, and time consuming are just three of the many adjectives that come to mind when thinking about moving. Fortunately, if you make some key preparations and do a little upfront research, you can spare yourself a lot of stress and even save some time and money.

#1 Research Moving Services and Cost

Experienced families who’ve been through several moves recommend getting at least three quotes from moving companies. Make sure you compare like services to one another as each may offer something different. Also, ensure you choose a company that will offer a “fixed estimate” so that you won’t be subject to a lot of add-on costs after the move. Researching costs for a rental truck and mileage fees are just as important if you’re planning to move yourself.

#2 Ask Each Moving Company if They Offer Any Deals

Moving companies are most booked on weekends and at the end or beginning of a month. If your schedule is flexible, ask if you can get a deal for moving mid-week or mid-month. Sometimes there’s a possibility for a discount. Also, some moving companies will allow you to pick from their stash of used, free boxes for packing. Although they may have someone else’s writing on them, they’re still usable and free to you.

#3 Double the Time You Think It Takes to Prep for a Move

If you feel rushed to move, you’ll likely spend more money making quick decisions. If the move isn’t sudden, then take the time to plan out your needs. Estimate pack and organization time and then double it, because it always takes longer than you think. Packing one room at a time is recommended. Mark on the calendar who will be packing each room and allot plenty of time to do so. If a friend is willing to help, give him or her a specific task that doesn’t require your oversight.

#4 Purge and Donate (It Can Save Money!)

Realize that the less stuff you have, the less labor and space you’ll be charged for by professional movers. Also, if moving yourself, it could mean a smaller truck to rent and a sizeable savings. So get rid of everything you don’t need and donate items that someone else could use. Sorting through nostalgic items can consume a lot of emotional energy, so plan your time accordingly, including mental breaks!

#5 Organize and Label Boxes by Timeline of Need

With piles of boxes in your new home, the task of where to start unpacking will be overwhelming. But if you label according to what you’ll need sooner versus later, you have a map of what to unpack first. Label according to what you’ll need the first week, the first month, and items that have no rush. Things labeled “first week” might include kitchen items, in-season clothing, toiletries, and lamps.

#6 Know Where Furniture Will Be Placed in Advance

By your final walk-through of the new house, you should have a good sense or actual measurements of where medium and large pieces of furniture will be placed. Moving day will be focused on getting everything in and out of a truck and to the correct level and room of the house. You don’t want to spend time hemming and hawing over how things fit or don’t fit in a space on the day of the move.

#7 Plan Meals Strategically Prior to Moving Day

Save key kitchens items for last to pack so that you can still make meals at home prior to the move. Spending a few dollars on paper plates and disposable utensils could help make life easier for a week if you want to have dishes wrapped and packed in advance. While you may be tempted to do takeout every night for a week, that can get expensive (and unhealthy). Use up all perishables as well as dried goods in the pantry before the move. Take note of what’s in the freezer. If there are three pounds of meat in there, plan to make a meal from each rather than having to transport (or sacrifice) quality frozen food. If you can consume it, you don’t have to move it!

Real Estate Term of the Week

Bill of Lading: A legally binding document that outlines all of the details of the move from the shipping date to the items loaded on the moving truck. This document serves as a receipt of a customer’s agreement with a moving company.

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