Moving day 101: Everything you should know if you’re using professional movers

We all move house at least once in our life, if not several times. If you’ve moved by yourself at least once though, you’re probably thinking that you should get professionals in, if only so you don’t break something this time. Professional movers know what they’re doing, so they should be able to get you out of your old home and into your new one ASAP — but only if you don’t accidentally make the job more difficult.

Professional movers have shared what they wish people knew before they hired them and started the move so that you can get it right.

Don’t micromanage

This is a big one. You might want to watch everything while the move is happening (after all, what if they accidentally mark the couch? Or drop your grandmother’s vase?) but it’s unwise to get underfoot.

John Saunders from Kent Removals & Storage says while some customers have the right intentions, they can get in the way and make things more difficult for him and his team during a move.

“Let us do our job, that is the main thing I wish people would do,” he says. “Just remember that you hired us for a reason. We have moved couches, boxes, fragile items and all the rest time and time again, so step aside and let the professionals do their job.”

Taking a step back means less stress for the home owner and stops the professionals from feeling micromanaged.

Know where your valuables are

If you know that you’re going to need something on-hand during the move — be it medication, cash or clothes — make sure you keep it out of the boxes and close to you. This goes for valuables like jewellery as well. You might be in for an awkward situation if you’ve left it out, assuming the movers will put it somewhere, or placed it inside a box.

“Most people are very good at taking care of their valuables, but we have had some occasions where in the stress and confusion of moving, things like money or medication is misplaced for the moment and fingers are pointed,” Saunders says. “This is never nice and always leads to a pretty awkward situation when things turn up.”

Prep in advance

With 20 years in the industry, professional mover Jill Boyd from White Glove Mover says the top thing she wishes people would stop doing is only half packing before her team arrive.

“I always try to advise people to make sure they are fully packed before we show up,” she says. “Our job is easier if the house is completely ready for the truck and, to be honest, if we have to wait for you to finish packing, you’re wasting your own money.”

On the flipside, Boyd says most people are generally good at emptying drawers, desks and entertainment units.  For those who don’t do this, it can end up making things harder for both you and for the movers. She says that it’s important to do this when hiring external movers as it can be seriously dangerous. Boyd says that movers may refuse to handle something until the owner empties it, because it’s not worth hurting her crew or causing damage to the good.

Label your boxes (and keep a master plan)

Both Saunders and Boyd agree that labelling your boxes with as much information as possible is the key to a smooth, quick and hassle-free move. Information they love to see includes the obvious “fragile”, as well as what room the box belongs in.

“I wish I was a psychic, but I’m not as far as I know, so if something is fragile or requires gentle handling please let us know,” says Saunders. “We need to know clearly and ahead of time so write it, mark it or say it, and do it sooner rather than later, nobody likes things breaking.”

“Pop the final destination of the box on there too, this helps us unload as efficiently as possible, and saves you playing traffic controller,” says Boyd.

One easy way to do this is to colour code. Pick up a couple of rolls of tape in different colours, and assign each room in your new house a colour. Your bedroom might be blue, while the kitchen might be silver, for example. Put a strip of the tape in an obvious spot on each box and piece of furniture (if possible) so that you know where everything is going (making sure you label boxes as ‘fragile’ as needed while you go!). When the movers turn up, hand them a masterplan with all the colours and rooms on it, so they have a rough idea of where they’re going in the new house. Then, drive to the new house and place a strip of tape above the doors of each room so that it’s clear which room is yours and which one is the study, etc. It’ll make the move as painless as possible, and as an added bonus, everything in now in the correct location so all your unpacking can take less time.

The main takeaway from all of this is that the professionals know what they’re doing. It’s easy to help them ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible. Of course, before you start the move at all, you might want to declutter. Read our handy checklist to ensure you’re only taking what you love with you to your new home.

Written: 19 March 2020

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