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Tips for a Smooth Move

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Tips for a Smooth Move


Moving is exciting, but it’s also cause for anxiety and tension. Making the arrangements, packing, getting situated in your new home- all take time and effort. The easiest way to assure a successful move is to plan carefully. We have designed this sheet to give you helpful hints to make your move go smoothly.


There are many people that need to know you are moving; start contacting them early and you’ll be less likely to forget anyone.

Mail Delivery – Pick up a supply of change of address cards at the post office or from our office; fill them out early. They won’t be effective until the date you specify.

Credit Cards – As you pay your bills, look for the space for change of address, if they’re contacted early enough, you won’t face late charges or extra interest payments later.

Utilities – Arrange to have your utilities turned off at the end of your moving day-phone, heat, light, and water as well.

Financial Institutions – Talk to your bank about closing accounts, transferring funds, and obtaining safety deposit box, and credit information.

Insurance -Let your agent know your moving. Since many homeowners’ policies are paid ahead of time you may be eligible for a refund. Make sure the company has your new address to expedite processing.

Pets – Contact your veterinarian concerning your pet’s records. Now is a good time to update vaccinations and discuss any concerns you may have about moving your pet.


Schedule and confirm your move as soon as you know your desired moving date and time. One or two months of planning are not too much. You shouldn’t move everything you own. It not only costs more money, it takes extra time. Make things easier by eliminating unnecessary items. No matter what it is – that big jar for pennies, the rowing machine you stopped using, the toys the kids have outgrown – don’t move it if you don’t use it.

Furniture – This is the most obvious place to start. Get rid of anything that’s worn out, badly damaged, or soon to be replaced. Anything that doesn’t fit in, like custom built shelves or cabinets should probably be left behind. See if the people buying your home would be interested. At the same time, make sure your furniture will fit through doorways and up stairs, better to find out about possible problems before rather than when arriving at your new home.

Kitchen Supplies – High up in the cabinets, at the back of the shelves – it’s where you are likely to find things you’ve forgotten about. If you don’t use it, don’t take it. Use your canned goods and frozen foods now. Perishable items are not to be moved by the movers and are not covered if mistakenly moved.

Clothes – The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn something in 2 years, you probably never will. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of your wedding dress, but there are probably a lot of other clothes you should discard. Give the extras to your local homeless shelter; they’ll put them to good use.

Outdoor Equipment – The attic, cellar, and garage, may well contain things you haven’t used in years. If it includes furniture, consider calling in someone who knows antiques before you throw them out. After you finish sorting, take stock of those items you aren’t going to move. If you give them to a local charity be sure to get a receipt and declare a value for tax purposes. If you have many items of decent quality, consider a yard sale. It takes time and effort, but can be profitable.

Yard Sale – Get together everything you’re going to sell and make it look as nice as possible. Organize items into categories. Mark all prices clearly and make sure they’re reasonable. On the day of the sale, make sure you have plenty of change on hand, as well as a calculator. Publicize the sale in local papers, through friends, posted flyers and signs. Remember that the purpose of this sale is to get rid of things-bargains sell quickly. Toward the end of the day, reduce prices drastically. If you don’t sell it you’ll have to dispose of it anyway.


A good packing job does more to protect your belongings, it can actually make settling into your new home much easier. If you don’t have time to pack, we will be happy to handle it for you. Our professional crews are efficient and careful.

If you’re on a limited budget, it makes sense to pack yourself, but devote sufficient time to ensure the items are packed properly and hence protected in transit. If you have some delicate or fragile items that you are nervous about, consider having us pack just those items. You are fully responsible for what you pack. We assume no responsibility for customer packed boxes.


Boxes and Containers – We have packing materials suited to all your needs and are available at a nominal charge. Get enough to handle all your belongings, and avoid the trouble of searching for sturdy boxes. Most stores discard their boxes, so trying to find them yourself can be both difficult and frustrating. We can deliver boxes to your home free of charge on any order over $50. All boxes must be taped and closed, no open top boxes.

Wrapping Material – We can supply you with unprinted newsprint, which avoids the ink rubbing off onto your possessions. If you decide to use some newspaper, don’t wrap good china or lampshades in it-the ink can cause permanent stains. For items like TVs, DVD players and Computers, pack them in the original boxes whenever possible. This provides extra protection.

Labeling – Unmarked boxes are a nightmare. Make sure every room has a marking pen, and write big and bold on all sides. That way you won’t have to open or move boxes around to know what’s in them. Tape-Wide packing tape (not masking tape) is the best. Get rolls with their own dispensers. It makes the job even easier. When you seal a box, make sure the tape extends at least halfway down each side of the box, that way it won’t come loose during the move.

Sealable plastic bags – Small plastic bags can be handy to hold knobs, handles, screws, picture hooks, and other easily lost items. Tape them securely to the inside of drawers so you can find them easily once you are in your new home. Trash bags- Every room should have a trash bag. By always having a bag nearby, you won’t be tempted to pack and move things you really should discard.


Valuables such as securities, furs, jewelry, coin or stamp collections and legal papers should not go in the moving van. Take those items with you or make other arrangements for their safe shipment. The same goes for items of great sentimental value, like baby pictures and your grandfather’s pocket watch. Keep them with you, just in case.

Never pack a box without labeling it. Before you do anything write the room name on all sides. Once you’ve finished packing a box, seal it and write a description of the contents on the outside. When you’ve done it right, the box should weigh no more than 50 pounds and shouldn’t rattle when moved. The sides shouldn’t bulge, and the top must close without caving in. Use paper to fill empty spots, and remove items if the box is too full. The heavier the items the smaller the box should be. The bottom of each box needs a layer of crumpled paper, with additional cushioning layers in the middle and on top.

