Tips You’ll Need: How to Master Your DIY Move

Tips You’ll Need: How to Master Your DIY Move

Woman standing in front of moving boxes to complete her DIY move

Moving in itself can be a very stressful event. However, attempting a do-it-yourself move alone without professional help can be even more stressful. The best way to make sure your move is stress-free is to plan ahead. From do-it-yourself moving trucks and companies to packing tips and tricks, this article will provide several tips and resources to ensure your DIY move runs as smoothly as possible.

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Prepare Yourself Before the Move

It is important when doing a DIY move that you prepare yourself well before the big day. This means you have done your research on do-it-yourself moving trucks and companies if that is the route you choose to take. Additionally, you will want to make sure you have carefully packed your belongings into boxes and bags to make the move easier. 

When moving out of my college apartment, I spent the week before the move packing everything away in boxes. Additionally, I made sure I carefully labeled everything.

Then, I started stacking the boxes in one corner of my apartment, while stacking my furniture in another corner. This ensured my do-it-yourself move went as quickly and smoothly as possible on moving day. Even more so, it helped me determine what size truck I was going to need to move all of my belongings.

Label Everything

However, if you are a control freak like me, you may want to get even more specific than just labeling the boxes with the room they need to go to. In this case, you can utilize an online spreadsheet to know exactly which boxes hold which items.

For instance, in addition to labeling a box “kitchen”, or “bedroom”, you would also give the box a number. Then, on a corresponding document, you would have a list of these numbers. Under each number, you will list what items are in that specific box.

Photo of a couple labeling boxes for their DIY move

If you are moving a rather large amount of items, this can be extremely helpful for the first day in your new place. Need a spatula? Now you know it is in box 4. Need your bed linens? No problem, those are in box 6.

Want to take a shower after a long day of moving? Great, the towels are in box 2. The last thing anyone wants to do is to dig through countless boxes looking for one specific item they need.

Book Your DIY Moving Truck In Advance

Moving truck rentals can book up fast, so it is important to make sure you reserve your truck in advance, especially if you plan to move out of state. Companies like UHaul offer moving trucks you can drive yourself, whether it be for a short or long-distance move.

It is important to take note of any additional costs associated with renting a moving truck, such as insurance and gas, that may make the cost of renting a truck go up. Additionally, if you are moving out-of-state or long distances, be sure to check in on the moving truck company’s policy on returning the vehicle, and whether there is a location you can return the truck to that is near your new home.

Another advantage to booking your moving truck in advance is you will have the first pick of the size of vehicles. When I moved out of my college dorm, I made the mistake of procrastinating reserving a moving truck, and all of the sizes I needed were already booked. I ended up having to size up my vehicle, which led to me spending even more money in the long run.

Use Proper Supplies

One thing you will not want to skip over in your DIY move is proper moving supplies. This means you will have sturdy boxes and packing tape to keep all of your belongings together.

In addition to the basics, be sure to note if you will need other items such as dollies or moving blankets. While you can purchase these items, many moving companies, such as UHaul, will rent certain moving tools. Companies offer these items, such as dollies and moving blankets, for single-use at a decent price.

Image of a dolly that could be used during a DIY move to help move boxes or furniture

Not sure of the best way to package all of your items or what you will need? Check out our blog post, “The Easy Guide To Packing Moving Boxes” for help on how to best package your belongings. 

It is important to make sure you pack your belongings in a careful and strategic manner. This helps to keep your items from getting lost or damaged. Keep in mind packing is somewhat of a strategic art. If you pack your boxes too full they may be too heavy to carry or they can break the bottom of the box. On the contrary, if the items are packed too loosely your things could break or get damaged.

How to Move Your Car

In addition to moving your belongings, you will most likely need to move your car. The most obvious option if you have someone else to help you with driving your moving truck, is to simply drive your personal vehicle yourself. If you plan on driving your moving truck yourself, there are a few alternative options you can look into.

One of the simplest ways is to ship the car with a professional vehicle transporter. Many companies, such as Fidelity Auto Shipping, will place your vehicle into an enclosed trailer or on an open-air trailer for transport. While the cost of shipping your car will vary based on the distance traveled and type of vehicle, this is a more expensive option.

