Your Step-by-Step Moving Guide

Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Edited By Sarah Cimarusti
September 27, 2022
4 min read

At a glance

Moving is a lot easier if you know what to expect. So we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to moving that includes everything from picking a move type (and selecting one of the best moving companies) to making moving day a success. That includes in-between steps like finding packing supplies, using storage, completing paperwork, and setting up home services like internet and security systems.


1. Choose your move type

You can choose from many different types of moves. Professional movers like International Van Lines are the top of the line. They handle everything from packing and loading to transport and furniture assembly. However, they also cost the most. That’s why many people opt for cheaper DIY options like renting a moving truck.

The cheapest way to move long distances is with a moving container. This move involves a company like PODS bringing a portable storage container to your home, letting you load it, and then transporting it to your new home.

Each option has its advantages.

What type of moving company is right for you?

Professional movers
They handle it all.

Professional movers load your stuff, ship it to your new home, and unload it all for you. It’s the easiest—but most expensive—option. Learn more.

Containers
You load, they ship.

You load up all your belongings, but the movers transport your container to your new home. It’s the middle road for effort and cost. Learn more.

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Moving truck rentals
You do all the work.

Worried about costs? Rent a truck, load it yourself, drive it to your new home, and unload all your things. You do it all—and save a lot. Learn more.


2. Hire a mover

Once you’ve settled on a move type (like professional movers), your next step is picking a moving company. That’s harder than it seems. For example, there are thousands of moving companies. Unfortunately, not all charge the same rates or offer the same services. In some cases, you also must beware of moving scams.

You can rest easy, though. We’ve done the legwork to find the nation’s best moving companies:

Best moving companies by move type

Best professional moversBest moving container companyBest moving truck company
internationalvanlinespodspenske
International Van LinesPODSPenske Truck Rental
4.84.64.5
$$$$$$$$$
Icon Yes  DarkPremium quality
Icon Yes  DarkExcellent reviews
Icon Yes  DarkLowest prices

Note: No moving company is perfect. We recommend getting quotes from several companies before signing on the dotted line.

Megaphone
Let our free moving concierge help you move

There’s more to moving than getting your belongings from A to B. If setting up insurance, internet, utilities, or home security services while planning your move makes you hyperventilate, we’ve got an answer for you!

Move.org offers a free, all-in-one solution that provides you with a personal concierge who will assist you in setting up all those services (and more!). From finding the best mover in your area, to forwarding your mail to your new address, our moving concierge removes the hassle of self setup and helps you save money.


3. Pack like a pro

Packing can be one of the most stressful parts of your move. First, you must track down packing supplies and find cheap moving boxes. But that’s only the beginning. It’s also essential to stay organized and keep your household belongings safe. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.


4. Find storage

The best self-storage companies can be a godsend if your home isn’t move-in ready. They’re also helpful if you need temporary storage to accommodate a home renovation. Storage unit prices vary by size and location but typically cost less than $200 per month (not including storage locks).


5. Finish tasks and paperwork

Don’t make the amateur mistake of perfecting your move—but forget everything that goes along with it. We’re talking about things like changing your address, shipping your car, and setting up home utilities.

Exclamation
But wait, there’s more!

Our guide to moving paperwork walks you through some additional steps, such as giving your landlord notice and getting a new driver’s license.


6. Set up home services

There’s nothing  like feeling safe, settled, and relaxed enough to binge a favorite show in your new home. Unfortunately, you’ll miss out on a well-deserved reward if you fail to set up home services like internet, cable and home security. We’ve put together a list of the options to ensure you get the best quality at the lowest costs:


7. Prepare for moving day

Our printable moving checklist walks you through the entire moving process. We also have supplemental guides to prepare your new home for arrival and make moving day a success. Most importantly, know that it’s okay to feel a little stressed. Moving is difficult. Our job is to help make it easier.

Money
Tips for saving money on utility bills

Gas, power, and water cost almost $300 per month. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you save money on your utility bills.


Recap

You can eliminate a lot of your moving stress by following the steps in our moving guide. Start by choosing between professional movers, moving containers, and rental trucks. Next, get a few moving quotes and pick the company you like best. After that, you want to take care of essential odds and ends like finishing your moving paperwork, finding storage, and setting up home utilities. It also doesn’t hurt to consult other guides like our printable moving checklist to ensure moving day is a success.


Moving guide FAQ

How do you plan a moving checklist?

Moving experts like Move.org have already done the work of creating moving checklists. Save your energy for checking off steps like shipping your car, setting up home services, and changing your address.

What is the best professional moving company?

International Van Lines is our pick for the best professional moving company. In addition to offering transparent pricing and steep discounts, IVL is available in all 50 states.

What is the cheapest moving container company?

Zippy Shell is the least-expensive option, but it’s available in only half the country. We’ve put together a list of the cheapest moving container companies to help you find the best option for your move.

How much do truck rentals cost?

The cheapest truck rental companies cost as little as $130 for local moves. However, long-distance moves may cost upwards of $2,000.

What should I look for in a motorcycle shipping company?

Try to find a motorcycle shipping company like Montway Auto Transport with excellent reviews, low prices, and an established reputation. It can save you hundreds of dollars over lower-quality companies.


Kurt Manwaring
Written by
Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.