Moving is never easy. In this article, you will learn when you should use a moving company, how to find the best deal, and also 42 moving tips. These moving tips will save you whether you just have to move across the street or relocate internationally.
Moving is stressful
Moving always stresses me out. How do I know? Because I have moved nine times in the last ten years. I have moved internationally: from Hong Kong to Germany; from Germany to the U.S. and back. I have moved to a different state in Germany (from Berlin to Munich). I have also moved to different apartments within the same city.
When I was still single, it was pretty simple to move. It was only myself and a few suitcases. When I have a family, it was much more work to move my whole household. There were times when I moved completely by myself, while other times I got help from my friends. I had also used a professional moving company when I moved from Germany to the U.S and back.
It is important to plan ahead and be organized when you move. In this article, you will find some moving tips based on my own moving experience.
Read also: How I quit my job and moved abroad
Should you use a moving company, or should you do it yourself?
To answer this question, there are several factors to take into account.
How far are you moving to?
If you are moving within the same city, it will be possible to do it yourself. Since your new home is not far from your old home, you can allow yourself a month of overlapping rental period and move some of your stuff every day. It is also easier to ask your friends from the same city to help you with the move.
How much time do you have?
If you have to move in a short period (due to your new job or whatever reason), you may want to consider using a moving company. It will save you time because you don’t need to look for friends who can help you. You can also save time in packing and leave the work to the professionals (who can do it much faster and better).
Are you moving your household?
If you are a student and have no furniture, you will probably have only a few suitcases to move. In this case, you will not need to use a moving company.
On the other hand, if you have a household, you will probably have a lot of furniture to move. In this case, it makes sense to use a moving company if you cannot get other help.
How is your physical condition?
Can you physically do the move by yourself? Do you have any existing back problems? Don’t forget that it may cost you even more if you hurt yourself during the move.
Do you have a lot of fragile valuables?
Use a moving company if you have a lot of fragile valuables. They are professional movers and know how to pack the items properly to avoid breakage. Most of the time, you are also insured in case something breaks during your move.
Do you have family or friends who can help you?
If you are moving to a new country where you do not know anyone, it makes sense to use a moving company. It will be less stressful for you. You have enough on your plate to organize your move to another country.
If you are already in a new country and have to move locally again, don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. Friends are there for helping each other out. You will be surprised how helpful your friends can be.
When we moved to our new house, we asked five or six friends to help us. Later on, those friends had to move as well and we helped them in return. In Germany, young people move very often and you will always get a chance to return the favor.
How much is your budget?
Moving by yourself will be the cheapest option. But don’t forget that you also need to invest in packing supplies and renting a moving truck. You may also want to pay an extra month of rent so that you gain more time to move.
Using a moving company will cost more. But you save a lot of time and effort. You can also choose to just hire someone for packing only, or for moving only, which will cost less than hiring the full-service movers.
If you decide to hire movers, it is important to compare quotes from different moving companies to ensure you get the best price.
Read also: Moving back home after living abroad
How to find the best moving company?
The easiest way to ensure you get the best deal and service is to get free moving quotes. Just fill in the below form from Sirelo to save time and money when choosing a moving company.
You will get quotes from up to five moving companies that are internationally recognized. It is free, non-obligatory, and takes you less than two minutes to complete.
You can then compare the prices and services easily, and choose the quote that best suits you.
Money saving tips:
In case you need to make a payment abroad in a foreign currency, the worst thing you can do is to do a bank transfer. I use CurrencyFair which costs me only 3 Euro no matter how much I need to convert. The exchange rate it uses is much cheaper than a traditional bank. Besides, I can also set a higher exchange rate and the payment will only be transferred once this rate is reached.
At the moment, Currencyfair is also offering 3 free transfers to our readers if you want to try it out for free.
42 Moving tips – Moving locally or internationally
Moving tips: 1. Make a to-do list for your move
Moving your home involves many tasks on top of the packing and the move itself. If you are an organized person like me, you will find a to-do list very useful. You can mark down all the tasks in a notebook or with a free app. This includes organizing your internet and TV at your new home, changing your address, finding a moving company, organizing a truck by yourself, or getting a travel health insurance before your relocation, just to name a few.
