Ah, moving day. It can either be a joyous occasion or a mind-numbingly stressful ordeal. No matter how much we prepare, there always seems to be some tiny detail unaccounted for. Let’s unpack the subtle art of preparing for and managing a—hopefully—flawless move.

Man struggling to move a couch up a flight of stairsImage via memecandy, Giphy

Is everything worth moving?

Ever try to get a queen-size box spring up narrow stairs with 90º landings? Furniture that squeaks into one house may only jam up in another. Assess what will fit and what won’t by measuring your largest items ahead of time then test those measurements in the entries, stairs (especially around those corners and low suspended ceilings), and doorways of your new home.

On the flip side, unnecessary clutter tends to follow us from place to place, which makes moving the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, paving the way for a smoother move. 

Stack of cardboard boxesImage via Beeki, Pixabay

Think outside the box

Traditionally, we’ve scrounged local retailers for empty boxes or bought new ones. More sustainable options have presented themselves in recent years, making it easy to obtain high quality used moving boxes, or renting reusable bins

The Buy Nothing Project is dedicated to keeping items out of landfills by passing them onto others for free. They have Facebook groups across Canada and can be excellent resources for moving boxes. 

If you can’t find free or reusable moving materials, that’s OK too. You can buy tape, boxes, packing paper, and other materials from your local moving companies—even if you’re doing all the moving yourself.

3 men moversImage via 3 Men Movers, Giphy

Should I DIY or hire a moving company?

Hiring a moving company can be more costly than renting a truck and paying friends in pizza and beer. So why is it better to hire a professional? It’s simple. They’re professionals who do this every day, are insured against damage or injury, and their experience gives them the benefit of efficiency. Friends and family may be willing to help when called upon, but is it a fair test of your relationship to put them at risk of injury and expect them to assume responsibility for the safety of your most valued possessions?

Couple packing boxesImage via Ketut Sebiyanto, Pexels

About downsizing

Whether you’re an empty-nester who no longer needs a three-bedroom home, or find yourself unexpectedly moving into a smaller placedownsizing presents a unique challenge. If life teaches us anything, it’s challenges are opportunities in disguise. In this case, it’s a chance to take inventory of the possessions that are truly important and get rid of anything that isn’t necessary or doesn’t contribute to your happiness.

Person wrapping belongings for a moveImage via Ketut Sebiyanto, Pexels

Strategy is everything

The key to a successful, stress-free move is having an effective strategy in place. Consider these points when planning your move:

  • Start early: If you need to purge for a downsize, start 90 days before your move date. Otherwise aim to start two months before; 
  • Make a checklist: List everything that needs to get done, packed, moved, switched, rented or hired, and cleaned;
  • Stock up: Make sure you have enough boxes, packing tape, packing paper, tissue paper for delicates, and a pack of Sharpies;

moving straps

  • Get moving straps, a dolly and/or hand truck: These items are lifesavers when it comes to moving heavy or bulky objects over any distance and are essential if you plan to move on your own.
  • Choose a reputable mover: The Office of Consumer Affairs advises to obtain estimates from at least three certified movers. Read their reviews, but also obtain references and be sure to read their documentation carefully.
  • Get written estimates: Ideally, movers will give an in-house assessment with a detailed written estimate, although many movers have detailed estimate forms you can complete on their websites. 
  • Add insurance: Your home insurance and that of your movers is usually enough to cover any incidentals. Items of extreme value may not be covered, so check with the mover and your broker in case additional insurance is needed on moving day.
Books packed in a box for a moveImage via kohnrebecca0, Pixabay
  • Distribute your weight: It’s easy to underestimate the combined weight of your belongings once packed. Distribute weighty items, use the smallest boxes for books and dinnerware, and largest for lighter bulky items like duvets, comforters and pillows.
  • Inventory and label: Keep an inventory as you pack and label boxes accurately. Nothing is more frustrating than rifling through 20 kitchen boxes to find a spatula when it’s time to cook.
Couple sleeping on a mattress in a new homeImage via cottonbro, Pexels
  • Remember your moving day essentials: These are the final items to pack and should include a few days’ worth of everything you will need to cook, eat, clean, bathe, dress, and sleep. It’s advisable to move these items yourself to keep them close to hand.
  • Separate important valuables: As you pack, keep your most valued possessions together so you can pack them and move them over yourself. If you have a safe or lock box, this is the best place for these items. 
  • Change your address: It’s easy to let this one slip until the last minute. Make sure to update your address with all your service providers and accounts, and request a service change for utilities, internet and telephone. If needed, set up mail forwarding through Canada Post.
packed box with a key hanging from a stringImage via congerdesign, Pixabay

What once may have been a stressful ordeal can easily turn into a smooth-running operation. Taking the time and care to follow these strategies can help remove a lot of stress from the equation when moving into a new house—especially if it’s your first home—so you can enjoy the process rather than fear it. Happy packing!


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