If you’ve ever moved, you probably know that everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to go about it.
Well, don’t let your already tenuous grip on sanity fall prey to their well-meaning moving advice. Because moving is stressful enough without crazy talk and terrible pointers. So here are the four common moving myths that will almost certainly derail you, if you let them. Beware!
1. Free moving boxes are best
Free is good, right?
Not necessarily, when it comes to moving boxes.
While you may be tempted to head to your friendly neighborhood liquor store to plead for castoff cartons, resist the urge. You should never skimp on boxes, even if that means you have to pony up a few bucks for them, says storage and organization expert Emma Gordon of Clutter.com, an on-demand storage service.
“Boxes should have top and bottom flaps so they can be taped shut, handle cutouts on the sides for easier carrying, and be more or less square,” Gordon says.
And they shouldn’t be wider than your shoulders. Any more than that and Gordon says you’ll have to carry boxes by holding your arms out and away from your body, which will wear you out faster.
The ideal moving box should be made of thick cardboard and be easy to stack on a dolly. It should also have a designated area for writing what’s inside the box, and have the weight limit printed on the outside so you know what it can carry without ripping.
There’s an unsuspecting advantage to buying boxes: Their uniform size makes it easy to gauge how many you’ll be able to pack in the truck based on the dimensions of the truck and a little math. Also, they’re way less likely to fall apart at the worst possible moments.
But if you do decide to go the free route, be careful about what you bring home from the grocer. Packing your possessions in free produce boxes could mean you’re joined by unwanted insects in your new home.
2. All markers are created equal
Instead of grabbing any old marker you have lying around, Gordon suggests color coding the writing on boxes so that everyone knows what goes where in your new home.
“Permanent markers are best since they work on a wide variety of packing material,” Gordon says. “Choose a marker with a thicker tip, so it’s easier to read.”
Along with jotting down the contents of the boxes, make sure to put an arrow facing up so everyone knows how the box should be loaded and carried, says Dustin Black, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Black Tie Moving.
“If you have delicate or fragile items in the box, make a note on at least two sides of the box,” he adds.
3. There are some things you can’t pack until moving day
It’s tempting to wait until the last minute to pack up personal items and bedding if you’re using them on your final night in your old digs. But that can create chaos and increase the odds of something getting left behind or misplaced.
Instead, have everything packed up and ready to go on moving day, Black says. Not only will that help reduce the chance for problems, but it’s also good for your wallet, too.
“Lack of preparation is the No. 1 reason why consumers experience higher-than-expected moving costs,” Black says.
That’s because you could wind up paying professional movers to stand around while you pack up those last few incidentals.
“Pack personal items like medicines, pet food, toiletries, school items for kids, a few days of clothes, as though you’re going on a two- to three-day vacation,” Black suggests. “That way it’s easier to find the essentials you’ll need to muddle through a move during the first day or two in a new home.”
4. You should always move on Friday
Perhaps you think Friday is the best day to move because it gives you the whole weekend to unpack.
But here’s the reality: Everybody else is thinking that, too. And that extra demand means higher costs. Movers charge more on weekends and at the beginning and the end of the month because that’s typically when they’re the busiest.
“You can see rates 20% to 30% higher during those times,” Black says.
Most moving companies also charge more in the spring and summer than they do during the fall and winter, Black says.
And it isn’t just your wallet that’ll be affected: If you move during a peak time, it can mean crews are stretched thin and you might have to settle for movers with less experience, Black says.
No matter when you choose to move, you should make sure to book movers three to four weeks in advance to lock in the day and time you want.
“Getting to the heart of move-related myths like these can make a drastic difference on moving day,” Gordon says. “It can be the line between stress and bliss.”