Do-it-yourself moving is a great option for people who have the time, the support and the strength to see it through. That said, there is a misconception that all it takes is a rental truck and a buddy. There is a lot more that goes into moving, so if you are considering a DIY option, make sure you understand what you are getting into. In all of my years in the moving business, I’ve heard horror stories of DIY moving gone wrong and, most of the time, they occur because people were not honest with themselves about risk, as well as their own capability to do the job.
If you are considering moving yourself, ask yourself these questions before you decide is moving yourself is the best option for you:
Do you have the time? Packing, loading, driving, unloading and unpacking is a big job – especially if you are working full time. Make sure you have enough time off to complete the move with as little stress as possible.
Are you physically capable of loading and unloading your items? Moving is a very physical job. Lifting heavy or bulky items for hours on end can tire even the most athletic people. Driving a truck for long hours is not for everyone. Be realistic about what your moving needs are and what you can accomplish – safety is more important than anything else.
What types of items are you moving? Some items require special treatment. Beds often need to be taken apart before moving, appliances need to be disconnected and heavy furniture can be cumbersome. Take inventory of what needs to be moved, and the work involved, prior to moving day.
Have you insured your special items? When you hire a moving company, your goods should be covered by their valuation coverage. You will also be able to purchase additional valuation for high value pieces. If you are moving yourself, you will need to insure your special belongings in case anything breaks.
Do you have help? Having people help you is ideal. People tend to underestimate how many items they actually have or how tiring loading and unloading can be. Most people need help moving furniture and bulky or heavy items. You will also need someone to stay with the moving truck while you are in and out of the house.
Is your help covered? With help comes responsibility. Moving companies have liability insurance for their employees in case of injury, which means you aren’t responsible if anyone gets hurt on the job. If you are planning on hiring help, or relying on friends and family, you need to obtain extra insurance to cover costs in case of injury.
Do you know how to pack a moving truck? Packing a moving truck properly is critical. If items are not stacked properly they can shift and cause an accident.
Have you considered your destination? Will you have help at your destination? You may need to hire labor if friends and family are not nearby. How does the size of your new home compare to your old home? If your furniture does not fit, you may end up having to buy storage upon arrival. How accessible is your destination location? You may need a different moving truck for narrow or congested streets.
Do you have the right truck? It’s not just boxes that take up space. Packing blankets, crates and unusually shaped items take up a lot of room in a truck. Make sure you plan for extra space. If you need a full moving trailer, you may need to acquire special licensing.
Some moving companies support DIY moving by providing labor or a driver. It’s worth looking into a range of moves – from full-service to total DIY – before making a final decision. Whatever you decide, just remember that safety should always be a top priority!
What other items are important to consider? Please share your thoughts below.