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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Mathena

The Most Common Local Moving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Updated: Oct 3

Moving to a new home, even if it's just down the street, can be an exciting yet challenging experience. Local moves might seem simpler than long-distance relocations, but they come with their own set of potential pitfalls. To ensure a smooth and stress-free local move, it's crucial to be aware of the most common local moving mistakes and, more importantly, how to avoid them. Let's dive into some of these mistakes and the strategies to steer clear of them.

Procrastinating Until the Last Minute

Delaying important tasks and procrastinating until the last minute is a common but detrimental mistake that can lead to stress, rushed decisions, and disorganization during a local move.

To avoid this mistake, start planning and preparing for your local move as early as possible. Use a moving checklist that outlines tasks to be completed each week leading up to the moving day. Allocate specific days or weekends for decluttering, packing, and notifying service providers of your address change. Set personal deadlines for each task and stick to them. Use digital calendars, task management apps, or physical planners to help you stay organized and remind you of upcoming deadlines. By tackling tasks in a systematic and timely manner, you'll reduce the pressure of last-minute rushes and enjoy a smoother, less stressful local move.

Failing to Declutter Before the Move

Another common mistake is moving items you no longer need or use. Carrying unnecessary items to your new home not only wastes time and effort but also increases moving costs.

Before you start packing, go through your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Remember that decluttering not only lightens your load but also reduces moving costs and streamlines the packing process. You'll start fresh in your new home with a more organized and efficient living space, making the transition smoother and more enjoyable.

Underestimating the Demands of a DIY Move

Many individuals underestimate the physical, logistical, and time-consuming demands of a do-it-yourself (DIY) move, leading to exhaustion, delays, and potential complications.

To avoid this mistake, conduct a realistic assessment of your moving needs and capabilities. Consider factors such as the volume of belongings, the distance to your new home, the availability of helping hands, and your own physical condition. If your DIY move involves heavy furniture or tight schedules, you may want to reconsider and explore professional moving services.

Not Hiring Professional Movers

Some people believe that a local move can be managed on their own without professional help. While it's possible, it often leads to physical strain, potential damage to belongings, and increased stress.

Consider hiring professional local movers. They have the experience, tools, and equipment to handle the move efficiently and safely. Professional movers can also offer valuable advice and ensure your possessions arrive in good condition. By choosing professional movers when appropriate, you'll significantly reduce the physical demands and potential complications of your local move, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of the transition.

Prioritizing the Lowest Price Moving Estimate Over Value

Selecting a moving company solely based on the lowest price estimate is a common mistake that can lead to subpar service, hidden fees, or even potential scams. It's crucial to consider the overall value offered by a moving company rather than just focusing on the initial cost.

To avoid this mistake, approach the selection of a moving company with a balanced perspective. While cost is an important factor, prioritize value and reliability. Research potential moving companies thoroughly and verify their credentials and insurance.

Obtain multiple estimates, and compare them not only in terms of cost but also the services included. Ensure the estimate provides a detailed breakdown of fees, so you have a clear understanding of what you're paying for. Look for any potential hidden charges or extra fees.

Consider the reputation of the moving company, their experience, and their commitment to customer satisfaction. Assess their communication and responsiveness during the estimation process, as this can be indicative of their overall professionalism.

Ultimately, choose a moving company that offers a fair and competitive price while also demonstrating a commitment to providing a smooth, reliable, and stress-free moving experience. Prioritizing value over the lowest cost will likely lead to a more positive and satisfying local move.

Failing to Schedule Movers Early Enough

Delaying the booking of professional movers is a common mistake that can lead to complications, especially during peak moving seasons when availability may be limited.

To avoid this mistake, start researching and contacting local moving companies well in advance of your desired moving date. Moving during peak seasons or weekends often requires booking several weeks or even months ahead. By scheduling your movers early, you'll have a wider choice of dates and greater flexibility, ensuring a smoother and less stressful local move. Additionally, booking early allows you to discuss your specific needs with the moving company and secure any necessary arrangements or special services well in advance.

Not Having Enough Packing Materials

Running out of packing materials can be a major inconvenience during a local move. It can lead to last-minute scrambles, damaged belongings, and delays in the moving process.

To avoid this mistake, it's essential to estimate the quantity of packing materials you'll need accurately. Begin by taking a thorough inventory of your items to determine the number and types of packing materials required. Purchase these materials well in advance of your moving day, including boxes of various sizes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, and any specialized containers you might need.

