As peak moving season approaches, familiarize yourself with these packing and safety tips
Seeing an uptick in moving trucks around your neighborhood? It’s not just your imagination – summer is peak moving season. More than half of moves, about 52 percent, occur between May 1 and September 30, according to the most recent industry trend report by American Moving & Storage Association, a trade organization. Follow these tips to ease your planning and give you peace of mind for your move.
Begin to plan your move as early as possible, says John Bisney, director of public relations at AMSA. In addition to relieving some stress, planning in advance could save you money.
For instance, it’s typically more affordable to move mid-week, says Bob Wesson, vice president of retail store operations at U-Haul. Those who can take time off work and move on a weekday have an advantage.
During the summer, it’s especially important to consider logistics sooner rather than later, because movers tend to book up quickest during these months.
“The minute that you know you want to make a move and you’ve got some dates, that’s when you need to start shopping [for moving services],” Bisney says.
Also, take time to thoroughly research potential moving companies. Wesson suggests reading consumer reviews of movers that will offer opinions and tips on how to best interact with moving companies. Another option is to consult the Better Business Bureau, or get referrals from friends and family.
After you have narrowed down your list, get at least three in-person estimates, Bisney says. He warns that with online estimates, a company might agree to a price initially but raise it on moving day when they see the amount of furniture and other items in person. At that point, it will be too late to switch to a less expensive company because it’ll be time to move.
When packing up your home, take care with important items or sensitive documents. Moving companies may provide boxes and packaging supplies to help with fragile or bulky items.
As for paperwork, you never know who will be go through old mail and other documents after you’re gone, so it’s important to protect yourself from identity theft.
“Moving is a huge time of upheaval for you and your family, and the last thing you’re thinking about is identity theft – when it should be the first thing you’re thinking about,” says Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education at credit-reporting firm Experian’s ProtectMyID program.
Be sure to change your address with the post office. This is especially important when it comes to financial or medical documents, so contact the bank and doctors’ offices to ensure they know where to send papers as well, Frost says.
A paper shredder should be one of the last things you pack. Place it in a prominent place, so all members of the family are constantly reminded to shred any document before throwing it away. When moving, people tend to throw out items they wouldn’t normally, so stay vigilant about this, Frost says.
Another precaution to take while moving is to check that you are properly insured against any damage to your property – including the physical home as well as your possessions. Some insurance policies cover moving damages but most do not, Wesson says. If you’re not already covered, moving companies often will sell their own insurance packages.
“It’s inexpensive, really, for what you’re doing,” Wesson says of paying for insurance to protect your property. “You’re moving your life, house, possessions you’ve worked your whole life to accrue.”