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Stress-Free Moving: Top 10 Moving Mistakes to Avoid

The average person in the U.S. moves more than 11 times in their lifetime. And each change of location brings a different set of surprises. Reduce your stress level by avoiding the 10 most common moving mistakes (and last-minute uh-ohs).

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Not organizing your stuff before packing

When you look around your home and think “I don’t have that much to pack,” you’re probably underestimating how much you really have. Make your move less stressful, and less expensive, by paring down before you pack. The general rule for keeping clothes is that if you haven’t worn it in two seasons, it should go away. For other items, if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it (thanks, Marie Kondo!).

Get help deciding what to move and what to donate with these helpful tips.

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Getting a late start on packing

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to pack. Reduce some of the stress of moving and get an early start. Give yourself about a day to pack a one-bedroom apartment and up to a week to pack a whole house. You’ll stress less when unpacking, too, if you’ve taken your time and packed carefully. Try these 18 handy hacks to make moving a breeze.

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Skimping on packing supplies

When packing for a move, it’s wise to gather more boxes and packing tape than you think you’ll need. Supplies don’t have to take up much of your moving budget, either. Save boxes from your online orders and check your local liquor store for freebies. You can also check out your neighborhood Facebook group or Craigslist for moving supplies someone else is looking to get rid of. If you really want to be creative and frugal, you might be able to get away with using socks to pack glasses and clothes to wrap dishware! Here are 32 of our favorite hints and tips for frugal homeowners.

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Didn’t prepare for a pet

Don’t forget that moving will stress out your pet, too. Did you get calming medicine for your kitty? Where did you put Fido’s food? When preparing for your move, don’t make the mistake of letting your pet’s needs fall off the to-do list. Label pet-related boxes and check with your vet, if necessary, to make sure your pets are just as prepared as you are.

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Forgetting to compensate a friend

Asking friends and family to help you move can be tricky, especially if you have a lot of stuff, it’s unbearably hot or wicked cold. Even if you’re moving what you consider to be ‘just a few things,’ you’re asking for free labor. So, don’t forget to budget at least a small token of appreciation for their time. You may not want to give cash, but the promise of a nice homemade dinner in your new home could go a long way toward getting a few extra hands. And be sure to have non-messy snacks and plenty of water available on moving day. Here are a few hacks to help you safely move furniture yourself.

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Not getting quotes from the mover

You may think you and a handful of friends can handle your move cheaper than a pro. Save everyone the back pain and awkward friend indebtedness and consider hiring a team of experts. Send pictures of the stuff you want the moving company to put on their truck and then contact several companies for a bid and don’t forget to ask about insurance. By the way, here’s how much you should tip your movers.

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Forgetting to account for congestion

There’s no national moving day in the U.S. like Canada’s July 1, where tradition holds that if you’re going to move, that’s the day to do it! But if you’re one of the 3 million people who, according to the moving industry, relocate every year, and you’re moving in to an apartment, you’ll probably be moving at the end or beginning of the month. This can mean a long wait for the elevator and moving carts if lots of others are moving at the same time. Talk to your hired (or volunteer) movers about a Plan B if things don’t move as quickly as you’d hoped.

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You didn’t pack an emergency bag

It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get completely moved, unpacked and reorganized in one day. That means you’ll need ready access to a few essentials. One simple way to prepare for this is to pack a suitcase as if you were going on a trip out of town for a long weekend. Include toiletries, clothes, shoes, computer or tablet, your pillow, medications and anything else you can’t get by without. Another option is to take a plastic laundry basket or other storage bin and put your essentials in there. Then, be sure to bring it with you to your new place and then don’t let it get lost in a sea of boxes. Here are the 10 best ways to save money on a move.

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Forgot your new address

Be sure to memorize your new address and helpful landmarks or directions to your new place. Once it’s in everyone’s phone, you’re fine, but until then, it can be a hassle. Also, visit the U.S. Postal Service website about two weeks before your move and change your mailing address. Even if you don’t get much mail, you don’t want to miss anything important, including that birthday card from your Aunt! Here are six easy home tech add-ons for you to consider.

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Not letting yourself feel all the feels

If your move gets a bit chaotic and you’re feeling stressed, take a step back. Stop by your favorite coffee shop and let people know you’re moving. Say goodbye to your neighbors and others you see regularly. Acknowledging the move and letting people know will help get your head and heart in the right place. When you’re packing up the last box, look around and feel gratitude. And, when you’re ready to go to sleep in your new place for the first time, stop, look around and feel hopeful for all of the good times ahead. Here’s how to make settling in to your new home less stressful.

Brenda Porter-Rockwell
Brenda Porter-Rockwell is a seasoned content writer. She has more than two decades of experience writing for B2c and B2B publications, including and Through the years Brenda has been published in a number of respected print and online consumer, and industry-specific publications and channels. Brenda has been a newspaper reporter for a medium daily in Central NJ, PR Director, magazine editor and marketing writer. Clearly she loves the printed word (and her byline)!