However, some people don’t love the idea of their car being on an open-air trailer. Remember to keep in mind some areas do allow cars to be shipped via Amtrak train. Be sure to check if this option is available to you, as not every location offers this service. If you are still not comfortable with having your car shipped, you can hire a professional driver to drive your vehicle to your new home.

Coordinate With Your New Place

Before packing all of your stuff into the truck and driving to your new place, be sure to check in with your landlord on when you are able to move in. Some apartment complexes have specific days of the week they allow new tenants to move in.

This is especially true for apartments in large cities. The last thing you want during your DIY move is to drive all the way to your new home only to find out you can’t move in right away.

However, you may want to even take a step further than figuring out what days you can move in. It may be worth it to double-check move-in specifics with your new apartment complex.

This includes whether or not they have an elevator, and where you can park your moving truck. This will also play a factor in deciding what size truck you will need. Additionally, it helps determine what moving supplies you will need to rent or buy.

For instance, if the only street you can park your truck on for the move is a small and narrow alley, a 20ft truck will not be as smart of an option as maybe a 10ft or even 15ft truck.

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Start Early

Once you have the do-it-yourself moving truck booked and moving day is here, be sure to get an early start. This will help you get the move done in (hopefully) one to two days. Furthermore, it ensures you won’t be out in the heat moving boxes and furniture.

Additionally, getting started early with your DIY move may help you avoid traffic. Most importantly, it gives you time at the end of the day. You can use this extra time to relax and start getting settled into your new home.

In addition to getting started early, be sure you have a plan on how you want to pack the vehicle. As mentioned before, there is a certain science to moving. Making sure you get a head start doesn’t mean anything if you waste the whole morning deciding the best way to load up the truck.

Consider Hiring a Labor-Only Moving Company

While not entirely a DIY move, hiring a labor-only moving company is another great option. That way you get help with the heavy lifting while still not shelling out the amount full-service movers would charge. Labor-only services mean the physical moving boxes or furniture in and out of the truck will be taken care of. The planning parts of the move still fall on you. However, packing services are offered by some companies, upon request.

Labor-Only Movers Helping Move A Couch for DIY Move

However, you may choose not to hire a moving company. In that case, be sure to enlist a few friends or family members to help out on moving day. DIY may mean do-it-yourself, but that doesn’t mean you need to face the entire move on your own.

Even more so, moving large pieces of furniture by yourself can be dangerous. When moving to a new home, the last thing anyone wants is to hurt themselves.

Keep Insurance In Mind

If you are planning on moving, getting yourself moving insurance is a must. By law, moving companies (such as UniMovers) are required to provide some kind of coverage. If any items were to get lost, damaged, or stolen, moving insurance provides you with protection. Keep in mind there are several types of moving insurance available. The three main types of moving insurance include released-value insurance, full-value insurance, and third-party insurance.

Released-value insurance is what most would consider being “basic” moving insurance. For the most part, this type of insurance often only covers about 60 cents for each pound of damaged items. Full-value insurance is a step above released-value insurance. While full-value insurance is offered by most moving companies, it is a bit more expensive than released-value insurance. With this type of insurance companies will cover the cost of damages up to the agreed-upon limit.

Finally, third-party insurance is a type of insurance that is typically combined with released-value insurance. Third-party insurance will help cover the gap in liability covered by your released-value insurance. This type of insurance will help cover losses caused by a third party. However, try to keep in mind this kind of protection can be costly. If you would like to read more about moving insurance, be sure to check out our earlier blog post, “Everything You Need To Know About Moving Insurance“.

Final Thoughts

While moving can be stressful, preparing yourself properly for the move will ensure everything runs smoothly. From using the proper supplies to getting your rental truck and any extra help you may need to be coordinated before the big day, your do-it-yourself move will be a huge success if you follow the tips and tricks provided in this article.

I am originally from a small town in Western Maryland. Currently, I am a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington studying Communication and Pre-Law, and will be attending law school in Cincinnati in the fall. In my free time I love to try out new coffee shops, go to the beach with my friends, and spend quality time with my family.