Kitchen – Since this is the busiest room in the house, it is usually left until last. Start with all the things you use rarely, and get them out of the way early. Get together all your dishtowels and potholders; use them for extra padding. We strongly recommend you purchase dish pack boxes specially designed to protect all your fragile items. They are thicker and will not collapse. Appliances should be clean, dry, and disconnected for moving day. This means defrosting and airing freezers and refrigerators contacting Gas Company to disconnect any gas appliances, and plumbers to disconnect water lines. You are responsible for refrigerator/freezer contents, and disconnect and reconnection we assume no responsibility.

The Dining Room – Delicate crystal, and china need extra protection. Consider boxing some things up before putting them in proper packing containers. Make sure everything is snug and mark the boxes “Fragile”. Shelving not permanently attached in china cabinets and bookshelves must be removed or brought to our attention. Weight and pendulums must be removed from clocks. We advise you call a clock shop. All weapons must be removed from cabinets, cased and trigger locked.

Living/Family Room – Mirrors, ceramics, and framed pictures need to be packed in “special” boxes, which you can obtain from our office. Lamps should be taken apart, bulbs removed, wrapped carefully and placed in proper boxes. Electronic equipment should be disconnected, cords wound and taped to unit and boxed, original, if available. Vertical file cabinets can remain filled if cabinet it metal and no larger than 3 drawer, all lateral and fireproof file cabinets must be emptied. We do move pool tables but they must be disassembled and reassembled by you or a billiard company. We will only be responsible for slate professionally crated and of two or more pieces. We do not move single piece slates.

The Bedroom – Clothing can either be folded and packed or hung in the wardrobe closets available at our office. Dresser drawers must be emptied and be sure to remove any liquids, breakables and all loose items. Strip beds completely, you may choose to disassemble and reassemble them yourself, or we can do it for you. If you have a waterbed, completely empty it the day before the move and box it, you would be responsible for any water damage.

The Attic/Garage/Outdoors – Before moving anything that’s been in a storage area, make sure it’s clean. Drain garden hoses and empty and wash any plant containers or garden equipment. Gasoline powered equipment such as lawn mowers and snow blowers must be emptied of all fuel and oil prior to your move. If you have a gas grill, we will be happy to take it, but the propane tank must be emptied or transported by you, and the drip pan removed.

Plants – Moving plants, whether indoor or outdoor, is tricky business. Most plants are too delicate to survive in a moving van. Shifts in temperature and the lack of water often prove fatal. Potting soil loosens and branches break. Your best bet would be to move them yourself. We cannot be liable for them if moved by us.

Pets – Animals can get nervous and upset weeks before the actual move. Their eating and sleeping habits may change. Be aware of this and do what you can to maintain their routine. When all else fails, a little extra love and attention can go a long way toward making your pet feel better.


Moving day always seems hectic. There are those last few items that didn’t get packed, those last few calls that need to be made. If you have young children who might not be able to stay out of the movers’ way, see if you can leave them with family, friends, or neighbors. That lets everyone concentrate on the move without worrying about injuries. First thing in the morning, get an empty box labeled “last day”. Also, have some trash bags on hand, as you find items that need discarded, do so.

Our Arrival – To ensure our truck can park as close as possible, attempt to reserve stalls or parking area. Please be certain to provide a clean and safe walkway to your home if there is no sidewalk or driveway available. When your crew arrives, take them through the house, while you’re doing this, point out any items not to be moved and those designated “Last Loaded”. Make sure any boxes not to be moved are clearly marked.


The first day in a new home can be chaotic; that’s to be expected. Our crew will do their best to keep things running smoothly, but we’ll need your help.

Try to keep children occupied with some activity out of the line of traffic. If you have a pet, put it in an isolated room with food, water, and bedding. When the moving truck pulls up to your new home, the crew will be ready to go. You should take the crew on a tour through the house.

It’s helpful to put a note on each door – “David’s Bedroom”, ”Study”, etc.- so the boxed you marked so carefully will end up where you belong. Be available to let the movers know exactly where you want things put as they bring them in the house. Be sure to advise if we are to assemble items for you. They’ll be happy to oblige.


Once the movers have left, don’t be overwhelmed. Put appropriate items in the bathrooms, paper cups by the sink, and trash bags, in every room. Put light bulbs in the most important fixtures, and hang up your shower curtain.

If you have a pet, make sure all doors and windows are closed before you let it explore the house. Although you’ll want to get some basic food supplies right away, there’s no need to start cooking meals immediately. Give yourself a chance to relax, and recognize that you can’t do everything at once.

Remember, it takes awhile to settle into a new home. If you first take care of the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms, things will be easier. Now’s the time to try new furniture arrangements, but don’t hang up pictures and mirrors right away. You’ll have holes in your walls if you change your mind later.

Take the time to get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors. Slowly but surely, you’ll get all the boxes unpacked and everything put away. Within a few weeks, you’ll have turned your new house into a home.

Download a print copy of these tips


About The Author

Picture of Brenda Roessler

Brenda Roessler

Brenda has been involved with Mad City Moving for decades, first as an employee and now as an owner, along with her husband. Her expertise is unmatched with decades of experience. For Brenda, Mad City Moving is more than just a moving company, it's an opportunity to provide packing, moving, and storage solutions for anyone coming to the Madison area. She has a deep commitment to not only her clients, but also her team and the surrounding community. Mad City Moving proudly assists the City of Madison, Urban League, Habitat for Humanity, REM Wisconsin, and Community Living Connections.

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