Tips for Do-It-Yourself Movers

So you’ve decided to take on the task of moving yourself? Chances are, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. But moving doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience. The key is planning ahead and packing well. Here are some tips that will help make your move as hassle-free as possible:
  • Map out a timetable of your move. Do your best to stick to the plan. Your move will flow more smoothly and you'll feel confident that everything will get done in time for moving day. See our Week-by-week Moving Planner.

  • Reserve your truck or container as soon as possible to assure availability. Try to pick a moving date on a weekday when banks, utilities and government offices are open.

  • Select the right truck size (or container size if using U Load, They Drive). Your truck rental or U Load, They Drive company should help you calculate the best size for your needs, as well as recommend the amount of packing equipment, supplies, and accessories you’ll need.

  • Be sure to pick up your supplies in advance. Purchase professional moving supplies in a variety of sizes and stock up on heavy-duty packing tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper to protect your belongings.

  • Lighten the load. At least 4 weeks before the move, sort items and Get Rid of Unwanted Items. The fewer items you have, the less you have to move. Plus, you may save money because you can rent a smaller truck or container.

  • Start packing early. Choose a "packing room" ahead of time and box up a few things each day. Mark the outside of each box to describe the contents and the room to which it should be taken at your destination.

  • Don’t hurt yourself. When lifting, bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Hand trucks with straps and stair-climbers are essential for moving heavy items.

If you’re renting a truck:
  • Plan for the unexpected. Choose a rental company that provides 24-hour emergency road service along your route.

  • Pick up your rental truck early. Plan to pick up your truck a day or evening before you move and take some time to familiarize yourself with the operation and handling of the vehicle.

  • Watch out for clearance. Moving trucks are taller and wider than cars and require to 12 feet of overhead clearance. Ask your company’s representative for your specific vehicle’s measurements. Watch out for low bridges or overpasses, as well as over-hangs at gas stations, fast food restaurants, or motels.

  • Practice defensive driving. Always check your mirrors and use your turn signals when turning or changing lanes. The additional length of a truck means more turning area and more room for lane changes.

  • Avoid sudden stops. Remember to allow for extra braking room when driving a moving truck. Anticipate stops and allow a 3-second gap (at least one car length) between you and the vehicle in front of you. Never tailgate.

  • Don’t speed. Forty-five (45) mph is the recommended maximum speed for a loaded truck. Do not attempt to pass another vehicle moving faster than 40 mph.

  • Remember to downshift. Slow down by downshifting into lower gears, and be sure to downshift when going down hills.

  • Use the emergency brake. Use the hand-brake every time you park. When parking the truck facing downhill, turn the wheels in towards the curb. When parking with the truck facing uphill, turn the wheels away from the curb.

Remember these tips and help prevent accidents to ensure that you and your belongings arrive at your destination in one piece.