How to Make a New House Feel Like Home

You did it! You pulled off your big move, without forgetting or damaging anything, and you’re fully unpacked. And yet, in some ways, successfully moving into a new place is only the beginning.

Read on for some tips and guidelines for the next big item on your moving checklist: making your new house/apartment feel like home.

Check Off the Official Stuff

  • Make sure important papers are organized. This means everything related to the move (insurance contracts, bill of lading, moving contracts, leases, etc.), as well as all your personal documents (medical, dental, school records, etc.)

  • Complete your change of address with everyone you need to: insurance companies, banks, the DMV, employers, etc.

  • Register to vote!

Ensure Your Safety

  • Install new locks and security systems. If you’re renting, talk with your landlord before doing so.

  • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and you have a full fire-extinguisher.

  • Locate your water shutoff valve and circuit breaker board.

Get Your Bearings

  • Locate the nearest hospital, police station, fire station, pet hospital, gas station, grocery store, bank and post office.

  • Find a new doctor, dentist, pediatrician and veterinarian.

  • Find out the trash/recycling pickup times.

  • A great way to start feeling like a local is to act like one! That means going to the best places to eat, relaxing in the most beautiful spots, hiking the best trails, etc. You can talk to your neighbors, chat up the locals (use the always well-received “I just moved here” line) or use the wonders of the internet. Try sites like Yelp or Zomato for great food, seek advice on Facebook/Twitter, or check local blogs for the inside scoop.

Get Your Kids and Pets Settled

  • Organize Skype calls with friends, family and favorite babysitters from your prior hometown.

  • If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to find new schools for your kids! Definitely include older children in the selection process.

  • Volunteer at schools, go to parks to find friends and setup playdates for your pets and young ones.

  • Moving is stressful for everyone, so expect some level of regression and difficult behavior.

  • Give both your kids and pets time and space to adjust. Accept that it could be weeks or months until they feel fully settled and at home.

Connect with Your Community

  • Throw a house-warming party to get to know your new neighbors, who could one day become your future babysitters, friends, pet-sitters and even fellow survivors in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse!

  • Check with your local Home Owner’s Association to see if there are any rules you should know about (such as what you can or cannot add to your home).

  • Join clubs/activities organized by the community. Check out the community board at the local library and sign up for local magazines and newspapers. Meetup is also great for both keeping up old hobbies and starting new ones.

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The Best Way to Unpack for a Stress-Free Move

Moving into a new home is certainly an accomplishment, one to be acknowledged and appreciated. But the moving process doesn’t stop there! Unfortunately, you are only halfway done — now you have to un-pack.

Just like packing, there’s a smart way to unpack, and plenty of not-so-smart ways! Follow these guidelines for the smart way to unpack:

Upon Arriving

  1. Explore — Take some time to look around and feel the space out before you dive into the unpacking frenzy, especially if you have kids. Appreciate the calm before the storm.

  2. Check utilities — Make sure the utilities are all on and working.

  3. Clean — Consider cleaning before you bring anything inside and start the unpacking process. Yes, your landlord or the last tenants or owners most likely did so already, but this way, you know it’s clean!

  4. Check for damages — As you or movers bring your things inside, be on the lookout for any obviously damaged boxes. Check major appliances like dryers, washing machines, etc. for damages as well.


To avoid overwhelm and minor breakdowns, break the unpacking process down into manageable chunks.

Start with your essentials box(es) — (you packed one of those, right?) Open it up and divvy up its contents into various rooms. I like to set things up in the following order:

  1. Beds — Decorations and clothes can wait, but at the very least make sure you have a bed to crash into at the end of the day!

  2. Food — Once your beds are ready for later, it’s time to make sure you can eat. Again, leave the bulk of your kitchen-ware for later, and for now, just unpack enough for basic meals for the next day or two.

  3. Bathrooms — Next on the essentials list is the bathroom. Get at least one bathroom in working order so that everyone can shower, brush their teeth, etc.

  4. Living Room — For many, a couch and working TV is close behind sleep, food and showers in terms of essentials! A well-deserved family movie is a great way to unwind after a long day of unpacking, as well as a good incentive for kids to help you out during the day.

  5. Decorations — Before you dive into the thick of the unpacking, take some time to set up a few family photos, children’s artwork and homey knick-knacks around the house, to help you feel more at home.

  6. Tackle the rest of the house — Now that you have a functional kitchen, living room, and bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone, it’s time to dive in!

Move from the ground up: rugs, furniture, things to fill cabinets, drawers, etc., and then decorations (artwork, posters, etc.). Leave closet and storage space-items for last.

