Moving Yourself? It Doesn’t Have to be a Hassle or Expensive

Posted By Terri Williams on December 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm
Moving Yourself? It Doesn’t Have to be a Hassle or Expensive

Whether moving to the freshman dorm or the first post-graduate job, packing and unpacking is probably the least fun part of going from Point A to Point B. Sometimes, students are doing preliminary packing after they’ve gone through the checklist of the 5 things to know before choosing a moving company.

But whether students are packing up for the movers or they are the packers and movers, these tips can help to ensure a smooth move.

The pre-move purge

Katherine Gauthier, a mom and the mover of a college-aged son in Baton Rouge, LA, tells GoodCall that the pre-move can make moving a lot easier. So what on earth is the pre-move? “Before the bubble wrap, before the brute force, and certainly before the celebratory beer, you should bag it, drag it and stack it by the road – or in your trunk to be donated,” says Gauthier.

And what should students be bagging, dragging and stacking? “Anything they haven’t seen, worn, or used in over one year,” Gauthier advises. She recommends prioritizing items in categories, such as gadgets, papers, clothes, etc.

Take pictures before moving

“No, not selfies, but shelfies – take a photo of what’s on your shelf and which box it went into,” Gauthier says. Another good idea: take a snapshot of the back of electronic equipment, and she says that it will be much easier to figure out how to connect those wires and cords in the new home.

Space utilization

Instead of purchasing containers and packing supplies, Gauthier advises students to use what they already have. Fill suitcases and backpacks with clothes or other items. “Lay out your shower curtain, fill it with stuff, gather, and secure with duct tape,” Gauthier says.

Cushion with clothing

“Winter coats/clothes are great for layering between packed electronics or breakables,” explains Gauthier. Another tip that is less expensive than purchasing bubble wrap is to put glasses and other breakable items in socks.

Gauthier also suggests storing small items among the clothes in the chest of drawers. “If you have a dolly, tape the drawers shut; if not, remove the drawers, wrap each in a pillowcase, sheet or bag and again, duct tape it,” Gauthier explains.

Time out for valuables

Don’t take any chances with the most important items. “Take time to secure your valuables (passport, birth certificate, jewelry) and keep them near you in a separate and easily identifiable container,” Gauthier says.

Cover clothes

For the clothes that hang in the closet, just put large trash bags over them so they can remain on the hanger. For shorter items, such as shirts and sports coats, punch a small whole in the bottom of the bag, and at least five to seven hangers should fit. For longer items, use two trashbags to cover the clothes from both ends.

Visit a dollar store

Students shouldn’t spend a lot of money to buy the trash bags to use as covers for their hanging clothes. They can be purchased from dollar stores. While there, consider getting zip lock sandwich bags to hold screws and nails, larger zip lock bags for liquids that might spill, and Sharpies to label boxes.

For students who need empty boxes, that’s also a great place to pick up some for free – or almost free. Your local liquor store also often will give boxes away – even to movers too young to drink.

Tips for dealing with movers

Students may have done everything on their end to ensure a smooth move, but there a few more steps they need to take when using a mover.  Michael Ray Smith, professor of Communication at Lee University, tells GoodCall that he has moved at least a dozen times in the past three decades, and he’s learned to pay attention to the following:

  • Ladders. “Movers will tell you that ladders are the most lost item in a move; no one is sure why but it’s worth keeping track of a ladder when the movers load the cargo.”
  • Blankets for items. “At the end of a move, the movers tend to fold all the moving blankets used in the process; however, sometimes the blankets contain odd items such as the inserts in a coffee table.” Although the blankets may feel empty, Smith recommends checking them and the furniture pieces before the van leaves.
  • Insurance. “The mover’s salesperson often tells consumers that the process of getting reimbursed is easy when a claim is made – but it isn’t easy.” Smith recommends asking the salesperson for the insurance company’s telephone number and then call to see how easy or complex the process is.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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