Make a list also with all the parties that you need to notify for your move. For example, your employer, insurance, banks, etc.
If a task comes to your mind, jot it down immediately so that you don’t forget about it. You can even sort the tasks and put it in your calendar so that you know when you should do what.
Moving tips: 2. Print your important document
Print your important document like rental agreement, new address, confirmation from your moving company or truck rental, etc. Put all document in a folder and keep it with you during your move. In case a question comes up, it is easier to find the information you need.
Moving tips: 3. Arrange your internet/ TV
In Germany, you have to take care of your own internet/ TV when you move to your new place (unless you move to a shared flat). Therefore, to make sure you have access to the internet once you move in, you have to arrange the service beforehand.
You can either ask your current internet provider to see if you can use their service at your new place, or find a new provider. Don’t forget to cancel the contract at your current place as well.
Bear in mind that sometimes you need to cancel your contract three months in advance. Therefore, you should take care of it as soon as possible. Keep your new contract and the cancellation of your current contract in your folder with all other important document.
Moving tips: 4. Use the post forwarding service
In Germany, the Deutsche Post offers a post forward service. This is a great service to use if you are moving within Germany. When you use this service, Deutsche Post will direct all your posts people send to your old address to your new address. This gives you time until you notify different parties of your new address (your banks, government, employer, etc.). And you will not miss any posts due to your move. You can use this post forwarding service for up to 24 months.
Read also: Buying a House in Germany – As a Foreigner
Arrange your move
Moving tips: 5. Book early for any services you need
Once you know about your moving date, arrange all the services you need as soon as possible. Ask your friends early to see if they can help with your move. If they cannot, consider using a moving company or change to another moving date.
In case you need any other services like cleaners, painters, renting a truck, etc. , make sure to book early as well. You may need to pay a much higher price if you are booking too late, or you may even not get any services at all since everywhere is fully booked already. On this website, you can hire private people in Germany for almost any kind of work like cleaning, painting, assembling and disassembling furniture, etc.
Moving tips: 6. Choose your moving date wisely
If you decide to hire a moving company, try to book a moving day during the week, instead of the weekend. Price is usually lower during the week, or in the middle of the month. This is because people tend to move at the beginning or end of the month.
In my opinion, it is not bad to have an overlapping rental period in your old and new home. For us, we had a month of overlap when we moved to our new house. It was less stressful as we didn’t need to do everything in one day. We had our move in the middle of the month for all the big furniture. For all minor stuff, we moved them slowly throughout the month.
Moving tips: 7. Hire a sitter for your kids and pets
If you have kids and pets, you may want to hire a sitter on your moving day, especially if you are not moving too far away. Our daughter was 11 months old when we moved to our new house. We didn’t have a babysitter, so I had to look after her the whole time on our moving day. It would have been much better if we had a babysitter so that I could help with the move. You can find a sitter in Germany by using websites like this one.
If you have a toddler, you may want to prepare some toys in advance so that your kid can play with them while you are busy with your move. You can also assign some tasks to your kid to keep him busy, for example, ask him to help to unpack some boxes.
Read also: 13 Tips for Working From Home with a Toddler
Moving tips: 8. Know where to park your moving truck
You should know in advance where you can park your truck at your old home and also your new home on the moving day. Pay attention as well to any time restriction on parking hours.
Before your move
Moving tips: 9. Get rid of your useless stuff
If you are like me, it is very hard to throw away old stuff. Somehow I don’t like throwing things away because I think “maybe I can still use them one day”. And of course, this day never comes and my things just sit there and I forget about them.
Moving your home is a great chance for you to say goodbye to useless stuff like your old clothes, bags, shoes, etc. Have a look in your kitchen and you will probably find some expired or unwanted food and spices. How many books you have at home that you don’t read anymore? Or gifts that you do not like or use. A curtain in your old home may not fit anymore in your new home. Throw away also your old shower liners which you have used for years and get a new one for your new home.
Remember, the more things you move, the more you have to unpack. So, if you don’t need something, throw them away. If it is hard to throw things away, give them to your friends, sell them, or donate them.
Moving tips: 10. Measure your furniture
Before you move, you should measure your furniture to see if it will fit in your new place. Make a floor plan for your new place and plan where to place all your furniture. If your furniture would not fit in your new home, give it away, sell it, or donate it, but do not move it!
