Moving Etiquette: 9 Tips to Help Your Moving Day Go More Smoothly
When moving day finally arrives, you get to heave a sigh of relief. The days of packing and planning are over, and now all that’s left is to get settled in your new home. However, moving day is a collaborative effort — whether you’re working with professional movers or having friends help, it’s worth considering how moving etiquette makes the process easier for everyone involved on the big day.
Here are nine steps you can take during your move to make the day fly by and keep everyone in good spirits.
1. Have everything packed and ready to go
When you wake up on moving day, your belongings should already be packed up, labeled, and ready to be loaded onto the truck. You might need to pack a few toiletries and linens the morning of the move, but the vast majority of packing should be completed in advance. This lets your movers arrive and get to work immediately.
2. Pack neatly and label clearly
Before the movers arrive, do a final check to make sure all your things are boxed up securely in easy-to-carry containers. Avoid presenting your movers with a pile of belongings in garbage bags.
Additionally, the more clearly you label boxes, the better. Use a bold marker to write where each box should go, with a room and secondary designation (for example, canned goods, toys, books) if necessary. To help make things easier in your new home, don’t forget to tape signage with that information so that boxes are set in the correct room (e.g., main bedroom, bedroom 2, main bathroom, bathroom 2, etc.).
To help avoid any potential confusion during the move, make sure you or someone else has an inventory list — including boxes and furniture — to check off as items are moving out of your old home and into your new one. You don’t want to find yourself wondering and asking whether everything made the move.
Finally, be sure to mark containers carrying sharp or fragile items.
3. Keep prohibited and sensitive items separate
There are a number of items your movers either can’t or shouldn’t handle — hazardous materials, alcohol, combustible items, plants, and pets, just to name a few. Get a list of prohibited items from your moving company in advance, and keep these things out of the way when your movers arrive. You may even want to label the pile with a sign that explicitly reads “do not move.” Also separate out any sensitive items such as medication, personal documents, jewelry, and other valuables so you can transport them yourself.
4. Make necessary arrangements ahead of time
Do you need to reserve an elevator for your movers? Or get a parking pass or permit for the moving truck? Take care of these administrative tasks before moving day — otherwise, your movers may be left waiting around. If you’re moving on a cold or snowy day, shovel and salt the sidewalks and pathways before your movers arrive.
5. Have moving supplies available, just in case
Reputable moving companies will bring all their own supplies, including dollies, hand trucks, moving blankets, door stops, and tools for disassembling furniture. Still, if you have any of these supplies yourself, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra set handy. Even if the movers don’t need them, you can use them to transport items to and from your car.
If you’re moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, plan to have safety necessities easily accessible for friends or movers, at both the home you’re moving out of and the one you’re moving into: extra masks, sanitizer, disinfectant, plenty of paper towels and hand soap. Movers will have their own protocols in place, but steps like disinfecting high-touch areas (such as doorknobs) during the move can be helpful.
6. Offer refreshments
Moving is extremely hard work — which is likely why you hired movers in the first place — so it’s always a nice gesture to offer refreshments to your movers. Put out bottles of water, especially in the summer, or offer hot coffee or cocoa in cold weather.
If your move will take several hours, expect your movers to get hungry. Consider buying them a pizza or another quick meal (or at least offer to). You can also supply snacks such as fruit or granola bars.
COVID-19 protocols may prevent movers from accepting refreshments, but the gesture will likely be appreciated.
7. Help, but don’t hover
When the movers are actively doing their work, you might be tempted to lend a hand. But it’s actually best to stay out of the way, as they have a system for moving boxes and loading trucks.
You’ll still be involved in the process — there’s plenty you can do on moving day. You’ll want to keep kids and pets safely out of the path of the movers, and you can also work on packing your own car up with any items you’ll transport yourself. This is also a good time for a final sweep: Unplug electronics and appliances, pack food from the fridge, and take everything off the walls.
Stay close just in case your movers have questions, but try not to hover! Assuming you’ve hired a reputable moving company and packed properly, there’s no need to remind movers that boxes are fragile.
8. Tip your movers
It’s customary to tip movers — remember to have cash ready ahead of time. As a rule of thumb, give each person 5% of the total cost of the move. If you’re paying $1,000, that would mean $50 for each mover. However, you can bump up your tip to 10% or more if the movers went above and beyond by hauling oversized items or carrying boxes up several flights of stairs.
If your friends or family will help you move, provide food and drinks for them after the fact as thanks for their help. They’re also sure to appreciate a bottle of wine, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or even a gift basket.
9. Avoid haggling
Don’t try to haggle the price when it’s time to pay your movers. Most moving companies provide quotes in advance, so any negotiation should take place before you hire them. Trying to shave money off at the last minute is poor moving etiquette and shows a lack of respect for the movers.
In a successful move, everyone works together. While some aspects of moving etiquette are specific to moving day, basic etiquette goes far — being considerate and communicative throughout your move paves the way for a seamless journey to your new home.