Moving Tips


  • Simplify – Use the move as an opportunity to de-clutter your life. A garage sale is a great way to raise money for moving costs. Getting rid of unused, broken, and outdated items can be a huge relief in itself, plus you won’t have to pack, move, and unpack all of the extra weight. Donate anything left over to a local charity, or post items for sale on eBay and/or Craigslist.
  • Organize – Try to avoid packing in haste. This is how items get broken or damaged, plus it makes it much more difficult and time-consuming to unpack everything. Keep items of similarity together: décor, kitchenware, linens, toys, consumables, etc., and be sure to clearly label all boxes.
  • Think Ahead – When packing things into the moving vehicle, think ahead for what you will want/need out first, and remember to pack those things last so they will be the most accessible.
  • Special Care – Take special care with items of value and sentiment. We recommend moving items like this in your own vehicle for added peace of mind.

Get a Head Start – Don’t wait until the last minute to begin the moving process. Pack whatever you can, as soon as it is convenient. The sooner you begin, the less work and the less stress you will have on moving day.

Moving your pets can add stress to any move. Moving companies are not permitted to handle living creatures, nor are buses or trains. You will either need to move your pets yourself or hire a professional company (recommended when traveling long distances over an extended period of time) to handle the well-being of your animals for the duration of your move.

Regardless of the distance, you will be traveling, you will want to consider your pet’s comfort and safety throughout the relocation. Be sure to have a sturdy, comfortable carrier for your pet. Familiarize your pet with the carrier several days (or even weeks) in advance.

If you are moving across state lines or with exotic animals, there are several things you need to take into advanced consideration:

  • Health Certificate – Many states require a health certificate less than 10 days old. The certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian, and current inoculation records must accompany it.
  • Permit – If you are entering the state with an exotic pet, you must apply for a permit to keep it.  Your veterinarian can assist you in obtaining this documentation.
  • Identification – Identification is absolutely crucial when traveling. Your pet.
  • should be clearly identified using a collar and tags if at all possible. The tags should include your name, phone number and destination address. Some states also require a rabies tag. Check with your veterinarian for more information.

Moving yourself, versus hiring a professional company, has certain advantages and disadvantages. Of course, you will save a considerable amount of money, however, you will likely end up trading those savings for additional time and effort. Actual savings and added effort really depend on the details of your move though.

If you are moving from a small home and/or to a local destination, this can definitely be the most cost-effective, quick, and simple solution. Call in some favours to your friends and have your moving plan ready to execute on moving day. Remember to try to pack as much as you can ahead of time, if at all possible.

If you are moving from a large home and/or to a distant destination, moving yourself will definitely be a significant amount more effort and time, in turn, possibly costing you more money.

Self-Packing Tips

  • Use only boxes with lids. This allows better packing of the moving truck and greatly reduces the possibility of damage.
  • If necessary, purchase boxes and packing materials from a moving company. Use linens and towels to cushion fragile items.
  • Label all boxes with a list of contents, and which room they will be moved to in your new residence. If a box has fragile contents, boldly mark the outside of the box “FRAGILE”. Label both the top and the side of each box.
  • Use about four inches of crumpled paper in the bottom of every box loaded with fragile items. Wrap each item individually and add paper cushioning around it. If items are particularly delicate, pack one box inside another.
  • Wrap plates, saucers, and china individually, and then bundle in groups of three or four. Stand them on end in the carton; never lay them flat. Don’t use newspapers to wrap fine china and other items that can’t be easily washed. Newspaper ink smears easily.
  • Wrap cups and glasses individually and pack them rim down in the box.
  • Box stereo and computer equipment to prevent damage.
  • Pack pictures and mirrors inboxes. If you are concerned about damage, have these items professionally packed.
  • Leave clothes in drawers.
  • Upright file cabinets with drawers can be left full. Lateral file cabinets, desks, and credenzas need to be emptied.
  • Check to see that caps are secure on toiletries, medicines, cleaning products, and laundry soap.
  • Do not pack any flammable materials or aerosol products, including hair spray, shaving cream, deodorant, insecticides, cleaning products, spray paint, nail polish remover, bleach, lighter fluid, and motor oil. The temperature inside a closed moving van can reach 150 degrees, and these combustible items can trigger an explosion.
  • As you pack small boxes, move them into a staging area such as the living room or the garage. This makes moving day progress faster.
  • Make sure a few hand tools are easily accessible. You may need them right away in your new house.
  • If you are moving your belongings into a storage unit, get a unit larger than you require. This way boxes can be stacked against each wall to leave an aisle down the middle for easier access to stored items.
  • Make sure your belongings are insured for an adequate amount and carry enough cash to cover emergency situations during your move.

Today moving companies offer a multitude of services above the basic loading, transporting, and unloading of your belongings. Extended services now include packing your belongings, the sale or hire of packing materials, unpacking, cleaning, and the setup of your new home!

Choosing a company to trust with all of your possessions can be difficult though. Here are some tips to guide you in selecting a reputable company in your area:

  • Be sure to start shopping companies well in advance of your move. You should choose your moving company four to eight weeks before your moving day.
  • Use your friend’s and family’s recommendations as a starting. If someone you know had a good experience with a company, you are likely to experience a similar level of satisfaction.
  • Get several quotes for moving services. Prices can range drastically, so the more information you have upfront, the better-informed decision you can make on which company is right for you.
  • Be sure to ask how long the company has been in business and if they have any customer referrals. Also, ask about their insurance coverage and claims protection.
  • Read the fine print of any contracts you sign, as that is where any additional fees will be hidden.

The largest moving companies are Allied, Mayflower, North American, United Van Lines, and Van Lines. They all offer long-distance moves across the country and will quote your move at no cost to you. Each has a website where you can get general information on moving, and also estimate your move time and the cost to use their company.

It is important to understand the moving industry. It is a tough business that always carries the potential risk for damage of cargo. Customers are rarely forgiving when it comes to their personal possessions, so you can imagine that most moving companies will have some complaints or negative reviews. Websites like can help you identify local companies with the best reputation and a minimal amount of negative feedback.

Moving costs can range drastically based on the distance of the move and the amount of furniture/belongings being transported. Other variables that affect moving costs include the time of year, how much lead time was provided to the moving company, and who will be doing the packing and unpacking.

Getting multiple quotes can mean the difference between getting a reasonable price and becoming the victim of a moving scam. Be sure to discuss any and all circumstances that could add additional costs to your final bill with your moving company during the quoting process.

  • File a change of address request with the United States Postal Service
  • Locate grocery, hardware, and gas stations near your moving destination before you move.
  • Locate nearby hospitals and notify your medical insurance carrier which hospital you will need to go to in the case of an emergency.
  • If you have a recreational vehicle, boat, or trailer that you will be storing on your new property, research city ordinances beforehand to avoid citations and fines.

Work With Stephanie

I am currently an Affiliate Broker at Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty and have been an active member of Greater Nashville Realtors since 2009. I came into the business during a challenging time in the market. Through determination and a desire to succeed, I am now one of the top producing agents at Zeitlin Sotheby’s.

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