Common areas like the kitchen, living room, dining room, hallways are best to tackle during the day, when everyone is energized. Leave individual rooms for the evening/night-time to give everyone a chance to unwind and settle into their personal space at the end of the day.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll find yourself unpacked and box-free in no time! For help with what to do next, check out our guide: Tips for Settling into Your New Home.

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How to Move Awkward Things: Couches and China

It’s moving day, and everyone is busy packing except you. You are standing in the living room, hands on your hips, looking back and forth between the couch and the door. How am I supposed to get this thing out of here?!

Have no fear! We are here to help, with this first post in our “How to Move Awkward Things” series. Let’s get started!


Your weapon of choice in this battle is the measuring tape. Measure the width, height (with and without legs, if they are removable), and length of your couch. Then measure the width and height of whatever area you need to move your couch through, whether it’s a stairwell, elevator or door frame.

Do a general measuring of the space on the other side of what you want to squeeze the couch through as well. There’s no point in successfully moving the couch through a door only to get stuck in the stairwell!

You have three options for fitting a couch through a doorway:

  1. If the doorway is wider than the couch, you are good to go! Simply walk it on through.

  2. If the doorway is wider than the couch is tall, then you can turn it on its side (with the legs pointing horizontally), and walk it through that way.

  3. If the doorway is taller than the couch is long, then you can stand it upright and angle through the door.

If none of the above situations is going to work case, try removing the couch legs or taking the door off its hinges for a few extra inches of wiggle room, or simply look for other ways to get in/out of the room, such as a back door or a large side-window.

If all else fails, you can always call a professional to take the couch apart, move it and put it back to together in your new home — an effective, but expensive option.


These items are obviously very fragile, and need as much protection as they can get. Here’s what to do:

  1. Layer the bottom of the box with packing peanuts, packing foam or wadded newspaper. This is an important step, so don’t skip it or skimp on the padding!

  2. Wrap each piece in bubble-wrap or newspaper (or both).

  3. Place large serving platters on the bottom.

  4. Stack cups, bowls, dishes, etc. in sets of three or four, upside down.

  5. Plates are strongest standing up on their edges, and should be packed accordingly.

  6. For serving dishes with lids, wrap the dish and lid individually, then together.

  7. Continue packing the box this way until it’s full, then fill any remaining space with extra packing materials, until everything is snug and secure. You want there to be no wiggle-room.

  8. Top the box with extra packing materials, close it and tape it up, and write FRAGILE — CHINA/CRYSTAL in big letters on the box!

For help moving other awkward things, check out our guides on Electronics and Expensive Clothes and Art and Aquariums.

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How to Deduct Your Moving Expenses

One of moving’s saving graces is the opportunity to save money by deducting your moving expenses on next year’s taxes. Unfortunately, like all things related to the IRS, the process is pretty complicated. Luckily for you, we’ve put together the following guidelines to simplify things.

First things first… Can You Deduct Your Moving Expenses?

To qualify for a tax-deductible move, you need to meet two requirements of the IRS:

1) The Distance Test

Your new home needs to be 50 miles further away from your place of work than your last home was. Or, if you did not have a job (or worked from home) before, your new workplace must be at least 55 miles away from your old home.

2) The Time Test

You need work full-time for at least 39 weeks in the 12 months after the move. If you move late in the year, and can’t fit in 39 weeks before the end of the tax year, the IRS will still let you deduct your moving expenses if you plan to work 39 weeks of a full-time job. If you end up not doing so, you can always amend your tax return later, or deduct your savings as “other income” on next year’s tax return. Also, these weeks do not need to be consecutive, nor with just one employer!

Exceptions to the time test do exist. If any of the following situations apply to you, you are still eligible for move-related tax-deductions:

  • You’re transferred by your employer.

  • You’re fired for anything besides willful misconduct.

  • You have to leave the job due to becoming disabled.

  • You’re filling out the form for someone who has passed away.

  • You’re in the military and moving due to a permanent change of station.

  • You lived and worked abroad and are moving back to the US to retire.

  • You’re the dependent/spouse of a deceased person who worked and lived outside the US, and you’re moving from the deceased person’s home to a home in the US, within 6 months of their death.

You’re also allowed to deduct if you’re moving to the US from a home abroad, and if you’re moving abroad.

To see if you’re eligible to deduct moving expenses, the IRS has a helpful quiz you can take here.

What’s Deductible?

If you meet the requirements above, you can deduct the following expenses:

Travel Costs

  • Gas/oil for your vehicle

  • Highway tolls

  • Parking fees

  • Rental cars

  • Flight/train tickets

  • Hotel/motel charges (does not include meals)

Moving Costs

  • Moving company costs

  • Cost of storage up to 30 days

  • Packing materials: boxes, tape, crating, etc.

