A happy older lady packing labeled boxes for her small move.

Effortless Small Moves: Expert Tips

Approximately 13% of Americans move each year. Many of those people are making small moves, not big ones. But what is a small move? It's when you move a limited number of items, such as the belongings stored in a single room or a small apartment. Although you have fewer things to pack, small moves require careful planning. Follow this advice for making small moves the next time you need to relocate.

How Are Small Moves Different?

Small moves are different because many moving companies specialize in whole-house moves and may not offer services tailored to customers with a limited number of belongings. It's also common for people to overpack for small moves.

Unfortunately, a small move can have the same risks as moving your entire home. Many people mistakenly believe that small moves may not require specialized care or packing. But due to several new services, the opposite is true. For instance, some auction services connect semi-drivers with people needing to move a few items. Often, these drivers are not vetted and ship your items on a semi-truck without protection. Other services combine small moves into moving trailers using moving blankets, increasing loss and damage. Others drop storage containers off, leaving their customers to pack their items. Some small movers pack all your items and ship them on pallets.

Common Misconceptions

It is commonly believed that coordinating small moves are more manageable than larger ones. This comparison couldn't be further from the truth. A small move requires just as much planning as a large one, and depending on which service you use, it may be even more work than a larger move. Customers must box and pack all their items when using a "do it yourself" service like PODS or U-Haul. Many people will overestimate the amount of money they'll save on a small move. Even if you only have a few boxes, you must purchase bubble wrap, packing tape, and other materials to protect your shipment.

It's also a mistake to think that every moving company has what it takes to handle a small move efficiently. It would be best to have a small mover with extensive experience managing small moves.

Advantages of Small Moves

By picking a small move specialist for a small move, you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars compared to large moves. After all, you don't have to pay for an entire moving truck or the time it takes a sizeable moving crew to pick up and ship your entire home, making it easier to save money. A small move also gives you more flexibility regarding moving dates and times. Finally, making a small move gives you an opportunity to declutter your belongings, helping you be more organized in your new home.

Expert Insights on Planning Small Moves

One of the best small move tips is to move only the essentials or high-value items. If you have older furniture or pieces valued at less than $500, consider listing them on an auction site or selling them at a yard sale. Do this only if you think you can sell them. Donate the low-valued items to a local charity. Discard damaged items that are beyond repair. You can purchase new or newer replacement items at the destination with the money you will save on your move.

It's also important to pack efficiently. Instead of loading up large boxes, choose smaller boxes to distribute weight evenly. Label each box with a number or color to make your move easier. Make sure you label every side of the box. That way, you won't have to move boxes around to see their labels.

To protect fragile items from damage, wrap them in bubble wrap or sheets of butcher paper. Fill drinking glasses with crumpled paper to prevent them from shattering during transport. After you pack a box, fill in any gaps with foam peanuts or bubble wrap to prevent items from shifting.

Mastering the Small Move

Moving is much easier when you take a strategic approach to planning. When selecting a moving date, consider weekdays or off-peak times to help you save money. Many people move on weekends, so choosing a random Tuesday or Thursday may make it easier to find a mover. Follow this checklist for a hassle-free move:

  • Walk through your living space to determine what you should sell, donate, and toss (2 months in advance).
  • Purchase a binder to store packing lists, receipts, and other moving-related items (2 months in advance).
  • Obtain moving boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and other supplies (1 month in advance).
  • Use up your consumables (furniture polish, glass cleaner, frozen foods).
  • Measure your new living space to determine if you need to do more decluttering (1 month in advance).
  • Hire a moving company (1 month in advance).
  • Start packing (1 month in advance).
  • Confirm that the moving company will arrive as scheduled (2 weeks in advance).
  • Withdraw cash or make sure you have a debit or credit card available to pay the moving fee (1 week in advance).
  • Verify that all of your boxes are on the truck and headed to your new home.

Working with a Specialized Mover

Even if you're making a small move, you should still take time to vet potential movers. Here are some questions to help you find the right moving company:

  • Do you have a business license?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have with small moves?
  • What services do you offer?
  • What's your policy regarding items damaged in transit?
  • Do you require a deposit?
  • What payment methods do you accept?

You should also watch out for these red flags, which may indicate that someone is trying to scam you:

  • The moving company won't provide a written estimate.
  • Someone asks you to sign a blank document.
  • The moving company wants you to pay upfront or make a large cash deposit.
  • You can't determine if the company is licensed or insured.

Hiring a mover with experience in small moves is helpful, as this type of move requires careful planning. An experienced mover knows how to minimize expenses without risking your belongings.

How Ship Smart Can Help You Streamline Your Small Move

Ship Smart offers a personalized approach tailored to small moves. We offer fast, reliable, and efficient transit solutions to ensure your belongings arrive at your new location in a timely manner. Ship Smart even provides professional packing services to ensure the safety and security of your items.

Are you in the market for a stress-free move? Call (866) 333-8018 to speak with an expert in small moves. You'll receive a 10% discount if you mention this guide.

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