Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]
On the spectrum from “best day ever” to “unimaginable frustration,” we all know where moving falls. Maybe that’s why the percent of Americans moving has hit the lowest record since the Census began: just 11% of us moved in 2018. But although many of us avoid changing our abodes at all costs, in some cases, relocating is inevitable. Just as the 5.5 million Americans who did move last year.
If the thought of uprooting your entire existing leaves you feeling overwhelmed, use these moving hacks to stay organized, expedite the process and keep your frustration at a minimum. (And for the riders out there, we’ve included some tips of the trade for making moving your motorcycle a snap.)
At your old place
- Get rid of what you don’t want: Have a yard sale. Donate to charity. Call friends and family to see if they want anything. Put it on sale Craigslist. Throw it away. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many of us hold on to things we don’t even know why we own in the first place. (Case in point? Just ask Marie Kondo, who has amassed a mountain of revenue simply by inspiring people to declutter.)
- Cruise the Craigslist “free” section: You can often find boxes and other moving supplies here. Uhaul has a spot at their locations where people can leave their used boxes for others to use for free! Just and ask the store manager if they have boxes available, and please do the same for the next mover. Enter in your zip and city here.
- Take photos of the back of your electronics: Take a photo of the back of your TV, computer and other electronic devices now to save hours of frustration when it’s time to reattach all those wires. (Want a better way to keep your cords from getting tangled and mangled? Use toilet paper tubes to pack them.)
- Make rubber bands your friend: Use rubber bands to attach lids to your pots so you can load them up with items like potholders, utensils and the likes to make better use of space.
- Defrost your fridge in advance: Just trust us on this one. Doing this in advance will save you all kinds of trouble when you’re finally ready to bid adieu to your abode.
- Stack plates dishwasher style: There’s a reason why dishwashers are designed to hold plates and bowls vertically. Your dishes are a lot less likely to break if you pack them vertically rather than in a horizontal stack. Use kitchen towels or Styrofoam plates between your dishes for extra padding.
- Leave clothes on the hanger: If you’ve ever moved, you already know how long it takes to unpack all the clothing you stuffed in boxes. Here’s a hint: it also takes a long time to pack clothes into boxes when you’re moving. Cut straight to the finish line by leaving your clothes on their hangers. Simply wrap a garbage bag around your jackets, pants and other clothes as they hang in your closet, rubber band the hanger tops together and pat yourself on the back for saving yourself some serious time.
- Wrap stuff in your stuff: Use towels, blankets and sheets to wrap your breakables. And when it comes time to pack your kitchen knives, reach for an oven mitt instead of bubble wrap. Put the knife blades inside the mitt and then pack the entire bundle into a box. (Closely related to this hack is the art of packing stuff inside your stuff. Wheeled suitcases make it easy to move things that would otherwise be a heavy lift—literally.)
- Wrap your mattress: Cover both sides of your mattress with fitted sheets before putting it into a moving truck or van. The sheets might get dirty, but your mattress will stay clean—and that’s exactly the point.
- Wrap your wine with pool floaties: Maybe you don’t have kids’ pool floaties lying around. But if you do, wrap them around your open wine bottles to keep them from spilling during your travels from Point A to Point B.
- Pack liquids in zip lock bags: Don’t want to toss out that half-used bottle of sauce or shampoo? Temperature and altitude changes can create enough pressure to pop the tops and create a huge mess. Wrap them in gallon-size zip lock bags before moving to keep them from spilling.
- Label everything: This is another one that might seem obvious. But if you’ve ever been in a rush to move, you know how tempting it is to just throw stuff in a box and get out the door. This will not save you time in the long run. Get some stickers or a Sharpie and label your heart out—on the side of the box, not the top. If you want to go really crazy, you can even color code your boxes so you know where they go in just a quick glance. And as you’re sorting and labeling your boxes, remember to put all your daily essentials in a box together. There’s nothing worse than winding down after a long day of moving and having to search for your toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Preschedule your utility “disconnect” date: Call your utility companies in advance to ensure that your electricity, water and Internet are turned off exactly when you need them to be—not a few days before or after.
- Keep your important documents with you: Don’t put your Social Security card, birth certificate and other important papers inside a box never to be seen again. Keep them with you just in case.
- Have snacks ready on the other side: Don’t underestimate how tired and hungry you’ll be after a long day of moving. Keep snacks easily accessible so your energy doesn’t take a nose dive.
- Re-stickify your tape: Have your masking and painter’s tapes lost their stick? Put them in the microwave for a few seconds to restore them to their former glory.
At your new place
- Calculate your moving expenses: Some of them may be tax deductible if you are a member of the armed forces.
- Measure your door frames: Will that extra-wide couch or California king mattress really make it into the room where it needs to go? Measure doors, hallways and stairways beforehand—not when a heavy piece of furniture is in your hands.
- Preschedule your utilities: There’s nothing worse than getting to your new place and realizing the Internet—or worse, the electricity—hasn’t kicked on yet.
- Change your address with the USPS: Mail forwarding takes seven days to kick in. By getting the process started early, you can skip the lag time and jump straight into action at your new place.
- Update your insurance: This isn’t the most exciting hack on the list, but it’s a fact of life.
- Reserve the service elevator: If your place has a service elevator, you’ll likely need to use this to move your stuff rather than the passenger elevator. Reserve it in advance to avoid snags on moving day.
- Unpack your kitchen first: Between silverware, plates, spices and everything else, your kitchen will undoubtedly take the longest to get set up. Knock this room out first.
For your motorcycle
- Pack your papers in a place you’ll remember: Keep your title, registration, owner’s manual and other motorcycle documents together in one place—one that you’ll be able to find easily once you get to your new home. Have a forgetful streak? Write the location in a note on your smartphone.
- Update your insurance: This is especially important if you’re moving to another state. But even if you’re simply moving a few blocks down the street, call your insurance agent to make sure your policy is updated accordingly.
- Make room in your new garage: It might be tempting to store your boxes of non-essentials in the garage until they’re unpacked. Don’t forget to leave room for your motorcycle; that includes a clear path to lets you get your bike in and out easily.
- Plan ahead: When your move is approaching, decide whether to move your motorcycle yourself or hire a professional motorcycle shipping service. Before you decide to go it alone, calculate all the costs of moving your motorcycle yourself: gas/fuel, wear and tear, tie-downs and other materials, and your time. Not sure if you need help shipping your ride? Want to make sure your motorcycle arrives safely at your new place? Contact the team at Motorcycle Shippers so that we can provide a no-hassle quote and walk you through our process beginning to end.
And when moving day is finally behind you, take your motorcycle out for a ride to celebrate. You earned it—even if you did use these moving hacks to make the process as painless as possible.