These 8 Handy Hacks Take the Pain Out of Moving

a red front door
Christopher Patey for MyDomaine

You’ve been perusing real estate apps for months, have gone to countless house inspections, and finally found the home of your dreams. But before you start building your décor Pinterest board and investing in new wares, it’s time to tackle one of the most frustrating parts of the process: moving.

There’s no denying it: Moving house can be a real pain. In fact, people dread it so much that 61% of adults list moving homes as more stressful than getting divorced. If you’d rather subsist in your cramped old apartment than pack boxes, moving expert Manuela Irwin says there’s another way. Here, the author of Relocating Without Breaking a Sweat and specialist at MyMovingReviews shares her top tips for making the transition sans tears. Trust us—it’s possible. Follow these eight handy hacks to arrive at your new home stress-free.

The worst months to move house are the warmest, according to research. Over half of all moves between 2014 and 2015 were done during May, June, August, and September, making it a chaotic time to secure movers. “[It’s] the busiest time in the moving industry, demand is high, and thus rates are higher,” Irwin explains. Her advice? “Move during fall. [There’s] less traffic, smaller delivery window, and only full-time employees.”

“The moving process does not [only] involve the transportation of your items,” says Irwin. She notes that one of the most stressful and oft-overlooked aspects of moving house is tackling administrative tasks. “You need to think [about] change of address and forwarding mail to the new place, canceling utilities and researching providers at the new place, informing your bank/insurance company, dealing with realtors, ceasing rental agreements, or selling property,” she lists. “All that should be planned and organized before moving day.”

Even the best efforts to carefully wrap delicate items and safeguard liquids can be foiled in transit. To avoid frustration when it comes time to open your boxes, Irwin recommends using a common household item: cling wrap. “Use cling wrap to keep necklaces and bracelets from tangling. Lay a few pieces of jewelry on a length of plastic wrap and fold the wrap over. Press around your items to keep them separate,” she says.

The plastic film can also be used to prevent liquids from spilling. Simply unscrew the lids of shampoos or pantry items like olive oil, and place a small square of cling wrap on top. Screw the lid back on to secure the plastic and create a second protective layer to avoid leaks.

The results are in: Friday and Saturday are officially the busiest days to move house. A 2015 MyMovingReviews study found that almost 19% of all moves occur on a Friday and that July 31, August 1, and June 30 are the most chaotic days to hire movers. The best day to make the transition is Sunday, with only 7% of people choosing this day.

Hiring movers? Irwin says to be aware of additional fees and prep your space before they arrive. “Consumers should keep in mind that full-service moving companies charge for accessorial services like when they have to disassemble furniture and assemble it at the new place, storage fees, obstacle like stairs, or if the truck cannot be parked near entrance and movers have to carry boxes more than 75 feet,” she explains. Park your car in front of your home at least a day before prior to ensure the space is available when movers arrive, and measure doorways to check if the furniture can fit through with ease.

Scrawling the rough contents of each box on the side just doesn’t cut it, says Irwin. Instead, she recommends creating a logical and clear labeling system and leaving any essentials like a flashlight or first aid to the side. “Divide your household items into groups based on the room they’re located in, the material they’re made of, and frequency of use,” she says. “Start with the items you use rarely and don’t mix items from different rooms or items of different types such as liquids with clothes.”

While cardboard boxes and bubble wrap are fairly inexpensive on their own, moving costs can quickly add up. Before stocking up on supplies, Irwin recommends a few hacks to make the most of the items in your home. “Your home is full of free packing materials, such as clothing, bed linens, pillows, laundry bins, and suitcases,” she says. “Wrap dishes in T-shirts or insert Styrofoam plates in between yours [and] put pillows and blankets in garbage bags and seal them. When you load the truck, use them as padding between furniture or breakable items.”

Even if you’re trying to save costs, there’s one expense you should never skip. “On moving day, if you are relocating with kids, you should arrange a sitter in advance,” says Irwin. “If you have pets, make sure they don’t obstruct the work of your movers.” Keeping children and pets out of the house and away from potential safety hazards will relieve a lot of stress on the day so you can focus on the task at hand: moving into your brand-new home!

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