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Moving houses is hard and you never know how much of a hoarder you are until it is time to move house. That is when you discover the strangest things in your home and start to wonder how they got there, what they are doing hidden away in a corner and how come you never knew you had them.

Also, because moving house involves a lot of different tasks that must be handled at once, there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. And the worst kinds of mistakes are errors in judgment that leave you stranded on moving day or make your house move harder or costlier.

When preparing to move house, anything that makes the process easier is welcome. That is why Bigham & Associates, a property management company in Austin, has created this list of serious mistakes you should look out for when planning your move. Having this list beforehand will help you be more careful and save you lots of trouble.

These mistakes are more likely to happen when you are moving by yourself – that is without the help of professional movers. But you can read on and avoid making this list of serious mistakes for an incident-free house move.

1. Not making enough time for the move

Most people underestimate the amount of time it takes to pack up an average home. You probably don’t know how much stuff you own and how hard it is to sort through them. If you plan on leaving your packing until the week of your move, you will be stressed-out and prone to make mistakes. Start planning and packing, at least, two weeks before the move-out day

2. Assuming all moving boxes are created equal

Using free moving boxes instead of buying them is a wise decision. But only as long as you take steps to ensure that the boxes you get are good enough. Your packing boxes are very important; you don’t want them to give way when they are lifted. Use only boxes that are clean, free of water damage, and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of your items.

3. Failing to pack methodically

Packing must be done systematically if you want to avoid repacking or spending valuable time searching for items later. You must inventory your stuff in the right order as you pack them.  You should pack your least-used items first. You should pack and label boxes according to their rooms. You should spread your packing over two weeks (at the minimum) and do it piecemeal, according to a schedule.

4. Not using the right packing procedures

How you pack matters. If boxes are too heavy or unwieldy, they will be difficult to move. Do not pack boxes to be top-heavy, heavier items at the top and lighter ones below. Before you pack fragile items, follow the proper techniques for wrapping them. Even when you think boxes are strong enough, do not neglect to double tape them at the sides and bottom.

5. Ignoring safety when packing and moving

Trips, slips, and back injuries are common during a house move. Sharp/pointed objects should be wrapped to keep them from injuring people. Follow the right protocols for lifting heavy objects. Make sure you have a dedicated moving pathway in the house and keep the path clear of tripping hazards at all times. Do not lift heavy objects alone. Use gloves to avoid cuts. Rent moving tools/equipment. And get insurance for your belongings.

6. Renting a moving truck of the wrong size

A moving truck that is too small is obviously a mistake, but so is one that is too big. Here is a guide for choosing the right truck size:

  • Pickup trucks: small loads and partial house moves
  • Cargo vans: college moves, moving a studio
  • 10-12 ft. trucks: studio/small apartment moves
  • 14-17 ft. trucks: 1-2 bedroom apartments, offices, and small houses 
  • 20-26 ft. trucks: cross country relocations, 3-4+ bedroom houses

7. Loading the truck wrongly

The way you load the truck affects the safety of your items and how easy the vehicle will be to handle. To load the truck properly and safely, you should spread the weight of your boxes evenly, with the heaviest items farthest inside and at the bottom. Make sure you strap boxes down and do not leave empty spaces that allow boxes to move or slide around.

8. Assuming that your friends are obligated to help you

In all likelihood, you won’t be able to handle the move all by yourself. But you should also not think that your friends are just hanging around, waiting to be summoned. Show them respect by recognizing their right to say no. Ask them in person, give them enough time, and make the occasion fun or compensate them in some way – a free dinner, maybe.

9. Assuming that a DIY move is cheaper than hiring a pro

When you take all the potential mistakes that can happen during a move into account, you will start to see the value of hiring a professional mover. You need a professional by your side, particularly if you are moving more than a hundred miles from your present home. The benefits of hiring a professional mover are varied; they can save you time and keep your belongings safer.

There you have it, serious mistakes to avoid when moving.