Moving Made Easy

Plan a (Relatively) Stressless House Move

Tips on how to hire a mover (or move yourself), pack your belongings properly, and move your home with relative ease.

By Adam Bluestein
A house wrapped in brown paper Jim Franco

Whether your last move was across the country or across the street, it probably ended with two words: “Never again!” But you don’t always have the luxury of staying in the same place forever. Sooner or later, you find yourself surrounded by cardboard boxes and packing tape again. Don’t despair.
 
Here, you’ll learn how to hire a mover (or move yourself), pack your belongings properly, and do it all with relative ease. Take this advice―and maybe the two words that end your next move will be, simply, “I’m home.”
 


Choosing a Mover

Of course, there is more than one way to move. Depending on the size of your home, the distance of the move, your budget, and the amount of time you have to get yourself situated, you might choose to rent a truck and move yourself, hire a mover to do the job, or use a “you pack; we drive” service. Here’s the lowdown on each option.
 
Do it yourself. Are you comfortable driving a big truck on busy highways and narrow streets? Do you live in a fairly small home and have a few strong, very good friends you can recruit to help you? If so, moving yourself might be a good option, and an economical one, since you’re not paying a mover to load, drive, and unload your stuff. It’s also the option that gives you the most control.
 
Just be aware of hidden costs, such as insurance for the rental truck (your auto policy probably doesn’t cover this, and neither will the credit card you rent the truck with), gas, and the rental or purchase of special equipment you’ll need, like dollies and quilted furniture covers.
 
U-Haul and Budget are the biggest and best-known truck-rental firms. Both have different-size trucks for long-distance and local moves. Their largest trucks (26 feet for U-Haul, 24 feet for Budget) are big enough to move six to eight furnished rooms (including up to four bedrooms). Be careful not to underestimate all that you have to move, though. Extra trips might require more money―for the truck rental, mileage, and gas (and refreshments for your friends).
 
To check rates, reserve equipment, and find rental locations near you, go to uhaul.com or budgettruck.com. You might get better rates if you rent your truck midweek and midmonth and reserve it as far in advance as possible (as soon as you have an exact date for your move). See the Moving Checklist or download a printable copy for a detailed moving timeline.
 

 
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