7 Things That Can Do Wrong With Your Move (and How to Plan Ahead)

by Rowan Guthrie
A moving truck is parked on the side of a building. High quality photo

Moving is a chaotic rite of passage. Between the packing, the goodbyes and the logistics of hauling your entire life across town (or the country), it's easy for even the most organized person to feel overwhelmed.

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But moving doesn’t have to be so challenging. While unexpected hiccups are part of the experience, with a little planning and foresight, you can minimize their impact and ensure a smoother transition to your new digs. So, let's unpack some of the most common moving mishaps and equip you with the knowledge to avoid them.

Plan Ahead For Problems During Your Move

There’s so much that can go wrong during a move. Let’s look at how you can sidestep issues and address problems before they happen.

1. Damaged Belongings

It's a heart-stopping moment: unveiling a cherished piece of furniture at your new home only to discover a deep scratch or, worse, a clean break. You can prevent this nightmare by taking extra care with fragile items. Pack them securely in sturdy boxes with ample cushioning. For these items, bubble wrap is your best friend. Label boxes clearly as "fragile," and make sure your movers take note of them and know how valuable the contents are to you. For expensive items, such as artwork or electronics, consider using your moving company's professional packing service.

2. Lost or Missing Boxes

Nothing throws a wrench into unpacking plans like missing boxes, especially if they contain essential items. Mitigate this risk by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings as you pack. List the contents of each box on the exterior, and assign a unique identifying number so you can track and identify them more easily at your new location. For added peace of mind, take photos of the inventory list and your labeled boxes.

3. Movers Missing in Action

Imagine how you’d feel if you were waiting for the movers to arrive and they didn’t appear. Sadly, this happens. To avoid this nightmare, secure your movers well in advance, especially during peak moving seasons. Get everything in writing, including the confirmed moving date, estimated arrival window and cancellation policy. Leave nothing to chance. If a last-minute snag arises, reputable moving companies will typically make a good-faith effort to communicate any delays. Find out if anyone in your circle has used your mover of choice and ask them about their experience with the company.

4. Weather Woes

Moving day downpours or icy roads can wreak havoc on your moving schedule. While you can't control the weather, you can plan for it. If possible, have a backup date in case of inclement weather, especially if you’re moving when the weather can be extreme, such as heavy snow or hurricane season. Ensure your movers are flexible and have a contingency plan for handling less-than-ideal climate conditions. Protect your belongings from the elements with waterproof packing materials, and use plastic sheeting to safeguard your furniture.

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5. Deceptive Estimates and Hidden Fees

Unforeseen charges can turn a budgeted move into a financial headache. You can avoid this by getting multiple quotes from reputable moving companies. Be wary of estimates that seem too good to be true (they usually are). Ask detailed questions about what's included in the base price, and inquire about any potential additional fees. These fees might include long carry distances, packing services and fuel surcharges.

6. Packing Procrastination

We get it. The urge to put off packing until the last minute is strong. But trust us, a rushed packing job leads to nothing but stress and chaos. To avoid unnecessary tension, pack well in advance of your moving date. Create a packing schedule, tackling one room or area at a time. You'll see your progress room by room and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the job. Label boxes clearly and keep a designated "essentials" box containing items you'll need immediately when you arrive at your new home.

7. DIY Disasters

While a free DIY move might be tempting, especially for short distances, the hidden costs of time, labor and potential equipment rental can quickly outweigh the savings. Professional movers bring experience, efficiency and the muscle to handle heavy furniture and bulky boxes. They're also insured in case of accidental damage during the move. If you’ve ever done a DIY move and broken something valuable, you probably realize how important insurance can be.

By planning and anticipating potential roadblocks, you can move with confidence. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a smooth transition to your new home, leaving you free to focus on the exciting new chapter in your life.

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