The average American moves 11.3 times in their life.
That’s a lot of loading and unloading of moving trucks.
But in addition to the costs associated with all that moving, it’s always a week or two of anxiety until you’re sure your most valued and valuable possessions have made it across town or across the country in one piece.
The fact is, not everything needs to go on the truck. Moving many of your treasured belongings can be done personally by you. Whether to prevent breaking grandma’s antique mirror or losing important documents, there are a few things you should always leave off the truck and move by yourself.
If you are afraid it’s going to break and can fit it in your car, move it yourself.
Valuables, especially delicate ones, should never be trusted to even the best of movers. If something of value – either monetary or sentimental – breaks or gets misplaced, you’re going to be much more upset if the movers did it than if you did.
Take all your antiques, climate-susceptible artwork, expensive jewelry, Star Wars figures, baseball cards, photo albums and family heirlooms, pack them up with a ludicrous amount of bubble wrap and put them in the car.
Your most important documents should never go in the moving truck. Essential and confidential legal, insurance, medical and financial documents should be with you at all times. This includes items such as your mortgage or rental papers, birth and marriage certificates, prescriptions, medical records, passports and veterinary records for your pets.
Always keep your moving documents and contracts with you during your move. Cash and medications should also travel with you and not on the truck.
There are many hazardous materials that most moving companies won’t allow on the truck, so you really don’t have a choice but to move them yourself.
Items like certain firearms, fireworks, propane and kerosene tanks, household bleach and paint cans are usually prohibited. But other items you may not have considered, like car batteries, chemistry sets, cleaning solvents, fire extinguishers and even nail polish are also usually persona non grata in the moving van.
Check with your moving company to find out what items are forbidden. Also, check the internet to find out if any of your questionable items cannot be transported across state lines as well.
Many food items are also prohibited on the moving truck.
Frozen food, fresh produce, open food and food that needs to be refrigerated should go with you in your car. Or better yet, have an “empty the refrigerator” party with family, neighbors or friends during the week prior to moving.
It goes without saying, but house pets – no matter how small – do not go on the moving truck. Moving your pets takes a lot of preplanning and work, but with proper preparation, everything should go smoothly.
Not possible to take your little furry ones in the car? Consider options like a pet shipping and relocation service.
It might be less obvious, but your houseplants should not be packed up and put in the moving van either. Not only do they have the danger of toppling over, but there is a chance they don’t survive the conditions in the truck. And nobody is going to water them. Wrap them up tightly and place them gently in your backseat.
If you don’t have the room for your plants, find a neighbor that will adopt them, or donate them to a shelter, school or elder facility.
There’s a good chance the movers won’t show up to your new location for a day or two after you do… or longer. You don’t want any important items stuck on a truck while you’re setting up in your new digs.
Pack a “Survival Kit,” a box of all the items you will need until the truck comes, including:
Not only will moving these seven items by yourself save you some money, but you’ll also have less stress worrying if your most precious items will arrive safe and sound.