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11 Useful Moving Tips to Save you Time and Money

By Sarah Selhi

Moving out is a process that most people loathe. The resources, the planning, and time involved are a number of reasons why individuals are wary of relocating. However, saving time and money during the process will always take a big weight off your shoulders. Planning smart before moving is a vital tool which enables you to avoid wasting your time and money. Below are some of my top moving tips to assist you during your moving process.

Choose the right time to move

Your timing is an essential aspect in determining the moving costs you incur. Moving at the end of the week or month can be quite expensive. However, relocating mid-month or mid-week is cheaper since fewer people are relocating. The busiest time of the year for movers is from May to September. In Montreal, everyone moves July 1st! If you are planning to move during the peak season, it is always a good idea to plan and book ahead once you have your move date set: 4 – 6 weeks is optimal to book a mover prior to your relocation.

Find a moving company that you can work with smoothly

I’ve heard numerous horror stories about moving companies. The most significant ones are the scenario where you’re quoted one rate, have all of your belongings loaded into the truck, only to find they pull over in a parking lot demanding more money from you. You’re held hostage. Think this doesn’t happen? I’ve literally heard this from several of my friends and family members. I can’t imagine, in this day and age, that this is occurring. With all of the Google Reviews, personal recommendations, and Better Business Bureau ratings, you would think it’s no longer happening, but it does. Do your homework and be sure to sign contracts ahead of time.

In addition, be sure to get a few quotes. Recently, we helped one woman move her parents out of their home. The discrepancy in rates was staggering. For a 4-bedroom home, one company (who shall not be named but is extremely well known) wanted to charge double the rate of the second company. They were also keen to load her up with far more movers (6 people!) than she required. Be careful. While moving can be expensive, it pays to plan ahead.

Should you get insurance in case of damage? Most home insurance will cover you both for your old and new home for 30 days. The minute your first item is moved from Space A to Space B, you’re covered at both addresses. It goes without saying, however, that you’ll need to tell your insurer of your upcoming move, one to 2 months ahead of time. Your costs will likely change as the home characteristics may increase or decrease your premiums. Consider the following factors: flooding likelihood, security of neighbourhoods, whether there is a fireplace, proximity to a fire hydrant.

Plan early, pack and donate.

The sooner you know you’re moving; the faster you should start packing items that are not going to be used over the next month or two. Consider putting away all of your unused glassware, unused kids toys, and non-seasonal clothing first. Better still, start with two boxes of each. One where you’ll pack and take with you, one that you’ll donate. If you must throw away, be very thoughtful before you do. Consider there are items which might not be good to donate here in Canada, but I’ve heard that children in Haiti wear tires on their feet – if it’s better than a tire, find a good church group or organization that does regular trips to countries in need.

Understand your “space” challenges

Searching for a new home or apartment can be tedious and time-consuming, particularly if you’re new to the area. If you intend to buy, companies such as have various useful programs for first-time-buyers of mortgages.

Once that new place is selected, you might find yourself in a situation where you have more or less space than you need. In the case of less space, the art of “downsizing” becomes crucial. In addition to donating items, you might find that selling items on or VarageSale will not only make you some extra cash, you can also put that towards the moving expenses. In our last home, I literally sold enough furniture to pay the movers!

In addition, you might find that you need to store some items outside of your home. The immediate question is where? Self-storage is very costly and pick-up and drop-off services are expensive but convenient. When considering these options, ask yourself the following:

How often will I need to access my belongings?

Is money a consideration when storing my items?

How long do I need to store (this is often very under-estimated)?

And finally, are there items I can get rid of, for good, to save on cost and energy.

Once you’ve considered these questions, know there are options outside of self-storage and pick-up services. The concept of shared-storing is now a hot topic: people are opening up their homes to earn money, while their neighbours book space online as one might with a traditional self-storage facility.  The difference is convenience and cost. Renting storage through a shared economy site like SpaceiShare, allows you to save over 50% from what you would spend at a storage locker, and it’s usually in your neighbourhood. Make sure the company has a comprehensive legal and insurance plan, to ensure both parties are protected. At the end of the day, you save money, your host makes money — it’s win-win!

Alternatively, if you have extra space in your new home, consider opening up your basement, garage, shed or extra bedroom to someone in the neighbourhood. This goes a long way towards helping you with the new rent or mortgage and certainly better than noisy tenants!

Leave the old house in good condition

When moving from a rented apartment, you might have been asked for a security deposit when you first moved in (technically this isn’t allowed in several provinces). Getting your security deposit back can help offset additional bills, so it’s essential that you leave your old house in the best condition. Not only is it nice to do, but also leaving a house in a deplorable condition isn’t good for your karma.