  • Costs of shipping pets and cars

  • Costs to insure your goods during transit

  • Fees to connect/disconnect utilities — Does not cover late fees or reimbursable deposits

Note that the IRS clearly states that only “reasonable”costs can be deducted, which basically means only those costs that require you to move directly from your old home to your new one. So if you’re moving from NYC to Boston, you can’t deduct the fuel costs for the detour you take to see your grandparents in upstate New York.

While this article covers most of the information you need to know, head to this IRS page for more details and exceptions, because when the IRS is concerned, there are always more details and exceptions!

Finally, if you’ll be filing your taxes yourself next year, use this form to deduct your moving expenses.

Good luck!

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How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move

Moving, like all major undertakings, is much easier when you plan ahead and spread out the process over time. Here are some general guidelines to help you do so:

3–6 Months in Advance

Start Budgeting: How early you want to start budgeting depends on how much you make, how tight your budget is, and how expensive you think your move will be. But generally speaking, the more time you have to save up money for your move, the better. (Related: How To Budget for Your Move in 3 Simple Steps)

2–3 Months in Advance

Start Hunting: How long it will take you to find a new place depends on if you’re renting or buying, what season it is, the skills of your realtor, what you’re looking for, and of course how determined (and lucky) you are. Some people find a new place in under a week, whereas for others it takes months. Best to err on the side of caution and start looking early.

6–8 Weeks in Advance

Start Planning: Decide on a concrete moving date, and start comparing the prices of different moving companies and moving-truck rentals (U-Haul, Ryder, etc.), with the cost of moving by yourself. Make sure to also factor in extra services you may need, like full-service packing, special crating (for pianos, refrigerators, etc.), vehicle-shipping, and storage.

4–6 Weeks in Advance

Take Stock and Purge: Go through your home (starting with closets, garages, basements and attics) and decide what you will bring and what you want to get rid of. See our guides on selling, donating, and throwing away your stuff for more help here.

Make a Decision: Once you’ve taken stock of your belongings, it’s time to decide how you’re going to move: by yourself, with a rental truck, or through a moving company (and which type).

If you’re using a moving company, 4–6 weeks should be far enough in advance to ensure they have slots available for you, and that they won’t gouge your wallet. However, if you’re moving between May-September (peak moving season in the US) you might want to start this process even sooner.

Lock Down a New Home: If you haven’t done so already, now is when you really need to officially have a new place to move to. You might have a little more leeway if you’re moving into a new apartment, but when purchasing a home, it typically takes 30–45 days for the loan process to finalize from the time you make a decision.

4 Weeks

Start Telling People: Notify employers, friends and family, attorneys, accountants, banks, credit card and insurance companies, schools, magazines, newspapers, etc. of your new address. Submit a Change of Address to the post office, and get clear on what your state’s DMV will require of you.

Gather Records: Medical, dental, veterinarian, schools, etc.

Schedule Disconnects: Gas, water, electric, cable, satellite, etc.

2–3 Weeks in Advance

Start packing: If you’re going to pack yourself, now’s a good time to start. Obviously, if you’re moving out of a studio apartment, you most likely won’t need 3 weeks to pack your stuff. But if you’re leaving a 3-bedroom family home you’ve lived in for years, you’ll need all the time you can get!

Pack smart, by starting with what you use the least, and saving the essentials for last. Try to finish the bulk of your packing at least a week before you leave.

1 Week in Advance

Clean-Up: Finish packing, leaving an “essentials box” for moving day. Make sure fridges/freezers are emptied, unplugged and defrosted 24–48 hours before moving day.

Following these steps will get you adequately ready for your move. For tips and advice on what you need and what to do on the moving day itself, head here.

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12 Things You Need for Moving Day

Hopefully you read and followed our guide on How Far in Advance to Plan Your Move, in which case you’ll be well-prepared for moving day. If not, well, better late than never!

Just have the following 12 things on hand, and you’ll be good to go.

  1. Alarm Clock — You’re going to want to squeeze as much time out of this day as you possibly can, so set an alarm (or two or three) and make sure you get up on time!

  2. Proper Clothes — Moving is a sweaty, dirty process, so wear casual clothes and sturdy, rubber-soled shoes. Consider using moving gloves as well — a day handling cardboard boxes will leave your hands filthy.

  3. Extra Packing Supplies — Best to be prepare for the inevitable and have extra packing stuff on hand for the things you forgot to pack. That means boxes, tape, bubble wrap/towels, bags and markers.

  4. Important Documents — If you’re using a moving company, have the moving inventory, bill of lading, contracts and insurance paperwork on hand. For renters, have copies of your leases, old and new. Pro-tip: write down important phone numbers (your new home, realtor, landlord, the moving company, truck driver, etc.) on a piece of paper in case your phone breaks, dies or is lost in the mayhem.