Neglecting to Pack Properly

Improper packing is a common source of frustration during a local move. Inadequate protection for fragile items and haphazard packing can result in breakages and damage.

As mentioned above, invest in quality packing materials in advance. Properly wrap and cushion fragile items, and label your boxes clearly to make unpacking easier. While packing, pay special attention to the weight distribution within your boxes. Avoid putting heavy items in large boxes, as this can make them too cumbersome to handle safely. Instead, opt for appropriately sized containers to evenly distribute the weight. For example, use smaller boxes for heavy items like books and larger boxes for lighter belongings.

Forgetting to Notify Important Parties

Changing your address involves more than just redirecting your mail. Failing to update your address with important parties can lead to missed bills, delays, and confusion.

Create a checklist of all the organizations and individuals that need to be informed about your address change. This list should include the post office, utility companies, banks, schools, and any subscriptions or services you use.

Underestimating the Time Needed

Many people underestimate the time it takes to complete a local move. Assuming it can be done in a few hours can lead to rushed decisions and disorganization.

Plan for the move to take longer than you expect. Allocate ample time for packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. Having a buffer in your schedule can reduce stress and ensure a more organized move.

Neglecting Safety Precautions

Safety should be a top priority during any move. Failing to take safety precautions can result in accidents or injuries.

Make sure to use proper lifting techniques, especially when handling heavy items. Keep pathways clear of obstacles to prevent trips and falls. If you have children or pets, arrange for their safety and supervision during the move.

Failing to Arrange Adequate Parking Space for the Moving Truck

A frequently overlooked aspect of a local move is the logistics of parking the moving truck. Failing to secure necessary parking permits or not arranging for enough space for the truck can lead to unexpected complications on moving day, causing delays and frustration.

To avoid this mistake, research the parking regulations and permit requirements in your local area well in advance of your move. Contact your local government or parking authorities to obtain any necessary permits for the moving day. Ensure you understand the rules for reserving parking spaces or loading zones for the moving truck, particularly if you live in an area with limited parking.

Neglecting to Pack an Essentials Bag

Overlooking the importance of packing an essentials bag is a common oversight during a local move. Not having essential items readily accessible can lead to frustration and delays as you search for necessities amidst packed boxes.

To prevent this mistake, designate a specific bag or box as your essentials bag. In it, pack items you'll need immediately upon arrival at your new home. This should include toiletries, a change of clothes, important documents, chargers, medications, and any items required for your first night in your new space. By having this essentials bag readily available, you'll minimize the stress and inconvenience of rummaging through boxes to find crucial items. It's a small yet invaluable step to ensure a smoother transition during your local move.

Neglecting to Get Mover's Insurance (Damage Protection)

One of the critical aspects often overlooked during a local move is the importance of securing mover's insurance or damage protection. Failing to do so can leave your belongings vulnerable to unforeseen accidents or mishaps.

To avoid this mistake, inquire about mover's insurance or damage protection options when booking your professional movers. Evaluate the coverage provided and consider your specific needs. While many reputable moving companies take great care with your possessions, having insurance can offer peace of mind in case of unexpected events.

Before the moving day, review your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy to see if it covers your belongings during a move. If not, consider purchasing additional damage coverage through your moving company or insurance through a third-party provider. While it may be an extra expense, it can protect you from potential financial losses and provide added security during your local move.

Not Measuring Furniture

Overlooking the importance of measuring your furniture is a common mistake that can lead to logistical challenges and frustration on moving day.

To avoid this mistake, take precise measurements of all your furniture items well before the moving day. Measure the width, height, and depth of each piece, as well as any unusually shaped or oversized items. Additionally, measure the dimensions of doorways, hallways, staircases, and entry points in both your old and new homes to ensure your furniture can pass through comfortably.

By having accurate measurements on hand, you can plan the moving process more efficiently. This allows you to determine if certain furniture items need disassembly or if they will fit through narrow spaces. It also helps you make informed decisions about which pieces to bring with you and which ones may not be suitable for your new space. Measuring furniture is a small but crucial step in ensuring a hassle-free local move.

In conclusion, avoiding these common local moving mistakes is essential for a successful and stress-free relocation. By planning ahead, staying organized, and enlisting professional help when needed, you can ensure that your local move is a positive experience that sets the stage for your new chapter in your new home. Happy moving!

Blog authored by Michelle Mathena, President of Under One Roof, a local moving company in Chicago. Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the moving industry. Under One Roof has had thousands of satisfied customers since 1982.

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