General Tips

Here is a checklist of reminders that will help you have the best, most trouble-free moving experience possible. For a step-by-step guide to moving, please see our Week-by-week Moving Planner.

Create a “Move” File
Keep all important paperwork in one file, including contact information for your moving company and copies of all documentation, including estimates, inventories, and bills of lading. Make a note of your shipment registration number and keep it with you in case you need to call your mover with questions about your shipment.

Pick your Date Wisely
If you have any flexibility in terms of your moving date, remember that there is a “peak” and “off peak” season for the moving industry. During the “peak” summer season, moving companies are extremely busy and the demand for equipment, trucks, and personnel is much heavier. If you are able to move during the “off peak” season, you may be able to reduce your costs significantly. Also, the beginning and end of the month are extra busy days. Sometimes the moving company may overbook the end of the month. Because their best crews are out on other jobs, they may hire additional temporary workers to handle other moves. Try to avoid moving during these days whenever possible.

Get Several On-Site Estimates
An on-site estimate is your best-bet for the most accurate price quotes. Have at least three movers come to your home to perform a visual inspection, which they should provide free of charge. During the estimate, be sure to show your moving company representative everything that is to be moved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the difference in pricing from each company compared to the others. Is the difference due to services provided by one company but not by the other? Be sure to ask your moving company’s representative as much information about the company as possible, including: company’s full name and any DBA (doing-business-as) names, how long they’ve been in business, business address and phone numbers, USDOT number and any local license numbers, and references.

Be Suspicious of Low-Ball Estimates
If one of the quotes is substantially lower than the rest, be careful. Quoted prices that are dramatically lower than the rest of the competition are probably too good to be true.

Do Your Research
Once you have several estimates, verify each company’s information. If possible, visit their office to see their company or drive by the facility. The Internet is an extremely useful tool for checking out a company’s background. Check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to see each company’s complaint history, if any. Visit the company’s website online and do a search on major search engines (such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.) to see if their name comes up. Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website,, to verify their license and insurance information. You may also call the FMCSA's Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 1-888-368-7238 and ask them about the complaint history of your moving company.

Pack Smart
Early on in the moving process, decide which items to pack and which items to leave behind. See our guide on Getting Rid of Unwanted Items for some advice on what to do with these items- you could even make a few extra dollars to help pay for your move! If you are doing the packing yourself, be sure to purchase new supplies from your moving company or a company that specializes in boxes and moving supplies. Pack heavy items in smaller boxes and lighter goods in large boxes. Consult Quotes At Home’s Packing Guide and learn How to Pack Like A Pro!

Label All Boxes
In your “Move File”, keep an inventory of every box that is packed. Number each box and write down its contents. Write the number on the box, as well as the name of the room in which it belongs. This way, when the boxes are unloaded in your new destination, it will be easy to count them when they’re dropped off in each location.

Protect Your Memories
When it comes to high-value items or items of sentimental value, it may be best to take these items along with you at all times. Jewelry, Artwork, Collections, Home videos and pictures, and documents such as stock certificates, bonds, deeds, etc. are nearly impossible to replace. Keeping these items along with you will help ease your anxiety about moving them.

Keep Your Old Phone Book
Take your current phone book with you. You may need to make calls to residents or businesses back in your former hometown.

Don’t Forget About the Fridge
Never move perishable food items. A few weeks before the move, make an effort to consume any frozen foods or get rid of it. Before moving, thoroughly clean and dry the inside of your refrigerator and defrost the freezer. Put a new box of Baking Soda in the fridge during transit to keep the interior smelling fresh.

Get Ready for the First Night in Your New Home
Pack a box of first-night essentials, such as toilet paper, toiletries, snacks, bed-sheets and towels, coffee (and pot), soap, flashlight, screwdriver, can opener, paper plates, cups, utensils, a couple of pans, and paper towels. Take the box with you in the car or have your moving foreman put it in on the moving truck last (so it will be one of the first boxes to be unloaded). Chances are, you won’t be able to unpack everything your first night in your new home. The last thing you’ll want to do is have to rummage through boxes for these essentials the first night.

Give out your Number
Before the movers leave for your destination residence, make sure that they have a phone number where you can be reached at all times, including a cell phone number and the number at your new residence. Provide your moving foreman with an alternate contact in case you can't be reached.

Relax and Let the Movers Work
If you’ve followed all our instructions and advice, now you can sit back and relax- you’re in the hands of experienced professionals. If done right, moving can be an exciting and hassle-free experience!