Wondering how to prepare for your movers? Our checklist will walk you through packing, moving day, and delivery day for a smoother, seamless moving experience.
How to Prepare for Your Movers
What to do before the moving crew arrives
Now that your move is officially on the books, there are a few things you can do right away to prepare for your professional movers. We’ve got a moving checklist for you so you can stay on track:
- Donate and sell items. If you haven’t already decided which items are not going with you when you move, now is a great time to have a garage sale or make a Goodwill drop. Remember, if it’s not in the inventory your movers took at the time of your estimate, it’s probably going to cost you to add last-minute.
- Alert your neighbors. Once you lock down your move date, it’s a good idea to inform your neighbors that you’ve hired a moving service so they can plan for the big moving truck to arrive. This also applies if you live in an apartment complex—make sure to tell your leasing office in advance so parking (and elevators, if necessary) can be reserved for your moving crew.
- Hire a sitter. Making a plan for pets and small children is one of the best things you can do to protect your sanity during a move. Now that you’ve got a move day in place, you can call your nanny and/or reserve dates for pet boarding. That way, your babies are safe, and you can focus your attention on the move.
- Get to packing. If you haven’t paid for packing services, you’re going to have to make sure all your belongings are packed and labeled before your moving truck arrives . . . and if you don’t finish before they get there, you’ll probably run into additional fees. Note: if you have paid for packing, it’s still a good idea to make sure all your things are removed from storage (like closets or attics) and placed on easy-to-access surfaces.
Packing for a move can seem like a relatively simple task, but if you pay close attention to how you pack, you can prevent the headache of damages on the back end. Techniques that will help? Using the correct boxes and bubble wrap, loading heaviest items at the bottom, and labeling accurately so that your moving crew knows which items are fragile and should load into the truck last.
- Connect with your coordinator. Your moving coordinator should be the main point of contact throughout your professional moving experience. You may wish to follow up with them a few days before your moving day to confirm your moving services. This is also a good time to ensure the movers will be bringing protection for your home and find out how many crew members will arrive and what time they plan to get there.
- Handle high-valuables yourself. Items of extreme importance or high value—like jewelry and collector’s items—really should not be handled by your movers. In fact, most moving companies will encourage you to pack and transport those fragile items yourself. If you have high-value furniture or artwork your moving company will handle, take photos of their condition before they arrive. You may also want to consider transit insurance!
- Disconnect all your appliances. Your moving company will not be responsible for disconnecting any of your appliances, so make sure you take care of that before they get there. This means disconnecting your stove, refrigerator, and washer and dryer from gas and water lines. It also means removing gasoline and oil from lawn mowers and propane from barbecues.
- Prepare your home. It’s important to ensure your home is as easy to navigate for the movers as possible. So it’s a good idea to remove artwork, clocks, and shelving from the walls beforehand to avoid damage. You’ll also want to clear all walkways and set aside items that you wouldn’t like anyone loading onto the truck. Cleaning your home and dusting your furniture isn’t a bad idea either.
- Pack a first night box. This is a step people often forget to take! Before your professional movers arrive, it’s wise to pack a moving box full of items that are essential on your first night in your new home. Think: toiletries, cell phones and computers (and their chargers), important documents, medications, and even clothes and towels. This will ensure that you have what you need while you wait for the rest of your things to arrive.
- Dispose of hazardous materials. Your movers won’t be able to handle or transport hazardous materials for you. So if it looks dangerous or flammable, chances are you’re going to have to get rid of it (or transport it) yourself before move day.
- Stop by the ATM. It’s nice to tip your crew if you receive great service, so make sure to stop by the ATM before moving day to take out some cash. They will appreciate it!
Photographs are a helpful way to preserve the condition of your belongings before your moving crew arrives. We recommend that you take multiple photos of your home, including valuable furniture and items, from various angles and ranges so that you can use them at delivery to confirm any damages. This includes taking photos of the content of boxes before they are closed and pictures of the state of your home before crews arrive.
On moving day
- Be ready to host. Even though you’re expecting a moving crew (and not guests), you’ll still want to have a couple things ready: a clean bathroom, water, and some snacks. It’s also smart to keep some extra packing materials on hand if anything needs to be re-packed on move day.
- Communicate clearly. Be present on move day and chat with your crew members regularly. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask them or call your coordinator—especially if you see any damages happen. If you are uncomfortable at any time, speak up!
- Do a final walk-through. Go through your old home with your crew lead before they head out so you can make sure they loaded everything into the truck. This is also an ideal time to note damages in your home (if any) and make sure the movers remove any moving debris (or trash) left behind.
Preparing for delivery day
- Communicate with your driver. Once your “shipment” has been loaded into the moving truck, you can ask your coordinator to provide you with the phone number for your delivery driver. (In some cases, you can even request a tracking number.) Once you’ve been connected with the driver, you can confirm what day and time they plan to deliver your stuff.
- Make a floorplan in advance. As you wait for your truck to arrive with all your belongings, you can start getting ready for delivery by planning where you would like movers to place boxes and furniture. Knowing where you need everything to go ahead of time will make delivery go a whole lot smoother—and that much quicker, too.
Using a moving company should not be stressful, and the best way to get the best bang for your buck is to make sure you’re prepared. From getting rid of unwanted items to packing correctly and taking photos, there are plenty of things you can do to get a jump start on your move. Because ultimately, the more you do to prepare, the faster your moving crew can move and the sooner you can get through the moving process.
Frequently asked questions
How do I start preparing to move?
The best way to start preparing to move is to decide if you’re moving on your own or hiring a moving company. If you decide to do all the work, you can decide between a moving container or a truck rental company, but either way you’ll be packing yourself. If you are hiring a professional mover, refer to the above steps to prepare for your moving company.
How do I prepare my house for moving?
You can best prepare your house for moving by doing the following:
- Donate or sell items you don’t plan to move.
- Pack or hire packing help.
- Make a plan for high value items.
- Disconnect your appliances.
- Remove any artwork or shelving from walls.
- Dispose of hazardous materials.
- Clean each room and dust your furniture.
When should I start packing to move?
Our moving checklist recommends that you start packing your first box eight weeks before your move, which would include all important documents and valuables, so they’re all in one place. From there, we suggest you start packing the rest of your things no later than two weeks before your move date. One week before your move is a good time to start packing suitcases.
But remember—if you want to avoid last-minute (and potentially costly) complications, it’s best to be prepared and give yourself plenty of time to finish packing before the movers arrive.
How do you prepare for move-in day?
The best way to prepare for move-in day is to:
- Use our delivery day checklist to stay organized.
- Make sure you know what time to expect your crew to arrive.
- Plan ahead where you’d like your boxes and furniture to go.
- Clear all hallways and walkways.
- Be available to answer phone calls.
Did we answer all your questions about what to do to prepare for your moving crew? Let us know in the comments below!