Very few people get excited at the prospect of a move. Regardless of the size of your home or the distance you’re traveling, moving is an expensive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming task. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Read on for the five biggest moving mistakes to avoid.

  1. Neglecting to pare down before packing up. Try to use your impending move as an opportunity to take stock of what you own and get rid of anything you no longer need or want. If you haven’t put your hands on it in a year, donating or selling it is probably a good idea. Getting rid of your possessions isn’t always easy, but the last thing you want to do is pay to move something that doesn’t really need to be moved.

  2. Sending necessities on the moving truck. Anything that you will want to access quickly and easily in your new home qualifies as a necessity. Medications, toiletries, and a change of clothes should definitely be on the short list of items to pack in your personal vehicle (or carry-on luggage if you’re flying), but don’t forget things like cell phone chargers, the appropriate method of payment for the movers, paperwork relating to the move and your new home, or your little one’s favorite stuffed animal. Don’t send valuables or anything that you consider to be irreplaceable on the moving truck, either.

  3. stack of cardboard boxes next to hand truckNot taking the time to label everything. Sometimes moves happen in a hurry, but if it’s possible, taking the time to clearly label each box will save you countless frustrating hours of searching. Label each box on the top and all four sides with a thick marker, and be sure to note which room it belongs in and a brief list of the contents.

  4. Failing to prepare for the weather. The majority of moves happen in the summer, so make sure to have plenty of bottled water on hand for the moving crew and your family. If rain is in the forecast, try to arrange for a rug to be loaded on the moving truck last. Unload the rug first, and place it in the entryway of your new home to protect the flooring and reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked in. Wet towels can be a trip hazard, so use them only as a last resort. Make sure you’re prepared for a winter move, too.

  5. moving truck partially loaded with furnitureUnderestimating the move as a whole. It’s easy to underestimate how much stuff you have when you’re living with it. It’s usually not until you see how quickly the boxes fill up that you realize exactly how many books you own or how large your shoe collection has become. Although it may seem cheaper and easier to move yourself, that may not necessarily be the case. Get quotes from a few moving companies—you may be surprised at how expensive trying to move yourself can be in comparison. Another bonus to professional movers is that they know all the moving tips and tricks to protect your possessions and make the process go a little faster.

Moving can be arduous and stressful, but there are ways to make the process less painful. Give yourself as much time as possible to plan a move, and try your best to avoid these five biggest mistakes. The move will be over before you know it, and you can start organizing and enjoying your new home.

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