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Outside The Box

A Moving And Shipping Blog

Moving Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts for Moving Day

After weeks of packing, decluttering, and dodging piles of boxes, the big day has finally arrived! Whether you’ve roped some good friends into helping you relocate or you’ve hired a moving service, the last thing you want to worry about on moving day is annoying your moving team.

We’ve compiled a quick guide to moving day etiquette to help your day go off without a hitch (and make sure you mind your moving manners). Take a look at our list of dos and don’ts for your moving day:

Moving Day Dos

DO finish packing before your moving day.

If you still have packing to do when moving day rolls around, there’s a good chance you’ll get in the way of your moving team. The loading process will be much smoother and quicker if everything is already set to load into the truck, which will save you time as well as money, especially if you’re paying by the hour. Having everything packed and ready to go ahead of time also makes it easier for movers to assess your load and plan how they’ll pack it into the truck.

DO label your boxes.

Clearly indicating which room each box belongs in makes it easier for your movers (professional or otherwise) to unload your stuff. You won’t have to direct traffic around your new place, which means you can help with the unloading process or start unpacking while your movers finish the job.

Depending on the size and layout of your new house, it might be worth taking a quick tour with your movers when you arrive to define which room will be which. Or, tape simple signs that match the way you’ve labeled your boxes on each doorway.

PRO TIP: Color code your boxes for each room using different colored markers and/or tape.

DO clearly label fragile packages.

Don’t take a risk when it comes to fragile or valuable items. Make sure boxes containing breakables are labeled “Fragile” and “This Side Up” so your moving team knows to treat these packages with special care.

You should also label any broken items, such as a loose chair leg, so your movers know to take extra precautions with these pieces as well.

Image Source: Michael Pereckas via Flickr.

DO take the drawers out of your furniture.

Instead of emptying drawers (which just creates more boxes), remove the drawers from dressers, desks, or other furniture. Removing drawers makes the furniture easier and lighter to move, and it also makes it easier to unpack - just slide the drawer back in! If you’re worried about people seeing your stuff or your belongings getting dirty, lay a towel or sheet over top. Tie the towels or sheets in place with string, or bungee cords if you have them.

If drawers can’t be removed, empty them and tape them shut so they don’t slide open unexpectedly. Professional movers can also wrap your dresser in moving blankets and shrink wrap with the drawers still inside

DO keep some essentials handy.

Make sure you have some cash on hand for food, drinks, and tips, as well as your ID, keys, and other important paperwork.

DO tip your movers.

While not necessary, tipping your movers for a job well done is common and always appreciated. The standard gratuity for professional movers is about $25-50 per mover, depending on the length of the move, how much stuff you have, and the quality of the service. Providing snacks and drinks throughout the day isn’t essential, but it’s a nice touch.

If your friends are helping you move, have snacks and drinks on hand to keep energy levels and morale high. Playing good music to keep everyone going both for move out and move in (except when you need them to hear your directions!) is a great way to stay energized, and a meal at the end of the day is also a great way to thank them for their help.

DO make sure it’s easy for your movers to maneuver.

This can include:

  • Reserving the elevator if you live in an apartment or high rise.
  • Shoveling and salting your driveway and sidewalks if you’re moving in the winter.
  • Clearing a path in and out of your place.
  • Securing a safe and legal parking space for a moving truck at your old and new place.

Moving Day Dont’s

DON’T get in the way!

If you’ve hired professional movers, let them do the job you hired them to do! The process will be quicker, and everyone will feel less stressed. That said, don’t disappear either - your movers will most likely have questions, and you should be available to answer them.

Pets or small children can also sometimes get underfoot, so you may want to consider having them stay with friends or family for the day.

DON’T forget your neighbors.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to making sure your moving day isn’t a pain for your new (or old) neighbors:

  • Give your old neighbors a heads up once you settle on a moving day, especially if the truck might block their driveway or your stuff may limit their access to their apartment.
  • Try not to block your new neighbor’s driveway. Meeting your new neighbors for the first time because your moving truck is making them late for work is not ideal.
  • Make sure your movers don’t cross your old or new neighbor’s yard.
  • Clean up any debris or garbage that’s fallen during the moving process.
  • If you think it might get loud, try not to move too early or too late in the day.

DON’T pack cash, jewelry, or prescription medications.

Keep these items separate and carry them yourself so your movers don’t have to deal with the additional stress of managing your valuable or sensitive items.

DON’T overpack your boxes.

It can be tempting to load your library of books into a single box like some perfect moving day Tetris challenge, but super-heavy boxes are not only difficult to move, they’re also more likely to break during your move. Instead, try packing a layer of books into the bottom of a box, then loading lighter items like towels on top.

DON’T keep obstacles a secret.

Always advise your moving team, especially if you’ve hired pros, about obstacles like stairs, narrow hallways, one-way streets, or difficult parking. It’s not only polite, but failing to do so may result in unexpected fees - and an irritated moving team.

Make Moving Day Easy

Make sure your moving day goes smoothly for everyone involved by following our list of dos and don’ts.

For more moving tips, check out our blog and packing guide