  5. Phone Chargers — Nice segue, right? Your phone is going to be used a lot today, so keep a charger handy.

  6. First Aid Kit — Injuries do happen, so make sure to have the basics ready if you need them: Neosporin, band-aids, pain-meds, etc.

  7. Basic Tools — Having some basic tools on hand is always a good idea. A good place to start is a box cutter, scissors, Swiss-Army knife, hammer, duct tape, and a couple screwdrivers (Philips and flathead). And of course a bottle/wine opener for end-of-the-day celebrations!

  8. Cooler and Ice — Hopefully you planned ahead and did not leave yourself a fridge-full of food to deal with on moving day! Regardless, a cooler is still a good idea for snacks and drinks for the moving guys, helpful friends, and for your upcoming drive.

  9. Home Protection — Avoid damages, by putting pads on the legs of furniture, wrapping door frames, bannister railings, and any hard corners in moving blankets (with tape to keep in place), and covering your floors and carpets with whatever is handy: cardboard, plywood, carpet film protectors, old rugs, curtains, sheets, etc.

  10. Cleaning Supplies — Get that security deposit back! Or just be courteous. Have a room (or borrow a vacuum, since yours will probably be packed already), mop, cleaning-wipes, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, trash bags, etc.

  11. Toys and Snacks for Kids and Pets — Really, you’re best off dumping your kids and/or pets on a friend or family member for the day. Having them out of the way will make the move easier and less stressful for everyone involved. If they need to stay in the house, however, keep them out of the way room as much as possible. Also make sure you have plenty of snacks and comforting/entertaining items to stay occupied.

  12. Cash — For tolls, food, parking fees, tips (for moving companies, it’s expected! $20–100 per person is best, depending on their service and how tricky the move was), etc.

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What is a Certificate of Insurance?

Moving seems to stir up a hurricane of vital documents — leases, income verification letters, DMV forms, medical records, insurance policies…the list goes on!

If you’re using a moving company, there’s one document in particular you need to know your way around: the Certificate of Insurance.

As far as titles go, Certificate of Insurance seems fairly self-explanatory at first glance. Most people understand both what a certificate is and what insurance is, right? What’s important to understand about the Certificate of Insurance is more what it isn’t than what it is.

Let’s start with what it is

A Certificate of Insurance is an informational document stating the existence of an insurance agreement between two parties. In a moving context, it’s what moving companies provide to customers to prove that they do indeed have insurance. It also serves as a summary of the insurance contract, with easily digestible information about said contract.

This document will typically include the names and contact details of the moving company, the insured party (i.e. the person who’s moving) and the insurance company, as well as basic information regarding what is covered.

It’s important to realize however, that the Certificate of Insurance is not the actual insurance policy contract!

A Certificate of Insurance is an easy document for moving companies to whip up for people, to provide peace-of-mind and assure them their goods are protected and they’ll be compensated in case of damages. But it will never include all the details or actual terms of the contract.

Because of this, it’s essential to look at the policy as well, so you can be clear on exactly what is covered, what is not covered, how long things are covered, in what cases they are covered, what the exceptions are, etc.

If/when you get a Certificate of Insurance, you’ll want to make sure all the names are correctly represented, the policy dates are accurate (e.g. they don’t expire before the move date), and that the insurance company named is a legitimate company.

Why Get a Certificate of Insurance?

First of all, landlords and property owners/managers will often request a Certificate of Insurance from tenants moving out, since the very process of moving can sometimes lead to property damage.

If that situation applies to you, make sure to ask if you need to provide a Certificate of Insurance before you move. And again, if applicable, don’t forget to ask the landlord or property manager of the building that you’re moving to as well. The risk of property damage is just as high for moving in as moving out!

Secondly, requesting a Certificate of Insurance is an easy way to vet a moving company’s legitimacy. A refusal to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance for any reason is a clear red flag.

Of course, if you did your homework, and found a legitimate, trustworthy moving company (click here for tips on how to do that), you won’t have to worry too much about being scammed!

For more information on moving insurance, and what options are available to you, read our guide on the subject here.

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The Skinny On Moving Insurance: Do You Need It?

To effectively decide whether or not to buy moving insurance, you need to first understand what moving insurance options are available to you.

Moving Companies

Moving companies are required by Federal law to provide you with two liability coverage options, referred to as “valuation” options. Note there is a difference here between valuation, which is regulated by the FMSCA and insurance, which is separate liability coverage offered by third-party companies and regulated by the state.

The two valuation options are:

  • Released Value Protection (also referred to as minimal or declared value protection) — The moving company is liable for the total weight of your goods multiplied by 60 cents. So if your $300, 20-pound TV is damaged, the moving company is responsible for only $12. I’m sure you can see the limitations here! Understandably, this option is free and included in the moving contract.

  • Full Value Protection — The moving company is liable for the full value of your goods. If something is damaged, destroyed or lost, they will either repair the item, replace it with a same-value item, or reimburse you the cost of repairing/replacing the item. Note the “same-value” stipulation here: e.g. if your 2-year-old dryer is destroyed, you will get another 2-year-old dryer, not a new one. And Full Value protection does not cover anything worth more than $100/lb (jewelry, antiques, etc.) unless you specifically mention these items to the moving company. Prices for this option vary by moving company, and you’re usually required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance will not help you much. During a move, personal items are typically only protected in case of theft. So if you drop and break a couch on your way out the door, it’s most likely not going to be covered. Some insurance policies will also partially cover damages that occur during transit, but usually only a paltry 10% of their value.

And don’t forget about the deductible, which still applies during moves. If something is stolen, but you haven’t met your deductible, you’re not going to get full coverage.

Other Options

You can talk to your homeowners/renters insurance agent about extending coverage with one of the following options, or purchase them through moving companies or third-party insurance companies.

  • Valued Inventory: You purchase coverage based on the value of your goods. Usually purchased in large chunks, e.g. multiples of $1000.

  • Transit Insurance: For damages that occur in the truck. This is a popular option, as most moving companies’ basic options donot cover this.

  • Total-Loss Coverage: For “acts-of-God”, e.g. fires, floods, freak asteroid strikes, etc. This option is all or nothing, and does not cover individual items.

  • Pairs and Sets Coverage: For items that can only be purchased together, e.g. a vanity mirror/cabinet set.

  • Mechanical and Electrical Derangement: Would cover, for example, a TV that looks fine on the outside but hasn’t worked since the move.


If you don’t have a lot of expensive things, you probably don’t need insurance. Just be careful with your stuff! And if you’re using a moving company, remember you get their basic coverage option free-of-charge.

If you have many special or expensive things, however, like jewelry, china-ware, antiques, electronics, etc., you’re likely better off purchasing extra insurance coverage, as neither moving companies nor your homeowners/renters insurance will offer much protection.

And if you feel you’re between the two options just mentioned — go with your gut!

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How to Update Your Address with the DMV

One of the necessary evils of moving is updating your address with the powers-that-be. This process is called “completing a change-of-address”, and one of the many institutions you need to do this with is the good ole DMV.


No matter where you’re moving to, in-state or out-of-state, you need to complete this “change-of-address” process with the DMV. Doing so allows the DMV to update your records, driver’s license, vehicle registration and vehicle title. If you don’t do this, anything the DMV tries to send you will be mailed to the wrong address, and you will get a hefty ticket if a cop pulls you over!

Now what exactly does this “change-of-address” process require of you? What do you have to do?

Well, unfortunately, the answer to those questions is complicated, because the process is different in each state.

That’s right. Each state has different regulations on what forms and tests are required, what fees will be applied, how much time you have to complete each step and what you can complete online or by mail versus what requires an in-person appointment.

While we could make this Moved’s longest blog post yet by listing each state’s information here, instead we’ll point you to an extremely useful database that already has all the information you need.

Click on this link to be directed to the home page. Once there, select your state from the drop-down box at the top of the page. On the next page, click the green “Address Change” box at the lower-right corner, and you’ll be taken to a page that will tell you what you need to do to change your address with the DMV in your state.

General Rules

While we’ve got you here, read on for some general rules and tips to keep in mind during this process.

  • Be (very) wary of timelines! While some states are friendly, like California, and give you up to 10 days to inform the DMV of your new address, others (lookin’ at you Connecticut) require a form within 48 hours of your completed move.

  • Filling out forms. Some states require separate forms to update your vehicle registration and title certificate.

  • Inspections and paperwork. Many states require up-to-date car insurance and vehicle safety and emissions inspections results in order to register your vehicle.

  • License plate (in-state). If you’re moving somewhere within your current state, there’s obviously no need to change your license plates.

  • License plate (out-of-state). You may need to pay for a new license showing your updated address. Some states only require you to put on small labels with your new address, and others require no updated license at all.

  • Driver’s license (out-of-state). If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license. Thankfully, if your license is still valid, often all that’s required for a new one is a vision test.

  • Old plates. Note — some states require you to send your old plates back to a DMV in the state you moved from.

Changing your address with the DMV can be a small step, easily forgotten. Avoid potential fines and add it to your moving checklist!

And head here for more information on who you need to update your address with when moving.