Pack and move out smartly

Packing can prove to be a daunting task and for that reason, you should do it intelligently. Items of the same nature need to be placed in similar packing bags and labeled. For instance, when packing up your kitchen, don’t just label your box “kitchen.” Print out proper labels and indicate what is actually in that box. For instance, instead of “dishes” – try being more specific, like “fancy dishes, plates, cups, and saucers.” Smart packing reduces the amount of baggage and makes it easy to settle in your new place.

If you are going to be the movers, then how you pack your truck will also make a difference. Recently my sister asked me this question. She was moving from one apartment to another in Vancouver, and wanted to know how to pack a truck.

Finish up your food and drinks stock

Once you have settled on the moving date, avoid refilling your food stock. Instead, strive to use up the content in your fridge. Moving your fridge with contents in it is messy. Be sure to throw out old condiments (I had something four years old in mine!) and be creative in the kitchen as you use up all of your frozen items that had a future purpose (but to date haven’t been used).

If you are doing a long-distance move or moving over a few days, do not move important items:

  • Frozen/refrigerated food
  • Plants and potted trees
  • Open non-perishable food items
  • Wine (ask your movers for wine transportation if it’s a large collection).

The temperature changes can damage the above-mentioned items and better to be moved carefully in your own vehicle or not at all.

Plan for moving day (food, drinks)

The day of moving is usually activity-filled. With the numerous activities to undertake, you might go the whole day without eating. Ensure you make plans to have something simple to eat. A simple bottle of water and snacks is enough to replenish your energy. If you’re moving with friends, or even if you have movers, it’s very much appreciated you supply pizza, bottles of water, beer, cold beverages, and anything else that will make everyone’s day nicer. Moving is tough, and even if people are doing this for a living, a little kindness goes a long way.

Keep personal stuff with you – valuables, medication, and important documents

Once you’ve moved in, the best thing you can do is prepare a box of essentials that you require immediately. This includes clothes for the next 2 days, bed sheets, toiletries, chargers and electronics and, of course, important keys for cars, offices, etc. In addition, you certainly cannot allow the moving company to handle your important documents or personal effects. When packing, ensure to pack all your important documents and personal effects separately. The only way you can guarantee the safety of your important stuff is if you take them yourself.

Fragile items can make the moving process complicated. Therefore, you should use storage materials that do not expose the fragile items to breakage. More to that, be sure to pack such things smartly to avoid excessive movement that may subject them to damage. Here’s a good list to start:

  • Valuable Jewelry, furs, cash, gift cards, and checkbooks
  • Guns and firearms
  • Important documents (birth, marriage & death certificates, SIN cards, passports, deeds, stocks, bonds, and securities, insurance policies, home-closing papers)
  • Electronics (laptops, tablets, phones, computer hard drives)
  • Valuable collections such as wine or stamps or coins
  • Family photos and videos, small heirlooms, ashes (yes, do not pack that!

Alert service providers & Canada Post

Notifying service providers is an important step to ensure you don’t double the costs of services. This means your cable, electricity, phone, banks, loan providers and more. Of course, you’ll forget a bunch of companies. That’s why you’ll need to have all your mail forwarded by Canada Post. They provide an affordable service allowing you to have ongoing mail forwarding for as long as you need it.

Do not transport hazardous items

I had no idea about this, but when transporting belongings, and for the safety of your shipment, there are several items that are illegal to move on moving trucks. Similarly, these are items that are not allowed in storage either:

  • Aerosol cans regardless of content
  • Nail polish/remover
  • Gas, propane or oxygen in bottles or tanks (lawnmowers are okay so long as the gas tank is empty)
  • Paints, varnishes, solvents, thinners, and oils
  • Ammonia, bleach and other household cleaning agents
  • Chlorine granules or powder
  • Hydrochloric acid (aka Muriatic acid)
  • Car batteries
  • Charcoal/lighter fluid, lighters and matches
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Ammunition
  • Fireworks & flares
  • Fertilizer
  • Any other combustible product

These items are flammable or combustible, so they cannot be moved on the truck as a safety precaution to prevent fires. Other items, such as cleaning agents and bleach, are both flammable and if they leak they could potentially ruin your furniture on the shipment. Be sure to discard these items before your move or move them in your own vehicle.

Poor preparations can make moving a stressful process, however, with proper planning, you not only move seamlessly but you also save time and money. These tips are a perfect guide to help you relocate with ease and settle in your new location within no time.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash