Our movers love to move quickly and efficiently, so take it from me, it’s definitely not a weird thing to help your own mover. Helping them is more than just a load off their backs: the faster they can get done, the more money you will save.
To help move your move along, I can say from experience that these 10 areas are the best, most useful things you can do ahead of your Hybrid move. Of course, most movers will be happy to do the things on this list for you, but do everyone a favor – yourself included – and consider being mover ready if you’re looking to save the absolute most amount of money. I’ll tell them it was your idea.
1. Disconnect and unplug as many electronics, lamps, and appliances as possible
See all those cords and wires back there on the floor behind the TV stand? That dusty tangle of connections for your DVD player, Xbox and iPod portal? Nice, huh? Your movers, of course, would be happy to get down on their hands and knees and spend half an hour disconnecting that mess…but is that really what you want to be paying them for?
Tip: Make things easy on yourself at the other end of your move by labeling or otherwise organizing all those cords. Put them in Ziploc bags, or simply wrap them in newspaper and label them with a big, fat marker.
2. Get everything off of every single wall
Yes, you are already off-the-wall crazy with everything you have to do (har har). But this can be done little-by-little in five or ten second increments weeks ahead of your move.
It’s this simple: when you walk past any picture, take it down. Place it right there against the wall on the floor. Better yet, find some out-of-the-way wall space where you can lean ALL your pictures, paintings, clocks and mirrors. Do the same with all your smaller picture frames from the side tables and shelves. You’ll have saved your movers a lot of precious time.
Tip: Keep a small bag for all those nails and hanger things – you’ll want them when it’s time to start decorating your new home.
3. Strip your mattress and fold your bedding
Instantly make your bed move-ready by stripping the mattress and folding up all your bedding ahead of your move. If the movers are packing you up, they’ll only have to stick those blankets, pillows and sheets inside a box. If you are doing your own packing, then have a box ready by your bed so that you can get one box packed before you’re even out of your pajamas.
4. Take the front wheels off your bicycles
Got a bicycle? Or a few? Consider removing the front wheels. Bicycles don’t fit into a loaded truck so readily with the handlebars sticking out on both sides. Bikes are also usually among the last items to be loaded onto the truck, when there’s often not a lot of space.
If you are inexperienced you may risk damaging your bike, so be gentle with your two-wheeled buddy. Flip that lever, open the brake caliper and slip that front wheel off. YouTube is your friend.
Tip: Keep that wheel with the rest of the bike – you’ll need it later. Sounds facetious but we’ve seen that front wheel get set aside for last and then end up forgotten – almost…
Tip #2: Your rear derailleur is both fragile and expensive. Protect it by shifting the chain onto the largest sprocket. This keeps it closer to the wheel for an extra ounce of protection against getting bent or broken.
5. Make a space for anything you don’t want them to touch
In preparing for your move you’ll find a whole host of items you’ll want to keep on hand: phone, charger, maps, stuff to mail, bathroom junk, cigarette lighter…you get the idea. You might want to designate a place for all the stuff you don’t want packed or moved. A kitchen counter is usually a good choice – push all that stuff into a marked box, or in a pile against the wall where there will also likely be an outlet to keep your gadgets charged.
6. Don’t forget: clear and defrost your freezer
Not remembering this one, or even doing it poorly, will set you back a ton. The added benefit of doing this ahead of time is that you now have to do something with all that food. Like the saying goes, you can’t take it with you. Eat it, donate it, or give it to your neighbor.
Tip: DO NOT use an ice pick, screwdriver, pocket knife or any other metal object to break up that unwanted ice sculpture in the freezer. It is way too easy to put a hole in the siding (not that any of us have ever done it.) Leave the door open (don’t forget to unplug!) and let it melt. Put a bath towel down to soak up the water. If you are pressed for time splash the ice with warm water. Be warned, this can get messy.
7. Drain your mowers and blowers because movers cannot transport gas
Among the things movers are not allowed to put on their truck or in a rental truck or container are oil and gasoline – and that includes what’s in your lawn mower (and your snowblower, your leaf blower and that old moped with the flat tires.) Running these machines out of gas might be one option, but siphoning it into your neighbor’s mower is a nice gesture. Not to mention a nod to the environment.
Remember that propane tanks are another moving van no-no. Movers will likely refuse to take them, even if they are certified empty. Some people feel comfortable emptying their propane tanks by burning the propane (Bar-Be-QUE!) or letting it leak out (the rotten egg smell indicates there is still propane in the air.) We recommend erring on the side of caution and leaving them with someone, turning them in (Home Depot, Lowe’s etc.) or selling them (Craigslist is an oft-used option.)
Tip: Our friends at This Old House offer us step-by-step instructions right here for storing a lawn mower, applicable to preparing your lawn mower for the move.
8. Break down the shelves
I’m especially talking about those plastic and metal shelving units out in the garage. This may be logistically challenging if your shelves are loaded with stuff your movers will be packing up, but if you have the floor space, put those shelf items in organized piles and disassemble them yourself. The plastic type usually come apart pretty quickly, so weigh the time you save your movers versus the time it will take to move all that stuff onto the floor. You may find it’s not even worth it, but sometimes it absolutely is. Your call.
Tip: If you decide to take apart those shelf units, finish the job by tying the pieces together with some string or twine. Make your bundles manageable – 3 or 4 shelf pieces and 4 to 6 upright pieces each.
9. Know where things go ahead of time!
We realize how hectic the days and weeks leading up to move day can be. Rare is the customer who has no last-minute issues to handle. But you’ll be relieved – and pretty proud of yourself – if you can tell your movers exactly what goes and what doesn’t and exactly where you envision it all. Let’s just say that on moving day, no one wants to have to think just what to do with that old wooden rocking horse.
Tip: Check out this cool way to color code your things and make knowing where everything is going super easy.
10. Get your friends to help
I know what you’re thinking: I hired people to move my stuff, why the heck would I do any of the work? Fair point. But this isn’t about doing any hard labor or anything that would really put you out. Your friends can help you with the things on this list and make moving even easier.
Movers seriously don’t mind if you want to sip lemonade. Let us take care of the sofa, bed and aquarium while you get the easy stuff if you want to speed things up. An extra few set of hands before the movers are on the scene can cut your move time by even one hour, which can sometimes literally save you hundreds.