When it comes to things I hate, moving ranks right up there with slow drivers and well-done burgers. And unsurprisingly, I'm not alone in my feelings (at least when it comes to moving). According to a new survey, almost half of Americans would rather give up alcohol forever than deal with a move. While I'm not willing to go that far, I get it: Moving is the worst.
The study also revealed the top five most common mistakes that people make when they're moving. To help you survive your own box-filled hell, our editors have shared their solutions to these common moving problems below.
1. Waiting until the last minute to pack
Yes, packing isn't fun, but putting if off won't make your life easier. In fact, it'll make it way worse. The key to stress-free packing is getting organized as far in advance as you can. Our smart home writer, Rachel Murphy, came up with a genius solution: "We made a spreadsheet to help us keep track of what items are in what boxes. For example, box no. 1 (clearly labeled on the outside) had bath towels, etc. It allowed us to quickly access the things we needed right away at our new location without having to unpack everything at once."
Another great piece of advice is to keep a separate box for essentials like toilet paper, a shower curtain, snacks, and tools (for setting up or taking apart furniture) that you might need your first night. And do a thorough purge of everything you own before you even start packing. A.k.a if you don't use it now, you won't use it in your new place.
And as for our team's favorite packing products? Sturdy, clear bins like these Sterilite containers make it easy to know where everything is and these SpaceSaver vacuum storage bags help condense your stuff into a manageable amount.
2. Not being able to fit furniture in your new space
That oversized sectional looked great on Anthropologie's website when you ordered it—until it arrives and takes up the entire room. The easy fix? Measure (and double measure) all of the rooms in your new house or apartment before you order furniture. If you can't get into your new place ahead of time, ask your landlord or agent to send you floor plans so you can plan accordingly.
And remember that there's more to consider than just the room itself: "Measure the doorways of your new place to ensure everything will fit inside," cautions our senior scientist, Julia MacDougall. You may need to disassemble some pieces beforehand to get them in.
3. Doing everything yourself
I like saving money as much as the next person. But sometimes in life, it's worth the extra cost to hire professionals—like when you're moving (or trying to highlight your hair blonde, but that's a story for another time). If you choose to hire movers, our parenting editor, Anna Lane, advises getting recommendations from friends and family so you don't end up with inexperienced—or worse, unprofessional—movers. It's also smart to compare estimates from a few different companies beforehand and ask about any added fees upfront.
4. Not being able to afford moving expenses
As if moving couldn't get any worse, from hiring movers to booking a U-Haul, it can cost a lot of money (because who doesn't love paying for one of the most miserable and stressful experiences of your life?!). Fortunately, there are a bunch of ways you can cut down on those expenses if you plan properly.
For example, while working with a moving company is highly recommended, you can save money by packing your things yourself (movers will often charge inflated labor rates or higher-than-average prices for packing supplies). And if plan on getting a U-Haul, don't wait to reserve it last-minute and make sure you're choosing the smallest size that will fit all of your stuff, so you don't end up paying for unused space.
5. Having new furniture delivered late
"I love sleeping on a crappy air mattress for weeks," said no one ever. But that's what a lot of people end up doing (that or eating dinner on on the dining room floor) because they don't time their new furniture deliveries correctly.
Order your pieces well in advance to ensure that they'll arrive either on moving day or within your first couple of days in your new place. While furniture delivery often takes between 4 to 12 weeks, keep in mind that custom orders can take even longer. You can also arrange store pick-up at many furniture stores if you order online, so you can get your furniture at your convenience.