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How to Ship Your Car When You Move — Part 1

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just fold up your car and pack it in a suitcase? Stuff some socks around the edges toss it in the moving truck?


Hopefully Google is working on that one! In the meantime, you have a number of options for auto transport. Let’s take a look.

On the Road

The most common option for vehicle-shipping is to use a truck. There are plenty of independent Auto Mover companies to choose from, and if you’re already using a regular moving company, many of them also offer their own vehicle shipping options.

Generally, it takes up to a month to ship your vehicle by truck, with rates running from a few hundred dollars to ship to the next state, to upwards of $1000–2000 for a cross-country trip. You’ll be quoted based on the make/model, weight/size and condition of your vehicle, the distance of the move, and your insurance coverage.

When shipping by truck, you can choose between:


Your car is transported on the back of an open truck, just like the trucks you see on the highway transporting vehicles to car-dealerships. This option is cheap, but leaves your vehicle open to potential damage from rocks, weather and leaking fluids from vehicles above yours.


Your vehicle is fully enclosed in the back of a truck. This eliminates any possibility of damage from the elements, but is more expensive. Typically used to transport antique, classic and luxury vehicles.

With Goods

Some moving companies offer to place your vehicle in the same truck as the rest of your things.

Most auto movers give you the option to pay for expedited delivery and a spot on the top row. You can also choose between terminal-to-terminal (where you drop off and pick up your vehicle at a delivery hub) and door-to-door delivery, or mix and match the two.

Finally, while it’s not technically a shipping option, you can also pay someone to drive your vehicle to your destination for you. Some auto mover and moving companies offer this as an option, or you can hire a professional through a company like ProfessionalDrivers, or find someone yourself through classified ads.

Other Options

  • By Train: Shipping your vehicle by freight train is faster and safer, but typically more expensive than by truck. Sometimes it may require extra insurance as well.

  • Amtrak also provides a limited vehicle-shipping option, called Amtrak Auto Train, that runs between Washington D.C. and Orlando, FL. Note that you also have to be on the train.

  • By Air: The safest, fastest and most expensive option.

  • By Boat: A slower, slightly less reliable and usually cheaper option for moves overseas.

Once you’ve chosen a car shipping option, make sure to check out part 2 of this series here for information on how to pick a good auto mover company and how to prepare your car for shipping.

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When Is The Best Time To Move?

Picking the right time of year to move can be the difference between a stress-free breeze and a hellish experience you’ll shudder to think of for years to come.

What season is best for you really depends on your particular situation. Let’s take a look at each season’s pros and cons:



  • Peak Season. May-September is when most people are moving. There will be plenty of open listings to choose from, and if you’re selling, you’ll have more potential buyers to choose from as well.

  • No School. Not having kids in school makes it easy for families to move long-distance.

  • Warm Weather. Both house/apartment-hunting and moving day will be easier and more pleasant during the warm summer months.


  • Peak Season. You’ll have more people to compete with and less room to negotiate with landlords/agents. Moving companies will also be busier, often overbooked, and will charge higher rates.

  • Hot Weather. If summers are hot and muggy where you live, home-hunting and moving day could be rough.

Takeaway: Plan far ahead, keep an eye on the weather, book moving companies well in advance, and be prepared to act quickly to snag a place before someone else does! This is the best time to move for families moving long-distance.



  • Dead Season. Almost no one moves during winter, which means if you find a place, there will be almost no competition from other buyers and you’ll have all the power during price-negotiations.

  • Cheap Rates. Moving companies are at their cheapest during winter.


  • Dead Season. Less people moving means less places available. Selling a home will also be much more difficult during the winter.

  • Cold Weather. When it’s freezing outside, looking for a new place is unpleasant and moving-day is miserable. Freezing weather can also damage items and cause safety hazards.

  • Holidays. They can be stressful enough without dealing with a move on top of it all.

  • School. Most people seem to agree it’s harder on kids to switch schools halfway through the year.

Takeaway: Difficult overall due to the weather and general lack of activity. But potentially much cheaper if you can find an open place. This is the best option for those with a tight budget.



  • Weather. Both seasons offer generally better weather, less competition and lower moving company rates than summer or winter.

  • Selling. Houses typically sell for more money in the spring.

  • School Shift. If you live near colleges or universities, many apartments will open as students finish school.


  • Less Activity. There will be fewer open homes and apartments for you to move into and less people looking to buy.

  • School. Spring/fall are awkward times for kids to change schools. Spring-break is a potential window for families moving locally, however.

Takeaway: Both seasons are less extreme than summer and winter, making them great options for moving for pretty much everyone except families moving long-distance.

