The key to a successful move is organization. Get written estimates and check for a good performance record if you choose a professional mover. Check around with a few different companies before choosing one.
If you are moving valuable, fragile pieces, be sure to ask about the mover's breakage policy. Standard insurance provided by moving companies normally only allows a percentage of the value of your broken property. Even if full value protection costs more, it would be worth it if you have a lot of valuable property to move. Let the company know if you have any special requirements on moving your things.
Some moving companies charge by the weight of your things after they are loaded. Then they'll also add additional charges for packing, insurance and etc. If the cost is higher than the estimate, they will bill you accordingly. Reputable moving companies are willing to give a more concise estimate. They will tell you a range they won't exceed after a thorough inspection of the items that are going to be moved.
You should start packing room by room at least two to three weeks in advance. Visit your local stores and ask for empty boxes. This will save money and most will be happy to save themselves the trouble of disposing of them. Package stores are a great place to get boxes. Start out packing the least used items such as knickknacks, books, out of season clothing, etc. Pack heavy things in smaller containers. Your packages should not bulge on the sides or cave in at the top when closed. Just keep remembering that your things may not be covered by the mover's insurance so try to pack well.
If possible, pack things such as computers, stereo systems, and other electronic equipment in their original packaging. If you didn't save those boxes, wrap the equipment in plastic and use good sturdy boxes, padded if possible, with 'fragile' clearly marked on the sides. Things like tapes, disks, and records can be damaged by heat. It is best to transport these items with you or through a mailing shipper that has shipping policies on fragile items, such as UPS or USPS. Other things you should consider taking with you are valuable items and legal or important documents.
If you don't already have a filing system, this would be an excellent time to start one. Purchase a file box, safe, or filing type folders. Rent a safe deposit box for vital records. Separate your tax files and new home product warranties and manuals into different folders in your filing system.
When the moving company packs for you, they normally come a day or two before the actual move. Be sure to hang around and watch them pack and move your things. Let the professional movers handle your antiques and fragile items. The mover can provide special cartons and packing instructions for items such as your mattresses, dishes, mirrors, and clothes. They will not move plants, firewood, or any type of flammable items.
Making a Floor Plan
Draw a floor plan of the new home for the movers so they will know where to put beds, tables, and other heavy items. Don't take old items you no longer use with you. Throw them away, give them to goodwill, or have a moving sale. If your new home is organized from the beginning, your transition will go smoother. You don't want to use the storage space in your new home as a dumping ground for things you don't need.
One of the most important things during your move will be the shipping document. Go over the checklist of inventory with the mover. This will be used again at the new location and you will need to sign it after inspecting the items moved.
If you are moving everything by yourself, plan carefully. Figure out how much stuff you have to move, where it will go in the new home, how long you have to do it, and how much help you will have before you rent a vehicle to move everything. Make plans with family and friends to help with the move. Talk to them about the items that will require special handling. Know ahead of time how you will deal with large, heavy items and delicate, fragile items to avoid delays, problems, and regrets later.
It takes time to settle in your new home, so pack some things separately. Pack as if you were going away for a weekend and staying at a hotel. Keep necessities and your most common cooking utensils in an easy to access location so that you will not have to start unpacking and rooting through boxes immediately upon arrival at the new house. You will be much more comfortable taking your time unpacking and having the option of finding the right place for things on the first try.