What Moves: The Stuff We Move That We Need Professional Help With

What Moves: The Stuff We Move That We Need Professional Help With
  • Opening Intro -

    I hate moving.

    Okay, let me qualify that statement: I love the prospect of moving into a new place where I can do a lot of new and cool things that I couldn't with the old place, but I hate the moving process.


Just the thought of needing to sort through everything, then having to pack and unpack stuff again fills me with dread.

The truth is, I’ve never really been a very organized sort of person. While I do well on the business front, things like DIY home improvement and anything to do with home maintenance, cleaning, or organization tends to overwhelm me. It just isn’t my cup of tea.

If I had things my way, I’d hire professional movers do everything for me, but I know that I have to be practical and save myself some money by packing up some of my stuff by myself. The question is: How do I determine what I truly need professional help with for my move?

Professional movers and packers can make the process of moving easier, but it can cost.

Taking Stock and Decluttering

Before getting down to brass tacks, you need to accept the fact that moving will always require a certain amount of your personal time and energy. That’s the downside but, on a more positive note, if you plan things carefully, you can save yourself quite a bit of money – and even make some money – in the process.

Did your ears just perk up when I mentioned making money? Well, there’s to truth to the adage that “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” and moving provides you with the perfect opportunity to take stock of all that you’ve accumulated over the years and get rid of items you no longer want, use, or need at a yard sale.

By reducing your things to a bare minimum and selling off your white elephants before you move, you’ll have less to pack – and less to load onto your moving truck. This way you get to clear out junk, put some money in your pocket, and get the move off to a right start.

A yard sale before your move gives you the opportunity to declutter and make money in the process.

Decluttering can help you cut down on overall moving costs but if, like me, you absolutely hate the part that involves sorting and packing, then I have good news for you. A great alternative to DIY is to contact an organization that’ll do practically everything for you –  from assessing the job to helping you sort, pack, and price items for your yard sale to hosting the sale itself as well as disposing of the leftover items, usually by donating them to charities.

Setting A Budget

I’m tempted to say that whatever else is left to pack up can be entrusted to professional movers. If you can afford full-service movers at this point, well and good. But the truth is, moving can be expensive, and determining your budget from the onset and sticking to it is important.

There are different alternatives to help you save, such as hiring a truck and driving it yourself, hiring movers only to load and unload your possessions, or hiring packers to handle just your specialty items. If the assessed cost of moving seems a bit steep for your budget, then you need to sit down and figure out the best ways to move your stuff so you can make smarter decisions based on your time and money.

Specialty Items

Most packing services can pack or unpack your entire home in one day, saving you the effort as well as ridding you of the hassle of living out of boxes. But if you’ve got budget constraints, then your money is best spent on professional help on specialty items such as precious artwork, antiques, and breakables such as chandeliers, mirrors, vases, china and other fragile items. Cherished furniture pieces, especially fragile or handmade ones, should also be handled only by a professional packer to ensure safe arrival.


What else should be handled by specialty movers? I would suggest that you hire a professional to prepare and move large appliances, including washers, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators. Unless properly packed and prepared for the move, it’s unlikely that the oving company will take responsibility for any appliances that fail to work when they reach your new home. As a genmeral rule, furniture and major appliances must be wrapped and protected with padding – work that’s best left to the professionals.

Hire a professional to prepare and move large appliances.

Additional Tips

If you don’t want to blow your entire savings on your move, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Book your moving company well ahead of time, at least 6 weeks prior to your move. This will allow you time to thoroughly check on their service and to shop around and negotiate. Keep in mind, too, that rental trucks are more expensive during summer, the busiest moving season.

    If you leave things for too late, you could be stuck with a rental that’s bigger and more expensive than you need, with higher attendant fuel costs to boot. A good rule of thumb: Avoid moving in the summer if you can help it, and do try to get at least 3 quotes before deciding on a service provider to hire.

  • Always ask what’s covered by the quoted price. Don’t just assume that the price quoted will be the final price of the rendered service – additional fees can sometimes be tacked on for services that you hadn’t anticipated. Make sure you disclose ahead of time if there will be stairs to navigate, for instance, and whether there’s adequate parking in front of your old or new home.

    Is mileage included, and how many miles are covered? Also, ask for insurance policy details and whether you’re completely covered. Before booking, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.

  • Don’t hire a company that only takes cash, and don’t pay for the move in full until all your belongings have been unloaded. Wait until you’ve completed your home inventory and have determined that nothing is broken or missing before you sign off on the paperwork and pay any balances due.

Moving can be as easy or as painful a process as you make it. As in anything, good planning and playing it smart when it comes to making decisions is key to your pulling off a move without exhausting yourself or overspending.

About the Author
David Underwood has been in the moving business since 1986. As the founder and General Manager of Our Guys Around Town Movers (formerly known as 2GT, Inc.), he helps provide for the moving needs of families in Maryland, Virginia, the Greater Washington, DC area as well as long-distance national moves. Check out the company blog for updates from David!


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