Moving tips: 11. Think about your kitchen
You should be aware that very often, a kitchen is not included if you buy or rent a house in Germany. I know it is very weird, but it is how it is. It means that, when you move out of your rental flat, you will also need to take your kitchen with you! I know it sounds completely crazy. The reality is that your old kitchen will probably not fit in your new place because the size of every kitchen is customized.
There are two options:
1. Disassemble your kitchen. Either throw it away or try to sell it at a low price on eBay.
2. Sell your kitchen to the next tenants. This is the easiest way as you do not need to disassemble your kitchen and the next tenants have a kitchen that is ready to be used.
When we moved to our new home, we were lucky that our next tenants bought our kitchen. Otherwise, we would need to do all the work to disassemble and get rid of them.
Read also: How to find a place to live in Germany?
Moving tips: 12. Start packing as early as possible
Once you know that you are going to move, you should start packing as soon as possible. You can start with packing all the non-essential items like off-season clothes and shoes, decorative items, and any other things that you do not need in your daily life. Pack a little bit every day so that you will not feel overwhelmed.
You can also pack all your off-season items together in a plastic box. Once you move to your new place, you can simply place the box in your basement and no unpacking is needed until the right season comes.
Moving tips: 13. Ensure everything is ready on the moving day
If you are asking your friends to help with moving, make sure you spend time beforehand to pack everything and disassemble all your furniture. On your moving day, everything should be already packed and ready to be moved. No more pictures should be on the wall and all your furniture should also be disassembled already.
My husband helped his friend for moving once and found out that his friend didn’t disassemble any of his furniture. He (and the others) had to help with disassembling which took a lot of time on the moving day. You don’t want to be that terrible person when your friends are doing you a favor already.
Moving tips: 14. Plan your meal
You should plan your meal one or two weeks before your move. The goal is to use up as much food from home as possible so that you have less to move. Check what food you have at home and try to finish them before your move. For example, your noodle, canned food, and everything in your fridge.
If you are not able to finish them by yourself, invite some friends over or give them to your neighbors. In the worst case, throw them away if you cannot preserve them during your move.
When I moved back from the U.S. to Germany, I didn’t plan my meals wisely and ended up throwing away a lot of frozen food from my freezer. When I noticed all the food there, it was already too late to give it away as I had to move on the next day already.
Moving tips: 15. Don’t forget about your fridge
You should defrost, clean, and dry your fridge one or two days before your move so that you are not getting a smelly, wet mess in your new home.
Moving tips: 16. Take pictures before unplugging cords or disassembling furniture
Before you unplug any electronic cords (like the back of your TV), take a picture of them. You can refer back to the picture later to see which cord goes where. So, it will be much easier for you to plug them back in afterward.
The same also applies to any furniture if you are not sure how to assemble it later. Take a picture before disassembling it. The picture will serve as a guide later on for you to put it back together.
Moving tips: 17. Take pictures of your valuable and fragile items
For all your valuable and fragile items, take some pictures of them before the move. In case they are damaged during the move, you can use the pictures to file a claim to the moving company.
Moving tips: 18. Backup your important documents
For all the important documents like birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, and so on, you should hand-carry them during your move. If it is not possible to hand-carry all of them, use a separate container to store all the important documents so that you can distinguish it once after the move.
Besides, scan them before you move. In the worse case, you still have their digital copies if they are lost during your move.
Moving tips: 19. Prepare your new home before your move
If possible, clean the kitchen and bathroom in your new home before your move. We did this before we moved to our new house. Besides cleaning, we also had some toilet paper, towels, and soap ready in the bathroom. It was very helpful as we could directly use the bathroom once we moved in.
You can also prepare some ready food like cereals in your kitchen before you move. You will feel thankful to have some easy food to eat once you move in.
Your moving supplies
Moving tips: 20. Have you moving supplies ready
Make sure you have all the moving supplies you need for the move. Some basic things include boxes, measuring tape, packing tape, packing paper, box cutters, markers, garbage bags, etc. If you are moving by yourself, you will also need a furniture dolly. Go to buy your supplies early to ensure you have them when you need them.
