Experts reveal the biggest things to avoid when moving

Moving is an inevitable part of life that’s more stressful for some people than divorce, according to studies. But there are ways to make it just a little easier. We interviewed moving experts to learn how these tiny moves (pun intended) can make your move better.

Pack an essential bag

This is key for moving day. All your stuff will be in boxes, and when you get to your new home, you might be ready to crash. So in your essential bag, you should stash toiletries, medicine, toothpaste, towels and a change of clothing for the following day, says Kate Windleton, relocations manager at London-based Strong Move.

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Don’t overstuff your boxes

You may think this will make the move easier since you’ll have fewer boxes, but it actually has the opposite result, Windleton says. “The problem is that the boxes become too heavy to lift and carry, which can cause injuries to the movers – and the other potential problem is that the boxes might break, and your items would break,” she says.

Plan ahead

Inform utility companies about your move ahead of time (at least 1 month ahead of time), setting up new utility bills, changing your address so there’s no gap in between homes.

Seal the bottom of the box

This moving mistake is very easy to make if you’re not paying attention, says Marty Basher, home organization expert for ModularClosets. If you don’t seal the bottom of the box as well as the top, then your items can fall out. Doing a crossover flap fold is not enough to seal the bottom of a box once it is filled. “Be sure to use a heavy duty tape completely over the seams, and overlap about three inches up the sides as well,” Basher says. “This will give you a sturdy bottom you can be sure will not fall open and spill your things out.”

Full drawers

It may seem like a time saver not to empty out dresser or storage drawers while you pack, but this can be a big moving mistake, Basher says. Full drawers are very heavy, and even if you tape or tie them down, things will still shift and possibly break. Even a dresser having that extra weight in it can be a hazard. “It could tip over in the moving truck and damage other things,” Basher says. “Take the extra time to pack up the contents of any drawers, and save yourself a big headache.”

Pack delicate items carefully

Don’t skimp on the bubble wrap, plastic wrap, and packing paper, Basher says. Fragile items should be wrapped thickly enough that they squish a bit when you squeeze them. This will ensure that your delicate items stay in one piece.

Don’t leave empty space in your boxes

You don’t want anything to shift in transit, so fill those empty spaces with packing material, says Nimrod Sheinberg, VP of sales for Oz Moving & Storage.

Research parking permits

If you’re moving to an urban area, there could be restrictions on where and for how long you can park your moving truck or container. For example, in St. Louis, a moving container may stay up to a week in an alley. But in Chicago, containers aren’t permitted on the streets or in the alleys, so they can’t be delivered to some Chicago zip codes, says Mike Glanz, co-founder and CEO of HireAHelper.

Don’t lose your nuts and bolts

When disassembling furniture or other household equipment, be sure to keep close track of the nuts, bolts, washers, and flanges by dedicating a plastic zip-lock bag to each disassembled item. Then, duct tape the bag and its contents to the item – or a piece of the item – so it’s easy and quick to find when it comes time for reassembly, Glanz says.

Use professional moving boxes

Using rickety and cheap boxes from the supermarket is a mistake, says Bryan Stoddard, director of Homewares Insider. The bottoms of these boxes literally break, as these boxes are only intended to carry fruits and vegetables. You’re likely to try to take advantage of its full volume while exceeding the weight that it can handle.

Color-coded tape is key

Keep an inventory of what goes where, and use color-coded tape to know which box goes into what room, says Elizabeth Bernabeo, content and marketing manager at Holloway Removals and Storage. “That way, once the boxes arrive at the new address, it’s easy to store them in their respective room and unload them there,” she says.