Caring for Your Belongings During Your Move

Sara Heins | Sep 20, 2013 @ 02:58 PM

Big changes, like moving apartments, can be a trying experience. From pets to family members, the big move can be stressful for everyone involved. Just because you're relocating to a new residence, though, doesn't mean your belongings have to suffer in the same ways you do.

Losing things

Ever relocate apartments only to have items disappear until you're packing for your next move? There are two explanations for this phenomenon: a) you didn't care enough to unpack it or b) it got lost within your unorganized boxes. Both of these horrible situations can easily be avoided.

So how can I keep track of my items?

  • Purge what you don't need before you move. Stuff tends to get lost when it's thrown into boxes with belongings you don't need or use anymore. Why not use this as a time to throw away or donate items around the house that aren't useful anymore?
  • Make an inventory list. Although you don't have to write down every single item (because who wants to admit in writing just how many physical copies of Britney Spears' CDs you still own), it's good to keep track of just how many boxes you're moving altogether.
  • Store like items together in boxes, and print out labels (or write on them with Sharpies if you're feeling particularly lazy) to describe them. Just because you don't want to admit to yourself that you still have Baby One More Time, In the Zone, and Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, you can group these and like items together in a box and label it something like "Music I Swear I Don't Listen to Anymore" or "Dark Secrets" so you know where to find these belongings when you need them in the future.

Pro tip: Use our storage space calculator if you're trying to find a storage unit – we give you printable labels and an itemized list of what you'll be storing.

Breaking things

Oh no. You bought that cheap $15 put-it-together-yourself end table instead of splurging for something that's not made out of cardboard. Although nothing can really guarantee that piece of crap will stay intact throughout its travels, you can certainly take some precautionary measure with some of your, uh, nicer stuff.

Doing it Yourself

Moving all your things by yourself can seem like a daunting task. A few common sense things to keep in mind: stuff boxes full of delicate things with bubble wrap or even old newspaper. Use your aforementioned labels to mark things as fragile, and make sure those don't make it to the bottom of your moving truck or car. The hardest part about moving by yourself is the actual labor, but you're in complete control of your move this way. Some extra tips on the DIY move:

  • It may be good to spend the upcoming months at the gym lifting weights and building the muscle mass to carry large items like couches down several flights of stairs. You should be able deadlift at least 30 pounds before taking on this endeavor.
  • Buy your friends pizza, but save the beer until after they've moved your stuff. If you're recruiting your loved ones to help you move, it's good to incentivize them so they don't passive aggressively break or drop your things while they're spending their weekend doing manual labor for you. However, in a recent study, scientists proved that alcohol typically reduces one's ability to hold on to things; if you're using this as a way to entice your comrades into helping, save it for after the move's completion.

Moving Companies

This pricier option is good if you've ever been described as having "all thumbs", you're lacking common sense (hey – maybe you have book smarts but this just isn't your thing) or you're transporting something really fancy like a grand piano.

Things to compare between companies:

  • Price – don't just go for the cheapest one, though. You'll find that you get what you pay for in the moving business
  • Online reviews – have other customers had success with this company? If protecting your belongings from breakage is the most important thing, make sure to scout out reviews with this particular quality in mind. You can even call the companies themselves and ask for references.
  • Experience – are you hiring two college kids from Craigslist who are looking to make an extra buck on the weekend, or have these people been in business for more than 30 years and know what they're doing?

For even more tips on choosing the right people to trust with your stuff, check out our page on how to pick a moving company.

If you take a few simple steps, you'll save yourself the anxiety and potential ulcers by keeping your fragile items in tact. By making sure your favorite things are protected throughout your move, your belongings will personally thank you for it.