Don’t forget that you may not have lights ready in your new home. So, bring your light bulbs and power strips with you to have light temporary when you move in.
Moving tips: 21. Save your boxes for later
After your move, don’t throw your boxes away. You can flatten them and save them for your next move. This way you don’t need to buy boxes again next time.
Moving tips: 22. Keep your door open
On your moving day, you need to keep your front door open so that you can transport your things easily. You may need a door stopper or any other heavy thing to hold your door open. When we moved back then, we used a brick to keep our building’s front door open.
You can also use a rubber band to wrap both your doorknobs from inside and outside to avoid the door from accidentally locking you out.
Moving tips: 23. Pack your boxes wisely
When you pack your electronic appliances, reuse their original boxes if possible. They will fit perfectly in their original boxes and you don’t need to buy new boxes for them. That’s why we always store those original boxes in our basement.
For other stuff, use small boxes to pack heavy items like books. Big boxes are reserved for light items. If you pack heavy items in big boxes, it will be difficult for you to carry. Besides, never over-pack a box as it may cause damage to the box. Just use more boxes if needed.
Moving tips: 24. Use any baskets, bins, and pots for storage
If you have any baskets and bins, store stuffs inside them for your move. Wheeled suitcases are also great for heavy things like books. You can save some boxes by doing so. Just make sure you secure the lid to keep everything inside.
You can also store your spices and other small kitchen items in your big pots and pans. Put in your dish towels as well to fill any gaps to prevent breakage during the move.
Moving tips: 25. Fill your boxes completely
You should make sure there is no empty space in the box. It can cause damage during the move when your things are flying around inside the boxes. Use your clothes, packing paper, or towels to fill any gaps.
Moving tips: 26. Use plastic bags for small items
When you disassemble your furniture, you can keep all the bolts and screws in plastic bags. Label the bags so that you know to which furniture they belong to. And tape the bags onto the corresponding furniture. This is to make sure you don’t lose any small items during your move, and you know easily where to find these essentials when you assemble your furniture again.
You can also use plastic bags to store your cables and cords for electronics, or any other small items. Just make sure to label them so that you can identify them easily when you unpack them.
Moving tips: 27. Load your truck wisely
Think about what items you need first and they should be loaded to your truck in the end. This way they will be the first to be unloaded. Besides, when you load the boxes into the truck, make sure heavy items are on the bottom. Load heavy items first. Light items can be then easily put on top.
Moving tips: 28. Don’t mix things from different rooms in the same box
When you pack, try not to mix things from different rooms in the same box. You can save time when you unpack the box as everything inside belongs to the same room.
Moving tips: 29. Label, color, and number each box
Write a description on the boxes so that you know what things are inside. But do not write in case you have valuables inside to avoid the boxes getting stolen. You should also write down which room the boxes belong to. This will save you a lot of time when you unload and unpack the boxes.
Make sure you write on the sides of the boxes, as well as on the tops. This way you can easily identify them when they are stacked. For us, we actually labeled it all around so that we didn’t need to worry which way around to stack them. We could also see on the top easily while carrying the boxes so that we knew where we had to place them.
If you have a lot of boxes, use markers with different colors to write on the boxes for different rooms. You can also put a colored sticker on each room. This can help you and your movers to identify the destination of the boxes very quickly.
Another great way is to number each box and make an inventory list. By doing so, you can make sure you still have every box when you move. And in case a number is missing, you can refer back to your inventory list to see what items have been lost.
Moving tips: 30. Tape your boxes well
Use packing tape to close the bottom and top seams of each box. Make a few wraps all the way around the box’s top and bottom edges as well. The last thing you want is a broken box with everything falling out.
Moving tips: 31. Leave your clothes on the hangers
When you pack your clothes from the closet, you can put all your clothes into a big garbage bag with their hangers on. Once you move, just take them out and transfer them directly to the closet again. You can save a lot of time doing so.
Moving tips: 32. Protect your fragile items
For fragile items, remember to label them as fragile on the boxes. Instead of using packing paper or bubble wrap, you can also use anything soft to wrap them. For example, your blankets, clothes, towels, sheets, socks, etc. Using them as packing materials is free and also environmentally friendly. Make sure to wrap each fragile item separately.
