It’s alright to admit it, moving is immensely stressful – at least when you’re not prepared for it. And, surprisingly enough, prepared for it or not, more than 36.5 million folks moved, just like you, in 2012 alone, according to the U.S. Census. Many of those movers have confessed to feeling anxious about the big move happening soon, or were feeling overwhelmed in the middle of moving, or still feel scarred for life from enduring one or more bad moving experiences in their pasts. So, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone in how you feel.
But if anyone could at least help make the impending move easier for you, then you’d totally listen to his or her recommendations, right? We thought so. And with that in mind, we’ve gathered some great, tried-and-true wisdom from 10 moving experts who’ve kindly shared their secrets with us to pass on to all of you. As you read through this expert advice, you’ll notice some common themes in their responses – stickers for labeling, stretch plastic wrap, yard tools, power cords, toilet paper for move-in day, and more – all of which you should absolutely pull together into a to make sure you come through it all unscathed.
The Big Question:
What are the most commonly forgotten items during a move?
Jonathan Deesing, imove
“People never forget boxes, bubble wrap, and tape, but there are a number of cheap and often-neglected items that greatly simplify a move:
- Colored tape or stickers help you keep boxes organized by room.
- You can never have enough garbage bags during a move. Get a big box of big bags and keep them someplace handy.
- A large roll of stretch wrap can be a mover’s secret weapon. Use it to wrap lose shelves together or to save you time cleaning out a junk drawer.
Beyond that, the most common things people leave behind are items they forgot about well before the move. For example, if you move in the winter, you may forget that you loaned your neighbor your weed whacker last summer. The trick is to run a mental inventory on what items you loaned out or stored with friends – seasonal items are the easiest to forget. Snow tires, power tools, movies, and clothing are just a few examples.”
Michael Keaton, American Moving and Storage Association
“Often times the most commonly-forgotten items are those that are set to be packed last, such as clothes, toiletries, and kitchen appliances – like the coffee maker, or even the microwave. You also don’t want to forget anything you might have left out in the yard. Make sure you bring any vital records too, like health care, tax, veterinarian, and daycare records. And be sure to do one last search for any hidden treasures or heirlooms around the house, too!”
Bradley L., Roadie
“Moving is always chaotic, which means lots of things get left behind. Keys, power cords, clothing, kitchen utensils – you name it – are all frequently forgotten. However, some of the most frequently forgotten items are pets. As crazy as it sounds, people get so caught up in the move that they sometimes forget some of the most important things.”
Ryan Charles, Hire A Helper
“Interestingly enough, smaller items hanging on the walls can easily be – and sometimes are – overlooked. It’s like they’ve hung there for so long that you don’t even really see them as anything more than another part of the wall. Clocks and small wall hangings, as well as little knick-knacks on window sills, come to mind, along with the mover’s wood or metal family name fixture or sign hanging on the porch or front door.
After the frenzy of packing everything in sight and clearing out for the movers to handle the furniture, people can end up staring at a mess of trash, dust, and random assorted papers that have been accumulating behind the couch, desk, and dresser for years. If the mover is lucky, he or she hasn’t already packed up all the rags, towels, mops, and garbage cans and trash bags.
Of course, from time to time you get people who forget about entire closets or crawlspaces (especially the crawlspaces). And then there are the people who order pizza and Coke for the move crew – and then find out they’ve packed up all the plates, cups, and paper towels already.
Also: toilet paper. People forget to keep toilet paper handy for that first day moving into their place. Many times, you’ve got all your friends, family, and/or movers helping you, and someone has to make a run to the store because there’s no toilet paper left handy!”
Don Sturgill, Freelance Writer and Moving Expert
“Moves seem always to start out with the best organizational intentions, but somehow end up in organized chaos. From my own experience, here are the stress points movers feel most often:
- Losing the packing tape repeatedly (despite having multiple rolls)
- Packing the broom and dust pan too early
- Ditto for basic cleaning supplies: Paper towels, cleaning cloths, cleaning liquid
- Packing the coffee pot too deep and not having it accessible to get brewing at the new place
- Leaving cellphone and computer charging cords behind
- Thinking that a box that looks like garbage is garbage (but it’s not)
- Leaving behind items on top of the kitchen counters (grandma’s chicken fryer)
- Forgetting to do a final check in the fridge
- Where did that toilet plunger go?
All told, moving is ALWAYS an experience. One final word of advice: Get help from a pro. It’s an investment worth every penny, and it can often be counted as a tax deduction.”
Nancy Zafrani, Oz Moving and Storage
“Mirrors, shelves (especially glass ones), glass table tops, dishwasher contents, kitchen cabinets (especially the ones infrequently used, i.e. above the refrigerator), anything stored in the oven, bathroom medicine cabinets, things hanging on the backs of doors, silverware in drawers, refrigerator items, window treatments, and even whole storage units in the basement are all items folks frequently forget when moving.”
Joe Devost, You Move Me
“The most common items left behind include plants, old televisions and sofas, area rugs, items that can’t be disassembled (especially those from Ikea!), outdoor furniture, cleaning supplies, medication, and even mattresses. Even worse? When rushed, people forget important planning details, such as reserving an elevator or confirming house-possession details.
There is nothing worse than rushing when moving. When you rush, you leave things behind, or just forget them entirely. The best way to avoid any of these complications is to start early. As soon as you have a move date, begin the de-cluttering, packing, and organizing process.”
Rachel Miller, One Crazy House
When moving, invest in a large roll of plastic wrap. You can use it to wrap silverware drawer inserts, to wrap the drawers of your dresser closed and protect the wood from scuffs, it is even great to keep the tops of liquids like soap, detergent and make-up supplies leak proof while you transport them!
Ashley Langston, Frugal Coupon Living
“Moving can be stressful and chaotic. When we moved from Florida to Virginia, I followed the advice of some friends. The best tip I received was to write on the outside of the box the room in the new house where the box would go. This eliminated me being in charge of every box that came through the front door and allowed the movers to know where to go. We did this with a color code system – pink sticker boxes to one room, green sticker boxes to another. I also carried with me a container of extra stickers, packing tape, markers, paper, a sharp knife, and scissors. This helped me organize our new home before the movers arrived and boxes began coming through the home. The organization put in preparation saves your sanity!”
Christina Hoffman, HouseLogic
“About a week after my husband I moved into our new house, the sellers showed up to claim their forgotten barbeque grill. Oops! But that wasn’t too surprising when you think about it – it’s the things you can’t see, or the items that aren’t in the house, which are easiest to overlook in the literal frenzy of moving. (Those movers are on the clock after all!) Here are some other examples to keep in mind as well:
- Clothes still at the cleaners
- Items out for repair
- Valuables you’ve squirreled away in hiding places
- Outdoor items – Did you check the shed? What about under the deck?
And, of course, don’t forget about your barbeque grill!”
So before you even begin packing that first box, do yourself a huge favor and remember what almost everyone else forgets – preparation. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” as Alexander Graham Bell, the father of the telephone, so wisely shared. And with that, all of these experts have made it through multiple moves just fine. So feel free to snag a couple pages out of their books to add to your own moving guide. You’ll reduce your stress and thank yourself later for it – and no things, pets, or people will get left behind!