Once you’ve picked a season that will work best for you, keep in mind that moving companies are most busy on weekends (when people are off work), and at the end/beginning of the month (when most leases end).

If you can swing it, moving on a Tuesday or Wednesday in the middle of the month will typically be your cheapest option.

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The Best Way to Pack for a Stress-Free Move

If your goal is a stress-free move, you need to pack with a plan.

Rushing around in a frenzy, stuffing everything into garbage bags the night before moving day? Not a great plan. That’s how your things end up broken, forgotten, or accidentally thrown out with the garbage.

The best way to pack for a move is to start early and pack smart. Just follow the guidelines included in the 3-step process below, and you’ll be well-prepared for a stress-free move!

1) Purge.

Start 5–6 weeks before moving day, by taking stock of your things. Decide what you actually want to bring with you, and for everything else, check out our guides on how to get rid of it all. You can give extra stuff to friends and family, donate it to charity, sell it online or set up a garage sale, or simply throw it away.

2) Prepare.

Once you’ve purged, it’s time to gather packing materials.

If you’re using a moving company, they may provide you with everything you need, in which case you’re off the hook!

But if you’re in charge of getting your own packing materials, you’ll need the following: boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, wrapping pads for fragile items, and — if you’re using cardboard boxes — scissors/box-cutters and lots (and lots) of packing tape.

You can save money and grab used boxes from people on Craigslist who’ve just finished moving, Liquor and grocery stores, and sites like UsedCardboardBoxes. Another, environmentally-friendly option is to rent plastic moving boxes from companies like RentAGreenBox, Gorilla Bins, Bin-It, and JuggleBoxMoving.

Don’t forget you can save space by packing things in your laundry baskets and suitcases!

Finally, take note of everything that you’ll need a special box for, like hanging clothes, guitars, stand-up lamps, cribs, artwork, televisions, etc., and get those boxes as soon as you can.

3) Pack.

Three weeks prior to moving day, start packing all of the non-essential items in closets, attics, and out-of-the-way spots.

With two weeks left, pack the majority of your clothes, dishes, books, artwork, etc.

If you spread it out effectively, then the last week is basically just clean up!

Leave for last an “essentials box”, which will include your valuables and anything you might need during the move or in the first few days after arrival. Options include: toilet paper, toiletries, towels, flashlights, batteries, snacks, bottled water, valuables, a change (or two) of clothes, laptops, phone chargers, basic cooking supplies (plates, cups, utensils, can opener, soap, sponge, etc.) medications, bedding and pillows.

The “essentials box” is also great for kids! Have your children pack their own box with whatever items they deem special. They will love being able to pack it themselves, and you can add to it yourself after they’re done.

A few general packing tips:

  • Label boxes! Use printout labels or a big marker to let future-you know what’s inside.

  • Pack room-by-room to keep things organized.

  • Heavy stuff at the bottom, lighter stuff on top.

  • Fill empty spaces with clothes or packing paper to avoid damage.

  • Wrap fragile items in clothes to save on paper and bubble wrap.

And the last of our packing tips for moving? Don’t forget anything!

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Don’t Forget These 3 Things When You Move

Moving is like juggling 50 balls while running down the street. If one or two balls dropped behind you, who could blame you for not noticing? You’re still trying to keep 48 other balls in the air!

Here’s a list of things people commonly forget when they move…

1) They Forget to Bring Everything.

  • Things in the home. It’s easy to forget to pack things that seem a part of the house itself, like curtains, drapes, rugs, mirrors and plants. Other common areas forgotten include the cabinets under the sink and over the fridge, storage areas in the basement, attic or under the stairs, and medicine cabinets.

  • Things outside your home. Don’t forget your outdoor furniture, garden accessories and tools, hoses, plants, flower pots, planter boxes and whatever is in your shed, if you have one.

  • Things around town. Make sure to remember the contents of your safety deposit box, clothes at the dry-cleaners, items in storage, things neighbors, friends and family have borrowed over the years.

  • Collect records. To avoid a potentially expensive, lengthy hassle having them transferred later, you’ll want to collect all personal records, including medical, dental and pharmaceutical records, children’s school files and veterinarian records if you have pets.

  • Speaking of pets, don’t forget them! You’d be surprised how many cats and dogs get left behind during moves. Here are some tips on this.

  • Leave some behind. Amidst the packing frenzy, make sure you do leave behind spare keys, garage door openers, and any items you borrowed.

2) They Forget to Tell Everyone.

  • The people. Let everyone know you’re leaving! That includes family and friends of course, but also neighbors, housekeepers, gardeners, babysitters, etc. Then there are the officials: schools, employers, banks, government agencies, insurance companies, and the post office.

  • The companies. Call your utility companies and schedule your water, electric, gas, satellite, etc. to be disconnected the day after you move.