If you have framed pictures, use masking tape to make an “X” across the glass before packing them into their framed boxes. This can protect the glass and hold it together in case it breaks. Use a lot of soft packing materials to wrap them.
For your makeup powder, put a cotton pad on top to prevent it from breaking.
Moving tips: 33. Pack your dishes carefully
Always pack your plates vertically, but not horizontally. Use a lot of packing materials to pack the dishes. Dish towels and clothes are perfect for packing as they are soft and can protect the dishes from breaking. If you have paper plates, you can also put them in between each plate.
For drinking glasses, you can put packing paper or clean socks inside.
You can place bowls and cups inside each other with packing material in between. Then wrap a few of them in a bundle with more packing material.
Moving tips: 34. Use a separate container to store things you need first
For everything you need immediately once you move in your new home, pack them in a separate container. For example, some eating utensils, snacks, toilet paper, phone chargers, hand soap, etc. You can either use a suitcase to store them or use a clear container so that you can quickly find the things you need inside.
Moving tips: 35. Pack your liquid items carefully
For any liquid, you can put a plastic wrap on top of the bottle opening before putting the lid on. This includes toiletries like shampoos or shower gel, as well as cleaning supplies like detergent or soap. Doing so can help to prevent spilling. Also, keep your liquid items separated with your dry items. Nobody wants to unpack a box and find a mess with all the leakage.
Moving tips: 36. Keep your drawers intact
For dresser drawers, you can save time by leaving the contents in there so that you don’t have to pack and unpack them later. Just make sure to secure the drawers so that your things will not fall out. You can use plastic wrap to keep the drawers closed.
Besides, you can also use plastic wrap to cover your utensils organizer so that you can leave your silverware as it is.
Moving tips: 37. Avoid jewelry from tangling
For any loose bracelets or necklaces, you can fasten them on toilet paper rolls to avoid tangling.
Moving tips: 38. Have a cleaning basket ready
We were surprised how much dust and dirt we found behind our wardrobe when we moved. Constant cleaning was needed during our move, both in our old home and new home.
Therefore, do not pack your cleaning supplies into boxes. Leave a basket with all the cleaning essentials like cleaning products, rags, dustpan, and broom, etc. Have this basket ready so that you can clean whenever it is needed.
On the moving day
Moving tips: 39. Pack a suitcase for the first night
When you move, pack a suitcase like when you go traveling. The thing is that you will be so tired and exhausted once you have moved everything to your new home. For us, it was almost midnight when we finally settled into our new home. The only thing we wanted to do was to get some sleep as we had to do a lot of unpacking the following day.
You wouldn’t want to search through boxes to find what you need for the night. Therefore, pack all your essentials like your toiletries, bottled water, baby necessities, some clothes, and slippers in a suitcase for the first night. Don’t forget any medications as well. Carry this suitcase with you during your car drive or plane journey to your new home.
Moving tips: 40. Keep your valuables with you at all time
Do not pack any valuables and keep them with you instead. This includes your passport, prescription medicines, cash, credit card, expensive jewelry, etc.
This applies too when you go on vacation. For me personally, I would never put any valuables in a checked-in suitcase. If I cannot see my belongings physically, there is always a chance that they can be lost or stolen.
Moving tips: 41. Take photos of your old and new home
If you are renting, make sure to take some photos of your old home when you move out, and also some photos of your new home before you move in, especially if you see any existing damage in your new home.
It is common to cause some damage when you move in your furniture. We also made some scratches on our walls and doors when we carried our furniture upstairs inside our new house.
Without any photos, it is hard to prove if you cause the damage or not during the move. Similarly, you will want to get back your full deposit from your old home when you move out. The photos can prove the condition of the flat after you move out to avoid any charges from the landlord for cleaning and repairing.
Moving tips: 42. Be thankful to your friends
If you ask your friends to help you to move, don’t forget to prepare a lot of bottled water during the move. You will need a lot of drinking water when doing this hard work. Besides, prepare some snacks for everyone for the day. And surely, you should pay for everyone’s lunch and dinner.
After the move, don’t forget to invite them for a thank-you meal. Be very thankful that someone helps you out. Not everyone is lucky enough to have friends like this.
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Have you ever used a moving company? Have you tried any of these moving tips? Write a comment below to share your experience!