  • The memberships. Cancel memberships (gyms, yoga studios, etc.), return library books and movie/game rentals, and pick up any prescriptions.

3) They Forget to Prepare for Arrival.

  • Take measurements. “Will it fit?” Don’t forget to ask this question! Trust me, you don’t want show up with a couch that won’t fit through the door.

  • Get the keys. Get all the keys: You have the key for the front door, but does it open the deadlock too? A successful move is one where you actually get inside your new place.

  • Accommodations. If your beds won’t arrive ’til after you do, make sure to book sleeping arrangements well beforehand, so you’re not scrambling for a place to sleep after a long day of moving.

  • Parking. “Where can I park?” Another great question, easily forgotten. Waking up to realize your car’s been towed is no fun.

  • Pack the essentials. Include anything you might need in the first few days. A good place to start is toilet paper, toiletries, towels, bottled water, snacks, a change of clothes, phone chargers, and things like plates, cups, and utensils. See #3 here.

It’s easy to forget what you’re forgetting, so don’t hesitate to refer back to this post throughout the moving process!

And if, despite your best efforts, you end up still forgetting a few things, make sure to write them down when it’s all over. That way, the next time you move, you’ll have a personalized list to refer to.

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The Proper Way To Donate Stuff You Don’t Need

As you pack things for your move, you’ll notice a lot that you no longer need but could be valuable to others. Clothes, furniture, electronics… anything really. As long as it’s not broken or gross, it likely can be donated.

There are three benefits to donating…

  1. You help others in need.

  2. You get rid of things you don’t use.

  3. You can get money back with a nice tax deduction.

So how do you actually donate?

The Goodwill and Salvation Army are always good places to go with your donations. Depending on your state, there are a multitude of options. See this article for your state.

Don’t have time to drop it off?

That’s okay! You can have Big Brothers Big Sisters come pick it up or have a TaskRabbit do it for you. It’s easy to donate.

How do I deduct charitable donations?

The IRS has eight tips for deducting charitable contributions that you should look at before donating. In order to properly make the deduction you will have to value your goods. Check out Goodwill’s Valuation Guide for a rough estimate of what your donations are worth.

That’s it! You’re able to get rid of some stuff, pay less in taxes, and help other people in need. And moving is a perfect time to do it.

Have stuff you need to sell or throw away? Check out these two articles (selling & disposing) about how to do those. Good luck!

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How To Sell Things When You Move

Moving is a perfect time to get rid of things. As you pack, you’ll notice items that you simply don’t use anymore. Many of these things are still in good condition and useable by someone else. Selling them is a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you don’t need while banking some cash in the process.

So how do you do it? There are several places where you can sell your stuff…


This is the obvious one. eBay has been the go-to marketplace for two decades for people looking to buy and sell. You’ll have to take a little time listing and shipping, but they’ve made it pretty easy at this point. Notably, their integration with Shyp makes it super easy to send items to buyers after they are sold.


Another obvious option. If you trust the people on the other end, this is a great place to sell things quickly. There is more risk to getting it done here because, unlike eBay, there isn’t transparency regarding the buyer and their history and the platform doesn’t actually facilitate the transaction. Everything is up to you. But nonetheless, it’s another high-traffic site where you can offload your goods.

Your Network

This is probably the first place you should go. Reach out to your family, friends, co-workers, and any organizations you belong to. You can send a good old-fashioned email or post in places like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to let your network know.


LetGo is an interesting app that lets you buy and sell goods to people in your area. This is a good option if you’re looking to offload something quickly and don’t a lot about how much you get for it. Post it on there for a cheap price and have someone come by to pick it up.


Amazon is the e-commerce destination for pretty much everyone. They have a seller program which allows you to sell your used goods along side all of their other products. You pay a small fee to do so, but will have a lot of traffic coming to your page.


This is another e-commerce site that enables you to act as a small business selling your goods on their platform. They specialize in unique goods and have an audience looking for these niche items. It’s a good place to offload anything that wouldn’t fit on the above sites.

Garage Sale

This will take some time to set up and market, but it’s a good way to get rid of things if you have a free day. You won’t get as much traffic as an online marketplace but the transactions will be quick and painless.

eBay Valet

Don’t have the time for any of the above? Give it to eBay and let them sell it for you. They, of course, will keep a percentage of the sale but it’s the price you pay for the service.

There are also countless niche communities where you can sell and trade specific products. Search Google and see what’s out there. If you take good pictures and market the goods well, you can quickly get rid of your junk and make money on it. And for anything you aren’t able to sell, you can donate it to people who need it.

Happy Selling! 😉

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please recommend or share it with others. 🙂

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